Microsoft needs to step up for Surface Duo to be taken seriously

Surface Duo 2020
Surface Duo 2020 (Image credit: Daniel Rubino / Windows Central)

The Surface Duo has been on the market for almost five months now, and as a customer since day one, I've been consistently disappointed at the pace at which software has been moving. The product launched in an incredibly buggy state, and while the OS has improved since day one, things still aren't where they should be for a shipping product.

Before I dive into this thought piece, I want to stress that I absolutely love my Surface Duo. I've replaced my phone with Microsoft's experimental foldable and have been using it as my daily driver since September. The complaints and criticisms come from a place of love, not hate. I want Surface Duo to be the best it possibly can be. But right now, it's far from that state.

Microsoft has been incredibly tight-lipped regarding any post-launch plans for the Surface Duo. The device hit the U.S. market, with little follow-up since launch. Outside of committing to monthly updates (a promise which it has already broken, more on that later), we have no idea what to expect from Microsoft when it comes to things like major OS updates, new features, experiences, or general timelines for outstanding issues.

It feels like there's no public-facing side of Microsoft that deals with Surface Duo. Perhaps that's because I've been spoiled by the Windows Insider Program and the huge community that's involved around its PC efforts. If you have an issue with a Surface PC running Windows, you can usually find someone at Microsoft on social media or support channels who can help you get your issue resolved.

Feedback Hub Windows Phone

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)

But there's no obvious team like that for Surface Duo. You can reach out to people on the Microsoft Mobile Experiences team who are likely more than happy to help, but these people are far less active than those part of the Windows Insider Program. I'm in no way criticizing anyone for not being active on social media, but it doesn't help when there's no official Feedback Hub for Surface Duo, or a similar feedback channel like there is on Windows.

OS bug fixes are rolling out too infrequently.

The product launched with an overwhelming number of bugs and issues that I assumed Microsoft would drop multiple OS updates each month with fixes. But it's barely managed to hit one a month, a pace far too slow for a product with a notoriously poor launch state. Because of the slow progress, Surface Duo is still an unstable device today in February 2021. Microsoft is not being aggressive enough when it comes to pushing out updates.

I am still hitting issues with the device not wanting to wake the screens from sleep, and I continue to suffer from touch lag which is most obvious when typing fast on SwiftKey. Touch events seem to freeze up and then initiate all at once. It was an issue at launch, and it still persists today.

Zero transparency

Surface Duo January Update

Source: Daniel Rubino / Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Daniel Rubino / Windows Central)

In addition to the pace of updates being too slow, we have absolutely no idea what's actually being fixed in these updates until they're actively rolling out. There's no official channel to check for known issues or potential workarounds, and nowhere to submit newly discovered bugs or feature requests.

Customers are left in the dark regarding what's next for their device.

Microsoft also missed the December 2020 update that it was expected to roll out. Had we not reached out to Microsoft PR for a statement ourselves, we wouldn't have known that a December update wasn't coming. Microsoft simply didn't tell users that it wasn't pushing out an update in December, even after committing to providing monthly updates.

But most crucially, Microsoft has not outlined a roadmap for Surface Duo going forward. We don't know about any new features or experiences planned for the current device. We don't know when the device will get Android 11. Microsoft told us it's being worked on back in August, but we've not had any updates since.

Tiktok Surface Duo 2020 Lede

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)

Microsoft is about to launch Surface Duo in a handful of new markets, and perhaps it's now the time to detail a roadmap.

Samsung is able to do this with the MANY Android devices it has on the market. OnePlus does this too, as does Google. Each will reveal a list of its recent devices with a consistent timeline for when they'll secure the next big software update. If they can do that for all its devices, why can't Microsoft do it for just one?

It doesn't come as much of a surprise that the Surface Duo's biggest issue so far has been a lack of communication from its maker. If Microsoft were more open about its plans for Surface Duo post-launch, I'd feel so much more comfortable recommending the device to those who would benefit from it.

But as it currently stands, I can't do that. Partly because of the buggy software and slow pace of updates, but also because Microsoft hasn't shown its taking Surface Duo seriously. The lack of transparency around upcoming fixes, features, or plans is reason enough to not recommend this product.

There's so much potential

Surface Duo 2020

Source: Daniel Rubino / Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Daniel Rubino / Windows Central)

I love my Surface Duo and I want Microsoft to build upon it and improve it as much as possible. But at the same time, I'm all too familiar with Microsoft's operations, and when it comes to Surface Duo, it cannot choose to remain silent and push things out at random, if at all.

It also doesn't help that when it comes to Windows integration via Your Phone, the Surface Duo is lacking in features compared to Samsung devices with exclusive access to the new "Apps" feature. You'd think that at the very least, Microsoft customers spending $1,400 on a Surface Duo would get access to the same features that Samsung customers are getting access to on Windows.

If Microsoft is serious about Surface Duo, it needs to get these sorts of things right, because it will affect people's thoughts and opinions on any second- or third-generation hardware if it doesn't. Even if they upgrade the camera, the slow updates and poor communication doesn't make recommending successors easier.

A device that goes in your pocket is more personal than one that sits at your desk.

