Microsoft Surface Duo: Why you should NOT be excited about it

Yesterday, Microsoft supposedly “announced” the much-awaited Surface phone, which they have called Microsoft Surface Duo. It is a dual screen (foldable) device that runs Android OS. To be honest, nobody should be excited about this.

After scouring every available bit of information about the Surface Duo, I am still a bit numb about how anybody at Microsoft thought a non-announcement of this sort was a good idea. So, the Microsoft Surface Duo will not hit the streets till end of 2020 – and 2019 has not ended yet.

Microsoft Surface Duo in hand

Who does that? Who freaking announces a mobile device over a year in advance? Has anyone not learnt from the mistakes of the past? Does Mocrosoft not remember how Nokia would announce a phone 6 months or a year before it hit the market – keeping consumers and buyers waiting, and how well that worked out for them?

And when you factor in how much more dynamic and volatile the mobile industry is today, announcing the Microsoft Surface Duo a year before launch means it will be dead on arrival by Q4 2020. Competing products will be awash in the market by then, and some of them will be better and/or more cost-effective.

What we know about the Microsoft Surface Duo

Here is the thing: there is no detailed information available about the Surface Duo other than that it has two 5.6-inch displays connected by 360° hinges that allow it to open up into an 8.3-inch tablet. You can also fold one screen behind the other, so you can use it like a normal tablet.

Microsoft Surface Duo Foldable Smartphone
Microsoft Surface Duo Foldable Smartphone

So, yes; it is a foldable phone, kind of, but not as futuristic or as elegant as the Samsung Galaxy Fold or Huawei Mate X. We also know that it runs Android OS and that it has a Snapdragon 855 inside.

Other than that, zilch. There are no available specifications and features. No camera details. No RAM. No battery. No network support. Nothing.

And the reason is simple: this product is not ready for the market. It is still in development stage. Even Microsoft likely does not know yet what the final specs and list of features will look like.

There is nothing to see about the Microsoft Surface Duo. You can have a look at the images and videos and move on till Q4 of 2020 when we will have real information about this device and when it will eventually go on sale.

One good thing about what we have seen of the design – hinges and all – is that while this is in no way as cool as the foldable devices from Samsung or Huawei, it looks like it is more pragmatic and less prone to faults. Foldable displays are difficult to make and a dual screen format like this just might be what is needed for now. But then, we have more than a year to cross before we get to the Surface Duo bridge.

Lastly, this effectively solidifies Microsoft’s pivot from their own mobile software to Android OS. As the company has said before, their updated mobile strategy is based on the concept of being found where the most people are – and that is primarilly Android OS. We have seen the American software giant put its apps in Google Play, and partner with Samsung to pre-install their apps on Samsung Android devices.

So, it is no surprise that Microsoft is working with Google on the Microsoft Surface Duo. Welcome to the future of Microsoft in mobile. It is a future that will arrive by the end of 2020.

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Microsoft Surface Duo: Why you should NOT be excited about it
Microsoft Surface Duo: Why you should NOT be excited about it 3

The Microsoft Surface Duo is not as futuristic or as elegant as the Samsung Galaxy Fold or Huawei Mate X. But that is not its real problem. This is a device no-one should be excited about.

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3 comments

  1. I think your conclusion is hasty. Microsoft has been working on this since 2009. Announcing and releasing now with Android seems perfect: Android 10 natively supports foldable phones.

    The foldable phones of Samsung, Huawei and Xiaomi are still far from perfect too, after all why haven’t they release after announcement?. Xiaomi foldable that is likely to be cheapest among the lots was taunted around January 2019 or so: it would soon be a year and I am not aware of any announcement as to release date. So company do that all the time: announce or showcase a year before release, especially for technology you are still perfecting. From Microsoft announcement, the device ‘looks’ ready, the guess is Microsoft is possibly trying to get the buying of developers to develop apps that would push the limit of the technology, before launch.

    I think their own take and approach to foldable is more practical. LG and other hardware manufacturer have taken this path too. In comparison theirs is a whole lot cooler. In fact if you compare the size of the Samsung foldable with the Microsoft own take, the Samsung is bulkier and thicker when folded. I would even go for the Huawei over Samsung – it’s more elegant but pricey. With the trouble Huawei has with the US, I hope it doesn’t’ affect the product which might give Microsoft an edge.

    I can already see some use for it for myself. I love reading and writing. it would be cool to read on one part and take note on the other side. It look like a small book. I like that. I hope it’s cheaper. Where is the buzz surrounding Samsung Foldable? Has it not been released? Cool technology especially, when they are pricey, aren’t always useful technology. Disclaimer: I don’t use Microsoft anything.

  2. If it’s a hinged dual screen mobile, axon m was here first, so nothing new here, yet we are supposed to still wait till 2020…. Time for axon m2 to come out and blow minds…

    Another miss from Microsoft?

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