Microsoft acquires software company to work on Android for Surface Duo and successor Surface Duo V2
Lack of essential features and apps and an unfamiliar interface were some of the reasons why Windows Phone failed and this time around, Microsoft is apparently very committed to getting this part right. Movial is basically a software engineering company and Microsoft has reportedly been working with it on tweaking Android for the Surface Duo.
The new employees will likely work on the Surface Duo V2 too
In addition to the Romanian unit, Microsoft has seemingly taken over the Taiwan and American operations of Movial too. It will still continue to operate as an independent company and employees at its Finnish headquarter will not join Microsoft.
The rest of the employees will now be a part of the Microsoft Devices division that looks after the development of Android OS. Movial's Iasi office will be transformed into a Microsoft research and development center, and 60 of the incoming full-time employees will be on-boarded there.
As opposed to working with the Movial team, having them formally join Microsoft would mean greater involvement with the day to day matters and this will result in better OS support for customers. Having seasoned Android experts on board would also allow Microsoft to handle software updates in-house. In fact, it was previously reported that the company has already started working on Android 11 for the Surface Duo.
Context: When MS switched to Android on Duo, it didn't have a team that could immediately begin working on what it wanted with Android, so MS hired third-party vendors to do that initial groundwork. Now that work is complete, MS is bringing them in-house to continue post-launch.— Zac Bowden (@zacbowden) July 7, 2020
The new employees will also seemingly develop Android OS for the Surface Duo V2, which is said to be in early development. Microsoft is also planning to hire more Android engineers to work on its foldable smartphones.
Surface Duo was first announced in October last year. It isn't really a true foldable device, as its two 5.6-inch AMOLED displays are joined by a hinge. Still, the device looks pretty impressive, although the supposed specifications sheet is a bit of a let down. It will apparently ship with the Snapdragon 855 chip, 6GB of RAM, and up to 256GB of storage. It will be an LTE-only device according to rumors and will neither support wireless charging nor NFC. It is tipped to come with a lone 11MP camera that will also double up as a selfie snapper and a 3460mAh battery. Although raw capacity is not the only thing that determines battery life, it does sound insufficient for a device with two displays.
Surface Duo launch timeframe still unclear
We had heard earlier that Microsoft is eager is to release the Surface Duo before the Samsung Galaxy Fold 2 is announced, but per a more recent report, it might get delayed until 2021.
Pricing details are not known yet but it will probably reach flagship levels.
As for the Surface Duo V2, this is the first time we are hearing about the device. We do believe it will come with modern specs as the alleged reason why the Surface Duo will not carry the Snapdragon 865 is that Microsoft didn't know it would require a separate 5G modem and it's inclusion would have warranted a design change, something that wasn't possible this late into the development cycle of the product.