Microsoft returns to the mobile business
It was the surprise of the fall Microsoft October 2019 Event in New York. The company, which just a few years ago abandoned the production of its own Windows phones, wants to return to the smartphone market. In addition, it became known that Microsoft focused on the segment of tablet and portable computers.
Called the Surface Duo, the device is likely to be very different from classic smartphones: it will have two displays with a diagonal of 5.6 inches each, which can be expanded into a large screen. This is not about a large, flexible foldable display like the Samsung Galaxy Fold or Huawei Mate X. Microsoft is betting on classic LCD displays with a very thin edge and a strong metal hinge. This is done in order to create the impression of one large work surface.
As an operating system, the developers plan to use Android from Google in a modified version. However, Panos Panay, Microsoft’s head of Windows and Devices, promises that “all Android apps” will work on the new device.
Despite the coronavirus pandemic, Microsoft will likely release the Surface Duo as early as 2020, as announced. This is also confirmed by posts on the Android Authority blog, which cites sources close to the company.
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Surface Duo will have two screens of 5.6 inches each
Under the “hood” of the novelty, like many other smartphones, a chip designed by the British developer ARM, based on semiconductor technology, will work. While it is claimed that the gadget will be equipped with an LTE modem, there was no talk of 5G at the announcement event.
Microsoft itself isn’t talking about a “smartphone” but simply calling the new device Surface. With a 5.6-inch screen, the Duo will be slightly larger than the iPhone 11 (which has a 6.1-inch display), but still fold out to double.
This whole story is not without a certain irony. At the start of the smartphone era, Nokia, the world’s leading mobile phone manufacturer, ditched Android as its operating system in favor of Microsoft’s Windows Phone. It was not the best decision, the Android and iOS systems very quickly furnished the Microsoft platform. Then, in an attempt to secure Windows Phone in the marketplace, Microsoft bought Nokia’s mobile business. The acquisition led to a financial disaster with billions of dollars in losses, thousands of employees lost their jobs, and after exiting the smartphone market, Nokia’s assets were completely written off. Now Microsoft itself wants to release an Android phone!
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Under the old leadership of the company, headed by Steve Ballmer, it would be simply impossible to imagine that Microsoft, itself engaged in software development, would suddenly use the software of a competitor – Google.
However, times have also changed. After all, all major Microsoft programs are now available for Android. And the new device can enter both the retail market and as an entry-level model for the corporate sector.
Surface Neo – dual screen tablet
In addition to the Surface Duo, Microsoft also announced the Surface Neo last fall, a tablet with two swivel 9-inch displays; as well as the new Windows 10X, designed to optimize the dual-screen experience. In addition, devices compatible with Windows 10X have also been announced by manufacturers such as Asus, Dell, HP, and Lenovo.
However, a Microsoft blog post now suggests that a dual-screen tablet is not to be expected anytime soon. Panos Panay, head of Windows and Devices, writes that manufacturers want to wait for “the right moment” to release the device. This also means that the Windows 10X operating system, which was specifically designed for dual-screen gadgets, will work on single-screen devices for the time being.
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