Microsoft Surface Duo hit the shelves this month.
The Microsoft Surface Duo has hit the shelves this month, marking the company’s long-awaited return to the smartphone market.
The $ 1,399 Duo is a “foldable” phone – a category that includes Samsung’s $ 1,999 Galaxy Z Fold 2, and Motorola’s $ 1,399 Razor 5G. Where those devices feature a single, ultra-thin bendable screen, instead of the Duo, there are two screens that are connected by a hinge mechanism.
Microsoft’s chief product officer Panos Pan said in an interview with ABC Audio, “This product is two screens side-by-side.”
Jeremy Kaplan, Editor-in-Chief of Digital Trends, said that having two screens allows users to easily compress data.
“What Microsoft engineers have leaned into cognitive science. And they’ve shown that by separating this thing, by actually having two physical screens, your brain is better able to process information.”
But there are drawbacks to being a dual-screen device, noted in early Duo reviews.
“There’s a learning curve that comes with it,” Panay said. “You can see that in reviews, you can feel it in conversations.”
He said that it may take some time to heat the new form factor of the device.
“I don’t think you’ll end up at the point of a desperation. It’s a matter of finding all the things you can do with the device.”
Other complaints from critics have focused on the Duo’s camera setup. The Duo features a single, 11-megapixel camera sensor. Recently unveiled by Samsung, the Galaxy Z Fold 2 has five cameras, three of which are 12-megapixels.
“We ask all the time: Why didn’t you put a better camera on the back of the device? But ultimately it wasn’t designed for that,” Panay said.
Duo also gained attention for its software. Existing Windows Phone used Microsoft’s internally designed operating system. Duo uses Google’s Android software. Panay said Microsoft cited another tech giant’s reason for borrowing the software as the predominance of Google’s apps.
“Android is very powerful for this product. You know, the millions of apps you can choose from – the ones that matter most to you.”
Following the announcement of a partnership with Google, this is the sentiment of Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella in an interview with ABC Audio last year.
“We felt there was a real need for someone to come out and innovate at this next inflection point around dual-screen devices, and we said – let’s use Android,” Nadella said at the time.
Kaplan believes that Microsoft is taking a wise decision by partnering with Google.
“It makes sense to tilt to Android here. Microsoft has said, ‘We want to be where our customers are, we want to be where we are.’ And where are the people? They’re on the Google Play Store. They’re using Android phones. ”
As for the future of folding smartphones, Panay said he is optimistic.
“I think this is the form factor where phones or phones should be.”
Listen to ABC News Radio’s Dave Packer report on Microsoft’s return to the smartphone market: