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Watch Panos Panay's Microsoft Surface Duo launch press briefing

Duo Press
Duo Press

What you need to know

  • Microsoft officially launched the Surface Duo earlier this week.
  • Now you can watch Chief Product Officer Panos Panay's press unveiling, delivered ahead of the launch.
  • The Surface Duo is available to preorder now starting at $1,400 at Microsoft (opens in new tab), Best Buy (opens in new tab), and AT&T (opens in new tab).

Ahead of the Surface Duo's launch earlier this week, Microsoft's Chief Product Officer, Panos Panay, delivered a briefing to the press to reveal more on the device, along with its price and release date. Now, you can check out that press briefing for yourself to learn more about how Microsoft is positioning Surface Duo.

The briefing offers a deep dive into how the Surface Duo functions, including how apps span across screens and behave as you dive into work. You also get a better look at why Panay says the Surface Duo is more than just a phone.

The Surface Duo brings two 5.6-inch displays together in one device with Android 10. Microsoft has customized its Android apps to work well with two displays. Regular apps can also be paired to open two at once, with one hitting each screen.

The Surface Duo has received some criticism for features it's lacking, like NFC and wireless charging. "Surface Duo is purpose-built for mobile productivity and giving people new ways to complete complex tasks while away from their computer," Microsoft said after Duo's launch. "With this core priority complete, we will listen to customer feedback and apply that lens to future iterations of the product."

Surface Duo is available to preorder now starting at $1,400 and will be available September 10.

Microsoft Surface Duo

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Dan Thorp-Lancaster is the Editor in Chief for Windows Central. He began working with Windows Central as a news writer in 2014 and is obsessed with tech of all sorts. You can follow Dan on Twitter @DthorpL and Instagram @heyitsdtl. Got a hot tip? Send it to daniel.thorp-lancaster@futurenet.com.

