Who is Surface Duo for? Don't overthink it.

Surface Duo Rear
Surface Duo Rear (Image credit: Microsoft)

This week has been rather momentous as Microsoft pulled the curtain back on its dual-screen mobile device dubbed Surface Duo. Pricing and availability were revealed, and as expected, both did not quite meet the hopes of many techies.

One question that comes up frequently is who is Surface Duo for – as in, who is expected to buy this thing?

I see a lot of handwaving about how Surface Duo won't sell to the masses, it's not a consumer device, it's too expensive, grandma won't buy it, Billy down the street has no need for it, and how LG is a better option (even though no one buys LG phones). But all of this misses the point.

The answer to who should buy Surface Duo is simple, and I think a lot of our core audience is overanalyzing it. Surface Duo is for Surface enthusiasts and those that rely on Microsoft's services. It is also for people who want a different Android experience that is more focused on productivity and creativity. That is a niche group, but niche isn't a bad thing when it comes to new technology.

This hypothesis is not me riffing or taking a guess. Microsoft's chief product officer Panos Panay has said this multiple times.

In an in-depth interview with Fast Company, Panay says matter of factly that Surface Duo is for "Surface fans who live in the Microsoft app ecosystem." Panay reiterates the position again in the Surface Duo press presentation (embedded above), which I implore you to watch. Towards the beginning, Panay states that Duo is about "challenging conventional thinking … that leads to building new categories," and after the Surface Duo sizzler reel, he remarks, "We built this product for Surface fans, there's no question about it, for people who love Microsoft …." Later Panay gives a meta-analysis that Duo is "the Microsoft you love and the Android you know."

Surface Duo is about "challenging conventional thinking … that leads to building new categories."

And that's it. Microsoft is not playing 4D chess.

Surface Duo is not here to defeat Samsung or Apple. Surface Duo means to start a new conversation, and it's doing that. Surface Duo is about what mobile computing could be and how it can be better. Surface Duo has a lot of interest and curiosity, even from those with no plans to buy one, which is the whole point of it.

Will that lack of mass purchasing always be the case? Of course not. I've stated in our podcast that Surface Duo is about testing the theory of dual-screen devices. It's a stripped-down, core experience that will go into real people's hands to see what they do with it. Future iterations of Surface Duo will add those features that are glaringly absent in this iteration. Microsoft is also hoping Surface Duo drives other device makers to embrace the concept, too — it's not just for them.

Surface Duo Press Upright Media

Source: Microsoft (Image credit: Source: Microsoft)

The trajectory and eventual goal for the Surface Duo should be evident. The first version gets people talking with early adopters, Surface fans, and general tech enthusiasts taking the plunge and buying one. Most people will simply look on with curiosity. Surface Duo v2 will fix shortcomings of the first model, and more people will consider buying one that time around. By the third version, Microsoft, in principle, will have made the dual-screen mobile device that meets the needs of its target demographic.

Surface Duo is meant for a specific demographic. It's for Surface and Microsoft enthusiasts, early adopters.

Of course, none of this matters if the core experience of Surface Duo — that two screens are better for productivity and creativity — falls flat. That could happen. This possibility is why its price, camera quality, lack of Qi, or NFC does not mater. No one can justify a $1,400 category-defining device if it fails at its core experience even if it has a whizbang camera or lets you buy a Slim Jim at 7-11 without your wallet. But if the dual-display approach works, adding Qi, NFC, and improving the camera experience later is solvable. Getting the foundation right in a new device experience is the hard part.

As far as price and it sinking sales? There are three things to consider:

  1. Discounts. Microsoft routinely puts new hardware on sale near the holiday season. This strategy happened last year with Surface Pro X, Surface Pro 7, and Surface Laptop 3. I suspect we will see Surface Duo drop in price later this year. Companies often build in a higher price point so they can do this to drive sales. There's also the whole trade-in thing.
  2. Expectations. If Microsoft expects to sell 200,000 Surface Duos and makes that many, but it only sells 80,000 – that's a big failure. If, however, Microsoft plans to sell 10,000 and sells 9,100, then it is a success. Microsoft learned a hard lesson about "big launches" with Surface Pro 1 and 2, where it had to write down $900 million due to overstock. This is why there is no global release. If you strictly control inventory and have it mirror demand, your product is not a failure because you matched expectations. That's a very different definition from the success of a "mass consumer product," but it is also not wrong.
  3. Proprietary everything is expensive. Surface Duo has the world's thinnest touch display that supports inking in a mobile device. The battery, the motherboard, the inking processor, the dual sensors, the antenna design, are all custom made and not mass-produced. That drives up costs. Anyone who studies the Bill of Materials (BOM) for a smartphone knows the display is the most expensive part. That's true here too, especially when you have two, and they have touch, pen support, and a wide color gamut.

Yes, I know those are not the answers you want to hear, but that is the reality of innovation. New tech is always more than what we want to pay for it. It is why I sat out for Tesla's electric car revolution until (1) it came down in price, and (2) the infrastructure was there to support it. Both of those things happened in 2019 but were not true in 2012.

Surface Duo is meant to start a new conversation.

Right now, Surface Duo is intended for a specific, narrow demographic. It's for Surface and Microsoft enthusiasts, early adopters, and those who want to try something new. It's not complicated. As this platform grows, so will the audience, with many going from onlookers to participants.

The bottom line is Surface Duo is driving the conversation in a very mature and stagnant smartphone market. There is a reason why those who refuse to buy one are commenting on nearly all our articles. There is also an explanation of why the tech press has been quite positive on Surface Duo. The core concept makes sense. Your piqued curiosity is why Surface Duo exists.

Microsoft doesn't need to justify the existence of the Surface Duo

But if you don't think it's worth it now, that's fine too. Sit back and enjoy the ride because it is happening.

Microsoft Surface Duo


Daniel Rubino

Daniel Rubino is the Editor-in-chief of Windows Central, head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been covering Microsoft since 2007 when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, laptops, next-gen computing, and for some reason, watches. Before all this tech stuff, he worked on a Ph.D. in linguistics, watched people sleep (for medical purposes!), and ran the projectors at movie theaters because it was fun.