Microsoft, understand this; a device that fits in your pocket is infinitely more personal than a PC that sits at your desk. While I can't speak for everyone, many of those using Surface Duo are likely more invested in the product than they are in their Surface PCs. Keep that in mind next time you decide to avoid telling us when the next updates with crucial fixes are postponed.

Zac Bowden
Senior Editor

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

  • Would love to see a roadmap for the Duo. For now, it's still not my daily driver, but I keep checking for updates with the hope bugs will be smashed.
  • I hope that Microsoft sells New Model of the Surface Duo that runs Windows 10 on ARMS
    The Current Duo Runs on ARM CPU's & Chipsets. The Surface ProX Tablet/Laptop hybrid
    is device many folks use. I think with Work Windows 10 on Arms could run on a Surface Duo.
    i would buy a Duo that runs Windows 10 on ARMS without hesitation even though it may not
    have many smart phone Apps. WHY ? Because Windows 10 on ARMs can run PC Programs
    I use. I would just use The Duo's phone to send & recieve Voice calls & not run smart phone
  • What PC programs would you run on a 6" screen that don't have mobile versions in 2021?!
  • I can see a use case for Windows 10 on ARM on a Duo that allows you to connect to a dock and run in a full Windows 10 desktop environment allowing the Duo to scale to your needs. I've been on this bandwagon for a long time and the closes we ever got was a very hobbled Windows Continuum experience. If Microsoft brings Android apps to Windows 10 and the released a Duo running Windows 10 on ARM you would have a full slate of mobile centric apps for use on device via Android and docked you could run full Windows and full Windows apps. That being said I doubt this ever actually happens.
  • Even if Microsoft brings Android aps to the Microsoft Store, it will be useless. Just look at Amazon devices. No one will publish any apps or games in the Microsoft Store, even if it requires minimal effort. This whole Android app initiative is a waste of time unfortunately.
  • It's not useless on Amazon tablets. Probably will be on the Windows Store though.
  • Otoh on the Windows Store it shares a market with Xbox, so that might give it more appeal if Android apps also support controllers (like Android TV apps).
  • ARM isn't full Windows. You will be severely hampered by compatibility and performance issues and the device would really suck when not docked. Pointless.
  • If Microsoft made a single screen sub-1000$ device that could run the Windows on ARM and had basic phone functions and could dock to be used as a PC there are people that would buy that device. It is safe to say that its volume would be in millions per year - not so much less than Windows Phone (actually if take only premium devices like Lumia 950 then it may be very close to that volume and in some future if it would get at least some app support it could easily exceed this volume) and much much more than the Surface Duo.
  • They would struggle to sell a million of those, especially at the inflated price of the Duo. Why would you pay that much for a device that is only somewhat useful and only when docked?
  • That's a terrible idea. Windows on ARM is a desktop operating system. Do people think about these things before posting.
  • I'd love to see something like the Galaxy Fold 2 running the Duo version of Android. I'd much prefer a single foldable screen with a digital bezel for snapping apps. Duo's hardware just doesn't cut it, but neither does Samsung's software (and it's filled with redundant bloatware). I keep wishing they would collaborate to make a truly amazing device.
  • I was just saying something similar in another post. I would love for Samsung to make a Duo type device, because I know it would be awesome and what the Duo should have and could be, if MS sticks with it and corrects their mistake with the consumer front. I get it, the device was never meant for the average consumer. Releasing a device like this, regardless of intent, Microsoft should have anticipated that the average consumer, not so much business/enterprise would be the ones to venture into this new form factor and also understand that it would be the acceptance or rejection of the consumer side that would likely garner any interest from the business and enterprise side. They have to start to equally focusing on both, if they hope for the Duo to be successful. If there is to be a Duo 2, it will need to have updated specs and more polished OS with regular and dependable updates. If Samsung would make a dual screen Duo like device, it could support the S-pen. I'm still not sold on Samsung Z Fold 3 with pen support, but that's just me. I just don't feel like the durability will be there and I don't want to feel like I need to worry about pressing too hard with the pen. I actually wouldn't mind a dual screen having a Duo, if I felt MS was serious about it. Maybe, when the price drops significantly and MS polishes the OS, I might consider getting one.
  • The Duo is an interesting product, but I wanted to take a wait-and-see approach for many of the reasons you explained. I tried it out when it was initially available for demonstration at BestBuy stores and knew right away that it wasn't quite ready for prime time (software was buggy and slow). I'm sure the hardware shortfalls may get addressed in a Duo 2, but I also wanted to give Microsoft (and Google) time to bring the software up-to-par. Based on your article, it seems that this is still largely a work in progress. I suppose that is partly what users sign up for as part of the "innovators" crowd in the usual product acceptance lifecycle. I'm more likely to be in the "early adopters" or "early majority" crowd.
  • Preach. Panos - You once called Andromeda your baby. Understand that, in a way, the Surface Duo fans using this device as a daily driver now consider your baby THEIR baby. Take good care of it! We all want to see Surface Duo succeed.
  • I would love to pick up a duo but have been burned by MS so many times in this space not sure it's a wise space to invest yet.
  • Until their OS team is mature enough, Duo is gonna stay this way. It takes a huge team to make a good OS based on android. It's not something they can just be good at in one or two years.
