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Microsoft releases the Surface Duo on September 10th.

Microsoft reveals today the Surface Duo. Microsoft first Android phone powered by dual OLED screen.

Microsoft approach was not to rely on foldable screen for an expandable phone screen device, but rather rely on dual screen approach. As we saw with foldable devices, the screen technology has many durability flaws. Microsoft solution is to have 2 OLED screen with a glass front (like a normal phone), but that of course leads to have a border between the 2 screens. In order to help reduce this, they moved the screen at the very edge of the hinge. In addition, they have made a 360degree hinge that permits the device screen to fold all the around, allowing to have an single screen phone format to allow for example, to answering phone calls

 

What makes this device a bit more special, is that Microsoft has been working closely with Google to develop and have official Android API support for dual screen support, avoid custom ones that is phone specific. This will help app developers add support for their apps for such form factored device.

 

 

Microsoft previously revealed the Surface Duo back in October, but is finally got its specs defined, and is now available for pre-order. As mentioned, the phone runs Android (not Windows), more specifically it will lunch with Android 10, with version 11 coming out later.

 

Microsoft Android version is stock Android with its poplar Microsoft Launcher, and of course, includes Microsoft apps. If you wonder, the optional search bar on the launcher is defaulted to Google search engine rather than Bing, but that has to do with Google Play policy. It also includes Microsoft required drivers, (also found on select Samsung Galaxy phones), to allow to wirelessly stream the device screen and run Android apps (streamed) ones Windows 10 PC via Your Phone app.

 

The Launcher also support the ability, from 1 tap, to launch 2 programs at once, each on one display (you can specify which app opens on which display, and easily swap them around).

The device also gives you the ability to drag apps around, switching between displays or expanding an app between the 2 displays. If the app has dual screen support, it would know the state of the device and adjust its content to properly display on both screen.

 

Specs

  • Display: 2x: 5.6-inch OLED displays (1800 x 1350 -- 4:3 each), making a grand total of: 2700 x 1800 with a 3x2 aspect ratio.
  • Active Digitizer: Supports Surface Pen, including the new small pen revealed with the Surface Pro X.
  • Display Glass: Gorilla Glass
  • CPU: Qualcomm Snapdragon 855
  • RAM: 6GB
  • Camera: Only 1 camera is included (as you can turn the device to take pictures on either sides when the device is open). 11-MP f/2.0 camera, featuring: auto modes for low light, HDR multi-frame captures, 7x digital zoom (branded as "super zoom". I guess it has an algorithm to make the zoomed image better looking). Camera support 30 and 60fps recording on both 1080p and 4K video recording. And features, software image stabilization.
  • Storage: Up to 256GB is available 
  • Modem: Up to 4G LTE support. No 5G support
  • Charging Port: USB Type-C
  • Battery: 3577mAh. Microsoft says that the device will deliver all-day battery life. 
  • Accessories: The device comes with a protective bumper case for those who want a case for their phone. Charger and USB Type-C cable.
  • NFC Support: None
  • Wireless charging: None
  • Rear surface: Glass
  • Hinge system: All metal, 360 degree hinge.

Feature_026.thumb.jpg.469b6386ef3c541ac78d3220a33c3fd6.jpg

 

As expected by myself, the device is only available in select market. Mainly US.

The device can be purchased in full at Microsoft Store. Or if you want it part of a plan, your option is AT&T only at the moment. The device will work with T-Mobile and Verizon networks.

 

 

The Verge reports:

Quote

Any Android app will run on the Duo without modification, thanks to the choice of two separate displays. “Any app has to run,” says Panay, and it was obviously important to support everything Android from day one. Developers can also optimize the layouts of their apps to really take advantage of the two displays and span across them. Microsoft has tweaked its own apps like the Office suite and OneDrive to span the displays, and third parties like Amazon have also done work on the Kindle app to make it feel like you’re reading a book by flicking pages across the two screens.

 

Microsoft is also using algorithms to predict how to open apps on different displays. “There is an algorithm in there that’s very smart and trying to be predictive,” explains Panay. “If you’re on one screen and you’re invoking a link, it will fill the other screen.”