  • Dan - Any insight as to whether Microsoft will have a fair trade-in program for those upgrading from Duo 1 to Duo 2 when it comes out?
  • Seeing as they're taking Pixels, Samsungs and Apple phones now, can't see why they wouldn't do that for Duo 2.
  • I think the key part of that is 'fair'. I'd trade in my Surface Go, but not for $120, with charger. (mines the 8G, 128, wLTE)
  • Right. I'm considering getting the Duo 1, but i'm pretty sure i'm going to want the Duo 2 when it comes around. So i'd be kicking myself for buying something now that will be worth a fraction of the price a year from now.
  • Most smartphones are like that though
  • You're right, Microsoft doesn't give fair Trade-in value for their own products but more for other OEM units respects when i paid $1300 for my surface laptop 2017 edition which is in mint condition and runs like a champ still. They want to give me $160 which is insane IMO.
  • Lol, ridiculous offer. Just sell it 2nd handed for much more. Perhaps they factor in devices in bad condition too?
  • No one is forcing people to buy it and despite that, some still find a way to moan about a first iteration of a new product category.
  • Comments like these are so dumb. It's not about "forcing you to buy it," and suggesting as much is the epitome of a strawman. It is, and always has been, about expectations and reality. WC itself sold the narrative of "starting at $1,000," which I think most people considered to be high, but justifiably so. I was ready to buy in at around $1,000-1,200 (since I wanted the 256 GB model). They then came in at $1,400-1,500. The issue isn't "they're forcing me to buy it," it's that they managed to jump above what were seen as lofty price goals, and by about 30-40%. $1,200 and I'm pre-ordering it because it's cool tech and I'll accept the compromises. $1,400 with the Slim Pen in the box and I grumble a little but still buy. Instead, I'd be at $1,650 for the model I need (128 GB is insufficient). People are disappointed because they WANTED to pay a premium, but MS overshot even the high-end pricing rumors and forced people out.
  • Well put. Also factor in only 3 years of support + an extra $200 or so for a care plan and it's double the cost of what is reasonably expected.
  • Granted its 3 years of upgrade support (so that means Android feature updates), security updates might be longer. A care plan might not be needed if you put screen protectors on it and perhaps use the cover.
  • Bottom line is, it's that your expectations and other people will always differ, that why you have the freedom to choose is this device is right for you based on what you expected! The problem is, is that people want to force their expectations on everyone else and tell then what they should or shouldn't purchase. It's a bit presumptuous to basically assume those people aren't aware of the specs listed and still want the device despite ours shortcoming compared to other dual screen offerings. What needs to happen is we should let people decide what's right for then without bashing them or the company who chose to release the device with the specs of their choice.
  • Exactly this. What I think some people here ignore is how this device is overpriced compared to other gen1 Surface devices (heck this device makes the ProX look like a bargain).
  • for what it does and the form factor, is it over priced? how much would a device like this have cost when the Surface line first started? would it even have been possible to do at all?
  • I do not mean to the Pro 1, that is too long ago (even than though MS included a wacom pen with it). Duo has a cool form factor, as well as the other Surface devices when they were launched for their time (Book 1, Studio 1, Pro X). Other Surface devices were not necessarily overpriced when you factor in the sum of parts (digitzer + integration of magnets or cradle, tablet de-attach option, dgpu's etc). Duo is I think overpriced, an entry price of 1000/1100 dollars (possible 64 gb ssd instead of 128 gb) would have been fair I think. The Duo misses something to make it appealing for consumers at $1400 in my opinion, eg an integrated or included pen or included Surface earbuds or charging for Surface Slimpen. Both could have helped its marketing a lot too (better pen synergy could have been a match in heaven with one note + some other app dual tasking, while Earbuds could help with taking phone calls etc.).
    The only thing (for consumer market I mean) that could potentially still make a strong point for the Duo is its decent upgrade support and DuoOS. Of course for entreprise it is different since businesses can write off costs.
  • Daniel suggested that part of the $1400 price tag takes into account sales that will likely happen around the holidays, so maybe around November/December, you could see that $1200 price tag.
  • people wanting to buy something they can't afford is the way of things.
    just decide to spend the money or save up first
  • The problem to me is the cost. It almost sounds like MSFT is viewing this as nothing more than a prototype, and if so how can any personal user justify $1,400 to help them test it. If they drop the price closer to $1,000 I am in, but until then I wait on V2. I love my HP Elite and loved its predecessors. But MSFT has a bad record with consumer devices. Zune was superior and they could not market it. Windows Mobile is a superior experience but they could not market it. They had tablet computers before there even was such a thing and could not market them. All the early attempts at Surface failed but they committed to it and it finally made it. So are they really committed or is their testing at OUR expense and just another Zune? Who can tell? Waiting on V2 or a much lower price point on V1 for sure.
  • excuses again. so if you want this device, you still need a high end phone for pictures and calls. good compromise .... not !.
  • How? The device can take a call just fine, and most people use wireless headsets anyway. The camera is an unknown, but I expect it will fall in the middle of the crowd, which is still better than most of the phones people have had.
  • Yea but those cameras most people have that it is better than, didn't cost them $1400. Not saying it is a deal breaker, but saying it is better than those on $300 phones isn't a good marketing pitch.
  • I will be using Surface Duo as my only phone...
  • And if you weren't working for Windows Central? Honest question really...
  • If I can remember, Zac's been using a Galaxy Z Flip and Dan uses or used to main an iPhone. Plus, what do they get from saying they are buying a Duo?
  • > ... what do they get from saying they are buying a Duo? A proof that they have some idea of what they are talking about -- it doesn't look like Microsoft is too generous with the review units.
  • Great counter/question.
  • I will be using it as my only phone.
  • I am somehow talking myself into both buying the Duo and doing the same. Wtf is going on with me, lol.
  • Ditto. No need for another phone.
  • I too will be using my Surface Duo as my primary phone, btw, and my wife will be using her Surface Duo as her primary phone as well.
  • Excuses is just another man's reasoning. Depends how you want to view it. Just like confidence is for some, while others see it as arrogance. The real question is can you actually refute the points I made here? Because you haven't yet.
  • Honestly I call myself a Surface enthousiast (SP3, SB2, Go)who's invested in the Microsoft ecosystem (O365, Xbox and what not)... But I think a lot of people are thinking like me : spend 1400 to make steps backwards compared to what I have now is not quite an option... The hype was created (and it worked because I really wanted one) but the price and some specs were really a smack in the face... It's Surface so we knew it'd be priced premium but honestly I'd expected it somewhere below 1000 and WITH basic stuff like NFC... Then I'd go with it. But creating such a hype for imho quite a crowd and ending with an anticlimax isn't the best move I think. Fwiw I'm looking forward to you guys reporting on Surface Duo v2 or how it'll be called but let's just say I'm a wee bit disappointed now.
