The Microsoft Surface Duo is an April Fools' joke in August

Ruben Fields
August 14, 2020

In the blog post announcing the upcoming release of Surface Duo, Microsoft's Chief Hardware Officer Panos Panay made it clear that the company is just getting started with Surface Duo, and the first generation device released in September won't be ideal.

The biggest challenge for the Surface Duo is likely to be its price point.

Whether Microsoft's Surface Duo resonates with users remains to be seen.

To make the most of that extra screen real estate, the Surface Duo can display any two apps side by side. Together, the two screens create a viewable area measuring 8.1 inches diagonal at 2700×1800 (a 3:2 ratio).

You might run into issues with things such as VoLTE, but the Surface Duo supports a range of bands that covers most of the globe.

Despite its decidedly mid-range specs, Microsoft is planning to charge a premium for the Surface Duo.

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Be aware that importing a device as expensive as the Surface Duo could also cost you significant import or duty costs. It is the thinnest Surface ever, with screens that unfold completely to serve as a phone or act like a book to provide more space for different apps. In the middle of the two displays is the revolutionary hinge that opens up to 360 degrees. Microsoft hopes it will become your "at-home indefinitely device" for productivity and leisure.

I was expecting some Panos Panay passion pumping but at the time of writing there isn't even an entry on the Windows Devices or general blogs. Microsoft apps optimized for the device's dual screens include Outlook, Teams, Edge, OneDrive and OneNote.

The Surface Duo is such an unusual device that calling it a phone doesn't really paint an accurate picture.

"Surface Duo has protection built in at every layer with integrated hardware, firmware and software to keep your devices, identities, and data secure", the company said.

The Duo represents a fresh entry into hand-held devices for Microsoft, which years earlier surrendered the smartphone market to operating systems from Apple and Google after its own line of Windows-powered handsets failed to gain traction.

Companies also can get their key business apps and customer-facing apps to work well on dual screens using the Surface Duo SDK preview, Microsoft said. There is one 11-megapixel f/2.0 camera, 4K and 1080p video at 30fps and 60fps, low light filming, a 7x "super zoom" feature, and HDR multi-frame captures. In order to start development of these advanced technologies and also qualify a mobile device, with multiple postures, we developed on an existing platform that allowed for long lead submittals and qualifications during the advanced technology development.

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