The Surface Duo deserves Microsoft's faith and boosted investment

Surface Duo Look At
Surface Duo Look At (Image credit: Windows Central)

The Surface Duo is an excellent if odd device. With a launch price that didn't make sense, an OS lacking polish and grace, and hardware features stuck in the past, the Duo's incredible form factor couldn't cut through the problems. In our Surface Duo review, Daniel Rubino outlined the primary issues with the phone, and many of his concerns mirror my own.

I only hope Microsoft realizes that it has something truly special here.

I've been using the phone for a couple of weeks myself, and it is a phone, despite Microsoft's insistence to the contrary. There's no way I'd want to use this as a secondary device, taking up valuable pocket space in addition to my far more-polished Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra. Therein lies the main issue really, Microsoft is playing major catch-up to companies that have been building handsets for decades, after Microsoft gutted its internal phone divisions after the botched Nokia purchase.

My love for the Surface Duo only lasted as long as my inability to cope with the software's shortcomings, which came on pretty quickly. Still, the form factor is tremendous. The ability to multi-task is ideal for my workflow, and I want nothing more than a true "Swiss army knife" of phones. I'm just not willing to compromise on key features and polish that are sorely missing.

I only hope Microsoft realizes that it has something truly special here, and that all it needs is a little faith for the Duo to find its true purpose.

The biggest problem with the Duo is the software, not the hardware

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

Although I'm not a fan of the bezels, or the sluggish touch response (often requiring 1-3 taps to get a response), I really don't have any issues with the Duo's hardware. In fact, I'd say it's one of the most gorgeous devices I've ever used, with impossible thinness when laid out flat. The camera is surprisingly capable too, producing solid photographs that defied my expectations, complete with portrait mode.

The biggest problem with the Duo is its software. Our Windows Editor Zac Bowden recently laid out the reality of the Surface Duo software bugs, and my experiences are pretty similar. Honestly, it reminds me of my time with the Lumia 950 XL at launch, which was the buggiest phone I've ever used.

The Duo has never fully crashed on me, but there's a range of annoying issues with the handling of the folding aspects of the screen. Sometimes it doesn't know which screen I'm trying to use, for example, and the "double-tap to switch screen" gesture straight up doesn't work. None of my Bluetooth devices pair reliably, which prevents me from getting music on a commute.

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

The vast majority of apps don't span correctly or use the Surface Duo's foldable features, which is to be expected somewhat. However, even apps that Microsoft does advertise as compatible don't do a great job of it. Kindle spans books correctly, but not manga or comics, cutting off panels down the center of the display, for example. I also find myself frustrated that I still can't get my Microsoft Movies & TV I've invested heavily into on Xbox and Windows on this device.

I haven't had my Duo long enough to be irritated by the pace of updates, but colleagues with the device tell me that Microsoft is painfully slow at adding new features, despite the fact the phone desperately needs them. Android 11 is missing, too. There are no accent colors on the device, and there are less customization options than the standard Microsoft Launcher on Android offers in general. There's no built-in screen recorder feature, there are not many camera options beyond the basics. The potential here is huge, and obvious, if Microsoft is willing to go all-in.

Huge untapped potential

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

I wrote previously about how the Duo handles Xbox Game Pass cloud gaming, and it's somewhat magical. The bottom display operates as a gamepad, giving you a Nintendo 3DS-like experience that Xbox has never really had. Playing Xbox games on my phone just feels great, and the second display is absolutely ideal for having controls that don't block the game with their overlays.

It's also handy to not have to take a full gamepad or one of those awkward Xbox phone mount clips with you. But it does feel like a prototype right now. The downside of not being able to see the controls is that it's easy to make mistakes, but there's probably a solution with haptics Microsoft could explore if indeed they wanted to.

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

There are various user scenarios that are potentially underexplored with the folding aspects of this device. The bezels are restrictive, but the Duo is a great device for sketching and inking. I actually prefer it to the Galaxy Note 20 to that end, with a magnetic slim Surface Pen being far more ergonomic to use than the S-Pen.

The Surface Duo is also crucially a chance for Microsoft to be directly involved in Android, which in a lot of ways one of Windows' biggest competitors. Android is getting more and more capable as a standalone OS, and the Duo gives Microsoft an opportunity to be involved in shaping and curating the experience to benefit and compliment Windows usage, in a reality where Windows on phones was abandoned.

The Duo is fundamentally good, and Microsoft should take the risk

Surface Duo Look At (Image credit: Windows Central)

Surface Duo Look At (Image credit: Windows Central)

Source: Windows Central

My biggest fear is that Microsoft sees the Duo as nothing but a side project right now, which betrays the opportunity within this marvelous piece of engineering prowess. Like the Microsoft Band, Kinect, and Windows phone itself, I'm scared the Duo could be shelved before it has an opportunity to really show us what it can do.