  • After years of standing by Microsoft with windows phone 7-8 and windows mobile 10, I honestly don’t trust them with mobile devices. Android already has a reputation for lack of updates properly or sometimes buggy software but for Microsoft to still continue their half-arsed attempt at mobile while showing they still haven’t learned even when they were the first party maker of their own Os. I don’t see how People still support their mobile efforts and more importantly for a company with Microsoft’s vast resources, why do they treat their mobile division the same way I’d expect some startup from a garage to handle their first gen products?
  • Exactly this. Duo isn't available here in Australia officially, but even if it were, I wouldn't go near it until I knew and had proof Microsoft won't let the product wither away like so many other things they've dabbled in.
  • Which is exactly why it is good the Duo runs on Android, so even if it would 'wither' away you will still get your security updates (read bug fixes too) and app support which are the essential things.
  • When MS killed their own Mobile OS - they showed their cards on what matters. They also closed their stores as well... This is a move away from the consumer space and back to enterprise. You can't have a business only focus when offering mobile phones... It's the regular consumers that really make something popular. Tech people are happy to get them... However - as we know - we don't have the pull like a regular consumer. Until the device is pushed as much as O365 and other MS products and updated as frequently - they will continue to fail... Marketing at Microsoft in the consumer space has always been a pathetic attempt and fails all the time.
  • I’m really pulling for Microsoft, but you’re right. Microsoft Marketing is pathetic.
  • As proven time and time-again with Win Phone, Cortana... I mean, they were squashed once by the evolution of the internet and, I fear, are going to lose the next generation of users currently sporting android phones, tablets and Chrime books.
  • They can step up their marketing, but it won't matter until they have products to back it up. That has been their biggest issue.
  • Honestly, I don't think Microsoft cares, or even should care. They pushed the launch up months, despite it being a buggy mess. IMO,they realized this thing was too limited by its hardware setup, so they just wanted to put the Duo out there to snatch up some money before working on a successor that HOPEFULLY comes in 2021 (though Surface has historically iterated very slowly on new products). Short of a MASSIVE price cut (like, 50%), I don't think any level of software polish could move the needle for the first-gen Duo now. Any OS updates they push need to be the foundation of the second-gen Duo. That device can't take the 18-24 months that Surface products typically wait for the first refresh. I'd sooner buy a second-gen Duo at $2,000 with modern specs than I would spend $1,000+ on one that's running a 2-year-old SoC and has an inferior set of hardware features next to my Lumia 920 from 2012. MS needed to go high-end with the hardware and raise the price, if needed. That, or go low on price to compensate for the lack of features and make those compromises easier to accept. Instead, they maxed out the price on this thing while minimizing the features, and it's borderline impossible to justify the purchase (unless you've got money to burn and don't mind Microsoft's tendency to burn its early adopters). The Duo isn't a failure, but milling about to try to make it the best it can be is a waste. It's a first-gen effort. MS needs to move on from it. They need a Duo that doesn't have a spec sheet of missing features that's longer than the sheet of ones it does. MS doesn't need to cram everything inside its chassis, but the next Duo needs to be able to stand on its own. Right now, people are so used to the modernized tech in phones (NFC payment, Qi, high-end cameras) that Microsoft's never going to successfully convince them that the Duo, as it stands now, is a step forward.
  • Burning your early adopters is a great way to stop having early adopters.
  • Step up.. Where? 😂🤣 well that's never gonna happen
  • Have to agree with all that. My Duo is a hobby device. It's OK, but for $1400 it should be more than OK. I think the limitations in YourPhone compared to what can be done on (some) Samsungs is embarrassing. It not having Android 11 is embarrassing. Shows lack of commitment. Lack of commitment makes the future questionable. If MS is putting all their effort onto V2, that's nice, but your V1 owners aren't going to be evangelists if you don't take care of them. If you wanted to build a hobby phone for enthusiasts, you just as well have done it with Win 10X and controlled the stack. The same crowd would have bought it. I would have.
  • Win10-X, Qi and a three-lense camera. Yes, I'll buy one. A me-too Android with a crap camera, no I won't bother getting one of those.
  • What could 10X do that Android doesn't do much better?!
  • Allow MS to fix things that are OS issues unilaterally.
  • I'm assuming that they are having an intern or two doing EOL updates for Android 10 white the rest are working on Android 11. Or at least that's what I hope.
  • I am sorry, but it was obvious this was going to happen. Microsoft has done this several times: Zune, Surface RT, Windows Phone. They launch a product, they test it with a fanbase, they abandon it sooner of later, without a second generation. Microsoft is a company you can't trust it in terms of new Hardware. Surface Duo will end in the same place Surface Pro X will.
  • Why do you folks keep mentioning stuff from 7-10 years ago as relevant examples vs. the current trend of Surface devices? I swear to god, Zune? For real. The whole MP3 market imploded once smartphones became mainstream, yet, somehow, you "fans" think it was bad Zune got canned ... in 2011. So out of touch. And RT? Canned because Windows 8 bombed with consumers and enterprise. It wasn't for nothing though, it served as the base for Windows on ARM, announced in 2016, and still going in 2021. And Windows Phone? If more people actually bought it, and it had a chance of gaining market share instead of losing for multiple years, you may have a point. Look, I love WP, wrote more on it than most, but no one bought them and they had high rates of returns. That's the ugly truth. It wasn't great.
