Those who have been around tech for more than a decade remember the “good old days” when Microsoft was ruthlessly protective of its intellectual property, its platforms, its ecosystem. In fact, it was so protective that it was eventually sued by the U.S. Government for monopolistic behavior.
Fast-forward to 2019 and how things have changed. At the Microsoft Surface event in New York City, the company announced the Surface Duo, a dual-screen phone with Android and the Google Play Store installed—that’s right, Android, not Windows.
The device’s two screens are joined by a 360-degree hinge, allowing it to be closed with the screens protected, closed with a screen on the front and back, laid flat on a table, held like a book and virtually every other angle in-between. Apps can be run on the two screens simultaneously, with data shared between the two via drag-and-drop.
In the demo video, the phone is remarkably thin, especially compared to other folding phones, although some might be put off by the amount of space used by the bevels. The width of the phone is larger than many popular phones on the market, and puts the device squarely in “phablet” territory. This could be a positive or a negative, depending on if a person prioritizes screen real estate or easy, pants-pocket portability.
The announced release date is “Holiday 2020,” a long wait for customers excited to take it for a spin. Nonetheless, the phone could prove to be a hit, marrying the benefits of Microsoft and Google like no device yet has.