  • I too would have loved a sub 1k price, but I knew it would be more. Two screens and all the fit and finish were not going to come cheap. No foldable has been that cheap including the Moto and it is arguably lower quality than Duo
  • I was right there with you, until they killed Cortana on the Invoke. I picked up an Echo Dot and a Nest Mini, but Alexa and Google assistant can't compare to Cortana, especially with Samsung's SmartThings. I was planning to upgrade from my Surface Pro 3 to a Surface Book 3 or 4 next year, but now I see no point. I don't need Visual Studio anymore, because UWP is dead, and I code in Java on a MacBook Pro for work. I still hate Apple and Google products, but Microsoft has left me no choice. I don't trust them anymore. I've still got a working Zune 80GB, just to give you an idea of the many Microsoft products that I have seen die.
  • This whole "I don't trust them anymore" seems ... childish. Some things don't work out, no matter the resources put behind it. That's just life. And you suggest you're moving that trust to Google, with their track record, makes you somewhat less-than credible.
  • I never said I trust Google, but there are only 2 options left.
  • So if you don't trust Google and don't trust Microsoft, go to Apple. Microsoft is a business. You're boohooing about the weirdest things.
  • Actually not. Google is in the Ad business and is notorious for tracking and then selling every movement you make. If privacy is a concern at all then their reliance on Android is a big issue. Give us a new Win Mobile in V2 and it is much more appealing.
  • That ship has sailed. If there wasn't enough people buying into Windows Mobile V1, why would anyone get a V2 now?
  • I somewhat believe that MS will meliorate the Duo v.1 into a MS OS Duo v.2 with an added 'Watch' perhaps hitting the streets Jan-2022. Geez that a long time from now. In the meantime we will enjoy the 2 SDs we ordered.
  • THIS is what you have. Microsoft has no obligation to you to do that. And it's childish bc it's like why cry to Microsoft. You can literally pick any other company to build you an os. Build it yourself or something. But crying as if Microsoft 'left you with no other choice' is babyish. Neither did the other multitrillion companies that have been formed. It's weird, bro. If privacy was the #1 concern, stop using smartphones in general. Don't connect to the internet. The oddballness has to stop
  • Apple is out of the question for a lot of people. Which sadly just leaves Google...
  • Well then act like adults and make the best decision for you. That decision might be to not use a smartphone at all. This 'ms left me no choice' is babyish. Grown people want someone to make their plate for them AND be fork fed. Microsoft did what's best for them. Do what's best for you. Simple.
  • What is wrong with Apple other than its slightly annoying elitism? Frankly I enjoy throwing things at my TV when they have a product roll out. Cast thy demon, *snark*, aside, Apple has a brilliant computing stack that runs circles around Google. Where they are with silicon alone is a mind blow. Then there is the watch. They are doing brilliant work. Then there is the interoperability amongst their devices. They pretty much sit at the apex of the wholistic experience game. Now that Microsoft is rolling out the a mobile device that is going to have legs, Apple needs to move its fat butt over. When you cast out the demons, Apple has great stuff. Where they come up short is in the enterprise cloud area, but that is not what they are about. Apple over the decades has set a design standard that is really high and precisely because of them Microsoft launched the Surface family. The old cliché, that a rising tide raises all boats, applies here in depth. They made Microsoft better, they made Dell better, they made HP better to name but three PC companies. I think you have wildly misunderstood the modern computing world. If we are steering into the absolutist tree of either this one or that one, I would suggest that you most likely have it backwards. But that is not the world we live in. The range of great technology companies on the plant now is staggering. It is a heterogeneous computing world now and we get to optimize it for our purposes.
  • For phones yeah, not for laptops. Windows 10 is a great laptop OS with longest update support and legacy support, and it bridges well with samsung phones with YourPhone. And if you hate Windows just put Linux on it, much better deal than a macbook pro imo.
  • They'd rather cry about Microsoft saving themselves business wise. Newsflash to them. Satya doesn't even know they exist to begin to care about them. No one did ANYTHING to them. I wished they love themselves more
  • Google has killed about as many products as MS has. https://killedbygoogle.com/
    Apple likes to play it safe, so now 2-1 laptops with digitizers etc.
  • Yes he has. He, and statistics. Disregarding (among several things) the feature that most people care about in a pricey smartphone - a great camera - is not a good call if you're looking for any kind of significant sales.
  • Agreed. And no manner of argumentation or arrogant snubbing is going to change that fact.
  • Who's it for? Anyone who wants it and can afford it. Wish it was me :)
  • Great for students! travel light and get more done, with the added memory advantages of pen input.
  • Yes, 'cause students never take photos... 🙄 They'd be much better off with a good smartphone and a Surface Go 2...
  • Definitely not for students lol, just like students (imo) should not get a Fold. These are luxury devices, like Jcmg62 said get if you have enough money and want a digital/modernized molebook with phone capabilities.
  • Dan, just want to say that was a very thoughtful and balanced article. You sum up nicely the key issue. It may not be for everyone but everyone seems to have an opinion on it. "Meh" it isn't!
  • Thanks for reading, glad you liked it!
  • It's actually excruciatingly 'meh'; that's the problem in a nutshell...!
  • Watching that press briefing gave me a much deeper appreciation for what's being accomplished here.. I've also watched quite a few videos of people bashing the device by listing off specs and comparing it to single screen foldables without ever mentioning the word "productivity".. The dual screens, the 360 hinge, and the software driving the experience are the true stars here coupled with the thin and light hardware design.. can't wait to add this device to my Surface collection and looking forward to what v2 and v3 looks like..
  • Agree. Watching that video is key to better understanding Surface Duo. I've had so many people tell me how it changed their opinion.
  • This is a first-gen category defining product that has got (from the look of things so far) its core objectives for productivity right. The price is prohibitive for most, but for many of us Surface fans for whom this device is designed, it is difficult to resist. I think the naysayers are missing Microsoft's strategy here as well as the advantages of dual screens Microsoft is expounding. I've been using the LG G8X with the dual screen case since December. I knew that I would like two displays, but was surprised at just how much it enhanced productivity and how good it made me "feel" not to have one app obscured when using another app while still wanting to keep another active. Now this is with a device that has less software investment to optimize the dual screen experience than that which Microsoft and Google have thus far (admittedly there is a ways to go with a broader spectrum of optimized apps) achieved with the Surface Duo. I feel that Microsoft is on to something here, and is pioneering a mobile experience that very well could succeed. Version 1 isn't meant to take the world by storm. We're smart enough to know how these things go. Their setting a standard, staking a claim, building the relationships through Google and developers. Though nothings guaranteed, time, if they endure (which I'm confident they will) through versions 2 and 3 will, I'm confident will lead to the category emerging as one that makes a lasting mark.
  • Nice to hear from you, Jason! Well-reasoned response, thanks.
  • Thanks Dan. Great article. Glad to contribute to the conversation and to touch base at a very exciting time for Microsoft and the industry. 👍 I do miss Windows Central. God bless man!
  • Yo. Didn't realize you left. How is it first gen category defining if you already have another one from LG? Haven't Nokia done this 20 years ago.
  • Jason, miss your writing! Wish we had a Duo Warditorial. (No offense Dan, your article is great also).
  • Hey thanks for the kind thoughts. I really appreciate that. I've been brewing over some thoughts for a "Duo Wartditorial." Things are way too exciting right now to remain silent. lol I don't know when or where but I'll be putting something out. :-) Follow me on Twitter @JLTechWord and if I get something out I'll put a link there. Thanks again.
  • Nice to hear your thoughts Jason. The price of the Duo (is my main barrier so I will probably go with the LG V60 or the cheaper LG Velvet which both have the dual screen option, good cameras, pen support, a built in controller app to use on the second screen, and (at least on the Velvet) a similar feature for opening grouped apps as the Duo. I love Surface devices but I will wait for the Duo to mature (if Microsoft bothers to stick with it) before considering it.
  • Thanks ladydias. I hear you on the price. $1400 even for Surface Fans (especially in the midst of difficult financial times) is not something everyone could or even should (if it digs into priority responsibilities like rent, mortgage, food and clothes) jump on. I understand Microsoft's move. And those who can will jump on board, and progress will be made. Later this year, inevitable discounts or bundles may also make it more accessible to others. As amped as I have been looking at cuts that I can make to make that $50 monthly payment for the 256GB model palpable. But then I counter that with the eventual advent of version 2 and how I'll be salivating over that and how I'll likely still be paying on version one and unable to reasonably commit to getting a better version 2 out the gate. Still, I'd love to review it. So, I'm in the same boat as everyone else. The more I learn about it, and reflect on my positive dual screen experiences from my LG G8X I really want to jump all in now, particularly since some of the software adaptations on the Duo are more advanced than what I've had on my LG G8X. I'm still on the fence (I've got a wife and two little ones to take care and have to manage resources reasonably. lol). But, if I jump in I'll make it known on Twitter and share my hands on thoughts and experiences (somewhere :-)) So keep an eye out. Thanks again for the kind thoughts. :-)
  • Are you on ATT? I added the extra $5/month for the early upgrade (as long as half the device is paid off), so that I can upgrade to version 2 next year.
  • Yes, I'm on ATT.
  • Lol, that parental struggle is real. I look forward to your thoughts if you do find it feasible to get a Duo. Even if you wrote about your experiences on the LG 8X, that would be nice. Btw, I believe LG is updating their older handsets to the Velvet UI which had improvements for the dual screen experience.
  • The only thing that I can think of that makes this phone Surface enthusiasts is that it has pen support, other than that I don't see how this is more for the Surface enthusiasts then let's say the upcoming Fold 2. Outside of the Pen, the Galaxy Fold 2 will be better in every way. I don't hate the Duo I think that is great middle step between regular phones and Foldable phones, but it needs to be priced properly.
  • Fold 2 is at LEAST $600 more though and a much bigger device that, as you mention, doesn't support inking. It's a nice device, for sure, but I don't think the price point makes it any more desirable or attainable.
  • The Fold 2 isn't that much bigger, it has a larger screen but it also has almost no bezel meaning that the footprint shouldn't be that different. You are also comparing a 128gb Duo to a 512gb Fold 2, so the comparation isn't that straightforward. I don't see how a Surface Duo could be a good enough phone for the price, but I will eat my words if the software is so amazing that it becames incredible to use.
  • "so the comparation isn't that straightforward."
    You brought up the Fold 2 though, not I.
  • Key point that. The Fold2 is more expensive. But because it has all the bells and whistles to make it a fully featured smartphone, then somehow that even higher price is justified. Not an argument that makes sense to me. There is always a compromise between features and price. Actually Surface Duo is roughly on the same spectrum as the Fold 2 with a lower price for less spec.
  • The Samsung handheld is not really a good aspect for multiple windows. It is good for big thing, marginal at more than one.
  • Inking is so overrated, never used it on my Surface Pro 4 and it can't match the speed of typing or voice recognition... The Fold 2 is worth the extra money... Better camera(s), processor, Wi-Fi standard, 5G, NFC... External screen... No annoying gap in the single unfolded display...
  • I ink all the time, so not overrated for me
  • I always wonder why people say, my Surface 3/4 experience ........ MSFT is selling version 7 of Surface. How does someone with a device 3 or 4 generations ago really classify as a Surface fan? I have a Surface 5. Would have owned a Surface 7, but Costco ran out of stock. Own the Surface Go. I owned a MSFT powered phone from the beginning. I loved the 928 but bought the 950. Now I am stuck with an OnePlus phone. Given I have kids and other responsibilities, my next purchase will be a Surface Pro, when I get around to spending the money, or a sale is too hard to pass up. I was waiting for the Duo release. Now I will wait for Version 2, buy a Surface Pro. Finally, I have been at the beach for the last week. Internet connection is poor. The wifi is spotty, cell coverage is weak, and an internet connection even with good wifi is spotty. So all this talk about productivity is highly dependent on the quality of your internet connection. Many places in the world simply don't have good access to the internet. But that is beside the point with respect to the Duo. I have found the Go much easier to carry around than my Surface Pro. But it is underpowered so is frustrating to use as a work computer. So can the Duo be the mobile productivity tool and I can use my Surface Pro for work? Why carry around a Surface Go and a Pro?
  • Inking is handy for text in margin area or marking / explaining certain things and for sketching/drawing etc, its not for everyone but it can be a deal breaker if left omitted.
    I think it is ironic you say that inking is overrated when you name 5g (will be throttled as soon it will be mainstream), wifi 6 (the bulk of routers will throttle it), just slightly better proc (hardly noticeable in a phone).
  • To be fair DuoOS looks neat and this is thinner than the Fold as well as likely more sturdy (add some screen protectors and the free cover and you can throw it through the room, probably).
  • Thanks Daniel, just the response I expected you to post! Well thought out, including logical and realistic supporting thoughts. Yes, I have pre-ordered and as Zac has posted, the Surface Duo will become my only phone. Looking forward to September 10th...
  • Yeah, the Duo will be my only phone as well replacing a Pixel 3XL.
  • Mmm...Slim Jim
  • Ohhhhhh yyyeeeaaaahhhhhh!!!! Dig it!
  • The Surface Duo looks like a great device and I own a Surface Pro 6. However, my concern is can the Duo handle the Google Apps(Gmail, Docs, Sheets etc.) the same way it handles the Microsoft Apps? My company uses Google Services so I would need the Duo to Span google apps and the other features that happen only on Microsoft Apps.
  • I don't know the answer to this specifically, but my initial thought is not yet. Obviously Microsoft would showcase how their apps work well with their product, but with rumors being that Google is working on dual screen device for next year, I have to believe they will take the work Microsoft put in with their Office apps and apply it to their apps.
