Microsoft make smartphone comeback with dual screen Surface Duo
Microsoft introduced new Surface devices that open like books, including a notepad edition to put them back in the smartphone game next year.
Surface Duo is the first to fit into a pants pocket in the line-up with two “paper-thin” 5.6-inch screens that work with a specially tailored Android operating system.
Described as a ‘new category’ for the user, Duo will make phone calls and run Google-backed Android mobile applications that power most of the smartphones worldwide.
“You’re going to talk about this as a phone, and I get it,” Microsoft CEO Panos Panay said at a surface event for the Duo in New York City, that’s going to come late next year.
The Microsoft Surface Duo and a separate foldable Neo tablet came as a surprise at the New York event where the tech giant unveiled their new collection of Surface computing devices. “You can read, you can write, and you can do as you wish— make no mistake, this item is a Surface.”
Microsoft left the smartphone market years earlier to Apple, and Google operating systems after its own line of Windows-powered devices could not gain traction.
Although Microsoft promotes its cloud computing and other business services, the technology that drives the majority of PCs still receives substantial revenue from Windows.
Smartphones and tablets with subscription cloud-based applications from Microsoft help the company move away from packaged software.
Microsoft’s cloud services and revenues from its Xbox gaming business, Bing study, Surface tablets and PCs, and the professional social network acquired by LinkedIn in 2016 have achieved strong growth.
Microsoft purchased the phone company of Finland-based Nokia in 2014 for some $7.2 billion as part of its turnaround project, as its Windows mobile business struggled to gain traction.
But it failed, and Microsoft finally threw the towel on its mobile Windows operating system which was unable to gain ground in an environment dominated by Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android.
“I think the third time Microsoft and smartphones are charmed, as the conditions for the success of the Surface smartphone have turned to the company’s advantage”, analyst Patrick Moorhead of Moor Insights & Strategy said.
“The timing is right because a radical new fold-down model can wake consumers from’ good enough’ slumber.” Building on Android’s mobile operating system provides an excellent base for Duo and, in many cases, can help replace more significant devices such as tablets and laptops.
“We wanted to build experiences covering all devices in our lives,” said Satya Nadella, Chief Executive Officer at the Surface event.
At Wednesday’s case, the U.S. Technology Titan introduced a Neo dual-screen, foldable version of its full Surface tablet that is launched as the Duo at the end of next year.
Microsoft has announced new Surface Laptops and earbuds for the end-of-year shopping season to hit the market.
“All in all, this has been an enormous Microsoft event with new form factors, new use cases and processor choices,” said Moorhead.