 

The end result is that if you click a link in an email app on one screen, it will open on the other so you can continue to read the email side by side with a webpage. Apps like Microsoft Teams and PowerPoint are also optimized so you can see a video call and the rest of your Teams chat, or look at a full slide and the rest of the deck simultaneously.

 

Release date: September 10th.

 

Price: Starting at 1,399$ USD for 128GB, add 100$ more for the 265GB model
For reference: Samsung Galaxy Fold was released with a price tag of: 1,980$ USD

 

 

Source

https://www.theverge.com/2020/8/12/21364633/microsoft-surface-duo-release-date-pricing-features-specs

 

I think it is a great effort by Microsoft. Obviously they know it is a niche product, which is good, and is being sold as such.

I think the next generation of this device will be more interesting. I suspect now the focus would be on refinements, such as better camera, larger displays, and work with app developers to push support for dual screen support. Then again, Surface has never been about mass volume sales. Its roots has always been about innovation including creating new form factors to move the market forward.

 

While dual screen phone is technically not new, it is definitely the first that actively tries to do a full and proper implementation and not slap a second screen as an after thought, on and call it a day, making the dual screen completely useless.

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  • $1400 USD
  • Doesn't include the pen but supports it
  • No NFC(???)
  • No wireless charging(??????)
  • No 5G
  • Relatively tiny camera compared to other offerings in that price range

"Great effort" this isn't IMO. I fail to see how hard it would be to include an NFC coil or Qi coil in that bulk of a device. Also no 5G will be a severe limiting factor on the lifespan of the device (if the hinge isn't a big enough one already...) I'm glad it's not a """flexible""" screen but still... that's a lot for not at all that much.

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I kind of feel sorry for the people who end up buying this

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Oh yeah this looks like a very practical device. 

 

image.png.835329488a43c006265d0dd0e58c6184.png

 

Even she appears to be asking herself: "What the hell am I doing with my life?"

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3 minutes ago, HarryNyquist said:
  • $1400 USD
  • Doesn't include the pen but supports it
  • No NFC(???)
  • No wireless charging(??????)
  • No 5G
  • Relatively tiny camera compared to other offerings in that price range

"Great effort" this isn't IMO. I fail to see how hard it would be to include an NFC coil or Qi coil in that bulk of a device. Also no 5G will be a severe limiting factor on the lifespan of the device (if the hinge isn't a big enough one already...) I'm glad it's not a """flexible""" screen but still... that's a lot for not at all that much.

The device, folded closed (so thickest), is 9.60mm. (this is about the thickness of a phone with a thin case). This excludes camera bump (which one can argue is cheatings the device thickness). Unfolded, you are looking at 4.8mm. That is the thinnest phone you can get. So no, there is no room for NFC and wireless charging. It would add 0.5mm at the very least, if not 1mm, and only work on 1 side of the device.

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6 minutes ago, Skipple said:

Oh yeah this looks like a very practical device. 

 

Even she appears to be asking herself: "What the hell am I doing with my life?"

LOL true!.

but.. the Note 10+ was: dimensions were: 162.3mm x 77.2mm

The Surface Duo size closed is: 145.2mm x 93.3mm

So not that different, and people were fine with the Note 10+. I guess people never saw how they look with their Note 10+, lol! But yes, like talking to a tablet.

Maybe it was a smart move from Samsung to never show someone answer a call with it in its marketing material with that phone.

 

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3 minutes ago, GoodBytes said:

162.3mm x 77.2mm

145.2mm x 93.3mm

So not that different, and people were fine with the Note 10+.

The Note 10+ was already a massive device. 

Increase the width by another 20%? I honestly don't think most people can hold it comfortably in their hands. 

 

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Whew, so much push back for a first gen device.

Let it come out, let people use it, let the market decide if it should exist.

If we simply decide something shouldn't be a thing from paper specs and photos, imagine how many of today's device wouldn't be a thing lol.

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@GoodBytes Yeah I also reported on it when leaked images showed it's final design on Sunday:

 

You can add that as a source if you want.

 

 

 

Quote

My guess is that the Duo is gonna start at 1199 USD and the Neo at 1799 USD at the very least.

Hey look I was pretty close with the price, of course Microsoft being Microsoft it's actually gonna cost 1399 USD. Even more expensive than I initially predicted. So that means that I'll have to raise my predicted price of the Neo then too, I'm going to say it is gonna start at 1999 USD.

