Microsoft is back in the smartphone business and this time it has partnered with Google. The Redmond based software giant had tried and failed with its Windows Phone operating system but is now focusing on the hardware and the services side. On Wednesday, Microsoft unveiled a dual-screen smartphone called Surface Duo at an event in New York. The new device has two 5.6-inch screens and is slim enough to fit into a pats pocket.
"You are going to talk about it as a phone, and I get that," Microsoft chief product officer Panos Panay said at a Surface event in New York of Duo, which will be available late next year.
"You can text; you can write, you can do what you want, make no mistake this product is a Surface."
The dual-screen design of Surface Duo is different from Samsung's Galaxy Fold. The Surface Duo has two separate displays rather than a single one, ensuring that there is no annoying crease. When unfolded around the hinge, the display screen stretches 8.3 inches. Other spec details are not known yet but Microsoft showed off the dual-screen capabilities of the device like viewing inbox on one half of the device while responding to a specific email on the other. The Surface Duo will come with a fingerprint reader and a USB-C port.
Microsoft's entry into the smartphone market has come at a time when major companies like Samsung and Apple are finding it difficult to convince buyers to update their phones every year. Rising costs and lack of innovation has discouraged users from buying new smartphones and people are increasingly buying less expensive models or holding onto them for 2-4 years.
Other than the foldable Surface Duo, Microsoft also unveiled a foldable tablet called Neo. Unlike Duo, the Surface Neo will run on a new version of Windows 10 called Windows 10 X that was designed and optimized for dual-screen devices.
"We wanted to build experiences that span all devices in our lives," Microsoft chief executive Satya Nadella said at the Surface event.
As far as the release of Surface Duo is concerned, Microsoft has said that it will ship the device in the holiday season of 2020. Microsoft has announced it early as it wants to get devs on board and give them plenty of time to create apps or build new ones that take advantage of the dual-screen.
Edited By: Udit Verma