You know the story by now. Microsoft started filing patent after patent for a dual-screen Surface Phone beginning in January 2017. Illustrations accompanying these patent applications revealed how the device could be used in various modes for certain applications; in tent mode, the product could be placed on a nightstand and used as an alarm clock. In laptop mode, the product is held in landscape with the bottom screen revealing a virtual QWERTY keyboard. One patent explained that the 360-degree hinge would be able to determine the mode being used and adjust the UI accordingly. But in July 2018, Microsoft reportedly put the project on hold.
Last October 2nd, Microsoft unveiled its dual-screen Surface Neo Windows tablet. And in a Jobs-like “One more thing” moment, Microsoft Chief Product Officer Panos Panay introduced the Surface Duo as the crowd went wild. The Duo will be released in time for the 2020 holiday shopping season and is equipped with a pair of 5.6-inch displays. One surprise is that the Duo will run on Android. Microsoft, like BlackBerry before it, realized that it was easier to license Android than to battle with one hand tied behind its back. Microsoft worked with Google to help it design the changes to Android that are needed in order to make the whole dual-screen thing flow.
Yesterday, a tweet from Yahoo Finance anchor Brian Sozzi was embedded with a photo of Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella holding a Surface Duo
. With the Duo still months away, Microsoft is going to need to remind consumers every now and then that this device does exist or else potential consumers could forget about it. By reminding the public about the Surface Duo through a series of ads, interested consumers and companies might forego a smartphone purchase and wait for the Surface Duo to launch.
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella showing off his Surface Duo device
In this era of foldable phones, it is important to understand that the Surface Duo is not in the category that includes the Samsung Galaxy Fold, the Galaxy Z Flip, the Huawei Mate X, and the Motorola razr. But it isn’t supposed to be on this list. Essentially two individual displays that work together, the Duo is more about productivity and multi-tasking than the other devices.