123 Comments
  • As with any new tech, most will wait until second gen. That's when they'll have a lot of the wrinkles ironed out.
  • Yeah... I still have yet to see a single person use the device with one hand.... So much for adapting to me. What if I'm carrying groceries, or standing on a subway train, then what? What if you're walking down the street carrying something and a phone call comes in? Do you just drop everything to pull it out of your pocket and unfold it? They basically created a two screen foldable tablet not a phone. A Galaxy Fold is more useful as a phone that has a tablet and multitasking capabilities. The Duo is basically a multitasking tablet that has some phone capabilities. I'll wait for a v2 or v3 when they've worked out all of these issues. For now I've just replaced my 950XL with an Android flagship slab. What I really want is a dual is a dual screen Surface Pro that has similar features added to Windows.
  • I'm fairly sure they are trying their best not to call it a phone.. I have one preordered and i'm very well aware that there are better "phones" i can buy for the money.. i'm more interested in the "multitasking tablet that has some phone capabilities" you described which is exactly where this device shines..
    That said, I have no doubt the v2 will address many of your issues and the v3 will finally nail the vision..
  • "Yeah... I still have yet to see a single person use the device with one hand.... So much for adapting to me."
    My Galaxy Z Flip is also not much of a one-handed phone, nor this Note 20 Ultra, or iPhone 11 Pro Max. One-handed is important for some people. Just like being more productive with dual screens is for others.
  • Easy. Answer the call from the wireless earbuds that most people have nowadays. We live in a work where we are "expected" to drop everything and answer our phone. Imagine if we waited until it was convenient for us to respond.
  • Pretty simple solution for that actually, just put the phone unfolded completely in your pocket (Duo is thin so it can be used by one hand). If you're afraid of glass breaking, put 2 (glass) screen protectors on it (combine that with the delivered cover and the Duo will be difficult to damage).
  • If you're carrying groceries, drop them on the ground and grab at your phone
    wildly and desparately try to answer it. If you're on a train, then jump out the doors, roll on the ground, at the same
    time pull the phone out to answer it. if you're walking down a street and the phone rings, run around like a madman,
    and yell to everyone that you have an important phone call to answer, and tell
    them to be quiet. there, solved all your problems, aren't you happy you always answer your phone. later
    -1
  • OMG a riddle! Is this The Matrix? Do you know Morpheus?? You are so cool.
  • Comedy gold, thanks for this :)
  • When I need to use my phone one-handed I just use no hands, between ear buds (I use Jabras on the go and Surface Headphones 2 at home), a basic smart/fitness watch (I use an Ionic), and then Your Phone, most of the trivial functions don't even require I open the phone.
  • "The Phone"...that you are accustomed to is when you flip the screens (of the Duo) so that the screens are on the outside.
  • I'm sorry I'm at a loss to what's the issue. You do realize the phone can be flipped? Also, how do the thousands of people who currently have phone covers that flip use their phones? They flip it. This is not new at all. There have been phone covers that are meant to flip open in order for you to talk on the phone or even work it. How is this an issue or any different? There is none.
  • I don't agree. It all depends on your usage habits. You surely need to adapt to a new form factor. As for your point, just have the Duo unfolded with screens facing outside if you really have the absolute need to receive a phone call urgently with one hand. It's just a matter of your habit, right? The aspect ratio of Galaxy fold is strange. In phone mode, the screen size is too tall. In unfolded tablet mode, the screen size is too square. On the contrary, I like the aspect ratios of Duo much more. Duo is a phone which can also be turned into a tablet with ease. It serves both purposes.
  • Panos used Surface Duo with one hand on this video.
  • Nice presentation. It's good to see the device working in real life.
    I look forward to more news as we get closer to the release date.
  • I just watched it all the way through.
    Wow! I think everybody is REALLY underestimating the amount of work Microsoft did with the device software. I still think $1500 is a lil high for MS's first foray back from Windows Phone, but that video made feel like the price is much more reasonable now. From a productivity standpoint, this thing is in a whole other league. Anybody complaining about cameras is missing the point... this thing seems like a beast.
  • I skimmed through this. I got a new phone just last year and I'm not spending $1400 on a phone ever, but the talk made me want one of these. I've been using Galaxy Note phones to read something in one half of the screen and write something in the other for years now. This setup just makes that so much more natural.
  • Nice. But not $1400 nice. I also cannot give up the following for it:
    1. iMessage
