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Canceled mid-range Surface Duo leaks with dual-camera array and plastic exterior

Surface Cronos images
(Image credit: eBay)

Images of a canceled mid-range version of the Surface Duo have appeared online thanks to an archived eBay listing. Dubbed as a Surface Duo 2 “dev unit” on eBay.com, the listing (opens in new tab) (which has since been deleted) provides us with a first look at what appears to be a “lite” version of the Surface Duo 2. 

The images reveal the device to have a smaller camera bump, slightly more rounded external design with a matte finish, and flat displays similar to the Surface Duo 1. Unfortunately, the eBay listing provides no details other than images of the handset.

I had come across the eBay listing last month but was unsure if it was legitimate. By the time I was able to verify, the device had been sold to an unknown buyer and the listing was removed. I've since been able to confirm that the listing and device were indeed real. 

So, what exactly is this device? According to my contacts, this product was codenamed “Cronos” and was supposed to ship later this year as a lower cost version of the Surface Duo 2. 

It featured an upper mid-range Qualcomm SoC, a dual-camera array on the back, non-curved displays without the glance bar, and a fully plastic exterior. To compare, the flagship Surface Duo 2 features a Snapdragon 888 SoC, a triple-camera array on the back, 90hz curved displays with the glance bar, and a plastic + glass exterior.

The changes to Cronos were designed to bring the price of this form factor down, though it’s unknown exactly how much Microsoft was planning to sell the device for. I’m told Microsoft canceled Cronos in late 2021 after it decided to focus on the next Surface Duo flagship instead, which is currently scheduled for a late 2023 launch.  

We don’t know what Microsoft was planning to call Cronos officially, but since it was built to be a lower-cost version of a flagship Surface product line, “Surface Duo Go” would probably be a good guess.

It's possible that the company wants to wait for the product line to mature a bit more first before it decides to venture down the path of releasing different models at varying price brackets. Cronos's existence confirms that Microsoft wants to expand the Surface Duo line in the future. It’s just not ready to do so just yet.

For now, with no imminent device launch for the Duo team to have to worry about, the company is hard at work on delivering Android 12L for existing Surface Duo customers, which I’m told should be ready to roll out in the next few months.

A Microsoft spokesperson declined to comment on the device or eBay listing.

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Zac Bowden
Zac Bowden

Zac Bowden is a Senior Editor at Windows Central. Bringing you exclusive coverage into the world of Windows 10 on PCs, tablets, phones, and more. Also an avid collector of rare Microsoft prototype devices! Keep in touch on Twitter: @zacbowden.