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4 hours ago, Skipple said:

Oh yeah this looks like a very practical device. 

 

image.png.835329488a43c006265d0dd0e58c6184.png

 

Even she appears to be asking herself: "What the hell am I doing with my life?"

Indeed.

 

I thought it was a neat device, but couldn't think of a reason I would use it. Honestly, it looks like even Microsoft had trouble thinking of ways why you need the second screen.

 

Uhm.. you can... you can... have Spotify open and takes notes at the same time!! .....That's the best you could come up with? 

 

This feels very forced, like it is not as convenient as a phone, but clearly not as useful as a Notebook. If I want to do real work or take notes, get a convenient 13" ultrabook. If you want to have a phone, get a phone. This does both but is good at neither.

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This is sadly a terrible device.

 

  1. It's massive. Sure it's thin, but what difference does that make when it's way too wide? There is a reason why phones switched to taller aspect ratios. It's because human hands have a limit in how big of a device they can grip. You can make a device taller and you can grip it just fine, but you can't make it too wide. Same reason why soda cups from stops being wider at a certain size and just becomes taller.
     
  2. You will not be able to hold this "phone" comfortably, at all.
     
  3. 60Hz only display.
     
  4. Old SoC (Snapdragon 855). It is quite a bit slower than other 2020 phones.
     
  5. Low amount of RAM. It tops out at 6GB.
     
  6. Seems like the storage will not be top of the line either.
     
  7. Bad camera, and only 1 camera at that. It doesn't even have OIS for crying out loud, and the sensor is tiny.
     
  8. Doesn't seem to have a 3.5mm headphone jack.
     
  9. No NFC. Not sure if Microsoft is aware but NFC is quite a big deal.
     
  10. No WiFi 6
     
  11. Very small battery. The battery life will most likely be terrible.
     
  12. Unproven track record when it comes to updates.
     
  13. Way too expensive at 1200 dollars, and that doesn't even include the stylus.
     
  14. No support for 5G whatsoever. Not even low- or mid-band.
     
  15. No wireless charging.
     
  16. No IP rating.
     
  17. No expandable storage.
     
  18. No stereo speakers.

 

 

Some of these things would be acceptable on their own. For example a lack of 5G isn't that big of a deal. No WiFi 6 isn't that big of a deal. No wireless charging isn't that big of a deal (IMO). The problem is that it isn't just one thing that's bad with the Surface Duo. It's a massive list of things wrong and the competing products are way ahead of it.

 

 

You can honestly get a phone for 1/3 of this price and it will be better in pretty much every way, except it will only have 1 screen. If you are willing to sacrifice EVERYTHING to have a secondary screen, and I mean sacrifice every other conceivable category, then this is the device for you.

This is a product for nobody, except maybe Microsoft fanboys. Everyone else should get some other phone, and it will be better.

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5 hours ago, Den-Fi said:

Whew, so much push back for a first gen device.

Let it come out, let people use it, let the market decide if it should exist.

If we simply decide something shouldn't be a thing from paper specs and photos, imagine how many of today's device wouldn't be a thing lol.

I mean, our reaction is the market right? We are the people it should be targeted at.

I understand adoption curve and the theory of crossing the chasm.. But the reaction here is a (very small) sample size of the broader market. 

 

I'm not saying they could kill it before release. Let it run it's course. But it certainly doesn't look like a product I'm interested in buying upon first inspection. 

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10 minutes ago, LAwLz said:

maybe Microsoft fanboys

do... do those exist? 

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Just now, Skipple said:

I mean, our reaction is the market right? We are the people it should be targeted at.

I understand adoption curve and the theory of crossing the chasm.. But the reaction here is a (very small) sample size of the market. 

 

I'm not saying they could kill it before release. Let it run it's course. But it certainly doesn't look like a product I'm interested in buying on first inspection. 

Eh... reaction is reaction.

The market is the people that actually had plans to buy the things.

You have tons of people that "react" to these kinds of things. Like the low resolution of the iPhone 11.

The tech community reaction though, was not indicative of sales. Sales were massive.

The people complaining were never the people that were going to buy it in the first place.

 

 

Of course this kind of thing is a case by case basis. Everything is.