  • TBH I think a specific comparison here would be releasing the Lumia 950/XL in tandem with a new OS in W10FM. Debuted onstage by Panos, alongside other flashier products... launching with tons of bugs but lots of goodwill, and then very poor comms or update visibility that improved the user experience That being said, I’ve not got a Surface Duo, but I’m seeing intense parallels here to what the author suggests is, shall we say, decreasing confidence in this product line
  • I agree the 928 with 8.1 worked better than the 950. Yes the 950 had better hardware, but the software and apps were inferior to the 928.
  • The app situation was related to third party software developers and/or consumers not buying them (iirc it was not to complicated to update app support from WP 8.1 to 10 compared to WP 7.0 to 8.0).
    The OS self while initially buggy was later on quite stable and still is mostly even though it is not updated anymore (I still use a 950 sometimes).
  • Daniel, the poster has very valid points. I (and I dont doubt many many others like me) refuse to buy any more Microsoft products(especially hardware) because they abandon too many ventures leaving their customers out to dry. To make things worse most of the time (just like this Duo) when they release something its a buggy half baked mess. Microsoft's leadership and management cares about cloud and the leaders in charge of these other divisions are crap and they need to clean house.
  • MS has always given quite long security updates (longer than most other parties), so especially with the Duo running Android there is not really any risk here for Duo owners. Heck even WP 10 itself still works, even stuff like OneDrive etc.
  • That is less true than it's being made out to be. Windows Phone lasted a lot longer than other comparable attempts. Palm and Blackberry are prime examples. Regarding Zune, they lasted 6 years! Everyone stopped making MP3 players once smartphones became a thing.
  • Dude, preach on this. All of those products MS arguably backed LONGER than they should have. Zune in 2011? Windows phone was end of lifed in 2020, it was clear when I had a Lumia 920 in 2012 that the platform was dead. Nobody made the phones, and devs were burned with flip from WP7 to WP8 and never came back. The apps were not there, and the ones that they DID have were markedly worse than even the Android counterparts (which at the time were typically worse than iOS versions). I'd be concerned about abandonment if it wasn't Android, considering that it is I'm less concerned.
  • It is not really the same though, everything you listed here failed because of the dead apps/ecosystems. While th the Duo runs on Android and Android is far from dead.
  • Yes I think you have right.
    I don't hope so but the bring first the duo phone out but the software is not ready yet. But maybe the fix this 😊. I can't buy that phone.
    but I yuse launcher 10 on my Alcatel 3x 2020 and I am happy with that.😊
  • A lot of people point to a lack of apps as the reason why Windows 10 Mobile failed. That definitely played a part, but the lack of communication didn't help either. If Microsoft created a UserVoice type channel for the Duo, that would be a huge improvement. I've yet to find one.
  • At least we could then complain they don't respond to anything on UserVoice.
  • I don't think the average person cares about how much Google communicates about Android updates. Most phones take a long time to be updated, Windows phones were often updated pretty quickly (the OS updated pretty much at the pace of iOS).
  • Couldn't agree more with the article. I use the Duo as my primary (only) device, and while I still love it, my frustration at the slow pace and lack of communication from MS is definitely building.
  • What slow pace are you talking about? Monthly updates to improve the OS is a good thing. And please don't say, Well we didn't get one last month. LOL.... We are in a pandemic and this virus crap has backed alot of things up. The phone is pretty much on point since the January update as far as bugs go. The camera is still a problem, but slowly & surely everything is being taken care of.
  • I also don't understand how much faster they want MS to move on the Duo. Monthly updates are pretty fast enough as is IMHO.
  • Microsoft needs to release it running Windows, if they want the Surface Duo to be taken seriously...
  • Bingo! The Surface line is a hit. This should just run Windows and be marketed as a foldable pocket Surface that also happens to make calls and texts. This would be a hit.
  • If the Duo ran Windows brotha the battery would suck and you simply don't need a full PC in your pocket. Sounds good, but the reality is Andriod was the best way to go.
  • You are 100% correct.
  • Why? What would Windows bring to a 6" screen that Android doesn't do much better?
  • So I get emails everyday from some division of Microsoft wanting me to attend this or look at this, or use this but nothing for the Duo. Everything you mentioned is spot on. I believe there is a problem with that department. And they believe the best way to deal with it is not to (silence). They are always quite before the bad news. I hope I'm wrong. What they should have done is released the Duo like they have the HoloLens (Development Edition). They should have called it the Duo Development Edition. Then everyone would have known what they were getting into. In fact had they done that, they could have released it six to eight months earlier than they did. Problem solved. Please Microsoft speak to us, we can handle the news even if it's bad.
  • Can't believe you're phone apps work with Samsung and not duo
  • To be real, the "apps" feature on Your Phone is my least used feature (I have a Galaxy Note 20 Ultra and Duo). I really don't get what Android "apps" I need on a PC. Haven't found a single one. It's easier to just grab my phone. Only diff is Duo does screen mirroring, while Samsung can launch individual apps. It's "neat", but I haven't used it for reals even once. As to why, Duo has 2 screens and is on Android 10; Samsung is one screen on Android 11. Let's just say it's more complex with dual screens and an older OS. Either way, no one is missing much. Calls, notifications, messages, and photos are waaaay more useful day to day and those work exactly the same on either device.
