Microsoft surprised us all with the Surface Duo this week. It’s the long-awaited Surface phone that has been rumored for years, and in a further surprise, it’s running Google’s Android operating system.
It’s designed to be the smaller sibling to the Surface Neo, a dual-screen device that was also unveiled yesterday running Windows 10X.
The Surface Duo has two 5.6-inch displays that fold out into an 8.3-inch overall screen, and it’s just 4.8mm thin. You can fold it fully over like many 2-in-1 laptops, thanks to a 360-degree hinge. Microsoft says it’s committed to dual-screen devices because they allow people to get more done on the go.
I got a chance to take a closer look at the Surface Duo this week, and my first impression was simple: it’s so much smaller in person than it appears in photos. I wasn’t allowed to play around with the software on this device, but I was able to slip it into my jeans pocket, and it’s definitely the first pocketable Surface device. It looks and feels like a miniature tablet that’s also a phone.
Microsoft doesn’t consider this a phone, though. “I feel like ‘phone’ is such a limiting word,” says Microsoft chief product officer Panos Panay. “And then you say, ‘well, smartphone.’ I don’t even know what that means. And then ‘phablet.’ I’m not sure what that is.
I think if you’re going to create a new category, you’re going to try to change things, push things forward. The minute you put it in a box, I think you’re lost. So I’ve been pretty resistant to that. Not because it doesn’t act like a great phone.” More