    2. A good camera array (iPhone 11 Pro Max)
    3. Apple Watch But if I were on Android, I might be tempted (though the camera would probably be a no-go, still - as my phone is my primary camera these days).
  • You could be on Android ;)
  • 1. Why is iMessage so important when there is stuff like whatsapp? About everyone has whatsapp (which end to end encrypted anyway, only meta data can be collected).
    2. Iphones camera's are good but not special anymore compared to certain android phones (duo's camera is probably similar to iphone 8 though, so budget midrange).
    3. There are probably wearables as good as apple's watch for android. Not saying you should buy the duo 1 though (it is overpriced for a surface product), but I would personally not be limited to a certain OS for those reasons. :-)
  • I'd also add options like signal and telegram are good alternatives to whatsapp, but of course you have to get your family/friends on them
  • Yeah I especially like Signal to because it is still end-to-end encrypted while it runs on desktops too (/without trackers). But indeed not many people use it yet, but maybe that will change.
  • I said the same but some people don't want to install apps with items they have natively. I pre-ordered a Note 20 Ultra upgrading my Note 10+ I want to buy this so bad.... But I literally use Samsung Pay and NFC religiously as well as I have kids and my phone is primary shooter for life moments. I think Rev 2 will be killer, I am hoping that I convince our reps at the corporate job to let us engineers try out though. Now for a work phone this would be great hands down which is what they are going for but for primary phone outside of business sector hard to justify.
  • Yeah I would wait for Duo 2 too, Duo 1 seems more suited to companies/entreprise sector where the high price can be depreciated/written off.
  • WhatsApp isn't a thing in the US.
  • Among other strengths, it looks like the ultimate device for Kindle readers.
  • You mean other than a Kindle or iPad Mini?
  • ... Which you can put in your pocket?
  • Ah, the old "Why have just one device to do all your things when you can carry TWO around with you!" defense 🤦‍♂️
  • No it doesn't. You only need one screen at a time to read a book unless you are taking notes. Otherwise the second screen is totally unnecessary.
  • You need to rest your fingers sometime and don't comment on an item you don't won't or need. It might just slow down the progression of arthritis in your fingers and give users the option of purchasing the device they choose without your opinion. In case you're not aware, everyone has a right to buy what they want including you!
  • Then why aren’t books printed like legal pads?
  • Think that through. The mechanics of a physical book are a bit different than a digital device...
  • If you have 30 minutes to spare, definitely watch this video. I'm quite impressed how well this handles the dual displays. There really seems to be more thought put into the execution this way as opposed fo the Fold, in my opinion. My only wish is that there were demonstrations of the camera UI, but I'm sure those will pop up soon enough.
  • Yeah, after watching this, I certainly felt that this dual screen approach was the right way to go. However, that's really the point of a showcase like this. Would it really be that handy in everyday, real world use, not just during a demo? Maybe, maybe not. Either way, Panos and MS have done a solid job articulating the value proposition of the Duo.
  • I think it would be handy, just not handy enough to sacrifice a good camera and pay >600 bucks extra. If I wouldn't care about money I think this device would be a second choice though (first probably be the note ultra because of the build in pen and camera).
  • Dang it. I hate them for charging too much and for leaving out key features (nfc, qi, etc) but this video makes me want the Duo anyways.
  • My thoughts exactly (especially leaving out Qi, waterproofing, and a good camera) . :-) I know the reporting is that the camera is mediocre at best. Do we know anything about it yet? Might it turn out to be pretty good with software?
  • I would guess similar to iphone 8 camera, maybe better night photos or such because of advances in software?
  • I think the price can be justified. I mean you have to look at not just the main details of cpu, ram, no nfc, qi, etc. There are things like the pixel matching between the two displays along with color calibration. A huge issue on the Fold was latency differences between the two halves of the screen including color calibration. In addition the effort they put into the OS probably cost a pretty penny. I wish it was $1,000 but there are a lot of technical things people overlook on this phone.
  • Looks so good. Google really hit it out of the park with Android. So smooth, so fast, and so powerful. The apps look and work great together even on this unconventional hardware. No wonder it took over so quickly. Thanks Panos for showing us how great Android is. It is now obvious why you didn't bother trying to compete with it.
  • Not in all aspects. The landscape rotation is still one of the slowest in the industry and this applies to any vanilla android installation on the latest version.
  • Remember when you used to really put your heart into trolling? Those were the days.
