If you thought Microsoft would never release an Android-based device, well, get ready to eat your words. The company just launched the Microsoft Surface Duo, a somewhat-pocket-sized foldable device that is based on Android.
Microsoft made it clear at the launch that it doesn’t want to refer to the Surface Duo as a “phone,” although it does do everything you would expect an Android smartphone to do. That includes making calls, sending text messages, and installing any of the millions of apps from the Google Play Store.
However, the device looks more like a cute little clamshell laptop than it does something like the Samsung Galaxy Fold. In fact, even in its folded state, the Microsoft Surface Duo looks to be too big to even fit in your pocket.
According to Panos Panay, who revealed the Microsoft Surface Duo on stage at the company’s Surface event today, the device is the fruit of a collaboration between Microsoft and Google. Panay says the Surface Duo represents the best of Microsoft and the best of Google coming together to create a device that is unlike anything else.
The hardware itself definitely screams “Microsoft Surface,” with the buttons, chassis, and even the hinge looking just like the various Surface laptops and tablets. The software is definitely Android, although even it has a gloss of Microsoft design it seems.
Although the Microsoft Surface Duo is a foldable device, it is not foldable in the same way as the Galaxy Fold in that it doesn’t have a screen over its hinge. Instead, the Surface Duo is more like two tiny iPad Minis attached together with features that allow you to make both displays work in tandem.
For example, you can make certain apps full screen so they spread across both displays. You can also drag-and-drop information from one display to another in what appears to be a seamless way.
As far as specs go, we know via Wired that the device is powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 processor and runs on Android 9 Pie, a tweaked version specifically designed for dual-display devices. However, other specs are a mystery for now.
We also don’t have any ideas about pricing or release date for the Microsoft Surface Duo. Hopefully, we’ll learn more information soon.