 

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Sorry Microsoft this looks to be a fail product... That price that 1399$? Maybe if you guys were the first to come out with a dual screen phone....

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In a world where every other new phone is as interesting as a Swedish Police drama, all the power to you Microsoft.

1 minute ago, Skipple said:

I'm not saying they could kill it before release. Let it run it's course. But it certainly doesn't look like a product I'm interested in buying upon first inspection. 

I don't think Microsoft ever intended this product to be mainstream. Even if it's a commerical failure, the device still has a purpose. Don't forget,

Quote

Microsoft has been working closely with Google to develop and have official Android API support for dual screen support.

so any improvements to foldables in the future will be in part due to the development of this device. 

 

Just now, rawrdaysgoby said:

Sorry Microsoft this looks to be a fail product... That price that 1399$? Maybe if you guys were the first to come out with a dual screen phone....

Again, you're missing the point of this device. It was never meant to be a commerical success.

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4 minutes ago, Den-Fi said:

Eh... reaction is reaction.

The market is the people that actually had plans to buy the things.

You have tons of people that "react" to these kinds of things. Like the low resolution of the iPhone 11.

The tech community reaction though, was not indicative of sales. Sales were massive.

The people complaining were never the people that were going to buy it in the first place.

 

 

Of course this kind of thing is a case by case basis. Everything is.

 

I see where you are coming from. I think of the market as anyone looking to buy a phone in the time that this product is available. Taking a slice of that market is the key. 

I agree, that initial techies reaction to a device is not always indicative of final sales. Totally understand that, but I think it's a good starting place to look at the public's reaction to the device. 

 

I think comparing this to an apple product is a bit disingenuous, because well, apple is apple and they could release a Nokia 3210 tomorrow and people would still gobble it up. 

But there are certainly examples of technology that fail the initial taste test and yet still light the world on fire in terms of their sales. I know what you are getting at. 

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9 minutes ago, BlueChinchillaEatingDorito said:

 

Again, you're missing the point of this device. It was never meant to be a commerical success.

Every product design to be sold to a select/targeted or general/commerical audience is designed to be a success or at least try to. If not then it should stay as a concept design or limited offerings.  Or at least a lost leader where they sell it on the negative.

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It's so.... ugly. Has to be some of the ugliest screen bezels I've seen in a long time

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If I were to spend $1400 on an Android phone I'd rather buy a Galaxy S20 Ultra or Note 20 Ultra. At least those have features to try justifying the price beyond promises of a "new form factor" that's not actually new.

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4 minutes ago, rawrdaysgoby said:

Every product design to be sold to a select/targeted or general/commerical audience is designed to be a success or at least try to. If not then it should stay as a concept design or limited offerings.  

Maybe, maybe not. There is only so much feedback you can get with internal review units. You need a much broader audience to digest the product and give feedback. 

I doubt they are planning on making money on this. It's almost certainly going to be treated as a beta product specifically targeted at early adopters. The early adopters know this too. 

 

Publicly, yeah they will say this is: "Yes, designed to be a commercial success!" but we all know that's not true. 

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9 minutes ago, Skipple said:

I see where you are coming from. I think of the market as anyone looking to buy a phone in the time that this product is available. Taking a slice of that market is the key. 

I agree, that initial techies reaction to a device is not always indicative of final sales. Totally understand that, but I think it's a good starting place to look at the public's reaction to the device. 

 

I think comparing this to an apple product is a bit disingenuous, because well, apple is apple and they could release a Nokia 3210 tomorrow and people would still gobble it up. 

But there are certainly examples of technology that fail the initial taste test and yet still light the world on fire in terms of their sales. I know what you are getting at. 

The "Apple" name was meaningless, it was more to illustrate that specs matter a heck of a lot less to normal people. So I wouldn't consider it disingenuous. Low spec android phones exist with crappy screens and they sell like hot cakes, but they don't get any tech community reaction, so bringing them up is pointless.

 

At the end of the day, purpose is key. Many consider Google Glass and Microsoft Hololens failures, but I am willing to bet they gained immensely valuable data for companies, as will this device. Though I can totally see why very few trust microsoft with phones lol.... especially when they had the pre-smartphone era market cornered and just let it go.

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