Microsoft: 'Android is the best mobile OS'

Microsoft: 'Android is the best mobile OS'
In a surprising turn of events, Microsoft unveiled its long-rumored "Surface phone" which turned out to be... an Android device. Yep, for all the talks that Microsoft will be back in the phone business, it is not resurrecting the mobile Windows platform, but rather going with the world's most ubiquitous mobile operating system, courtesy of archrival Google.

The Surface Duo moulds the hybrid design philosophy that made the Surface line so popular into a dual-screen device with a 360-degree hinge in the middle. It is an intriguing answer to the complicated flexible screen phone designs coming from Samsung, Huawei or Motorola, but, above all, it is Microsoft's first Android-powered phone. Why?

Well, according to Panos Panay, the chief product officer for the Microsoft Devices group, because the 'best OS for this product is Android," basically throwing in the towel on shoehorning any type of Windows into a mobile gear with a SIM card. How come? 

Well, the upcoming Surface Duo phone will inevitably come with a full suite of Office apps, and Microsoft also has a comprehensive partnership with Samsung to have Word, Excel and other Microsoft apps preinstalled on its phones. If you can't beat them, conquer them from within, seems to be the new Microsoft strategy, and the fact that it recently surpassed Google in market capitalization shows that its move away from mobile and the continuing bet on Office and the cloud, were a smart managerial choice. 

Still, a dual-screen Surface Duo with Android on board? We'd have to examine such a strange animal up close and personal, as, by the time it ships, Android's dual- and flexible display support will be much more comprehensive than it is now.

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34 Comments

1. stulla

Posts: 99; Member since: Jun 20, 2012

Hope MS supports this product with more OTA software updates and not go the route of Samsung which is charging and high for the product and 9nly giving 2 yrs max software support

4. Crispin_Gatieza

Posts: 3163; Member since: Jan 23, 2014

Sorry to be the bearer of bad news but Microsoft has always delivered updates like clockwork. My secondary device, a Windows 10 Mobile, just received its October update last week and it's scheduled to face the firing squad in December.

7. miketer

Posts: 535; Member since: Apr 02, 2015

I agree. I got too on my Lumia 1520.

32. JohnZimmerman

Posts: 26; Member since: Sep 17, 2012

With just one Android phone to support, they should be in a better position to offer more frequent updates, compared with Samsung and their 1000 Android phones. That's not to say that Samsung doesn't do a decent job with updates on their more expensive phones.

2. DBozz

Posts: 102; Member since: Sep 19, 2019

If nokia had said this on that time before going with windows mobile OS, they would still be an unbeaten king..! That carlzeis camera tech would have surpassed DSLR cameras by now..

25. Dr.Phil

Posts: 2474; Member since: Feb 14, 2011

Nokia made a huge mistake with trusting Elop to head their company. He was a MS hack that basically threw the company under the solely support Windows Phone. I sometimes wonder what could’ve been if they had given Meego a real shot. It could run Android apps and the N9 was a beautiful phone. It just needed carrier support to reach the masses. I liked Windows Phone a lot, but what Microsoft did to Nokia is almost unforgivable.

3. meanestgenius

Posts: 22388; Member since: May 28, 2014

Panos is no fool. He knows Windows Phone couldn’t compete app wise/lacked developer support, which kept consumers away from Windows Phone, so he EOL’d and is now going the Android route chock full of Microsoft apps/services. I can’t wait until Surface Duo is released! This can be the closest thing we get to a true Note line competitor due to the Surface Pen functionality.

5. Crispin_Gatieza

Posts: 3163; Member since: Jan 23, 2014

Right on my brutha! Funny thing is, Microsoft still makes money on every Android sold so it's getting an OS for free and they don't have to dedicate resources to develop and maintain it. Apple cannot be too happy about this arranged marriage, iOS 13 is an unequivocal mess, especially mail and notifications. How does it go? The enemy of my enemy is my friend.

12. sgodsell

Posts: 7514; Member since: Mar 16, 2013

Say what you want about Android love it, or hate it. It's Androids agnostic nature that has made it flourish and grow. Others at the beginning said Androids VM and agnostic platform is going to kill off Android in the long run. However there is no denying that Android works on any hardware you throw at it. Plus it's app ecosystem can run on almost any supported hardware or platform. Not to mention Android has Microsoft's apps already, and there is more apps for Android than Apples iOS. Why do you think Apple is looking to replace Intel processors in Macs with Apple's own ARM based Ax SoCs? 1) it's cheaper for Apple. 2) running the existing iOS apps that have been optimized, and compiled to run on Apples ARM based SoCs would be really slow on Intel, via emulation. 3) Apple wants to utilize their vast army of iOS developers. Sure Apple came out with Swift which has similarities to Android and it's VM. But still the vast majority of iOS apps in Apple's ecosystem are not Swift apps, but objective-c apps that have been optimized, and compile to run on Apples ARM Ax SoCs. It's going to take a lot of time to switch over developers, and get rid of the older legacy developer obj-c ways for Apples app ecosystem. Android doesn't have Apples problems, and has been agnostic from day one.

