The foldable phone market is getting a bit more crowded oddly enough, this time from Microsoft. During the company’s annual Surface event this week, we got a preview of the new dual-screen Surface Duo that runs on Android.
The device has two 5.6-inch displays that can expand to create an 8.3-inch tablet essentially. The screens can run two different apps at the same time, or users can switch the device to landscape mode and use the bottom half as a keyboard or a game controller. They can also flip the screen all the way around and make it a stand for watching movies.
So really, it’s a bit different than the Samsung Galaxy Fold, but that might actually be a good thing. Unlike the Fold, the Surface Duo isn’t trying to open up and become one, cohesive screen. The Duo’s separate displays fold on either side of a hinge, not in half over a seam. Aside from the fact that this setup looks much better, it’s also likely that it will function a lot better. Especially since the displays are made of glass unlike the Fold which uses a screen that’s basically plastic and more prone to damage.
The one thing that might leave Duo customers wanting though is the phone’s lack of a front screen. Even if a user just wants to check the time really quickly, they have to completely open up the device.
It’s also not clear if the Duo will include a rear-facing camera, which is a big deal for consumers--just look at the latest round of iPhones. But even though the device might not have that feature just yet, Microsoft still has over a year to finalize the design as the Surface Duo is slated to launch during the 2020 holiday season.
And as we’ve said before with 5G, the rush to be first with technology often ends badly, so the fact that Microsoft is giving themselves a more realistic timeline could put them at an advantage over the growing competition.