  • I wonder how many have actually used this device? I have one major complaint, no rear facing camera. I wasn't aware how much that would impact my use case. I don't take many photos. However, with Covid and remote learning for my kids, I'm taking a lot of pictures of homework to email to teachers. The camera/screen flip is still buggy for me. If this thing has a rear facing camera it would be perfect for me. That's it, everything else for me is a nit-pick. I wish I could get two android apps on my Surface Pro X, one is my bank and the other is a silly game. Outside of that, I wouldn't have a use for android apps on my PC. I've tried to use the screen mirror and for the game it is just lack luster. For the bank I have to pick up my phone to do the finger print login so it isn't really saving me much... I love this device! My wife is going to be very upset if they release one with a rear facing camera in the next 36 months... I'm going to get that device as soon as it is out and she is going to have a fit!
  • I think it is adorable that the author of this article and others think that there is a future for this product. Gen 2, 3, or 4? Not a chance. As a user who bought into all things Microsoft.... Zune, all Windows Mobile/Phone variants, Kinect, and Cortana accessories, I have seen this movie before. Dropped marketing, communication, and support means that this device is dead folks. They just haven't stated it knowing they will face lawsuits for dropping support of a product this soon after release. They would probably save money and reputation if they admit their error and offer everyone a full refund and cut their losses now. Personally I thought it was doomed from the start with an Android OS as this just confused people. Pitched as "not a consumer phone" yet that is exactly what they tried to build when they chose Android so it could run apps. If this device operated Windows OS like the rest of the Surface Line and was dock capable to run dual screens and keyboard/mouse then they would have a winner. Basically a small foldable Surface that ALSO can make calls/text as well. As for apps, then a shell that runs Android but again, nobody buys a Surface to run apps. A business device capable of running Windows in both portable and desktop dock would have a chance. Instead you have an EXPENSIVE Android device that has terrible specs when compared to other Android devices for less money. This device was doomed before it was released. Honestly I forget that this device even exists until I read an article like this one. Regardless of the angle, they all state how bad bad and buggy this device happens to be. Not exactly the way to start a product or entice others to jump on board. Sorry to be the messenger of bad news.
  • "Gen 2, 3, or 4? Not a chance. "
    We can bet on it if you think it's so adorable? Hit me up on Twitter. I haven't read the rest of your comment, because the first 3 sentences are buffoonery.
  • Gen 2 is already in the works brotha. Where have you been?
  • "Adorable"? Could you be any more condescending? I hate to break the news to you, but Microsoft *just announced* that the Duo is rolling out to multiple new markets: Microsoft may have some issues to work through, but they have "dropped" none of the things you allege. This is an experiment on a new form factor. It may ultimately fail. But your obsessive negativity is just as objectively silly as the most ardent fanboy's zeal. I personally think this project is very interesting, and Microsoft being one of the few companies willing to try something different is commendable.
  • A new form factor... not really:
    2013 NEC's Medias W, year 2013.
  • I bought a ton of books on the Microsoft store. Then they closed the bookstore. MSFT sent me a refund for every book I bought and read. Still waiting on the refund/credit/update on my Invoke speakers so I can use them as a Bluetooth speaker. Great sound quality. Sometimes MSFT over-engineers' things and forgets the basics.
  • Some things work out, others don't. That's the way of all endeavors. Doesn't mean they should stop trying and just imitate what has been done by others already. Duo is a good effort. I for one will be getting it as soon as I can.
  • "Still waiting on the refund/credit/update on my Invoke speakers so I can use them as a Bluetooth speaker" Huh? What makes you think you need a refund/credit/update to use it as a bluetooth speaker? That's how I have always used mine. I have never used Cortana. Not interested. For the $40 I paid for it when they were dumped on eBay, it is an OK speaker. Only OK because there is no possibility of stereo sound. I use mine for podcasts and other voice-only stuff. You lose WAY too much detail when listening to music in mono. I use other speakers for music. Speakers that can do stereo, either alone or paired with a 2nd speaker. Which is basically EVERY other bluetooth speaker I own. And I own plenty of bluetooth speakers.
  • All of the things you mentioned had multiple generations: Zune - 5, Windows Phone - 5, Kinect - 2 (only killed after massive negative feedback, cost them the last generation console lead sticking with it in gen 2), Cortana -Still around. There's a difference between a company being fickle, and not sinking resources into a loser forever. If you want a fickle company, look to Google, who kills multiple services with high adoption rates for no reason at all.
  • I wonder if a potential road map for the Duo includes it running Windows 10X. If this device makes it to version 3, maybe, just maybe, Microsoft would consider testing the waters with a 10X Duo. Being forever beholden to Android cannot feel like the answer Microsoft are really looking for.