With a market cap reaching into the trillions I find it difficult to accept that Microsoft isn't willing to take this device more seriously. It could become the ideal companion device for every Windows 10 and Windows 11 power user of tomorrow. It could replace the need many have of carrying both a phone and a tablet, given its unique properties. It could be the showcase device for Xbox Game Pass and other Microsoft services. It could be all of this, and more, if Microsoft is willing to take a chance and really go all-in on future versions. I want to see more apps support dual-screen features. I want to see Microsoft Movies & TV on this device. I want an all-Microsoft ecosystem, with Microsoft solutions for photos and other built-in apps that Microsoft currently relies on Google to provide.

While it isn't yet official, we do believe that Microsoft is working on a Surface Duo 2 already ... but it wasn't until the Surface Pro 3 that Microsoft truly nailed that form factor. I'm not prematurely writing off the Duo 2, but I'd hate to see Microsoft give up so early on in the game, as they did with the Microsoft Band.

Microsoft: Turn the Duo into the platform it deserves to be, rather than a Surface side project hiding behind its more successful brethren.

P.S.: Please also add accent colors, kthxbai.

Jez Corden
Co-Managing Editor

Jez Corden a Managing Editor at Windows Central, focusing primarily on all things Xbox and gaming. Jez is known for breaking exclusive news and analysis as relates to the Microsoft ecosystem while being powered by caffeine. Follow on Twitter @JezCorden and listen to his Xbox Two podcast, all about, you guessed it, Xbox!

