The Surface Duo is Microsoft's Android-powered dual-screen phone

The Surface Duo is Microsoft's Android-powered dual-screen phone
Microsoft announced a huge range of products today including the Surface Pro 7, the Surface Earbuds, and the Surface Laptop 3. It also provided an early look at the highly anticipated Surface Neo dual-screen tablet which arrives next year. But perhaps the biggest surprise of all was its final introduction – the long-rumored Surface phone.

Surface Duo pairs two displays with a 360-degree hinge


After exiting the smartphone business entirely just a few years ago following the failure of Windows 10 Mobile, Microsoft has today confirmed that it's back in the game with a new product called Surface Duo. But beware, the company doesn't want you to call this device a phone. Instead, it's trying to create an all-new category of mobile devices that'll ultimately replace modern-day smartphones and hopes the Surface Duo will kickstart it all.

Like the larger Surface Neo tablet, the Surface Duo pairs a premium aluminum construction with two slabs of glass up front. Beneath each of these sit 5.6-inch displays – whether Microsoft is using OLED or LCD technology is yet to be confirmed – coupled with pretty large bezels. Also present is an in-ear speaker for making phone calls, a selfie camera, and a connecting 360-degree hinge which provides a number of use cases.

When the device is opened up like a tablet, owners of the Surface Duo can use both displays together as one large panel. But if you're into multitasking, the two can be used separately. For example, you can edit a Word document on the left screen while watching a YouTube video or surfing the web on the right display. As mentioned above, the Surface Duo can also be used to make calls. In this case, the 360-degree hinge can simply be opened entirely and the left display will be deactivated.

This is Microsoft's first Android-powered phone


The Surface Neo tablet runs Microsoft's new Windows 10X operating system which has been specifically designed to work on dual-screen devices. However, the Silicon Valley-based giant seems to have learnt its lesson and understands consumers just aren't interested in Windows-powered smartphones anymore. Because of this, the company has "worked with Google" to bring Android and its accompanying app ecosystem to the Surface Duo.

Microsoft appears to have made some visual tweaks to the world's most popular mobile operating system and will likely pre-install its range of Office apps. It's unclear if extra functionalities have been added too but Google has already touted Android 10's compatibility with foldable devices in the past so there shouldn't be any issues in that respect. Where there could be problem, however, is the app department, which is probably why Microsoft has chosen to unveil the Surface Duo so soon – the company's hoping to get developers onboard with the format.

Microsoft says the Surface Duo is currently running Qualcomm's Snapdragon 855 but could be upgraded to a newer chip in the future. The upcoming Snapdragon 865 seems like the most logical candidate for the final device although Microsoft could also surprise us with a custom ARM chip co-developed with Qualcomm – Microsoft has chosen a similar route for the newly announced Surface Pro X.

Microsoft Surface Duo pricing and release date


The Microsoft Surface Duo will be available to purchase next year during the Holiday 2020 shopping season. Microsoft will continue to refine the product over the course of the next twelve months and is expected to announce the final version at the 2020 Surface event in October.

Pricing information has, rather unsurprisingly, not been revealed but don't expect the phone to be cheap. In fact, it'll probably cost noticeably more than the $1,000 flagships we see today.

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35 Comments

1. VariableCheapskate

Posts: 167; Member since: May 29, 2019

Good on them for sticking to a folding format that won't crumple into itself after a month.

6. Bankz

Posts: 2550; Member since: Apr 08, 2016

Unleash the kraken..

26. sgodsell

Posts: 7430; Member since: Mar 16, 2013

Microsoft's first Android phone was the Nokia X. But it's nice to see them do this. This definitely reminds me of the LG G8X dual screen foldable. Only the G8X dual display has a notification display as well. Microsoft's looks like it only has two displays. I don't know why PhoneArena won't mention that information.

30. AronWunarso

Posts: 244; Member since: Feb 21, 2016

Microsoft didn't release that phone, Nokia does. This is literally their first Android tablet/phone.

34. sgodsell

Posts: 7430; Member since: Mar 16, 2013

Microsoft at that point had bought and owned Nokia. So even though the smartphones from Nokia still had Nokia on them, Microsoft was calling all the shots on the Nokia X Android smartphones. Lol, think about it. The Nokia X was running Android, and it didn't have any of Google's apps, or the play store. Yet it had Microsoft's apps, and it's version of an Android app store on the Nokia X. Microsoft was calling the shots, and controlling everything on their Nokia X. Don't kid yourself.

16. MEeee

Posts: 438; Member since: Oct 19, 2011

So far others love their Folds including myself. Just make sure not to use razor blades on the screen.

3. shield

Posts: 852; Member since: Sep 12, 2015

Zte axon M ? :D

10. Cat97

Posts: 1921; Member since: Mar 02, 2017

...with better software, probably.