  • I love my Surface Duo. Zac, I had a prior Surface Duo, which had problems that I swore must be software and kept hoping the monthly update would fix them (occasionally not unlocking properly, but camera, lock screen info, and emergency calling all worked fine, so seemed like it must be SW-based), but in contacting support for these MS suggested they replace it for me and to my very pleasant surprise, all of those problems went away in the replacement. It must have been hardware issues after all. On my original, Duo, I had an issue where swiping in dual screen portrait mode (so keyboard full on bottom screen) would close the keyboard. Very annoying. I have NEVER had any issues with swiping on the replacement Duo (and I've never had any swiping lag at all on either of them -- it's smooth as butter). Could it be that you also have a hardware issue, and just need a new Duo, rather than it being a SW issue for MS to fix? I currently have no problems with my Duo, other than obvious missing features in this version 1 device. It's by far the best phone I've ever had. I gave my Galaxy S10 to my daughter. It's not remotely close to being as useful to me as the Duo. I do miss it running Windows, but I appreciated gaining the ability to run apps for banks, fitness devices, and many other services I used, and the full participation in the MS ecosystem, when I first moved to Android a couple of years ago. The dual screen features of the Duo blow other Android devices away. The only software issue I notice, which occurred on both devices, is that I can't easily switch the screen that's showing what the camera sees and has the button to take a photo. It seems it's always in selfie mode when I'm trying to take a picture of something, meaning that the display and button to take the picture are facing away from me. That's annoying and seems easily fixable -- just always give the option to tap the other screen to flip the display there when using the camera (or maybe limit to a specific button/touch area so you don't flip the display by accident).
  • After paying money for Windowsphone for close to a decade I now have an iphone. Microsoft over promise and under deliver on mobile. They have burned me with Windowsphone 7, Windowsphone 8, Nokia, Windows 10 Mobile. I can't trust them on this type of product and it seems I was right to pass on a Duo. My conventional boring iphone is not a beta test for $1400.
  • Have you actually used teh DUO? If so your attitude towards would be completely different. Since the January update the phone is running very well with hardly any hiccups. Now the camera isn't the best, but its passable. Use one for a good month and then see how it truly is.
  • Well, it's this generations fault. They want everything quickly. They don't care if it's good or poor. Just give me something. Then they get something and then it's like, meh. I miss the days when software companies took a full year plus to test and then turn out something decent. Sure not everything is guaranteed to work smoothly but today it seems even worst. Everybody nowadays want stuff like yesterday. Then they provide an update, then the update breaks something else. Two month later here's a new update only for that to break something else. They now need updates to fix the updates. There's no more let's test our produce for a good year then release an update. I guess you get what you pay for. I still like Microsoft products, not that they are any better or worst that any other brand it's just that I like them. It's that's simple. I have has so many Microsoft products it's shameful. I walk around my house I have a Original Xbox. I have a Day One Xbox One. Two of them. Two Xbox One X. Kinect with all just about all my Xboxs. Two Invokes. Multiple phones. Both my wife and I still use daily our Windows Phone and Windows 10 phones. No need to upgrade yet, because my phone should be able to take incoming calls and text. It does that perfectly. And get on the internet. Slow, but still works. I considered the DUO, but though polished in some sense there was no way I was going to pay $1400 for a starter kit. I've invested in two Bands, and other products now defunct. I could bite the bullet on some of those, but there is such a thing as investing wisely at times. The DUO was not and is not a good investment at this time for me. Bless those who are the "Beta" folks. You remember the slogan about no longer being beta? Well, Microsoft is in a perpetual "Beta" mode. Oh btw, the not only to me the DUO was a bad investment now, they made it worse by having it run on Android. Wow! What a kick in the teeth. I love it when I see writers apologize for Microsoft saying they are a software company so consumer products shouldn't be that high on the list. And I'm always like, SAY THE HECK WHAT?!! Because they don't even see the irony. A software company that can't make software to run on their own products to entice people to buy them? That's the funniest thing, it's such a truly Laugh Out Loud moment. I'll sit back and wait until they get their own software in the DUO before I even realistically think about buying it. And if they never do, then it wasn't for me.
  • BTW, where have all the Windows Phone readers gone? I still visit this site occasionally and I guess all good things must come to and end? There's no more bickering between RodneyJ and that other dude who trolled him all the time. Man those were the day. :)
  • It's sad. I miss the arguments. Lol 😂
  • Look us up on Facebook.. We're all at "Surface Duo Central" There's over 1600 of us on there now.
  • Well said.. This needed to be said, and I hope MS not only hears it, but reacts to it.
  • No, Microsoft needs to release a compelling product - at a reasonable price - to be taken seriously. $1,400 for mediocre hardware and Alpha level software is not a compelling product. It should NOT be taken seriously. Frankly, I'm surprised you actually bought it. I thought you were smarter than that.
  • Zac is working on Windows Central, he is closly following Microsofts products and development. What do you expect of him, if not using the latest from Microsoft?
  • I have a surface pro 3, at the time I had been watching the development from the first version onwards. When the 3 came out I bought it. It has been 6/7 years and the surface is still my only device, works like a dream. Now I'm applying the same strategy to the duo, watch, follow what Zac is reporting and … hoping like hell that Microsoft does the same development that they did with the surface. If so, will be their customer for this as well. Love what the device has presented so far, but too early to invest, and given Microsoft's track record … too early to commit.
  • Surface Duo was dead on arrival. The public has completely rejected expensive foldables and they will remain a very niche product. For such a small userbase, there's no point committing significant resources to development. Lets wait for Apple to do it properly, then we might see dual screen devices take off. Even then I am not convinced.