  • Good take Jez.
    Interestingly, I've found the Duo very pleasurable to use. Just got it recently on the $400 woot sale. I have to say I've really enjoyed it so far. Much more than I expected from all the negative reviews of the software.
    To be honest, the software feels quite polished imho, but it may be that I've subconsciously set the bar very low. Or maybe I haven't used it long enough. Not as slick as my Galaxy S21 Ultra, but not bad by any measure imho.
    From my use of the Duo, it's clear that Microsoft actually put a lot of thought and effort into using it. The subtle context switching gestures for back, app switching, home. I'm actually having a lot of fun. Gives me hope that they are serious about it.
    I'm ready for Duo 2.
  • Some of my issues seemed to be improved in the recent update, but I didn't really notice cus their patch notes are kinda ... empty? so not sure if I'm imagining it or not lol. I am super ready for the Duo 2 as well, thanks for reading sir.
  • I'm going to go with you set the bar low.
  • I don't agree that the software is the biggest problem. They could fix all of the software problems and adoption would still be incredibly poor because the hardware is way underpowered for its price point and place in the market. I lived with the launch Lumia 950 as well. It was super buggy, which sucked, but I still bought in because the OS and hardware were worth it. With the Duo, I didn't know how buggy it would be. I skipped because of the hardware's barren feature set and sky-high price. I would have been willing to pay the $1,400 for something with flagship specs, but they weren't there. Instead, you got an SoC that was a year and a half old (the same as in my $600-at-launch G8), a camera that that could generously be called "serviceable," and basically no modern wireless features (5G, Qi, NFC). Not having a headphone jack sucked, but I could live without it. Same for a microSD slot, even though there's not justification for not including it (beyond wanting to price gouge on the storage upgrades). The software problems are things you learn to be a problem AFTER the purchase, but the hardware sold itself as a bad proposition before anyone paid a penny. The form factor, that's not the problem. I do wish they offered something other than the hideous white (whose trim pieces stain and crack), but I agree the bezels are liveable. The internals are not acceptable, or even close to it. They need to upgrade basically every piece of the internals massively.
  • All the hardware complaints go away with Surface Duo v2, so it is the software that remains as the core issue.
  • You would know better than we would if the hardware problems go away in Duo2. But, I think that being a Surface item, it needs to live up to that moniker by being the best possible out there. I believe the Duo succeeds there in design and engineering, but the electronics inside have to at least keep up. I think some of this may prove to be a problem from Microsoft with the global chip shortage and supply chain issues (isn't parts availability the reason the Laptop 4's AMD variant used a generation old CPU?)
    Devices bearing the Surface name have to better, not just in design, but in function. The name now has an established reputation. As owner of many Surface devices (though, not a Duo), I hope Microsoft maintains its superior innovation and doesn't let the name and line slip into mediocrity.
  • I'm not convinced all of the hardware issues will go away, but they should be much improved. At that point, I'll buy one. That's my point--fix the hardware and I'll buy the thing. I don't mind being a pseudo-beta tester while they iron out the kinks in software with updates. The problem with the first Duo was that they couldn't improve the software to where the hardware flaws didn't exist. I'd never buy it in that config and at that price. So, if you're right, then my attitude changes--again, because of the hardware improvements, not the software ones.
  • Maybe your antidote is representative of the public at large. As a current owner, I can tell you the Duo is mostly just a big phone with few compelling use-cases. So the hardware may lure you in but lack of software is what likely will drive you away ...cause a big phone is inconvenient from a HW perspective.
  • "Lack of software"? Did you mean apps? If that's what what you meant then isn't then being on Android the antidote to that issue for mobile? I am sorry if I am misunderstanding but that's what it sounded like to me.
  • I have been using the Duo as my only driver from start and with the exception of the camera, which objectively isn't really good enough, the hardware was not ever an issue.
    The OS runs fluidly as is and I have yet to find a scenario where the hardware is holding me back.
    Yes, it might put off some specs hawks, but there's really nothing wrong with it.
  • As someone who frequently uses an aux cable, there would be that adjustment for me. I also feel performance issues in my G8, and it has a better battery and is less cramped for space (thermal concerns) than the Duo. I use a wireless charger at times, so I'd need to adjust for that. Also got a micros card in my G8, and the Duo's going to charge me an extra $100 for the storage upgrade that I need. There are definitely things that can be tangibly improved. I don't use NFC, but it has an impact on people who do mobile payments. I don't NEED 5G, but having access to it is a plus.
  • What would you use an aux cable for where a $10 Bluetooth adapter wouldn't be better?
  • Could it be he has an older automobile that doesn't have Bluetooth?
  • You can easily plug a $10 Bluetooth adapter into the aux port.
  • When they say software is the biggest problem, there are two categories; OS and third-party. To me the biggest problem is lack of compelling 3rd party software that takes advantage of what the Duo has to offer. OS bugs are an annoyance and hardware limitations are another annoyance. But of those things can be fixed. What is not easily fixed is encouraging developing to make compelling software for the Duo. That is the true differentiator. Making the Duo meeting hardware specs with their competitors just means you have a comparable phone that is bigger than the rest. Been there. Done that. MS has the opportunity to create something that fundamentally sets it apart from it's competitors ...and that is building compelling workflows/user experiences that you can't get anywhere else. For that, you need 3rd party software.
  • Wrong. Software has always been the issue. People get put off by buggy software on an expensive device. It has always been the software and it will always be the software.
  • But if the form factor was actually worth it, the software bugs wouldn't really hide it. Reviewers would be praising it and we would have started seeing copycat devices. Not even Samsung has released one, and you know they tried it!