12. CX3NT3_713

Posts: 2359; Member since: Apr 18, 2011

Uhhh No. Axon had no pen input...

4. Panoy

Posts: 2; Member since: Oct 02, 2019

Welcome back microsoft . Its ur turn now...do it ur way.

5. CX3NT3_713

Posts: 2359; Member since: Apr 18, 2011

Mother of God!!! This is it. Pair it with the latest and greatest from Qualcomm, and it'll blow the Galaxy flop out the water

7. shield

Posts: 852; Member since: Sep 12, 2015

ONLY LG G8x small bezzel with waterdrop notch. 2022 pls small bezzel.

8. ahmadkun

Posts: 610; Member since: May 02, 2016

You can clearly see the 2nd or 3rd generation of this device with a folding 1 display .. and this is the right thing.. step by step don't jump or you'll fall

9. Panoy

Posts: 2; Member since: Oct 02, 2019

yes bro u r absolutely Right ... Hurry is devil job.

11. Penny

Posts: 1859; Member since: Feb 04, 2011

I really want to love this! My 2 concerns right now: - It looks too wide for a phone. Tall phones are easier to handle than wide ones. - Sensing a lack of emphasis on the camera. Looks like a single one, primarily meant for selfies, but with the ability to flip the screen.

13. jellmoo

Posts: 2620; Member since: Oct 31, 2011

What am I missing here? This would have been mildly interesting in 2014. Why on earth are people interested in this today? Samsung, Huawei and probably Motorola will be on their second gen foldable when this thing comes out.

14. VariableCheapskate

Posts: 167; Member since: May 29, 2019

So, a proper Galaxy Note competitor. Finally.

15. mrochester

Posts: 1020; Member since: Aug 17, 2014

Ugh, android. Come on Microsoft you are better than that.

22. CX3NT3_713

Posts: 2359; Member since: Apr 18, 2011

..when windows was using Windows mobile OS, people wanted Android OS. Make y'all's minds up. Personally think Android is the best OS of choice

24. Penny

Posts: 1859; Member since: Feb 04, 2011

Years after having switched from Windows Phone to Android...I still like Windows Phone more. But it's an inconsequential point. There's no choice anymore; it's Android or nothing.

38. DFranch

Posts: 555; Member since: Apr 20, 2012

Ditto! I still miss windows phone. I should have kept my Lumia 920! I bet it would still work, and I wouldn't have to worry about stupid glass backed phones anymore.

17. raiter

Posts: 36; Member since: Mar 10, 2014

Shame for Microsoft - messed up with WindowsPhone, Now released the Android phone (kind of phone). Why? I believe, there will be avialable foldabe Andrid phones (Sammy, Huawey, LG) with folding display, smaller (modern look) bezels, and much beter design and features. And simply put on it the Arrow launcher or MS launcher - ant there is the same SurfaceDuo... So where is the point of this MS product?

19. semipro1337

Posts: 113; Member since: Oct 01, 2012

I think your missing out on the big picture. Those company's you mentioned are going to pump out version after version of those devices yearly, and Android updates are pretty bad on most manufacturers to begin with. While Microsoft may release a new version yearly or bi-yearly as well, I believe they will continue to support all surface devices with current Android updates for years to come. So the way I see it all surface devices will be updated to the newest version of Android much like they do with windows. MS is pretty strict on security these days, and if anyone will compete with Google on timely updates, it's going to be MS.

18. TBomb

Posts: 1560; Member since: Dec 28, 2012

This is clearly no meant for someone who wants a phone to be used as a phone. This is made for the productivity levels of a tablet, but portability of a phone. Selfie takers/Instagram girls need not apply.

23. JetskiMark

Posts: 20; Member since: Feb 03, 2014

What a tease. The final version is not even going to be announced for another year. I would consider buying one today if the reviews were decent. I hope Microsoft spends the time developing an outstanding piece of hardware.

25. Penny

Posts: 1859; Member since: Feb 04, 2011

Probably to get the ball rolling on generating use cases and for the product and readying functionality, which should hopefully work toward your hope that Microsoft spend time developing an outstanding piece of hardware.

27. warrenellis93

Posts: 550; Member since: Jul 21, 2011

I like the hardware

28. strawberry

Posts: 115; Member since: Feb 20, 2019

looks more sleek than galaxy Fold

39. warrenellis93

Posts: 550; Member since: Jul 21, 2011

I wasnt on board until i saw him use it like in a laptop style fold and typing on the bottom screen and content on the top screen. That looks nice and a good use of 2 screens

29. Poptart2828

Posts: 421; Member since: Jan 23, 2018

Beautiful hardware

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