  • Why would you need it to span Google apps? You are probably using them on a single screen now. At the very least you could run two side by side, the same way they operate independently today. I half expect Span to work though, if the OS is just telling the app it has the whole screen to use. I imagine it takes some tweaking to get the app to use both screens independently, like Mail/Outlook and OneNote
  • Only the MS apps will be fully supported plus a few extras... This won't sell enough to make it worth any developers time to support the Duo fully... Can't believe people are pre-ordering this before waiting for a review...
  • Considering this is a full Gservices device I think it will work well if you go that direction
  • > It is also for people who want a different Android experience that is more focused on productivity and creativity. @Dan: do you know whether Android apps treat this device as a phone or as an LTE-capable tablet? The difference between the two is not insignificant -- there are apps on the Play Store that would not install on the tablet (e.g. Signal messenger) and there are differences in services offered on the "phone" and "tablet" apps (e.g. Amazon Kindle will allow reading periodicals on the former, but not on the latter).
  • "Do you know whether Android apps treat this device as a phone or as an LTE-capable tablet"
    Phone, 100%.
  • That's great news, thank you.
  • Its not for the consumer, okay, but its not really for enterprise business either. You really didn't answer your own question, in this type of market meaning spending money integration on not only with an outside OS but also third parties and sales, and internal changes to existing apps - you need large sales to sustain it. "That is a niche group" A niche group isn't enough to support the ongoing support for all, eventually they would need sales. I would say its a test, the problem is we all know how Microsoft's tests work out. At the end of the day, its not a consumer device and really doesn't do anything to help for enterprise. The people buying it now are probably the same that bought Cortana enabled speakers, they have money and time on their hands. My guess is this is DOA, we can call it a test but the results are not going to be good, imo. Cortana and Windows Phone were for the niche group as well. (for the record, I used both) Whether its a test or not, if they are designing the product and can't identify the actually customer they are targeting... that is a huge potential problem.
  • It's not DOA and we'll see a Duo v2.
  • Source? If this is a complete failure, MS might think again...
  • Are you seriously asking him to identify his insider sources or are you more broadly asking a news site (the one who has been leading the charge in breaking the duo story) to be validated by other news sites that have pulled from them?
    Grungy, are you the new bleached or just a simpleton?
  • Because the Surface Pro is on version 7, Go on Version 3, Laptop on version 3, and Book on version whatever, Studio on version whatever. MSFT has a goal with Surface. And it is not to improve margins. Surface reduces ROE, ROI, and ROA MSFT took a lot of time to study this form factor. How old is the courier? They have Surface Pro X, Neo, and Duo. This is not a garage hack by MSFT. This is where they have placed their R&D budget. Version 2 - 4 will be driven by the level of unit sales growth of the form factor. If they sell their 10,000 stock (or whatever their initial production run as determined) in 2 months, then you can expect version 2 pretty quick. I am pretty sure the initial engineering work for Version 2 is already in the works. What we don't know is the impact of the Neo delay is on the overall Windows X and Surface evolution. We know Windows 10 will be replaced at some point with Windows X. Or it may be better stated Windows X will be the new growth vector of the windows ecosystem. How does that impact Duo, Neo, Surface Pro, Surface X? Does MSFT really want to have two production lines for Windows 10 (Surface Pro, Go, Laptop, Book, Studio) and Windows X (Surface X, Neo, Duo)? Yes I know Duo is Android.
  • Daisy, you are correct. I was part of that niche group, until Microsoft killed Cortana on the Invoke. That was the final straw in the Satya Nadella war against the Microsoft consumer customer base. I would have bought a Duo with Windows 10X, but never with Android. I have Android on my Samsung Galaxy S9+, and I hate it. Android users are not Microsoft fans, and Microsoft will learn that they can change that with this device. Unfortunately this device along with the Your Phone app's ability to "run" Android apps on your connected PC is the final nail in UWP's coffin, so there is no point to releasing the Neo running Windows 10X. It's more likely to release with Android, which will further erode the Windows customer base. Very soon, the majority of people coming into the workforce will have never used a Windows device, and Microsoft is allowing it to happen.
  • For the umpteenth time... Microsoft doesn't care if you are using windows devices. They care if you are using their services. The world isn't buying window's phones. They are buying Android and or ios. Guess what Microsoft cares about. If you're accessing office, azure, game pass, etc.
    Office is bigger than windows and thats because it's not limited to windows devices and azure is even bigger to Microsoft than that.
  • "Very soon, the majority of people coming into the workforce will have never used a Windows device, and Microsoft is allowing it to happen." Again, so what? Windows is ancient. 30 years old as of May 22. Is it supposed to go on forever? The majority of people coming into the workplace have never used an Apple //e either, and Apple allowed it to happen. Yet Apple is doing just fine. The majority of people coming into the workplace have never used Microsoft BASIC either, and Microsoft allowed it to happen. Yet Microsoft is doing just fine. The majority of people coming into the workplace have never used MS-DOS either, and Microsoft allowed it to happen. Yet - AGAIN - Microsoft is doing just fine. The point is, products come and go. Successful companies realize this, and do NOT try to live off of old, tired, obsolete products.
  • "Satya Nadella war against the Microsoft consumer customer base" War? No. Mr. Nadella correctly shutdown the Windows phone debacle. Even Mr. Gates has stated that his greatest mistake was letting Apple and Google box Microsoft out of the mobile computing revolution. So, if that is the war you are referring to, I suggest you take that up with Mr. Gates. Cortana hasn't been killed. It has been changed to a text based assistant. Why? My take is voice assistants are most useful on a phone where typing is not optimal. The rational for this, if I remember correctly, was PC users were mostly skipping the whole talking thing and typing their queries. Plus there are no Windows phones for Cortana to purr at us about where to find beer and pizza. As for other examples, the pattern generally was, if I remember correctly again, Mr. Ballmer came late to a market space and tried to employ bully tactics when launching product X. Zune is prime example. Nice product but by the time it was launched the game was over, Apple had won. The Band was a similar story, sort of late to the game, tough competition, game over. Mr. Nadella isn't waging a war, wars are waged to achieve a forced outcome; more accurately Mr. Nadella surrendered to reality and that took courage, but not the type of courage Apple displayed when it got rid of the headphone jack. “there is no point to releasing the Neo running Windows 10X. It's more likely to release with Android, which will further erode the Windows customer base.” Oh, that is just dumb. 25 years ago, Windows was Microsoft. Sort of like the Pope being Catholic but without the hats. At that time an eroding Windows user base would have caused heads to explode in Redmond. Today, Windows is not the game. Mr. Nadella has explicitly made this clear in words and action. Windows was once the largest business unit at Microsoft. Today its carcass is scattered amongst the current business units. Microsoft is primarily a computing services enterprise that range from their cloud operations, that support global corporations and governments, down to single user Microsoft 365 subscriptions. Don’t get me wrong, Microsoft likes it when we run Windows, they really do, but they would much rather sell all the other stuff they have. Part of selling those services is having devices that transform them into experiences that worm their way into people’s brains. Sort of like meth but with teeth. Whether a device runs Windows of some flavor, Android, or Linux is immaterial. I really like Windows, I really like my Surface Pro, but I am really addicted to their whole computing stack because it lets me manage my life and create rather transparently and effortlessly. If the Neo is released running Android, I would find that a minor disappointment because I know Windows well and derive much benefit from its mature feature set. But in the final analysis I am interested in the Neo for the same reason I am interested in the Surface Duo. They are highly portable experience boxes that can go with me everywhere and accomplish most of what I use them for transparently and effortlessly. Why I am interested in them has nothing to do with Windows. Period. It has everything to do with what I can accomplish using the Microsoft software stack. There is much strum and drang occurring over the Surface Duo specification sheet which I find all highly amusing. The first PC I bought within days of it being released, after decades of swapping hardware in and out, was my Surface Pro 7. Why? Because it had the perfect design and performance (i5 version) for what I wanted to accomplish. 25 years ago the ramp up in hardware performance was fast and dramatic; it made sense to be in the squirrel cage then. A little over a decade ago the hardware, CPUs in particular, became so capable the life span went from counting in months to years and years. Smartphones have gone through that same progression but faster, in about a decade. The performance difference between an 865 and an 855 is squat when measured in practical terms. Synthetic benchmarks are OK, they capture maximum things. The reality is we tend push a button and then sit around with the results of the action for long periods of time, many, many, magnitudes of a millisecond or so. I have a Pixel 3a with a mid tier CPU, it works just fine but slightly slower than the latest and greatest whatever. I am not suffering here. The Surface Duo CPU is just fine – I am inclined to think we would be better off if we didn’t know what CPU was in the box; that would focus our brain cells on the totality of what this thing does instead of what is in the box. This is all silly. The missing wireless charging and payment stuff, depending on one’s use case, those can be a big deal and as such makes this a hard pass. Version 1 products have these challenges and warts. Again, it is about the totality of the experience anymore and how that benefits and improves life.
  • Tech reviewers are lazy. Just repeating specs that were given to them by the same people who's job is to sell the device. It's the reviewers job to tell us about the experience.
    I wish they got away from these spec lists. They only keep doing it because it's easy an quantifiable. We've long past the point where EVERY device is good. You have to purposely set out to make a bad one. So why do we care about specs. The totality of the experience is what matters. Specs don't when the baseline of what we expect is mastered. I also don't get the complaints about Android from ms fans. There is no mobile os that is currently relevant that has a ux that's more a kin to windows including the deceased w10m. If Ms wasn't chasing Apple's ux and set off to modernize their pre windows mobile os, it would have been JUST like Android.
  • Exactly correcto. Android has matured into a fantastic operating system and when compared to iOS I am reminded of the great 80s-90s dust up between Apple and Microsoft: A more or less open platform that created an entire PC economy vs. a carefully managed and well executed hardware/software silo. Then there is this: Microsoft botched the mobile thing all on their own. End of discussion. Today, if they are going to play in the mobile space the have exactly one choice. Period. And it ain't Apple because of that silo. Period. Same story for the Chromium Edge. Google is a formidable technology company stuffed with fantastic talent. All this booing from the bleachers is mega tons of stupidity. The experience part has changed over the decades. It all sounds fluffy and doe eyed to talk about end user computing from experiences but it the most accurate way to think about the modern computing environment. 20 years ago specs were a critical apart of the experience. The performance ramp up in that time frame really mattered. About a decade ago stuff hit a wall, stuff got so good, as time has shown, the performance improvements while dramatic are somewhat incremental. Today, because of the Internet, cellular connectivity, cloud computing, software as a service, silicon die shrinks, mobile revolution, and highly portable hardware computing happens where we are, non stop. It is ubiquitous and how it happens has become transparent. This trend is only going to increase and the corporate winners will be those companies that build elegant and intuitive machines that interact with software services seamlessly. What Apple has done, what Microsoft has done is remarkable. And more to the point, this notion of computing as experiences is just getting started. A decade from now, AI and 5G will weigh in heavily here. Right now most devices are so advanced over those of 15 years of ago that for all general needs, practical uses, they exceed what we can exploit fully. If I was discussing building a melt the metal gaming machine or computers headed to a data center my perspective changes dramatically. In those cases I would be reading every specification and benchmark right to the fiber of the paper they are printed on. It is the elegance of implementation, it is the elegance of interoperability, it is the elegance of transparency that drives personal computing. Specifications still matter, after all we need to be able to know what things can do and why but once that is settled it is the elegance that matters.
  • Thank you for saying this. Probably shouldn't need to be said again, because I feel like this angle was covered in the video, but apparently it did need to be said. Besides the features and demonstrations and whatnot, the one thing that was refreshingly apparent was how they are telling us straight up what this is intended to be: a 1st gen proof of concept which future iterations can "flash out" (pardon the twist of phrase) if the design catches on with consumers. There's actually little risk here, for anyone involved. If the price tag is too steep, it's probably not for you (yet). If it doesn't sell, they haven't invested into and promoted the device as a finished game changer for the smartphone market. This isn't Windows Phone x.0 - ie, competing with Apple, etc for phone dominance. That market has made their choices and have shown themselves unwilling to switch to a new player in the game, so Microsoft is staying in their lane. I hope that this turns out to be a great product for more than just oddballs like me, because I want to buy similar things years down the road, but version 1.0 here is exactly what I've wanted for a very long time; if the product itself delivers in the way it's advertised, future iterations and upgrades are just gravy to me.
  • Can't wait for Dan and others to get their hands on it and post reviews! I've already ordered mine, but I'm hoping they can answer some (minor) questions I have ahead of time like how well, or not, it fits in a front pocket, what to expect from the camera, and how does it feel/look when using it as a phone. Also curious to know if any reviewers that were skeptical will be won over after using it. I'm almost as anxiously awaiting for reviews as I was to hear the official announcement on Wednesday.
