See how Surface Duo users will receive notifications without an external screen

See how Surface Duo users will receive notifications without an external screen
A couple of videos embedded on Twitter by tipster WalkingCat (@h0x0d) reveal how users of Microsoft's Surface Duo phone might receive notifications. The dual-screened handset, which will run Android, is expected to receive a formal unveiling at the Surface event this coming October followed by a release during the holiday shopping season. Each screen weighs in at 5.6-inches and sport a resolution of 1350 x 1800. When the two displays are opened side-by-side, they create an 8.3-inch screen carrying a huge border vertically between the two displays. The good news? Since the displays don't fold, there are no creases.

The Surface Duo will have a "peeking" notification system

Here's a good question; without an external screen, how will Duo users receive notifications? Apparently, the user will open the Duo slightly to reveal a "peeking" interface that will show the time and notifications. This information is available without forcing the user to fully open the Duo. And Duo owners, just like the owners of any other handset, would love to know the identity of the person ringing their phone before answering it. To get this information, the Duo owner once again opens the phone slightly and not only sees the name or number of the caller but also has the option to answer it or shut the phone to dismiss the call.

Microsoft could have made this an easier process by including an external screen on the device that would simply show notifications, the time, the date, the weather, and incoming calls. The Motorola razr just might have the best external display on a current foldable. At 2.7-inches, the Quick View AMOLED screen is the just the right size for the folded device. Without opening the phone, this screen will show notifications, answer calls, snap selfies, control streaming music and make mobile payments. The external screen on the Samsung Galaxy Fold is a 4.6-inch Super AMOLED panel with a 720 x 1680 resolution. However, it is pretty ugly with huge bezels. And the external display on the Galaxy Z Flip is a 1.06-inch Super AMOLED screen that shows the time, date, and battery information. It is so small that it is practically useless. In fact, the peeking notification system on the Surface Duo, as  simple as could be, is probably the best notification system that we've seen on a foldable except for the razr.

The secret to the Surface Duo will be the patented hinge that will allow 360-degree movement. Based on patents, we could see a feature that adjusts the UI based on how the hinge is positioned. For example, in "tent mode," which is an upside-down "V," the Duo could be propped up on a nightstand while the UI automatically changes to include an alarm clock. Microsoft sees the Surface Duo as a productivity tool and it should come out of the box with a stylus or a Surface Pen. For those who like the idea of carrying a pocketable device that can turn into a tablet, but don't like the fragility of a foldable screen, the Surface Duo might be the best choice.

The Duo will be the first phone produced by Microsoft that will be powered by Android. Microsoft's previous Lumia line of handsets used Windows Phone. While some praised the operating system for its buttery smooth UI, when it came to apps the Windows Play Store had too many empty shelves compared with the App Store and the Google Play Store. Many big-time developers felt that with sales of Windows Phone models so low, it wasn't worth the time, money, and effort to build a Windows Phone version of their app. This became known as the "app gap" and cost Microsoft some sales. By deciding on using Android for the Duo, Microsoft will avoid conversations about the "app gap" and will focus on showing off its dual-screen hardware and how productive it can be.


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