  • I think the Surface Duo is one of the devices where Panos Panay believes the most. This is demonstrated by the recruitment of hardware and software personnel in recent months. Microsoft has returned to enhance the skills that had given excellent results with the Lumia. In this first release, Panay's team focused on hinge solutions, light and thin design, productivity, aware of the related and initial software problems. Now, given the interest in the USA and the launch in some important European markets, for this second version of the Duo, the company is investing in connectivity, on the camera and on the development of two owner apps: camera and photo collection with editing support.
    In addition, I imagine that it will be rewarding for Ari Partinen to work for the Surface team, which will provide him with a great badget for camera development. Partinen's challenge will be to achieve a result that is up to the competition without having to increase the thickness of the device. I'm almost certain that the Surface Duo 2 will also have a rear camera.
  • if he believed enough he would have not put out this first piece of **** to the public.
  • "Perfection is the enemy of progress"
  • Give him time. He wasn't in charge of the OS at this time, if I am not mistaken. Windows 11 looks a whole lot more polished because of his input. I am expecting a much more robust user experience on the Duo 2.
  • why would there be a "more robust user experience" just on the Duo 2? Software should be the the same unless they have a total make over of the hardware. and 865 to 888 is not much in noticeable performance for day to day use. I know Android is a RAM ***** so I guess if they put a petabyte in the Duo 2 is would make it "Snappier" but the user experience should not be any different between models except where hardware has been upgraded or added to the Duo and there is no comparison to be made on the Duo v1.
  • Waiting for v2 and will likely get it. I am due for a new phone. Using a Pixel XL 2, which has been a solid phone going on 4 years. Love the possibilities with the Duo.
  • I want/need a flagship camera and I hope a "Duo 2" would have one.
  • excellent, thoughtful feedback for Msoft. I hope they read it. the Duo has been my primary and only phone for 9 months. I love the device. as much as the bugs frustrate me, I can't give up this unique for, factor. I use it to read magazines (zinio) and books (ki dle) like a real book. love the dual screens and pen support. Microsoft needs to reach I to their deep pockets and take this to the next level. whenever people see me out with this phone they are amazed and intrigued. marketing needs to also improve.
  • Microsoft has had the resources to make any one of these new product categories... Windows phone, band, etc. - a market leader. But Nadella seems to want to kill any project without a clearly defined path to success. My money is on this product losing support within the next 18 months
  • I remember lumia 950 and how buggy it was in the beginning. Thing was the lumia 950 was supported and I felt they fixed many of the issues through the years. Already The duo has been improved through software updates. I am sure once android 11 comes this will be a lot better. If Microsoft still keeps its promise of 3 years software updates and can get support up to at least Android 12, I know this will be a great device. Yes Microsoft needs to show it stands by its products.
  • my Lumia 928 was the best phone I ever owned. Then the Lumia 950, Windows 10 and W10M. This was a significant step down in the quality and usability of the phone and apps. Windows mobile never recovered. So a few years later, we now have Surface Android. I will wait for V3 which should be the form factor into a competitive position to encourage app developers to modify their apps. Panos is now running Windows and Surface and whatever other parts MSFT dumped in his lap. Since Panos took this new job, he has been focused on Windows 11. That means Duo v2 is under wraps while they fix the software issues. Then again, maybe they need windows 11 out the door before they put too many resources into Duo.
  • Windows phone never recovered from the failure of WP7. Everything after was too late and doomed.
  • Fair enough. But I would argue they might have lasted if they had stuck with 8.1. But the whole Windows ecosystem never could extend to mobile, the OS was never able to provide the opportunity for the developers or users. I wonder if the Windows 11 effort by allowing android apps and a new store will change the dynamics. But we all know that Azure is MSFT bread and butter for the next 30 years. Duo is just a curiosity to the bottom line.
  • 8.1 "peaked" (still only 3.5% of the market) with the sales of the 520, but then fell off a cliff after Motorola leapfrogged them with the Moto G. WP8 never had decent sales numbers, especially the higher end devices. It was a dead end.
  • This is exactly the point. Surface Duo has as much potential as Microsoft is willing to give it. It could be an amazing device; even the next biggest thing. Microsoft needs to double its efforts on Surface Duo. Panos should be given the OK to double the amount of people working on all aspects of the device. Mobile is more important than anything.
  • Surface Duo has as much potential as a dual screen is willing to give it, which doesn't seem to be much. Has nothing to do with Microsoft. The form factor is the limited factor and is likely a dead end. It didn't light the world on fire.
  • Sorry, I don't believe that. I believe exactly what I wrote. But, we'll see.
  • You aren't going to do dual screen hardware much better than the Duo. If the form factor was truly viable, we would have seen reviewers praising it, regardless of the bugs. We would have seen copycat devices and it would have had at least some interest beyond shills. The exact opposite happened. Reviews weren't great, and the form factor didn't prove to be worth the tradeoffs even when the software worked. You only see the biggest Microsoft shills claiming the form factor is viable. They have never been right, especially when it comes to mobile.
  • No reviewer had issues with the dual screens. Many praised that aspect of the device. They had issues with the lack of flagship specs in a flagship device costing $1400.
  • Then why hasn't anyone else built one? Where is Samsung's? Where are the Chinese clones? The form factor isn't viable.
  • You forget, Bleached is the leading expert on how you should use your devices and what hardware and software you should require, so of course he's right. There are no other possible use cases that count ;-) .
  • I didn't say it, just pointing out that it didn't catch on and no one copied it. Why do you think that is if it isn't the form factor?
  • It deserves windows 11, get android jettisoned!
  • Yeah, a desktop OS is the answer. 🙄
  • It don't have to be just a desktop OS...
  • But it is. Microsoft couldn't get Windows 10X working properly on the Duo, how are they going to get W11 on it?