  • I'd want to find those things out first before spending this kind of next money...
  • You weren't going to buy it anyway...
  • I can understand that, and I would be more cautious if I had to spend the whole $1400 at once. Since I have ATT and those payments are done on installments, I felt comfortable taking the plunge. Plus, if I find that it doesn't work for me the way I thought it would, then I can return it since they do have a two week return policy.
  • It as been shown in front pockets. Look for 'thesurfaceguide' on Twitter or website. It's a running list of Duo sightings and there's pictures of Duo in front pockets so you can see fit yourself and make the call if it's good enough for you.
  • Hmm, I checked out their site and twitter page, but all the pictures I saw were of people holding it and displaying it out and about. I don't recall seeing any in pockets. I'll check again though.
  • I KNOW I've witnessed it. You're right. They missed it; it's not on there. I will try to locate it again. I was sure that site commented on the Pic on Twitter and it usually shows on the site right after. If I find it, I will let you know. The person was wearing light colored pants... Like a beige Edit: I know where it was!!! Someone 3d printed the dimensions of the device and put it in their pocket and took a Pic!
  • Okay look for @sonofnun on Twitter. I believe this guy is the one.
  • ahh ok, I found it. Thanks! Answers my question on that.
  • I went on a hunt!!! I was like 'I know I'm not crazy!!!' lol Glad you have your answer.
    Curious; what's your thoughts now?
  • Well, from the picture, it seems like it will fit ok. It could be a little snug, but won't know that for sure until I try it for myself.
  • Who is the Surface Duo’s target audience? Mr. Rubino nails it in this once sentence: “Surface Duo is for Surface enthusiasts and those that rely on Microsoft's services. It is also for people who want a different Android experience that is more focused on productivity and creativity.” I have been using Microsoft software products so long that I have gone senile twice during that period and I started on my third round of senility once Office 365 rolled out. Discounting the lack of a mobile option, Microsoft’s computing environment, over the last 5 years or so, has improved so dramatically that it is nearly unthinkable that I would abandon it. The one exception here is the update process, that is a challenge point. As for the mobile environment, what Microsoft has accomplished on Android has rendered the lack of a pure Windows mobile experience moot A similar discussion exists for Surface hardware. I have owned various Surface Pro’s over the years and for how I use computers they have been fantastic devices. Mr. Panay’s assertion that a good hardware experience get’s out of the way and leaves you in the “flow” of whatever task at hand really describes how I interact with these devices. The totality of the software and hardware experience is so transparent anymore that I rarely consider them computers anymore. I think a lot about what constitutes a perfect hardware stack. Currently, for me, it comes to having three screens: a phone, a laptop type thing, and a robust desktop. In addition to that I have added a NAS to the mix for various reasons. I am a non-corporate user that has straight forward use cases, but at the same time has demanding expectations. How I manage my life and do creative work is inextricably entangled with all this machinery. The number one thing on my agenda here is that I have a seamless understanding of and access to all my data at anytime, anywhere, with any device. Microsoft, ever since they co-opted Android has provided that for me. A close second is the elegance of the hardware implementation. I spend enough time using my machines that I will not use devices that are not thoughtfully designed. However, the gap between a phone and a laptop type thing has me wanting something different. A phone comes up short when it comes to doing useful work with ease and my Surface Pro 7 is a bit big to lug around. The Surface Go form factor partially addresses the size issue while preserving usefulness. Lugging that around with a phone is a viable solution for me though it introduces the need for a fourth screen. It is not ideal. For me, this last issue is why the Surface Duo gets me close to having that ideal three screen stack while providing most of the software functionality that I use most of the time, the 80% use case if you will. That it runs on Android is a nonevent. It works, it provides me a sufficient application library, and with Microsoft’s enhancement I am in the flow. The Surface Duo address real computing needs in a profoundly elegant manner. So, yes I am at the center of the target audience.
  • "However, the gap between a phone and a laptop type thing has me wanting something different."
    This, 100%. Many of us feel this in today's always-connected world. For me, Pro X has gone a long way with that due to it always being on the internet, but I'm also not taking it out to dinner or a movie either (I already have a partner, hello lol). Thanks for sharing your perspective!
  • I take my Surface Pro 7 out to dinner all the time. I suddenly feel like I need counseling. As for movies, the SP 7 and I do movies together frequently.
  • Yes. Just yes(to this whole comment). Im on the same boat. Although I need a new surface pro. My sp3 doesn't hold a charge for long and I disabled the touchscreen was due to it cracking because of the heat. It took me out of flow readjusting to not using a touch screen at that size.
    With the duo, I may be able to get away with a lower tier surface pro, save the super performant task for my workstation and all things mobile to duo. Best buy has the sp7 for like 6 or 700. Anyways, I care, like you, about interoperability overall and Microsoft needed a device to complete the mobility piece of the puzzle. They've built a viable entry to full the void. I am the target audience. Question. What phone do you use now? Will you be replacing it with the duo or just adding the duo to your current stack?
  • Going back some, I latched onto the Samsung Note series from the same exact reasons I discussed in my main comment but I was always a generation behind and I bought them used. When the Note 7 tired to take down airplanes by catching fire I got out of that rhythm and went casting around for reasonable phones at a reasonable price. After a few used phone moves I bought the Pixel 3a XL new. That literally was the first new phone I have ever owned because it was priced rationally, and it had a great camera. It has been a fantastic device. The Surface Duo has my panties in a knot. It is kind of expensive, it kind of has some features warts. But it nails my use needs cold (communication, content consumption, some content creation, ubiquitous access to my information, a capable life management tool, etc.) and it fills that gap between a phone and my primary laptop thing, my Surface Pro in one box. I value that a lot. I have gone from having 17" and 15" laptops to wanting highly portable devices that do exactly what I need and nothing more. My Surface Pro 7 with the i5 CPU let's me dump a day of picture taking on it, pick out a winner, edit it in Photoshop, draft an essay or poem, and blast all up to my blog all while drinking coffee or adult beverages in a pub. As an aside, like the Pixel 3a XL, my Surface Pro purchase was the first time, after decades of swapping PCs in and out, that I bought one within weeks of its release. These devices are critical tools in my life, they are not jewelry or status things, I pick them we precision and then use the heck out them. I need to get my mitts on a Surface Duo. The width of the device is of some concern; I won't be able to tell if it is going to be like trying to manipulate a waffle when using it as a phone or not until I hold it. If that all works out I have some hard deciding to do. It is less about price and more about my having an ethos of not being an early adopter. The maturity of this device, for a V1, is remarkable – I am