Microsoft’s Surface Duo launch date may be nearing. The device is built on Google’s Android, a pretty mature platform, and if rumours are true, this may have helped Microsoft complete their dual-screen smartphone project much sooner than expected.
Surface Duo Launch date
Windows Central reports that Microsoft may launch the Surface Duo as soon as Spring, and start shipping as early as Summer.
Microsoft has reportedly been building on Android 10 since August last year, and is targetting the completion of their work by April 2020, with the company currently working on the top-level OS customizations and in-box app experiences.
The Surface Duo launch date is expected at the same date as Surface Go 2 and Surface Book 3, but interestingly not the Surface Neo.
The news is consistent with the fact that some new marketing material has leaked from the Surface Duo, suggesting the device is not far from shelves.
Back in October, Microsoft announced the Surface Duo but confirmed that the device won’t be coming out until holiday 2020. Last month Microsoft announced the general availability of Surface Duo SDK Preview for developers. Using this preview SDK, developers will be able to develop new dual-screen app experiences on Android platform.
The Surface Duo comes with two 5.6” displays and it unfolds to 8.3” display. The 360-degree hinge will allow you to use this device in various modes. Surface Duo brings together the best of Microsoft productivity, Android apps and Surface hardware design into a device you can take anywhere.
Microsoft has earlier patented the device’s rather pleasant ring tone, which can be heard here. Satya Nadella has also been seen sporting the device, and civilian testers of the handset have also been spotted on public transport, giving us a two-minute demo of the handset. A better quality official demo was delivered by Microsoft at a developer event recently, which also gave us a good look at the gesture interface of the handset.
Another feature called Peek has recently leaked which allows users to check out the notifications without unfolding the device completely. This is meant to save time and effort for end users. When you hear a notification sound, you can just open the device and have a peek at the notifications. You can also scroll through the received notifications or preview phone calls.
The fact that the Surface Duo launch date may be well before the Surface Neo suggests once again that Microsoft’s Windows 10X project still needs a lot of work to be ready in time for its expected launch at the end of the year.
The Surface Neo is Microsoft’s other, larger, dual-screen productivity device. It is powered by an Intel processor and comes with dual 9-inch displays connected by a 360-degree hinge in the middle. Microsoft created a thinnest LCD stack to develop this dual-screen device. Surface Neo just weighs 655 grams and each part of the display is 5.6mm thick.
The Surface Neo is based on Windows Core OS, which is a componentized OS with containerized applications which promises to make the OS very resistant to corrupted and easier and faster to update. All Win32 applications, for example, run in their own container, meaning they can not write to the OS compartment at all, and in fact, the OS is largely read-only. Microsoft has released an emulator for Windows 10x which has allowed developers to test their applications on the new dual-screen operating system.
Besides the details of the operating system, the biggest outstanding question for both devices is the quality of the camera, with Microsoft intermittently downplaying the importance of the feature and at other times promising innovative new technology. If the rumours are true we should find out these important details sooner rather than later.