  • Android is garbage, and it only took over, because it was free. Biggest mistake Microsoft made was charging a license fee for Windows Phone.
  • No, it's because Android was out and running years before Microsoft had a competent OS...which they hamstrung by segmenting the user base with bad update paths to WP8 and W10M. Even if WP7 had been free, it still would have had a problem with the app gap. It's not like they didn't have OEMs at the launch.
  • WP7 had less of an app gap than Android. It even had Netflix first! Android wasn't that big when WP7 launched. Microsoft needed to hit a home run and they grounded out. WP7 just sucked and it sucked big time. 1. All the phones had ****** internals, similarly to the Duo, a year behind everything else. Microsoft mandated everything hardware, even what buttons and their placement! 2. OEM's hands were tied when it came to software. They couldn't modify the devices or add any features or anything interesting while Android gave them a blank canvas. No excitement for the OEMs to build. 3. The interface was polarizing at best. For the most part, people just didn't like it and Microsoft left no options to customize it. W8 cemented the hatred of the interface. 4. Developers were extremely limited in app development. Available APIs were very limiting and didn't excite developers. 5. All these things added up to devices that weren't exciting, making them almost impossible to market. Android had all these things, making them super easy to advertise and build excitement for. Hindsight is 20/20, it is now quite obvious what killed WP. Gates even said it himself, they didn't put the proper effort into WP due to being distracted by the anti-trust lawsuits. It added up to all these issues that were impossible to overcome.
  • Android is and was great but the dual screen optimizations shown here are Microsoft's doing (that new in-house team) and yes that stuff will be implemented into Android just like Knox from Samsung was. You and I both know THAT'S not the reason it took over. You've said the reasons multiple times before so why try to shoehorn this in now? I've seen you troll much better before. Bring back that younger bleach that had tenacity and wittiness in the trolling. This lackluster performance is embarrassing and a shallow shell of what you used to do. Microsoft is giving you the tools to empower you to achieve more...not less
  • No. The things this phone are doing are mostly built into Android. Google did the heavy lifting. The apps resizing and rotating and switching screens, that is Android. Microsoft just massaged it a bit, put their spin on it, which is awesome I might add. Some really great ideas here. It would have taken several years for Microsoft to even begin to have a device this capable and they still wouldn't have the apps ready to go. Android let them build this amazing device and experience in under a year!
  • Android did all the heavy lifting? Citation needed please.
  • I mean, the device is running Android. Unless you meant to ask him "Google did all the heavy lifting?"
  • Yes. Android is doing those things bc this device runs Android...THANKS TO MICROSOFT. You're just wrong, slim.
    Yes android is great. But this device and experience wasn't built under a year. You're just factually wrong about that as well.
    #bringbackoldbleach
    This one is trash 😂 🤣
    Let me find out Rubino humbled you. It's looking like he finally got to you and put you in your place. You can't even troll well anymore! You used to come with alternative facts. Now it's just flat out wrong information
  • Microsoft developed Android? I am quite sure Google did! I remember last year when they announced Duo, they said it was a last minute thing to put Android on it. It sounded like they had just started. Maybe it was a bit but than a year, but it didn't sound like much.
  • A few companies developed Android. It's an open source project. And I already provided you with an example with Knox from Samsung being injected. Don't tell me you're having trouble reading now, bleached.
    To be more explicit, YES MICROSOFT'S WORK IS INCLUDED IN THE DEVELOPMENT OF ANDROID. Well before the duo's development too. That why Microsoft would get royalties from EVERY Android device sold because of its patents unless they strike a deal. Duh! Old bleached was better! Get this weak version out of here! I'm going to tell you how your fantasy girl would tell you if you ever mustered up the charm to bag her... Come harder!
  • Sure is funny how other OEMs like Samsung, OPPO, and Nokia, BB and others have forked versions of Android running on the devices and you don't have the same, 'Google hit it out of the park attitude'. You're just a Microsoft hater who will never give them credit for anything no matter what they do. You've says it yourself, companies copy others tech all the time so event of MS was using vanilla Android which they're not why isn't it okay with you. Furthermore, why aren't you dating they same thing about all the other OEMs running Android on their hardware and selling devices to consumers?
  • None of those OEMs have forked Android and neither did Microsoft. Forked and skinned mean two different things. Look at my comment just above. I say the ideas Microsoft out together here are awesome.
