Surface Duo 2020Source: Daniel Rubino / Windows Central

What you need to know

  • Microsoft's Surface Duo 2 could include 5G support and an improved camera.
  • Job listings appeared on Microsoft's website mentioning the Surface Duo and 5G.
  • Many of the job listings mentioning a Surface Duo successor have since been taken down.

Microsoft's Surface Duo has a unique form factor that allows Microsoft to experiment with a new form factor. While innovative in its design, it doesn't feature the most cutting edge specs. It runs on an older Snapdragon processor, doesn't support 5G, and has a camera that's not great compared to other devices. It appears that these shortcomings could be fixed with a Surface Duo 2. Job listings on Microsoft's website mention 5G support and an improved camera for the Surface Duo.

The job listings were spotted by Windows Latest, but many of the listings have since been removed. There are, however, some job listings still up on Microsoft's website that suggest a Surface Duo successor with 5G support and a better camera.

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One listing for an SW/FW Engineer lists 5G technologies. Under the responsibilities section, it states:

Job responsibilities will encompass working across a team of high impact individuals who are designing and coding RF drivers, RF board bring up including LTE and 5G technologies, factory tools, modem protocols, mobile operator certifications and PTCRB/GCF certifications on Surface Duo devices. The job is highly dynamic and involves working across various disciplines to successfully deliver the product with the Surface Duo experience and quality.

The qualifications section for this listing also mentions 5G:

Deep familiarity with one or more of the following areas – RFFE bring up/modem protocols/modem power and performance/telephony/5G radio technologies.

Another listing is for a "Principal Android Camera System Architect/Engineer - Surface Development."

The responsibilities section of that listing mentions AI features for a camera:

We are seeking a camera system architect to define and deliver great customer experiences on our future Surface products. You will define customer experiences through expert end to end camera pipeline knowledge of the Android platform on QC processors. The candidate will develop pipeline architect features that integrate output of the hardware ISP and supplemental image processing algorithms utilizing computational photography and AI/ML algorithms from various partners. Understanding the processing blocks (CPU, GPU and NPU) capability and optimizing feature integration for power/performance and seamless customer experience will be key. You will help define the camera architecture and work with partners and algorithm development engineers in the development of deep learning and AI features.

These listings are from last fall, and Microsoft isn't accepting applications for either of them at this time. The other job listings referenced by Windows Latest were taken down before we could grab any quotes.

The fact that Microsoft is working on a Surface Duo successor isn't new, but these listings give us another glimpse of how it could be better than the original. In our piece covering what we expect to see from Microsoft's Surface lines in 2021, we mention that Microsoft is working on a Surface Duo 2 that Microsoft would like to see come out in late 2021.

The piece states:

Whereas Surface Duo v1 was intended initially as a pocketable Surface than ran a version of Windows, it morphed in its final stages into an Android phone. That explains why it is missing "phone things" like NFC, Qi Wireless, runs an older CPU, has no 5G, or a good camera. It was never intended to be an Android phone.

So, what happens when the Surface team can build the hardware knowing its new role? We are expecting many of version one's shortcomings fixed in v2. Let's see what happens.

Fixing shortcomings could very well come in the form of 5G support and a better camera, though we'll have to see what Microsoft announces before anything is 100% confirmed.

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