21. Vancetastic

Posts: 1698; Member since: May 17, 2017

I couldn't agree more about the notifications on iOS...They drove me nuts on my last iPhone. This will be unpopular, but I think iOS has lived past it's expiration date, and needs a complete overhaul. They've added stuff on top of it, like sort-of widgets, but it feels like afterthoughts.

23. darkkjedii

Posts: 31529; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

Notifications is actually my favorite thing about iOS. It's one of a few strong points, and yes...iOS needs a massive overhaul.

29. Vancetastic

Posts: 1698; Member since: May 17, 2017

Oh no...we disagree about notifications! I feel like I should make a personal attack now.

34. Vokilam

Posts: 1343; Member since: Mar 15, 2018

I love the way notifications work on iOS.

35. wickedwilly

Posts: 740; Member since: Sep 19, 2018

I could not agree more, it is well past its expiry date and needs a huge overhaul.

31. meanestgenius

Posts: 22388; Member since: May 28, 2014

Totally agree, Crispin. Microsoft and Google (Android) joining forces like this is enough to make any competitor think twice.

6. Arthurhkt

Posts: 727; Member since: Apr 19, 2012

Good fot them, however when it's come to both Microsoft and Android, I still prefer to stick with Windows and Google Pixel or Android One. Both of them are best when it directly came from both of their own maker, I had a different OS and device that work perfectly for me :- 1) Surface Go - OTG and productivity device 2) iPad Mini - For entertainment 3) Pixel 3 - Daily driver 4) Galaxy Watch - Fitness tracker I never believe the idea of one OS to rule them all, there's always pro and con for each of them and it is depending which one suits your need.

9. Vancetastic

Posts: 1698; Member since: May 17, 2017

A sensible comment! I salute you!

8. VariableCheapskate

Posts: 185; Member since: May 29, 2019

I just want a competitor to the Note to exist, it's kind of disappointing how no one, not even TCL-Blackberry, will capitalize on high end stylus pen equipped Android devices.

10. Vancetastic

Posts: 1698; Member since: May 17, 2017

I'm very interested to see this!

11. shafayatsohail

Posts: 39; Member since: Jan 14, 2016

No, Windows is the best Mobile OS. second is iOS and android is third, the most unsmart Mobile OS.

15. tedkord

Posts: 17452; Member since: Jun 17, 2009

Apparently not.

18. Crispin_Gatieza

Posts: 3163; Member since: Jan 23, 2014

If we're going to count obsolete OSes then I have to chime in and say webOS was the best ever, bar none. Gesture-based UI, wireless charging, tap-to-share, contact integration with social media - all webOS firsts.

39. shafayatsohail

Posts: 39; Member since: Jan 14, 2016

I'm not posting here on behalf of Microsoft and I'm not bound to agree with all the statements by the experts. I'm writing my own opinion

13. hurrycanger

Posts: 1769; Member since: Dec 01, 2013

Windows Phone was pretty bad. No surprise. Was Microsoft ever able to create a sound recording app that could work when the screen is off? Last time I checked 2 years ago, no. It took them forever to make a sound recording app, and then when it finally happened, it didn't work in background. Anyway, kudos to Microsoft for dropping Windows Phone and going Android.

16. tedkord

Posts: 17452; Member since: Jun 17, 2009

The sad thing is WinMo was awesome. If they'd just continued expanding it, adding touchscreen, etc...,it could have been king. Instead, they started from scratch and emulated the worst aspects of IOS.

17. Crispin_Gatieza

Posts: 3163; Member since: Jan 23, 2014

I agree 100%. WinMo did have touch, not just the resistive touch we all remember so fondly with toothpick stylii. The HD2 had a capacitive touchscreen and if you ever used one you'd swear it was the best thing since sliced bread. WP7 tried so much to be like iOS they even forgot to put in copy & paste at the beginning.

14. photo3

Posts: 29; Member since: Mar 11, 2016

It’s exciting to see where this goes and what this adds to both Microsoft and Android. This could insert some fresh ideas and services not to mention hardware. This may lead to a true mobile and desktop experience on one device.

19. rkoforever90

Posts: 473; Member since: Dec 03, 2011

What's the point of launching an android phone. I would prefer a new version of windows phone with native android app support

22. Back_from_beyond

Posts: 1459; Member since: Sep 04, 2015

What would be the point of a Windows phone? Microsoft's moneymaker are their services that are readily available on Android. Android phones can easily sync notifications and such with a Windows laptop. Why would Microsoft opt to spend money on a dead end project, when they can have Google do all the gruntwork with Android development and use their platform to push Microsoft services?

20. rsiders

Posts: 1988; Member since: Nov 17, 2011

This is just the smart route to go for mobile concerning Microsoft after the failed Windows Mobile experiment. I really loved Windows Phone but the lack of official apps and support and continued carrier exclusive offerings really put a damper on things for me personally. I for one will not upgrade until I get all the details about the Duo next year and with the OnePlus 7 Pro, I am very fine with that.

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