  • Solely address me so I can continue making a fool out of you in this comment section today. I'm going to bring the old bleached out of you. This one is trash.
    I'm your focus bleached
  • I'm not going to lie, that was the smoothest transitioning between displays, etc on android. Everyone complaining about the 855 being "last gen" doesn't get it isn't just about the CPU. They must have done some great optimization on the OS level.
  • If you watch the CNET video where the internals are discussed in a bit more detail, it seems Microsoft did some meaningful work in customizing the controllers for the device.
  • This is good stuff. It's only going to get better. I think this is a Surface Pro moment once again. Time will tell.
  • Android had its "Surface Pro" moment well before the Surface Pro. This isn't anything new.
  • They should have had that video as a public event. It frames the device way different from the reports all about lack of specs etc. I am concerning getting one. Now I need to buy an iPhone 8 off of ebay for the trade in value...
  • There are no public events.
  • When I say public event I mean allow everyone to join in real-time remotely. Not in person. They lost a day of public sentiment which I bet hurt their momentum on pre-orders. If they let public view this they could have controlled the message instead of depending on tech press who will put their own spin on it...
  • Tech press has met this with anticipation and curiosity which is a good thing in marketing.
  • $1400 is too steep, but the vision is there. I think they're on the right track.
  • Did you see how quickly he tried to get past the awful low-light photos from the camera?
    For a $1,400 device, you would think they would have at least tried in the camera space. It is very important for all kinds of uses. But especially if you want it to be the only device you take with you - which this thing is very close to being for a lot of folks. I'll be back to see if there is a v.3 as that's when MS tends to do things well.
  • "For a $1,400 device, you would think they would have at least tried in the camera space."
    I think we should wait for actual revies first vs. seeing photos in a video on your computer. That said, getting the camera right on a v1 is nearly impossible. Razer couldn't do it, neither could Essential (run by the guy who did Android!). Panos has also stated that this v1 is about getting the core of the dual screen experience right and worrying about the other stuff for v2 and v3. For many people that means sitting out v1, and I think (and they think) that's totally fine. But let's stop BSing, even if the camera is "pretty good" everyone would still have the same complaint about it being $1,400. Because why spend $1,400 for a phone with just a pretty good camera when you can buy a great one, blah blah.
  • I think those complaining are doing it just for the sake of it.
    Even if the Duo had a 'perfect' camera, SD865, 5G, NFC, near zero bezels, etc. they wouldn't still buy it, they'd complain about Android and why it should be iOS or something. It amazes me really why people even bother, like there are a billion great alternatives out there, pick the one that suites you, let those that find this interesting explore it. It is definitely NOT for everyone (like all things in the world), but that does not make it any less a great product. If one does not find the Duo useful, just move on and leave others in peace, I don't think that is hard right??
  • Yup. It's weird for me too. I very much understand people who think (a) this is not for me (b) it's too much (c) I'd rather wait until v2/v3, etc (d) I need [insert x feature]. Those are very rationale positions. What I don't get is trying to declare it bad for everyone, or not seeing how some people may appreciate what this does.
  • We live in a narcissistic world, where way too many people think the world revolves around them.
  • Nah, if they had just put in Qi, even a decent camera, and a microSD slot, I would have pre-ordered. The bezels, lack of 5G and SD865, and NFC don't bother me.
  • Camera is also a very relative thing. When I was out kayaking today with the kids I took a $150 Nikon water camera. When I do astrophotography I have a dSLR with a tracking tripod, lenses, and a remote. When I am going around everyday I use any number of phones I have around (ranging from a midrange Xperia, to an iPhone 8, to a Note 9). I have blown up images from a WP7 Samsung Focus to 8X10 and had people comment how pretty the shots were. I think the camera will be fine, but people will ***** and pixel peep. For me, the camera is second to the productivity boost. There is a reason I have multiple monitors at home and can really see a use to this in my work flow. Already pre-ordered. Still a step up in internals from my Note 9 anyway :)
  • Thank you for stating why the Duo is useful in your everyday flow and not letting trolls deter you from ordering! I think I'm jumping in too just waiting to if att will offer a bundle toe deal in a couple of weeks
  • Don't mind bleached. Im beginning to think he sold his account. This one is sun-sat weak
  • I am one of them who think very negative on surface duo because of price and spec or somthing else.
    But I might be a little changing after seeing this video.