  • The reason Duo is an android is because of the large android ecosystem. WOA is not a thing. Android is a thing. iOS is a thing. Windows is a thing. MSFT has spent years getting its apps (office) to work on android and iOS. They are just putting a surface device that is a phone in the ecosystem that gives them the greatest flexibility to build hardware and software.
  • Go back and read about Andromeda. Microsoft couldn't get Windows 10x running properly on it, so they canceled it. It was later that they decided to put Android on the hardware so it didn't go to waste.
  • Why not make a tweaked w11 and put that on the duo? I don't want to buy a surface device that's not running windows OS. There's no way Google make a device that's run windows...
  • MS does not have a mobile OS. Since iOS is not an option, Android is the only choice. Windows 11 is not a mobile OS AND there are no mobile apps that run on it. “There's no way Google make a device that's run windows” That’s because Google is the leader here. MS is desperately trying to catch up. Leaders don’t help their competitors, but distant last place competitors will do anything to get into a market.
  • Microsoft will take years to do that, if they are ever able to get it completed. They couldn't get 10x working properly.
  • The Duo proved that the form factor isn't going to catch on. Maybe make one more to make sure it wasn't just software bugs, but regardless, reviewers weren't blown away by the form factor. It is almost certainly a dead end.
  • That is the point. V2 and then V3. Do we know how many Surface Books and Surface Studios are sold? Studio is on version 2. Surface Book is on version 3. The laptop is version 4 and the Pro is version 7+. Laptop seems the youngest design in that group and it has moved to V4 pretty quick. I would assume Studio and Book don't sell much since it has not been revised often. The Duo is a different issue because they have to get android to work on their hardware versus getting Windows to work on everything else. Not to mention building the gestures etc into a new form factor. I still believe Panos is allocating most of the Windows and Surface team resources to Windows 11 and not Duo and Android integration. They want Windows 11 to be the bridge to get windows into the android ecosystem. Merge the desktop ecosystem into the android ecosystem. I see this most clearly with the Your Phone app. I just text people using my computer and not the phone. Bleached, I also think you are discounting the efforts of gaming with CloudX and Azure and mobile gaming. Those are not insignificant efforts and I can see how this would give them a shot at building a viable dual-screen mobile gaming ecosystem. But again, the Duo is just a curiosity to the overall $2 Trillion valued company making tons of money off the cloud. They can spend $1 MM a week on software/hardware in developing the Duo and no one would see the impact on valuation. That does give you a lot of talent trying to make something cool to use and may be successful. If you don't see improvement with V2, then you waiver on V3. After V3 you really look for traction. If the Surface team is in control of their budget and they are still willing to build the Studio and Book, then I would assume comparable sales/profits for the duo are acceptable. As compared to spending $20 MM a week to get Windows 11 up and running smoothly where you know the Windows Ecosystem needs to succeed to keep billions a year in revenue flowing through the P&L.
  • All the other Surfave devices are just legacy PCs. They are laptops and desktops, they brought almost nothing new to the table. The Studio especially was a big failure, similar to the Duo. You don't see copycat devices of either, which is exactly what Surface aims for. If a Surface device doesn't start a new category, it is a failure. Really, the Surface Pro is the only one that has been successful, but even that is debatable. People try to say that the third one was somehow great, but really the first two were designed so bad it made the third look great. The 2in1 form factor was already proven in other devices. The Surface Duo is actually something a bit different, although we had seen similar form factors fail. The hardware of the Duo is fantastic, you aren't going to do a dual screen device much better. If it didn't prove dual screen is a viable form factor, nothing will.
  • The studio most certainly is not a big failure for me and my previous company. The studio transformed what we do from trace paper, vellum, pens, markers, scanners and large printers into one digital device that is far superior to paper, pens and markers. It is a game changer for those in the niche industry it was created to serve.
  • A game changer? If that was true, why didn't anyone copy it? Why didn't it change anything?
  • I believe the form factor will catch on eventually. Just not the way Microsoft is presenting it. I think Samsung has made great strides and will get it right. And even if you hate Apple, you know they will get it right the first time.
  • Samsung doesn't have a dual screen device, but you know there must be a Galaxy Dual in one of their engineering labs. They tried all sorts of things over the years, why didn't they make a dual screen device? Why did they go straight to single screen?
  • Personally, I always knew the Duo would only find a niche audience.
    The initial pricepoint certainly didn't help in that regard. But even if it would have been half the initial price, pulling people away from their Samsung and Apple brand loyalty isn't an easy task. The Neo on the other hand... I think it had a MUCH greater chance of becoming a commercial success. I think it would have found a rather large audience with mobile workers who are now using 12-14" chromebooks. But alas it never released and is probably now scrapped, alongside windows 10x.
  • Did it really find a niche audience? Microsoft shills aren't large enough to support even being niche.
  • Jez, interesting issues you report. I agree with much of what you wrote. I think you described the potential beautifully. I have the same problem as you with the double-tap to flip screen when in single-screen mode (especially when I'm trying to use the camera -- it seems it's always pointing in the wrong direction), but I have never had a problem with Bluetooth and I have it connected to my car, 2 headsets, 2 external portable speakers of different brands, my big stereo, and my main Windows PC. Zero issues across all of those (except that in my car, the address book portion is a little goofy for dialing, but I assume that's my car or address book configuration and not the Duo). Regarding Android 11, Dan and Zac would know better than I, but I thought that's an issue from Qualcomm, where they haven't provided drivers or equivalent for the Duo's chipset for Android 11 yet. On the other hand, I hate the camera. I'm surprised you find it acceptable. Worst camera I've used on a phone since before 2010. Still pictures aren't too bad in bright light, but it's flat out the slowest camera I've ever had, taking 1-2 seconds to take a picture after pressing the button making it effectively impossible to take a picture of anything moving. Rotating between portrait and landscape freezes the phone momentarily while the icons rotate. It's all just terrible. But most of that (maybe not the rotation problem) is hardware. I don't expect that will be fixed until the Duo 2. My take is that unlike Band and Kinect, this is a SURFACE product, which means it has the official company backing. I have faith they'll keep pushing and refining until they get it right. My biggest concern for the Duo 2: Dan has said he doesn't expect will have Qi due to heat issues. I believe and accept that, but I REALLY, REALLY WANT wireless charging back. That's vastly more important to me than NFC. I am annoyed daily at having wires hanging out of my phone.
