It has been put forward that one possible next step in the evolution of mobile devices is a touchscreen display that can do what was impossible but years ago: fold into itself. Quite the number of tech manufacturers in Asia has started making inroads to that application, but it was Korean smartphone maker Samsung that first presented a recognizable proof of concept in the Galaxy Fold phablet hybrid, after a brief delay in release to iron out some design bugs. On the other side of the Pacific however, Microsoft is taking its own step into the folding-device ring with a new Surface tablet computer.
This is the Microsoft Surface Duo according to The Verge. It was part of the Surface-line reveal by the long-established tech brand at their event this past Wednesday, October 2. The Surface Duo was a surprise introduction for what should have been the unveiling of the successor Surface devices, the Surface Pro 7 and Pro X tablets, Surface Laptop 3, the Surface Neo 2-screen laptop and Surface Earbuds. The Surface Duo is not quite the same as the Samsung Galaxy Fold, as it is actually two screens that have variable modes depending on their intended use.
For example, the Surface Duo can be used as a conventional tablet. While the desktop background runs across both screens the two halves can function independently, able to run a different app each. The folding hinge can go the other way round so that the screens are on opposite sides. Or, the Surface Duo can be set down in “landscape” mode, where the standing screen becomes a monitor and the bottom one a touchscreen keyboard. But the amazing thing is that Microsoft has decided to forgo a new mobile OS a la Windows Phone and instead chose to run the device on Android, but with a laptop-use Windows 10X skin.
In a way, the Microsoft Surface Duo is a scaled-down version of the Surface Neo. It is in fact small enough that when it is folded it is the average size of a smartphone. Panos Panay, Microsoft’s chief product officer never outright describes the Surface Duo as a phone, but the dimensions and the use of a skinned Android MOS does give that particular impression. Aside from the multi-functional two-screen (5.6-inch each with 360-degree rotation) system, the only other known spec for the Surface Duo is a Snapdragon 855 processor.
Finally, this sneak preview will remain so as the Duo will not be released until next, next Christmas in 2020. The same goes for the two-screen Surface Neo laptop. Only the Surface Pro 7, X, Laptop 3 and Earbuds will be available to consumers soon this 2019, starting on November.
Image courtesy of Digital Trends