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Microsoft’s first-ever Android Phone, the Surface Duo, spotted in the wild

Windows phone wouldn’t lag like this — It flips! It folds! It occasionally locks up and crashes. Ron Amadeo – Feb 10, 2020 5:12 pm UTC The Microsoft Surface Duo, running what seems to be Android 10. All folded up, here’s the front Microsoft logo. Book mode, with two side-by-side apps. A swipe in from…

Windows phone wouldn’t lag like this —

It flips! It folds! It occasionally locks up and crashes.


  • The Microsoft Surface Duo, running what seems to be Android 10.

  • All folded up, here’s the front Microsoft logo.

  • Book mode, with two side-by-side apps.

  • A swipe in from the top of the display opened this little two-icon panel. On the normal Android UI, this would be the notification panel, but it sure doesn’t look like a notification panel.

  • Here’s that panel again, this time in portrait mode. Is that a thumbnail at the bottom?

  • Here are the two screens working as a single big display.

  • The Microsoft Surface Duo. It’s a dual-screen Android phone.

  • This back view shows off the Windows logo and the hinge.


    Microsoft

  • It folds up like this for easy carrying.


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  • You can also fold it around the other way, with the screens out.


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  • I think it’s mandatory at Microsoft to add pen support to all products. So naturally, there’s a pen.


    Microsoft

  • What are you supposed to do with two screens? Well, use two apps at once, of course!


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  • Here, if you drag an email app to the hinge, you’ll put the app on both screens.


    Microsoft

  • In two-screen mode, you get the inbox on one side and a message on the other.


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  • Long-press the Google Maps link, and drag the link to the other screen.


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  • You’ll keep your app open while opening Google Maps on the other screen.


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  • Let’s talk form factors. You can use it like a mini laptop, with a keyboard at the bottom.


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  • The keyboard. Also note what looks like a volume rocker and a power buttons on the bottom edge.


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  • The bottom can also hold game touchscreen controls.


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  • The Duo can be used book-style, for reading.


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  • Prop it up on a table like a tent.


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  • It has the Google apps.


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Microsoft’s first-ever Android phone, and its first self-branded phone, is slowly becoming a reality. The Surface Duo, which was announced a full year before it was planned to release to market, was recently spotted in the wild. Twitter user Israel Rodriguez spotted a person with a prototype device on the Vancouver subway and snuck a spy video out into the world.

The video appears to show one new hardware addition that wasn’t present in the initial announcement in October 2019: an LED flash next to the camera. The Surface Duo has a single camera above the right display, which, thanks to the 360-degree hinge, acts as the front and rear camera. The video shows a new white circle next to that camera, so now it seems like you’ll get a rear (and front) flash.

The Surface Duo actually spends a good portion of the video being slow and unresponsive. At 46 seconds in the video, you can see the device lock up in some kind of app. First tapping on a button doesn’t do anything, then it takes multiple swipes down from the top of the screen to open a panel. Swipes in from the bottom of the display, meant to trigger gesture navigation and close the app, take multiple attempts to work. The good news is that the “Holiday 2020” release window means Microsoft still has something like nine months to work out all the bugs.

Besides the device locking up and crashing, you get to see the full range of Surface Duo form factors. Sometimes it’s a book-style device with side-by-side apps. Sometimes it’s folded over into a single-screen landscape device. Sometimes it’s two screens stacked up vertically for one big scrolling surface area. When you’re all done with it, close the device and you get two screens protected on the inside of the device and nothing but the metal exterior on the outside.

Other than the fact that the Surface Duo runs Android, comes with two 5.6-inch displays, and will be out Holiday 2020, we know next to nothing about the device. Microsoft hasn’t said a word about any of the internal specs like the SoC, RAM, or battery life of the strikingly thin device, and we have no idea how much the device will cost. Surface devices are usually high-end, but when it comes to foldable smartphones, “high-end” can mean anywhere from $1,000 to $2,700. Microsoft isn’t shelling out for one of those expensive, high-tech flexible OLED displays, but it does have twice as many displays as normal, and they are in a weird aspect ratio to boot.

Last month, Microsoft released an SDK for the Surface Duo, allowing developers to wrap their heads around the dual-screen functionality and hopefully build support for it into their apps.

The release date for this device is still a while away, so we’ll be on the lookout for more leaks.

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