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Sunday, Dec 08, 2019

Microsoft returns to smartphone business with dual-screen Surface Duo: Here’s how it works

Microsoft introduces a dual-screen Surface Duo which can also make and receive calls. Here’s everything you need to know.

tech Updated: Oct 03, 2019 08:49 IST
Associated Press
Associated Press
New York
The Microsoft Corp. Surface Duo smartphone is displayed during a product event in New York, U.S., on Wednesday, Oct. 2, 2019. Microsoft unveiled a dual-screen, foldable phone that will run on Google's Android operating system, jumping back into a market it exited years ago. Photographer: Mark Kauzlarich/Bloomberg
The Microsoft Corp. Surface Duo smartphone is displayed during a product event in New York, U.S., on Wednesday, Oct. 2, 2019. Microsoft unveiled a dual-screen, foldable phone that will run on Google's Android operating system, jumping back into a market it exited years ago. Photographer: Mark Kauzlarich/Bloomberg(Bloomberg)
         

Microsoft on Tuesday introduced a new Surface device with calling facility. Called Surface Duo, Microsoft’s new device comes with two screens and runs on Android operating system. The device is scheduled to release next year.

Microsoft unveiled the Surface Duo as part of a new lineup of Surface computers. It marks a reversal for a company that abandoned smartphones following lackluster demand for its own operating system and an ill-fated purchase of smartphone maker Nokia.

“I believe the third time’s a charm for Microsoft and smartphones,” said Patrick Moorhead, an analyst with moor Insights & Strategy.

He said Microsoft has had a good track record with Surface devices, while the Duo’s novel design offers something new at a time when phone innovation has been slowing down.

Microsoft says the Duo makes phone calls, though it stopped short of calling it a phone. Though it runs Android, the back of the prototype has a Surface logo that resembles Windows. The company prefers calling the Duo just another Surface device.

Microsoft also announced a dual-screen Surface Neo tablet, which also won’t be out until late next year. In a blog post, Microsoft said other manufacturers including Asus, Dell, HP and Lenovo will also make dual-screen and foldable devices using a variant of Windows called 10X.

 

Both Surface devices feature two screens connected with a hinge and can fold like laptops. They can display separate apps side by side or a single app stretched across both screens. They are technologically less ambitious than foldable phones from Samsung and others, whose screens actually bend as the devices close. Some of those folding phones have experienced technical difficulties.

The Duo is about the size of a large smartphone when folded, with two 5.6-inch displays, while the folded Neo is similar in size to a small tablet such as the iPad Mini or an Amazon Fire.

The devices will initially be available only for developers who create and test apps. Microsoft plans to start selling them during the 2020 holiday season. The company offered no details on price.

Available sooner are $249 Surface Earbuds, as Microsoft joins Apple, Amazon, Google and others in making wireless listening devices.

At a product event Wednesday in New York, Microsoft also unveiled two new Surface Pro tablets. The Surface Pro X will have a 13-inch screen, rather than the 12-inch ones on the new Pro 7 and older models. But the X will be about the same size overall, thanks to a smaller bezel.

The company also unveiled a refreshed laptop.

(with inputs from HT Correspondent)