  • It's like Google and stadia. If it's not instant success with 100 million users, it's left behind and eventually shut down....
  • You know Google hasn't dumped Stadia. They closed their game studio of the same name. They weren't turning out anything compelling and game development isn't really Google's thing. Stadia is still there, streaming all the third party stuff people got it for in the first place.
    Not to say Google doesn't tire of stuff. Stadia just isn't an example of that (yet).
  • I think the Surface duo is a vey interesting device but I am sad to hear it has software problems.
    1400 Dollars is a lot of money to pay for a buggy device. Surface devices are sopposed to be
    very cutting edge. Surface Duo model 2 should debut later this year perhaps it will come with
    better software which also will run on the first Duo model as an update.
  • Well written article Zac, you can tell you love the Duo, as do I, I'm hoping Microsoft gives the Duo the support and dedication it's very much needed to fix the little issues with the Os, because I believe Microsoft is on a winner with this form factor, they just have to push those updates more quickly, I have been using the Duo as my only device, I have other options but I cannot go back to a single screen device after using the Duo, reading books alone on the Duo is enough for me to stay put, let's hope us Duo owners receive the Android 11 update soon.
  • Got one back in October and I absolutely love it. I get that it has some software issues but with every update it gets better and especially after January update it is running smoothly with no major issues. Hardware wise I think it is a very decent device. Surely not cutting edge in all areas, but it is cutting edge on this new form factor and hopefully will be the base for an even better Duo 2. Every device has some bugs. If you visit dedicated forums and groups for any device you will find some complaints. So it's not something unique about the Duo. And after January Duo complaints are getting less and less. MS marketing should take the blame really, they consistently undersell their products. Their strategy lucks focus, doesn't highlight the key features of this unique product, doesn't identify the market correctly and doesn't get aggressive as other brands that dare the competition but that is essentially translated as not defending their products. Duo is a revolutionary device focused on multitasking, wide tablet like experience. It's not just another android phone. WP and the whole Windows OS on mobiles, failed because no one developed apps for it. Especially with the development tools of that period (before Xamarin), it was too costly to create an app for iOS, Android aaanddd WP. This was out of MS hands and surely competitors like Google, FB, Whatsapp etc rejected for business reasons WP to destine it to fail. If they would just give us a channel for owners to provide our feedback... We would appreciate it so much and would have so many improvements to recommend.
  • Microsoft does have a forum where you can report problems with the Duo or give your general thoughts.
  • The Duo is really missing a good OS.
  • It reminds me of the Windows Phone days.
  • I've been using the Duo since November as my daily driver. Yes, there are still some bugs and yes, Microsoft needs to throw some more visible commitment to it, but even with its flaws, I love it.
    There's no way I'd go back to a single screen.
    I use my phone for productivity and in that regard, it simply delivers. The camera is good enough for my needs.
    I'm also firmly against putting Windows on this device. There are many apps I use almost daily that simply aren't on Windows. Android is a great platform as long as Microsoft keeps optimizing their apps for the 2 screen factor.
    What I want is a V2 of Duo and I want it on Android.
    The Neo should be the device running Windows and it should seemlessly work in tandem with the Duo.
    If they can make that happen, they got a productivity powerhouse with those two devices.
    I don't regret buying the Duo. Not for a second.
  • Agreed. I wanted the Neo instead of this device. As soon as I heard Neo had been postponed I pivoted to this device. I want a rear camera in V2, otherwise, the rest is software or on me to learn how to configure android. I do not regret my purchase.
  • I really hope that Microsoft gets the Duo right and is able to keep this in the lineup as a productivity oriented mobile device that happens to do telephony. I wanted to pick one up when it launched but it was far too expensive for a gen 1 device that has an unclear future. Given what Zac has brought up in this article it doesn't inspire a lot of confidence. I do think Microsoft needs to stop acting like this isn't a smartphone. It is a new product category that lives in the space between tablet and smartphone but it is still a smartphone running a smartphone based OS with smartphone centric apps. With that thinking and the understanding that you need woo smartphone consumers maybe Microsoft can get it's messaging right about the device. In a world where the main Android phone makers are capable of quickly deploying security and bug fixes to their Android skins there is no excuse for Microsoft to miss a monthly feature update or not be able to iterate software quickly. They absolutely need a product road map showing where the Duo is headed and what fancy new things it can do to help you get your work done. Without that it's just a unique device with desirable build quality that doesn't really get you average business or retail consumer interested enough to plunk down $1400 on it. I'll probably end up getting a Duo. But, I'll get it from Swappa where I can get one in like new condition for $850-$950 which is about what I'd be willing to pay for the Duo given it's cloud of uncertainty regarding it's future.
  • "If Microsoft is serious about Surface Duo" You're assuming that this is a known fact; although, MS has quite often, in the past, discontinued products that have failed to catch on and bring in the return on investment that they were anticipating. Good luck with that!
