Microsoft Surface Duo: The New Microsoft Phone


Microsoft introduces the Microsoft Surface Duo during the Microsoft Surface event on October 2, 2019, in New York. The Surface Duo is a dual-screen Android device. Microsoft chief product officer Panos Panay declines to call the Surface Duo as a “phone.”

“It’s a Surface,” Panay says.

So what exactly is the Microsoft Surface Duo?


Microsoft Surface Event 2019

The Microsoft Surface event 2019 introduced six new products: the Microsoft Surface Laptop 3, Surface Pro 7, Surface Pro X, Surface Pro Neo, Surface Buds, and the Microsoft Surface Duo.

Microsoft Surface Duo introduced 2019
Screenshot from Microsoft

The biggest surprise to the market is the Microsoft Surface Duo. It is, again, not a phone. But the Surface Duo runs on Android 9.0 Pie and can send and receive phone calls. It has two screens but it is not a foldable.

On one look, the Microsoft Surface Duo can pass as a younger sibling of the Microsoft Surface Neo. The Surface Neo is a bigger dual-screen device than the Duo. Each screen is 9 inches connected by a 360° hinge. A keyboard half the size of the screen can magnetically attach to one screen. This way, the Neo can be used as a laptop. The half unused part of the screen where the keyboard is attached can work as a “Wunderbar.” The Wunderbar can contain emojis and application shortcuts just like the MacBook Pro Touch Bar.

A Microsoft Stylus Pen can also be magnetically attached to the Neo. The 360° hinge turns the device into a tablet. Different applications can be opened and used simultaneously on the screens. The new design aims to help the user “become more creative and productive” according to Panay.


The New Surface Duo

A dual-screen device that is not a phone and not a foldable looks like the new Microsoft Surface Neo’s younger sibling. The Surface Duo can pass as the Neo’s identical twin, except that it’s smaller.

The Microsoft Surface Duo has a big Microsoft logo on its white body just like the Neo. Each of the two screens is 5.6 inches that unfold into 8 inches of diagonal screen size. The screens are also connected by a 360° hinge that turns the device into a phone.

Microsoft Surface Duo introduced 2019
Screenshot from Microsoft

The device can send and receive calls, compose long emails without having to switch to a laptop, and simultaneously run multiple apps on each screen. It runs on Android Pie 9.0 and powered by Snapdragon 855.

Surface Duo is Microsoft’s attempt at the smartphone market again after the 2007 flop. When Apple released the iPhone that year and with Google releasing Android the next year, Microsoft experienced a big hiccup in their business. Long story short, Microsoft dropped the idea of making a single-screened phone and is focusing their energy “into two screens, together.”

Microsoft will release the Microsoft Surface Duo during the holiday season in 2020. The device’s price is also yet to be announced.