Microsoft is launching its Surface Duo dual-screen Android phone on September 10, priced at $ 1,399. After months of Microsoft executives tweeting the device on Twitter, the company is now allowing anyone in the US to try the Surface Duo. The pre-AT will be available on AT&T, Microsoft’s online store, and Best Buy.
While Microsoft revealed the Surface Duo‘s design in October, the company has kept the specs relatively secret. The device includes two separate 5.6-inch OLED displays (1800 x 1350) with a 4: 3 aspect ratio to create an 8.1-inch composite workspace (2700 x 1800) with a 3: 2 aspect ratio Join together. Unlike foldable like Samsung’s Galaxy Flip, the Surface Duo is using real Gorilla Glass, and the displays are designed to work in a similar way to many monitors on Windows PCs.
A big question on the Surface Duo has been the camera. Microsoft is using an 11-megapixel f / 2.0 camera, which will include an auto mode for low light, HDR multi-frame capture, and up to 7x “superzoom”. Both 4K and 1080p video recording will be supported at 30fps and 60fps with electronic image stabilization. There is only one camera on the Surface Duo, which can be used for both video calls and the main camera.
Basic Surface Duo hardware includes Qualcomm Snapdragon 855, 6GB RAM, and up to 256GB storage… Microsoft is also shipping a bumper cover in the box, which is designed to protect the Duo.
Microsoft is also incorporating two batteries in the Surface Duo, both split below the display. The overall capacity is 3577mAh, which is significantly less than the 4500mAh found on Samsung’s single-screen Note 20 Ultra and even 4380mAh on the original Galaxy fold. Despite this, Microsoft is promising “all-day battery life”, which means local video playback of up to 15.5 hours, standby time of up to 10 days, and talk time of up to 27 hours.
We need to test the device thoroughly during our review, but the capability here is a small cause for concern as the device is powering two screens, not one.
One of the sexiest devices
“It’s probably one of the sexiest devices we’ve made,” said Panos Panay, head of Windows and Devices, at a press briefing before today’s launch. “It does things that single-screen devices can’t do, period.” The penny’s vision for the Surface Duo is to improve productivity on the go, and Microsoft is also doing some interesting work on the software side to compliment the hardware.
Any app has to run
Any Android app will run on Duo without any modification due to the option of two different displays. “Any app has to run,” Panay says, and it was clearly important that everything supports Android from day one. Developers can also optimize the layout of their apps to really take advantage of two displays and spans on them. Microsoft has tweaked to display its own apps such as Office Suite and OneDrive, and third parties such as Amazon have also worked on the Kindle app to realize that you can read a book by flipping pages on two screens Have been.
Microsoft is using algorithms to predict how to open applications at various displays. “There’s an algorithm that’s very smart and trying to be predictive,” Panay explains. “If you are on one screen and you are inviting a link, it will fill the second screen.”
The end result is that if you click a link in one email app on one screen, it will open on another so that you can continue to read the email side with a webpage. Applications like Microsoft Team and PowerPoint are also customized so that you can watch a video call and the rest of your chat, or view the entire slide and the rest of the deck simultaneously.
Microsoft is teaming up with Google on Android for the Surface Duo. “It was interesting at first,” says Panay, referring to the early days of the partnership. “It was a bit of a head scratch. Satya and I talked a lot. “Microsoft had to go with Android for the pure reason of mobile apps, especially after the Windows Phone market failed.
“Microsoft has to shed light on every platform,” Panay says. “We chatted with Google… the partnership was fun. I think there was a little chance to get to know each other at first, but then very quickly we saw what was right for our customers and what could be possible. I think it’s great for Google and Android, and I think it’s great for Microsoft.”
Microsoft has created APIs for dual-screen apps to work in the Android codebase, and it plans to upstream them for use by other manufacturers and third parties. This is part of a broader push to make dual-screen and foldable devices a reality, and Pan is much more confident in this future.
The real question will be whether the Surface Duo and devices like it, improve productivity on the go and whether two mobile screens are really needed. These devices will eventually require some hardware advances to truly stretch the vision. But if consumers agree with Microsoft, Samsung, and others that two screens are better than one, then we are witnessing future productions. If not, we are seeing unique efforts to try and reorder mobile devices. At the very least, mobile phones are suddenly becoming exciting again. As Panay would say, we are ready to see where this all goes.