  • Most of these issues could be solved simply with more communications and transparency. This has been a problem for the Surface brand from the beginning, TBH. I wish that all product groups at Microsoft would take a cue from the new Edge team. That's how you build community and trust. For Surface, they obviously can't lay out a future hardware roadmap the same way the Edge team does for features, but they could be a lot more transparent about known issues, planned fixes, and roadmaps for future driver and firmware updates. Radio silence is not a confidence building tactic.
  • The very definition of a gimmick product.
  • This is why I didn't buy a surface duo.... even though it is a "surface", i feel like it is going to go the way of all the other MS consumer products that they launched, and then put minor effort into, and then abandoned.....
    zune, cortana, ms band, HK Invoke, windows phone... just to name a few. They should have had some significant updates to this by now, and had better communication.... but sadly no. It seems to be just another throw away consumer product. I'm glad I held out for the Galaxy S21 Ultra.
  • Is there anyone at Microsoft that’s responsible for communication? Microsoft is worth $1.8 trillion, yet nothing.
  • Zac was very close to hitting the nail on the head with the Your Phone issue. Years later and Microsoft still hasn't found a way to leverage it's most well known product - Windows. Despite Microsoft having products that are great individually, there's a connective tissue that is just missing in the Windows ecosystem. Samsung has a better Your Phone experience, true, but Your Phone isn't that good anyway. Even if you have a Duo and Surface device, Your Phone is constantly disconnecting or unable to send/retrieve messages. It's not seamless or easy to use like iMessage. Supposedly, even Google has more reliable software that allows texts to be sent to your PC (though I've never tried it). That jank continues throughout the entire Microsoft product line. Use Surface Earbuds? Cool. Shame you can't use them on your Microsoft made Xbox. Like how the Airpods/Galaxy Buds have extra features when you connect them to an iPhone/Galaxy? Not with Surface Earbuds and Surface computers. Want Duo to better integrate with your Surface PC? Good luck just getting text messages to reliably show up. Bought a Surface expected feature updates before other OEMs? Enjoy being near dead last. Want to cast something from your Surface to your Xbox? Hope you already download the wireless app on your Xbox and don't mind desynced audio/video. With the Duo, Microsoft released a device that on the surface (pun intended) should integrate well into a variety of workflows. It just won't. There's always something that keeps all their devices from cooperating with each other on more than just a superficial level.
  • Your Phone apps is truly diabolical. I'd go as far to say it's unusable. And for an app letting you use Android apps on a pc it doesn't support touch. That's right on my Surface Pro X I have a navigate apps using a mouse.
  • Microsoft in addition to providing regular updates to improve the software. They need to market it. They ran commercials when it was released in September but haven't since then. Every time I'm out and use my Duo people ask what type of phone is it and that it's cool. So we're 5 months in and the general public still seems to not know of this device. Where as you see iPhone, Samsung and Pixel marketing and commercials regularly. Microsoft needs to do a better job with the marketing.
  • This exellent beautiful device needs Microsoft virtual event for 2021.
    Publicity on Superbowl.
    Updates and development, as haptic, games, tools ...
    And a better world for produce, to wich it can help to get. (visioconferencing, telework cloud, more)
  • I'm sorry, but it's just a completely ugly device that solves no problem (but has plenty of its own). And it is suffering exactly the same garbage that Microsoft doomed Windows Phones with. The difference is, I'm going to be glad to see this one hard-fail.
  • It is an Android phone you knob, how is that even similar to Windows Phone that lacked apps?
  • Perhaps I am not your typical smartphone user but back in the day (when I was your age) I'd take my 928 or Icon with me to the field with my Surface 3 and get the job done. Hoping over to the Note 9 I was happier and more effective or so I thought. Using the Duo with OneNote on one screen and a calculator on the other my field experience is now soooooo much better. For multitasking at the office (or home for that matter) this device for me is a godsend. What makes me not the typical user: I rarely use the camera, and rarely use the device as a phone and when doing so speakerphone is activated. For the way I use this device it is a dream for me. Have I been burned by Microsoft in the past (WinMo, WinPho, Invoke, Kinect, Band 1 & 2) sure. However as much as I find it confusing (compared to WinMo the ease of finding things i.e. various app settings) Android guarantees an update path software wise that is surely to continually improve usage. Mostly everyone has established their opinions but concentrating on what I thought I would miss... NFC-I use my watch. Qi wireless charging-battery life lasts me I don't need it. Better camera specs- 95% of my photos are good enough. Better processor-for my usage it is more than adequate. My largest complaint would be the camera usage as I never take selfies and getting the whole flip screen thing has been hit or miss for me. If they introduced a forced non selfie camera mode as the default I'd be happy as a clam but who am I kidding, that feature settingvis probably buried in some obscure place because after all it is Android.
  • I do not even think the typical user uses a smartphone often as a phone nowadays (with chat and video call apps being hugely popular). That seems more related to 'Fear of missing out' which a lot of people have with certain smartphone features, instead of focusing on the features that actually impact how you use a phone like you described well here. All the people I know use their phones as mini tablets basically.
  • So wait does this mean the answer wasn't Android?
  • My Duo drives me nuts when it's not perfect, such as rare but occasional reboots and switching to/from Bluetooth during a call. But every time I pick up my iPhone, which I use as a flashlight when walking the dogs at night, I'm reminded of the genius that is the Duo. I use those two screens relentlessly.