Microsoft unveils new foldable Surface Duo Android phone

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The Microsoft Surface Duo – a foldable dual-screen Android phone – was touted as the first device in Microsoft’s line-up to fit into one’s pants pocket.

The device comes with two “paper-thin” 5.6-inch (14.2 cm) screens that unfold and work in harmony with a specially tailored Windows operating system.

Furthermore, Duo will be able to handle telephone calls, as well as applications designed to run on Google-backed Android mobile software, which powers most of the world’s smartphones.

What makes the Surface Duo so special?

However, it’s so much more than just a phone. Speaking to reporters in New York on 2 October, Microsoft chief product officer Panos Panay said:

“You are going to talk about it as a phone, and I get that. You can text; you can write; you can do what you want, make no mistake this product is a Surface.”

What sets the Duo apart is that it has no flexible display technology. It has two separate screens, mean for running separate tasks, no you don’t have to worry about hinges or debris breaking your device. (Yes, Samsung, we’re looking at you again.)

While it looks and feels like a phone, the Surface Duo is, in essence, notepad-sized version of the Surface that will put Microsoft way ahead of its competition in the mobile market.

The Duo and a separate foldable Neo tablet came as a surprise at a New York event where the tech titan unveiled its latest lineup of Surface computing devices.

How much will the Surface Duo cost?

No one knows at this point. The only thing we do know for sure is that the Surface Duo will be released in 2020. But we don’t even have an exact date.

Microsoft is back in the game

Even though rumours about a Surface mobile device had been doing the rounds for years, Microsoft created a media storm with the announcement of the Duo.

No one expected the device to be unveiled at Microsoft’s New York event. Kudos, Microsoft, for keeping it underwraps in this day and age of leaks and renders.

And do you know else makes the Duo so interesting? It’s a Microsoft phone running on Android software. What a time to be alive!

“This product brings together the absolute best of Microsoft, and we’re partnering with Google to bring the absolute best of Android in one product. This is industry pushing technology.”

 Microsoft Product Chief Panos Panay

“The timing is right.”

Speaking to AFP, analyst Patrick Moorhead of Moor Insights & Strategy said he believes “the third time’s a charm for Microsoft and smartphones. He adds:

“The timing is right, too, as it’ll take a new and radical foldable design to wake buyers from their ‘good enough’ slumber. All in all, this was a huge event for Microsoft with new form factors, new use cases, and processor choices.”

Building on that, Microsoft chief executive Satya Nadella said that the Microsoft “wanted to build experiences that span all devices in our lives.”

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Chocha Writer is our roving and much read resident writer. He will write on several topics. Contact him on chochakenya@gmail.com or 0772 808 931