  • Jez, then you may not be the target market, which would still be Enterprise users. Many have 2 phones, and the Duo for work is absolutely great. Granted, polishing it up will create more appeal to consumer users, which will strengthen their position, but it may be better for them to target a niche and expand, as they tend to do better with that approach.
  • I think your point is well taken. How many Surface Studios are sold? How many Surface Books are sold? MSFT knows these numbers. They know how much money they spend maintaining these form factors. If these numbers are small and they get enough profit, then Duo may have a low bar to cross to remain a product. But at some point, you have to ask, How much more money do I have to spend to get the form factor stabilized for the market? If the Surface Team has control of its budget and they are growing overall profits at the required level, then maybe they continue to pump R&D funds into the Duo. But they have numerous other devices that need access to the same pool of resources and if Duo is not getting the required level of sales then you don't spend more money. There is a group of people on the duo development team. There is someone in charge of the team. This leader either wants to impress with success and move up the corporate ladder, or not. Who is running the team and is that person a winner? Leadership matters and if the Android OS is capable of creating a compelling dual-screen form factor for a mobile device, then hopefully the team will get it stabilized and the app developers will join and the sales will grow.
  • I'd really like to see a 30 second commercial on playing games from Game Pass games. Not telling me how handy it is for "work" but to say just have fun with the device on the go. Microsoft does not only cater to the business type. They surely cater to consumers. This phone should also be directed to consumers looking to have fun. Or at least that should be part of their vision.
  • Well, I guess it would be nice
  • Why not put Windows 11 on it? Now that Windows 11 supports Android apps, the supposed reason for going with Android was because of the apps, right? Toss MSFT Launcher on there even. There's no real reason why they can't do this. Or why they can't at least offer the option. I wish they would so that I could purchase one.
  • Wouldn't you need a antivirus running in the background on it then? Yes MS has its own antivirus.
  • Defender does not use all that much cpu time. And even Android needs an anti-virus if eg your device does not gets security updates anymore (or the gap between them is too long, which happens with a lot of android brands).
  • You know how long it would take for Microsoft to get Windows 11 working well on this device? Years, and it would still be worse than it was on launch. They couldn't get Windows 10x working on it, what chance do they have with full Windows?
  • Gustav Monce got windows 11 running on a Lumia 950 with calling enabled in about one day. Imagine what a team of official Microsoft engineers could do if they put their minds to it.
  • Those same engineers couldn't get 10x working properly. Why is that? Some hack without any quality requirements isn't the same as putting out a fully functional device with proper features and support.
  • What has 10X to do with this? They ditched 10X and put most of the benefits of it in 11, I do not see how that matters for putting 11 on a phone. Lots of companies do this with their new projects or products, even your knight in shining armor Google. You seem to desperately trying to find arguments to paint MS in bad light (as usual). 🙄
  • If they couldn’t get a cut down Windows specifically designed for Andromeda running well on it, how are they are going to get full fat Windows working? How long will that take?
  • I wish people would stop saying this. W11 is for desktop. Why would you want a bloated software on your phone? Do you know how much battery life will suffer? They need a dedicated software built from the ground up which was delayed. Which in Microsoft terms means cancelled.
  • I have W10 on a tablet (with a rather small battery) and idle battery life & screen time is amazing, so not sure why it would not be possible on a phone.
  • This is Microsoft we are talking about. This is the same company that has a beautiful monitor on the Surface Studio but won't release it as a stand alone. The company that had the Kinect which if paired with Cortana and Teams could have been the dominant home assistant device but stopped development. The company that has the Hololens but isn't really developing the consumer use for it. Where is the Surface Studio 3? They had a great device in the Band but gave up on that. Zune software was great left that for groove then killed it all. Mixer dead. This company hates to follow through with anything on the consumer side. They even had the idea to release their own streaming service with original content to compete with Netflix but got scared and abandoned that too. The Duo will be no different.
  • It was a beautiful monitor, but it really wasn't that functional. I mean there are hundreds of monitors to choose from, and yet, none of them copied the Studio. That should be a giant clue. Nobody but a handful of Microsoft shills are asking for a Studio monitor. It doesn't make sense in reality. It failed to prove itself. Microsoft is letting it die off.
  • Wasn't that functional? It's a monitor. You are totally missing the point. It's evidence that Microsoft as usual doesn't support the ecosystem of a product that they release. People aren't asking for a monitor now because they know the Studio is dead after MS kept the price sky high and basically did nothing to support it. Notice a pattern? MS releasing a promising product but instead of trying to gain market share with competitive pricing and frequent updates they price their product at astronomical levels and they are shocked when they don't sell. Then people say "Microsoft is letting it die because it didn't sell".
