Microsoft has launched its much-anticipated ‘Surface Duo’ for US$139999, boasting a foldable dual-screen design, phone call functionality, Android apps via Google’s Play Store and Microsoft 365.
The Surface Duo is the first phone release from Microsoft in years, opting for Google’s Android in lieu of the former Windows-based operating system, Windows Mobile, which failed to garner consumer traction.
Despite phone call functionality, Microsoft has sought to reiterate that the Surface Duo is a hybrid multi-tasker, heralding a new generation of compact, foldable and portable devices.
Whilst Australian pricing and availability is yet to be announced, the Surface Duo will convert to just under A$2,000 for the 128GB variant, with a 256GB option costing US$1499.99.
Microsoft has opened US pre-orders for the Surface Duo (releasing September 10), and commentators expect the device to release down under later this year.
The launch comes as ultra-premium smartphone competition continues to heat up, with Samsung’s next generation foldable phone and Note 2020 series, plus forthcoming Apple’s 2020 iPhones.
The Surface Duo harnesses two 5.6-inch display screens, fused together with a 360-degree hinge – larger than Samsung’s Galaxy Fold. The device is also notably thin measuring 0.19 of an inch when unfolded.
Screens can be used individually, or combined for a single, larger display. Functions could include interacting with Microsoft Teams on one screen, and responding to an email on the other.
Microsoft has positioned the device as less of an entertainment device, and more of a productivity tool.
“We designed Surface Duo for people who want to get more done with the device in their pocket,” states Panay said Panos Panay, chief product officer for Windows + Devices at Microsoft, in a blog post.
“We know dual-screen devices not only help people complete complex tasks faster but also require less cognitive effort, making them universally preferred for productivity tasks.”
The product claims to deliver 15.5 hours of battery life from a single charge, and incorporates a single-camera setup, plus Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 855 Mobile Platform.