Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) made a surprise announcement Wednesday at its latest Surface PC lineup event: a foldable “Surface Duo” smartphone that runs a customized version of Android 9 Pie as the OS. After being for two years completely out of the smartphone game, the software giant said it is ready to try again with its new phone, a relatively simplistic looking device which will launch in late 2020 in time for the holiday season. No pricing details were announced.
Surface Duo features two 5.6-inch displays which when unfolded amount to a miniature 8.3-inch tablet. Once it’s folded up the device becomes small enough that can be held in one palm.
According to Wired, the Surface Duo is powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 855 SoC, but these specifications of the design haven’t been finalized yet and are expected to change until the device’s actual launch.
Microsoft didn’t provide many details about the phone but said it partnered with search giant Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) to “bring the best of Android” to the device, while combining elements of Windows 10X which supports MS Office and other Windows-compatible software. Microsoft also touted the phone’s ability to run the same app on both screens, or different apps on each.
“You can text, you can write, you can do what you want,” said Panos Panay, head of Microsoft’s Devices Group who seemed reluctant to refer to the Surface Duo, a phone, noting, “Make no mistake, this product is a Surface”.
The company unveiled Duo alongside a refreshed Surface Laptop lineup. It debuted an all-new dual-screen computer, called the Surface Neo, as well as the Surface Laptop 3, Surface Pro 7, Surface X and the Surface Earbuds.