  • You can still buy it and it is on version 2. We don't know the sales numbers. Same with Book--now version 3. We don't know the sales of individual models. We know Surface sales. Since they are growing, we assume their investments in the ecosystem (hardware updates, new form factors, innovative technologies, etc.) are growing along with sales. However, if the Pro is selling 10 to 1 over the Studio, guess who gets the more focus in budget meetings? So, does MSFT employ ten full-time people working on the software or one thousand? Does MSFT put more money into R&D on hardware/software simply to improve the overall Windows ecosystem? We don't know this. If MSFT believes the dual-screen form factor is important, they will allocate the required money to improve the device. But we do know that Surface sales are growing across a wide selection of form factors. This just gives the Surface team more staying power to improve Duo. Panos is running Windows and Surface. SO clearly, he wants hardware and software to work well together. I doubt he will walk away from Duo given he knows the hardware is weak and he also knows that Windows 11 is a big push (consuming a lot of manpower) and should benefit the Surface Team. Patience. If they cannot sell Duo v2 at higher numbers even with better specs and software integration, then they will ask some tough questions. How much money do we put into the software? DO we wait longer before we introduce V3?
  • No, I get that, but that isn’t how surface was supposed to work. It was supposed to be a proof of concept and drive manufacturers to copy cat. You don’t really see copycat Surfacebooks (my favorite laptop) or Studios. They don’t seem to be viable form factors, just like the Duo. Maybe that has changed now and Microsoft is just trying to make money through hardware sales.
  • All of that is because - as I have said hundreds of times - MS is NOT a consumer products company. They briefly tried and realized it was a mistake. MS is a business products company. Period. That’s it. One company can’t be all things to all people. This is the reason why Apple is not selling Oracle DB servers to Fortune 500 companies.
  • A pseudo-workaround for the lack of an MS Movies & TV app is Movies Anywhere. YMMV, depends on your library. TV shows aren't eligible but a good percentage of your movies probably are. I don't use the Android app on my phone so I can't vouch for it but it's very good on Fire TV and overall the service is great. I rarely buy a movie if it's not Movies Anywhere eligible.
  • Can't you just use YouTube? Buy and rent from there.
  • Sure, "you" can, but that's irrelevant to the issue in the article. Did you read it? He specifically mentioned wanting a native MS Movies & TV app because he invested heavily in it on Xbox and PC. I offered a viable option to access at least some of it.
  • This is a device whose time has passed. You are not going to ask people to spend upwards of $1000 and your best argument is "it's great for gaming." It's a fanboy's wet dream. See this cool device I paid $1200 for? It looks like a little book. It's a phone. Oh...and it's also a GameBoy.
    Before you come at me I CURRENTLY own the best phone MS ever made as well as the following:
    Surface Go
    Surface Pro 3
    Surface Book
    Surface Book II
    Surface Pro 7
    Surface Earbuds
    Surface Headphones Put this thing out of its misery!
  • Imho you are completely missing the point. This device will be geared at corporate and prosumers. Price is irrelevant.
  • Price is very relevant when you have better "prosumer" devices from Apple and Samsung.
  • Corporations used to only buy Blackberry phones until every consumer was privately buying iPhone and Android. Companies no longer buy Blackberry.
  • The Steam Deck sold out. The price is $399 for a basic device and $529 for a premium device. Single screen, large device (not pocketable), and controls etc. to make it a pure gaming device. If MSFT makes the Duo with haptic feedback and the controls for gaming are good on one screen, then the gaming use case becomes compelling. So the device with good gaming is a $500 minimum device. If you include the utility of the Android ecosystem along with a better camera, memory, processor, 5G, NFC etc. then the devie is worth more. $1000 more? not really. but $300 more? Probably.
  • Yes of course, the driving force for corporations is that their devices can double as a Gameboy. This is a fan boy article. It doesn't matter how much MS puts into this device it is dead. $1400 for a toy?
  • Its cheaper than foldables though, for example Galaxy Fold 2 / 3, but yeah price is part of the problem. Because of the high price vs mediocre camera (and some missing features) it cannot compete with other expensive phones. MS either needs to improve the camera/features or reduce the price. The rumors are they are going to do the former so a Duo 2 is probably a lot more enticing.
  • I prefer the split screen over the fixed folding design. Plus the right integration with MS extensive and powerful services. Additionally I really appreciate the wider screen for typing when folded back in itself. To me it only needs a better camera array and a small notification screen on the front of the device(as well as attention to SW and Updates). MS can sure do all this and still make money with close to current design. Bezels will shrink over time. But they are truly on to something here.
  • Why would you want a black line down the middle? That makes zero sense. You are really going to argue that the Duo is better with a line down the middle of the screens than if it opened into one large screen without lines? Do you really believe that or are you blindly cheerleading for Microsoft?
  • You're in rare form. While your negativity to everything MS is remarkable, now telling someone his/her preference is wrong takes it to a next level I doubted was even possible. What exactly did MS do to you? I'm genuinely curious about the reason(s).
  • Lmao. 😂 His rear end got bleached by a MS product.
  • You prefer your screen with a line down the middle? Come on.
  • Funny how this site defended the cost at launch, but now say it was overprized.
  • Amazing what reality can do to opinions.
  • It's funny that you think that "this site" is a single entity with a single opinion and is not comprised of a number of different people with potentially differing opinions. It's also funny that you can't seem to comprehend that there might be valid reasons for setting a price too high. Some people seem either incapable or unwilling to consider nuance.
  • And what, exactly, would be "valid reasons for setting a price too high"? So no one buys it? Check. So it gets laughed at in reviews? Check. So you tarnish the brand AND kill any momentum (not to mention market demand) for a Duo 2? Check. Check. Check. So MS could - 9 months later, mind you - dump them at 1/3 the original price? Check. Congratulations Microsoft Marketing Department. You have a solid strategy with measurable goals. Everything is going according to your brilliant plan. The 2 of you can take a month vacation before you tackle the marketing plan for Surface Neo running Windows 10X. Trust me, its The Next Big Thing and thus, deserves your very special marketing talents.
