Call this one a bit of a surprise, as a blog from Microsoft seems to have revealed Microsoft’s first phone in ages is closer than you might expect.
Depending on how much you know about phones, you may remember Microsoft made phones. It didn’t last terribly long, granted, but when they were around, they arrived with a Windows-based operating system, Windows Mobile. That, too, did not last long, either.
But Microsoft isn’t done with phones, it seems, and last year announced that something new would be coming for phones, complete with Android on-board: the Surface Duo.
It’s a bit of something different, but also very modern, with Microsoft taking a dual-screen device and effectively making it into a foldable phone, running Android and supporting regular Android apps and games, but spreading it over two screens with a 360 degree hinge almost like a book that can run apps side by side. The approach isn’t totally distinct from what LG tried in the V50 ThinQ in Australia, which arrived with the dual-screen accessory, only this looks made for purpose and not merely accessory based.
There are two 5.6 inch screens hinged together to make an 8.1 inch screen when viewed in full screen, both of which are AMOLED and sit atop a Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 processor with 6GB RAM, and either 128GB or 256GB storage, a recipe for reasonable reliability in the Android world. Which is what this is: a Microsoft device running Android.
Microsoft’s experiments with Android aren’t totally new, either. The company has released Android apps in the past few years, not surprising given it’s one of the world’s largest mobile operating systems, and one is even a launcher to change the way people use an Android phone (randomly, it’s one of this editor’s favourite launchers for Android).
Whether the Surface Duo runs this launcher remains to be seen, but there’s a good chance, given Android is typically skinned, and the Surface Duo doesn’t appear to be yet another Android phone.
Named after Microsoft’s successful Surface computing line, it’s also made to work with folks already using a Surface, complete with integration into the Microsoft 365 productivity suite, essentially making it a phone designed for folks working in Windows who are used to multitasking and multi-window workflows, something Windows is known for.
And while we wrote about this last year, the news this week is that the Microsoft Surface Duo is coming. Soon. Very soon.
Published first on Microsoft’s Tech Community, Microsoft has announced it’s coming on September 10 in the US, with availability specifically for the States at first, with other markets later on.
That means an Australian Surface Duo release is possible, though local pricing has yet to be announced.
Over in the US, pricing for the Surface Duo sits at either $1399 USD for 128GB or $1499 USD for 256GB of storage, translating to just under $2K before tax for the 128GB or just over for the 256GB. Given Australian pricing is rarely a 1:1 conversion, we’re expecting that a Surface Duo Australia release will likely see the device from $2099, though won’t be surprised if it pushes over.
However it is in pre-order for folks in the US, and given the timing, is a very interesting announcement, as September is shaping up to be quite interesting. While there’s no official mention on the Australian Microsoft Store, we can’t imagine Australia will be that far behind, possibly seeing release later this year.
It’s not as if Microsoft won’t have competition for solid new phones in September, either: between the next iPhone or three possibly seeing announcement then, not to mention the Surface Duo and details of Samsung’s next foldable, September seems like it’s all about the next-generation of cool and crazy phones.