    Surface duo is still too expensive for me to buy but MS seem to do good job to build this regardless of success or failure.
    Any way, it is excited to see more detail reviews on this phone soon.
  • DuoOS looks very nice (also like the square icons, i sometimes miss click the round ones in android because i press it in the corner by accident). Really hope the duo 2 will be priced more accessible or feature a more budget entry model.
  • It's going to match the rounded corners coming to w10 Tad bit different shape but still looks good
  • I am fine with subtle rounded corners, just not rounded icons :-)
  • The biggest mistake they made was not including nfc
  • If the biggest problem with the phone is that it is lacking NFC, then they obviously have done an amazing job on everything else. If NFC is a big problem get a watch with NFC - it's better than having to pull your phone out anyway.
  • It's not a single thing that is "the biggest mistake." NFC's for tap-to pay is a tough thing for some, but I never use it. The loss of a headphone jack hurts more, though I could survive it. To me, it's that we lose Qi for its users like myself, NFC for tap-to-pay users, headphone jack for audiophiles, a strong camera setup (for photo buffs), and 5G and WiFi 6 for networking futureproofing. On top of that, the price is to the moon, it's a new form factor from a new Android OEM, and we're kind of stuck beta testing a lot of new ideas and features.
  • Nice device and I love how I can be productive with it. Definitely it is in my list of future device. I don't like the way you answer the calls though.
  • I can't stand Panos presentation style/tone but man does he makes me want to drop a stim check on this phone!
  • Heard it first time. I think Panay is among the best presenters I have ever seen. You can see that he believes in his products and shows his emotions about it too. Does Microsoft usually miss showing the important features during demos, yes have seen happens so many time but i think that is MS not individual. Apple can show a sub features within iMessage and make look iphone magical and MS didnt even show great feature Link in the promo.
  • How was your 1st time being #PumpedbyPanos2020? Did you enjoy all 35 minutes of it? Do you want more or did you have enough?
  • I'm debating on the Duo or the galaxy note 20 ultra or just keeping my s10+ another year. I can get $550 from Samsung or Microsoft which brings the price down. However I use my phone a lot for photography because I'm too lazy to carry the dslr. Galaxy note 20 is what I wanted to get until I realized the back was plastic and it has no expandable storage. Galaxy note 20 ultra has a better camera and expandable storage but it's $300 more so I'd be paying $7xx instead of $4xx. Duo looks amazing for business and multitasking even without windows. The camera specs are questionable though, and it doesn't have expandable memory. Otherwise I would have pulled the trigger. So I'm stuck. I might be keeping the s10+ and chancing getting less for it next year.
  • If you care about photography and aren't willing to start carrying your DSLR as a workflow change, then I would advise against the Duo (at least until we see proof that it can take photos that satisfy your needs).
  • I'm in the exact same boat and thought process as you, except I have an S8+ (which has been wonderful, but battery is on it's last leg) so I really can't wait out for a gen2 of this.
  • Was it just me or did they have a Surface Duo with a red bumper in the background when they were in the lab? Perhaps that will be one of the accessories Microsoft rolls out post launch.
  • They haven't shown them in any customer-facing outlets yet, but there are three other bumper colors in a training document I have access to. Glacier, Ember, Ice Blue, and Graphite. Ember is practically Poppy Red, not really sure why they renamed it.
  • They probably should have taken the Windows logo off of it. Imagine what this could have been, if Satya hadn't killed Windows Phone. And for those hoping that the Neo show what Windows on this type of form factor would be, just give up now. Windows 10X probably won't see the light of day, and there is no way people are going to bother making UWP apps now, thanks to the the Duo and the Your Phone app.
  • They couldn't get this experience with 10X or WP. There is a reason they pivoted. It just isn't as flexible or complete as Android is. It would have taken years more to get it to this level. You are probably right. 10X will be cancelled. I wouldn't be surprised if Neo runs Android too when it launches. This demo is just too good.
  • Wrong again! Microsoft just made a switch for all flavors of core os looking like w10 when Terry left. Andromeda os looked completely different then 10x but you wouldn't know that. Therefore you don't have ANY clue how long it took/would've taken.
    So trash. Bring back old bleached! You need more Microsoft so you can be empowered to achieve more trolling.
    Get the duo so you can research what you think you're talking about on one screen and type out sensible trolls on the next. Single screen is preventing you from simultaneously doing both which is why your weak now 🤣😂🤣
  • "They probably should have taken the Windows logo off of it."
    Yikes