  • Different writers, they even comments on each others articles from time to time. I think its a positive actually, though sometimes it leads to silly articles or situations since I noticed at least 1 writer mainly only giving his opinions instead of arguments. So you get eg 2 well thought-out articles and 1 silly opposite article.
  • First, I don't think that 2 weeks is nearly long enough to understand what this device is and what its best use cases are. Personally, I don't think is is a phone, regardless what Panos says. I'd never take it on a bicycle ride or a kayak paddle and I wish it had a feature like AT&T's number sync so it could easily be my promary device at work, but not a play. Second, there is scant mention that the software issues are really around making Android 10 work with a dual screen device. You put your software discussion in the context of Win 10 Phone on your Lumia 950 and that is simply irrelevant as the former is not a Microsoft-written OS, but the latter certainly was. Further, you make no mention of the intense effort - reported on these very pages of Windows Central - to optimize Android 11 for a dual screen device. So, really, what was the purpose of this "review?" To tell us something that has been repeated time and time and time again - that the Surface Duo is VERY MUCH a first generation device? Everyone interested in this device knows that already. M$ have budget for three Surface Duo generations (per the last communication I had from D.R.) what's the point of not pointing out the progress that has been made with this unit and acknowledging or at least asking, how much of its flukiness is down to the limitations of Android 10?
  • I would love to use my Duo as a daily driver, but I can't in all honesty. My iPhone 12 Pro does everything I need it to do and faster. If and when the Duo 2 comes out with stable software and all the great ideas everyone has here, I would have no hesitation in switching over. In fact, I am more than ready when that day comes. My truck has booth Apple Car Play and Android Auto, I have multiple watches that works on Android, my SPX and Surface Laptop 3 already have Phone Companion, and most of my core apps are already on the Duo.
  • Pretty brilliant move to split two screens rather than folding screen. I notice I take notes with my surface pen on my duo and resting my hand on the screen. Can't do that with Samsung Notes specially with there screen being skinny. Duo nailed at what is intentional use, a small thin pocket notebook. Microsofts goal has always been bridging technology and human interaction with day to day objects. If you look at bill in the early 90s, he had demos of pcs looking like notebooks, with also working pen. That's something it'll never go away. I can't wait to see the evolution of the Duo. I'm skipping V2 this fall, cuz V 1 is still working great for me. V3 should be a huge jump.
  • Having spoiled by two screens, I have one to read your dumb comments, and watch Netflix on the other. People can't seem to grasp this concept. Most of you already have two computer monitors, to play videogames and watch porn on the other. You're all stuck in a bubble.
  • But the two computer monitors are both 24” or more. Not two 5.6” screens that fold out into a sort-of-8.1”-screen-but-with-a-big-line-between-the-screens. You are in a bubble. The MS bubble. The world has totally rejected this absurdly overpriced curiosity. MS can’t even give them away.
  • "Not two 5.6” screens that fold out into a sort-of-8.1”-screen-but-with-a-big-line-between-the-screens.", but you do keep those two 5.6" screen closer to your eyes. Like how many people prefer watching movies on tablets while home even. And even a single screen Duo would be useable so I do not see the problem with getting 2 of those (except maybe the price, but that same argument applies to foldable phones).
  • As a co sumer device,yes, but it is great for enterprise. The main issue is that phones are primarily entertainment devices, and foldable will not be that outside of movie watching. They will be niche, but could substitute for tablets if a PC / laptop is already issued. I can't tell you how many salespeople really use the iPad as a giant phone and entertainment device that the company pays for.
  • Yes, totally agree with the use assessment
  • Only Microsoft fans do. The rest of the didn’t see the point.
  • I can't wait for the V2, also! I love having a to-do list on one screen to keep me focused, especially when I go down rabbit holes like reading Internet comments 😂
  • Interesting read, indeed. Imagine the ecosystem if Microsoft has maintained the Band. It was their way in on the Health angle together with their Health Vault which they shuttered. The problem was that it was tethered to Windows Phone/Mobile and that got cancelled. They should have pivoted Band to Windows and thought of creative ways to make it work. I think it took a while for Microsoft to realize /accept that they are into hardware as much as software, and only a compelling device allows any software "magic" they might have to truly shine. The mature Surface line and Microsoft growing outside of the only-Windows mindset allows them to launch (or re-launch) creative standalone and companion devices such as the Band running Android Wear OS for example. Panos being in charge of the OS user experience aspects of Microsoft means he helps to keep a tight vision and focus on the tiny details (perfectionism) as he does for the Surface hardware division. Let's hope we see the positive benefits of this as time goes on.
  • Why would anyone buy a band based on their desktop operating system!?
  • Load up Windows 11, phone, NFC, LTE and Android apps. It’ll be heaven
  • Yeah I am hoping they are going that way, or eg keep the Duo on Android and release a single screen Surface Phone with W11.
  • When it comes to mobile hardware, Microsoft has burnt me more times than I care to admit. This time, at least I picked up a Duo "cheap". Even if Microsoft dropped the entire line* of Android phones, it's not like I spent +$1400 on it. I want to believe, I want to believe... Microsoft, please make a Duo 2 with a real camera. And maybe NFC, it'd be nice to not have to carry around my credit card and subway card all the time. #firstworldproblems * heh - if Microsoft makes the Duo 2, it'll be a line!
  • "This time, at least I picked up a Duo "cheap". Even if Microsoft dropped the entire line* of Android phones, it's not like I spent +$1400 on it.", it does not even matter much if MS would drop it (they probably won't) since its Android, everything will still work and MS will still give security updates (even my lumia 950 got 4 years of security updates).
  • Probably going against the grain here, but for me it's a productivity device and secondarily, a phone. I use it for work, ie Teams, Slack, Outlook, VPN, etc. and also as a phone. 2nd Duo for me, as the first iteration was too buggy. Bought the 2nd one and what a vast difference the software updates have made! I too hope MS is listening, and they stick with the Duo; they have a captive audience who is rooting for them. Cheers (and no, I'm not Panos P.)!