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Microsoft unveiled its next generation of Surface devices including the dual-screen Surface Neo tablet and the Microsoft Surface Duo, a smaller device that seems to be for all intents and purposes a new Microsoft foldable phone.
Microsoft announced something we didn’t really expect – a new foldable Surface Neo counterpart with phone functionality. Dubbed the Surface Duo, it runs Android instead of Windows. It seems that the world strongly needs a “clasp” because foldable phones are starting to be very much “in fashion” again.
Microsoft came as a direct challenge to Samsung’s Galaxy Fold but also the upcoming Motorola Razr. The main difference will be in the fact that you may choose between one big screen that bends in half, or two separate displays, one on either side of a hinge.
The Microsoft Duo comes amid growing demand for multitasking but also working on a larger screen. Be it as it may, if this Microsoft’s step shows as successful, it could push the attention away from early problems that Samsung had with its foldable screen.
Microsoft’s chief product officer, Panos Panay said the company conducted few serious researches and discovered that people are definitely more productive when working on.
“But it has to be elegant. It has to fit in your pocket,” he noted.
One thing is sure – the official battle between the two designs has begun. Surface Duo is expected to launch in holiday 2020, and at that time, Galaxy Fold will be selling for a year already. However, even though Samsung could have some advantages, analysts in the sector are saying Surface Duo could beat Galaxy Fold after all.
The first comparative advantage is the fact Surface Duo has glass screens. The Fold has polymer screen (essentially plastic), pretty easy to damage and that isn’t the best recommendation if you choose to buy a phone for $2,000.
Also, if we get back to the research, if getting more screen is the goal, the Surface Duo has two 5.6-inch displays. The Fold, on the other hand, opens up into a 7.3-inch screen. Fold also has a 4.6-inch display on the outside, but allegedly this outer screen is so tall and narrow, it isn’t very practical to use. Also the keyboard is too tiny and not really practical to work on.
The Surface Duo is more like a foldable Gameboy – one screen serves as a working pad, while the other could be used for content only.
On the other hand, the Fold allegedly works best when fully opened but, however, it won’t work with a digital pen that only Galaxy Note phones had. The glass Surface Duo has no such problem.
However, we still don’t have anything on Surface Duo’s camera while Galaxy Fold has six of them – three on the back, one on the closed-up front and two inside. Allegedly, the working prototype of the Surface Duo doesn’t have a rear camera at all that is bringing us back in the 00’s when you had to turn the device around to use the front-facing camera to take photos. Hopefully, the final version will be changed because that could mean significant failure because millennials are mostly all about cameras.
Yes, the Galaxy Fold has a visible crease, but when you’re watching movies, reading an article or e-book or scrolling trough photos, allegedly it blends into the background.
Surface Duo: "We know scientifically you'll be more productive on two screens…But it has to be elegant. It has to fit in your pocket." Microsoft is defending the seam as a benefit, because it defines the space #SurfaceEvent #MicrosoftEvent @CNET
— Jessica Dolcourt (@jdolcourt) October 2, 2019
We will probably have to wait and see how the final product will look like. Still, there are some other producers that are also trying to get their piece of the foldable phone’s market.
LG recently launched the LG G8X with a dual-screen case, and before the Surface Duo, there was the ZTE Axon M, a same-looking dual-screen phone with the same central seam but also with some major design issues (the battery on one side made balance a real problem, and using the camera was complicated).
Before the Axon M there were the Yota Phone, the Kyocera Echo, the LG DoublePlay, the Samsung DoubleTime and more in a parade of attempts at the dual-screen design that just wasn’t working as imagined.
At the time of writing, Microsoft (MSFT) stock went down by 1.77% to $134.65 while Samsung went down 2.56% to 47.600 Korean won.