Microsoft will add a foldable, pocketable, two-screen Android-based device to its Surface lineup of products in 2020, although at a hardware reveal event in New York the company was reluctant to call the Surface Duo a “phone”.
Microsoft abandoned its Windows Phone initiative after 2016’s Lumia 650, but with the Duo — which can make calls and send messages like any other smartphone — the company appears to be re-entering the market with a focus on productivity.
The Duo comprises a pair of very thin 5.6-inch screens, which make for a 8.3-inch tablet with a bezel in the middle if opened flat. Each screen can display multiple apps independently, and while open users can pass content and apps between screens with a swipe. The screens are connected by a 360-degree hinge, meaning it can be used as a double-sided phone or shut to protect the screens.
Though Microsoft didn’t go into details about the software, it did say Duo runs a custom variant of Android, which will likely put the company’s apps and services front and centre. Microsoft already provides the likes of Outlook and Office on Android, as well as the Arrow launcher which gives devices a more Windows-like layout.