Update, July 23 2020 (2:40AM ET): We’ve updated the Surface Duo rumor hub with new details of a Microsoft “phablet” that recently passed through the FCC. Check it out below.
Original article, May 18 2020 (8:53AM ET): Microsoft took everyone by surprise last October when it announced the Surface Duo: a dual-screen device that runs Android. While the Surface Duo certainly resembles a phone in its folded state and can achieve all smartphone-like tasks such as making call and sending text messages, Microsoft does not want to label it a “phone.”
It’s the Redmond-based software giant’s version of a foldable, only that it’s not a traditional foldable if you compare it to devices like the Galaxy Fold or even the Galaxy Z Flip. It indeed folds in the center, but does so using a hinge that holds its two very separate screens together (rather than having a foldable screen).
It’s been a while since we heard something official from Microsoft about the Surface Duo, but of late, we’ve ourselves received some insider info about its release window. We’ve also recently come across some leaked specs for the Android hybrid, including information about its chipset, battery, and camera. In this rumor hub, we’ll detail all that we know about the Surface Duo until now. Take a look.
The design of the Surface Duo is no mystery. Microsoft showed us pretty much the entire device back in October. The hardware itself is very reminiscent of Surface devices like the laptops and the tablets. It’s got that strong Microsoft aesthetic with clean lines and that familiar four-square Microsoft logo front and center.
Elsewhere, two individual screens fold shut inwards like a small book. A 360-degree hinge mechanisms joins the two 5.6-inch displays together, allowing the device to be folded in various states like most 2-in-1 laptops out there. When folded out, the overall device measures 8.3-inches horizontally. The Surface Duo is also a slim device, measuring just 4.8mm thin.
There’s a camera on the top bezel of the right-side display, next to a speaker grille. However, when the device was spotted in someone’s hands, a flash was also seen accompanying the single camera. You can see that image below.
Microsoft says the Surface Duo will fit inside your pocket, but from what we can see, that might not be possible because it’s too wide.
Specs and features
Microsoft has done a pretty decent job of keeping the specs of the Surface Duo under wraps. When it first showed off the device at its Surface event, it was running a Snapdragon 855 processor. Thanks to information sourced by Windows Central, we now hear that Microsoft will stick to the older generation Snapdragon flagship for the final Surface Duo release.
The outlet reports that the specs of the Surface Duo are pretty much cemented and that it’s in a “take-home” status at Microsoft internally. This means that company employees from outside the Surface division can request to test the device, so we presume its specs won’t change now.
An FCC listing spotted by Droid Life on July 22 describes a dual-screen Microsoft “phablet” that folds. While not referred to as the Duo by name, it’s likely that the device is the forthcoming foldable. According to the listing, the phone will feature support for major LTE bands in the US, NFC, Wi-Fi 5, and no 5G connectivity.
According to Window Central, the Surface Duo will ship with 6GB RAM and 64GB or 256GB storage. There’s no 128GB middle ground here and even if there is, the report fails to mention it.
The camera above the right display is said to be an 11MP sensor, for both front and rear facing photos. That’s likely because the displays can be rotated around for front and rear photos. The two 5.6-inch screens reportedly have AMOLED panels with a pixel density of 401 pixels per inch.
Sadly, the battery size is reportedly capped at 3,460mAh which might not nearly be enough to support two displays and all the multitasking you’re expected to do on the device. Also, there won’t be any wireless charging as per Windows Central.
In terms of connectivity, the Surface Duo is said to feature a single USB-C port and a nanoSIM slot. It’ll also be compatible with a Surface Pen.
On the software front, the Surface Duo is expected to run Android 10 at launch, and later get an upgrade to Android 11. The device is also expected to get the redesigned Microsoft Launcher, which comes with new rotation modes, a new dock, and other UI tweaks.
It’s rumored that you’ll be able to expand all Microsoft apps that come pre-loaded on the device across the two displays. The device will also apparently support drag and drop abilities for Microsoft apps, but not all third-party Android apps will get that functionality.
We don’t know much else about the Duo’s other specs and features, but it might come with a cool trick to let you peek at notifications without fully unfolding the device. Head here to see how that works.
Microsoft Surface Duo: Price and release date
There’s no word on how much the Surface Duo will cost, but we do know some things about its availability.
According to information obtained by Android Authority from a source with knowledge of Microsoft’s plans, the Surface Duo will launch some time in 2020. This should be good news since Microsoft has apparently delayed the launch of its other dual-screen device, the Surface Neo.
Neo was also announced alongside the Duo, and it was expected that both devices could be delayed owing to the coronavirus situation. However, our source told us that the Duo is very much on schedule and will arrive later this year.
As for the pricing, the Duo is definitely not going to be the fastest or most powerful device out there given its specs. It could, however, be costly owing to its novel form-factor and software capabilities. But it might just be that one device that does justice to the dual-screen category after all.
Like the idea of a Surface Duo but hoping for something more impressive? Well, Android Central reported in July that Microsoft was working on a second-generation model. There’s no word on features just yet, but hopefully it brings plenty more to the table (such as a new flagship chipset).