feeling pretty good about it from that perspective. My gut is telling me the V2 is going to be the one to buy; essentially it will be the equal to the Surface Pro 3 – everything after that has been an iteration. But, dang, waiting is going to be a struggle; surrender is an option for sure as it is exactly the device I have been trying to by for a decade and it most certainly nails my ideal 3 screen model. Surrender…that sounds pretty good. Surface Pro Thoughts: I have a Surface Pro 5 M3 and a Surface Pro 7 i5. This is sort of shocking, I use the SP5 over the SP7 a lot because the battery life is insanely good and the M3 is utterly sufficient until I get to doing some computationally intensive work which for me is Photoshop. If your use case omits the heavier lifting you can find them priced well and in some cases they are brand new. Think of it as a Surface Go 2 with a bigger screen. The one thing that I do not like about it and was corrected in the Surface Pro 7 is Windows Hello - It is pretty slow. Annoyingly slow. The 128 GB SSD is a whatever, get a 256 GB micro sd card for data - you will rarely notice that it slow storage. The Surface Pro 7 with the Core i5 is a wickedly good CPU for this box. No fans, Windows Hello is quick, the screen is lovely, 8GB of RAM gets the job done (though I will go for the 16 gb next time) and the 256 GB SSD is a nice thing but 128 GB is not a deal breaker if your software fits in that space and, once again, use a micro SD storage for slow data. The whole thing is a joy to use but then again I am not trying to use to encode daily shoots from a Hollywood production: make the shoe fit the foot.
  • I agree with you. I own a Go and a Surface Pro 5. For some reason (and I have tried to fix the problem) my Surface Pro 5 has broken Outlook. This has forced me to lug around Surface Pro and Surface Go and my OnePlus. I use the Go almost exclusively. But it is an underpowered device for running my desktop screen. In any case, my business runs on AppFolio (a salesforce powered SAAS). Pretty easy to use on a smartphone. But with a Duo, I am pretty sure I could be almost as productive in must business processes as on a Go or Desktop and, as such, I may not really sure I would need a Surface Pro. But I still need a GO/Pro to write the letter, rework the spreadsheets, etc. But I can do that at my home/office desktop with a Surface Dock. So I don't know iF I would be carrying a Pro or Go along with a smartphone/Duo. So still confused about where to spend my money. I think now I will go with a Surface Pro 7 when it is on sale again at Costco. Let the Duo get to V2 and replace my OnePlus. The Go works just good enough to get me by at the beach.
  • Your comment parses much of my hardware thinking. These are tools to get things done and they should do it in the most efficient manner possible and not duplicate each other. One of the lug around boxes must have a keyboard. These touch screen keyboards are OK for 10 words or less and heaven forbid you have interact with a browser page dropdown. The Surface Duo is your brain in a box that goes everywhere and compared to a slab phone the software experience is going to a be joy to use. The Surface Pro 7 with the i5 is a really excellent machine. The changes that Microsoft made don't seem like much, but they are. For my purposes, it is close to perfection. If your budget allows it and you don't need to run 64 bit x86 applications the Surface Pro X may be a better choice especially if you can afford a dedicated LTE data plan. Two devices that are always connected to the intertubes, - that is called self evident goodness. That would be my computer if it could run Photoshop. And your desktop rounds out the whole thing nicely. At that point your tool box is loaded up and ready to go for years. Hardware in my world is a component of a solution and not the solution. I love this stuff so I am always fussing around with technology in one manner or another but not my working environment. A carefully curated computing environment should just disappear; a framed artwork is about the art and not the frame. Or in Apple terms, it should just work and the modern Microsoft experience does just that. As for the Go, I turned my tablet into a dedicated media box that is plugged in to my stereo. The beach sounds pretty good to.
  • I pre-ordered one. I think the cost is in line with expectations for a limited run, completely custom device. It isn't inexpensive, but I don't feel it is unreasonably costly. Everyone will have to decide for themselves around the cost and benefits and tradeoffs. For those who assert it doesn't meet their needs, or it's too costly, or they don't like the form factor ... don't buy it. Stick with whatever device you are currently using that meets all of your needs and wants. I just want to be clear, for me, that smartphones are old hat. There has been no real innovation in at least a decade. Don't come at me with your marginally improved cameras, OLED screens, etc. They are still slabs of metal/plastic/glass that have a rectangular screen that's really only good at doing one thing at a time. The Duo is at least an attempt to move beyond the monolithic idea of 'a smartphone'.
  • I would say that there is a reason why smartphones haven't changed in a long time is because the form factor is convenient. It's easy to put in your pocket and it's easy to use with one hand when you're carrying stuff. I have yet to see anyone use a Duo with one hand and that is something that a lot of people do with their phones. I think the Galaxy Fold will ultimately prove to be the better direction. With the external screen it allows the same functionality you would get on a traditional phone and as technology get better the device will only get thinner. Similar to how the Surface Pro was chunky at first. The multitasking features on the Duo is basically just software and I don't doubt that Samsung or Google will just improve the multitasking experience in Android. I'm afraid that all of Microsoft's effort will just end up improving Android and give sales to other devices with better specs. Essentially Microsoft is trying to be Apple again when they need to be more PC....
  • Between the Surface Studio, the Hololens and now the Duo microsoft has made a brilliant set of devices for architectural and industrial design professionals.
  • " for architectural and industrial design professionals"
    Very good point.
  • Yes, ask yourself how many occupations need to convert digital information into physical products out in the wild? Homebuilders? HVAC installers. The list is endless.
  • Architects and engineers, I know, carry a Surface Pro with a protective case. It’s as big as an iPad Pro and is more functional. It’s a REAL COMPUTER!
  • Very weird, I just commented earlier today in a different forum almost the same exact thing, Daniel you are SPOT on. This is Microsoft's way of generating buzz for their dual screen paradigm, in particular within the MS family like with MS Office, Onedrive, etc. The hardware doesn't matter so much because it's just a vehicle, a halo product. The future is foldable displays, MS just went with a dual display because it was cheaper and proven, especially in regard to stylus input. Personally I'll bet the Duo will be a foldable display once they are feasible, maybe V3 or V4. But in the end it seems the phone industry will be going towards foldable as issues such as durability and thickness get solved, and it's that market that Microsoft is preparing for. This is a new paradigm, one where you can fold your phone out into a tablet, and Microsoft is positioning itself to be ahead of the game in terms of the productivity you can get out of multiple screens (whether they are hinged or foldable). This is a paradigm which will be common to both Android, iOS and Windows of course, as MS subs/services are well represented in all of those OS' it behooves them to invent and shape that paradigm. You can see this is working by all the buzz the Duo is creating. If you watch Panos' video you can see just how much of a workhorse with MS Office this is going to be, and that's an entry to a probably small but robust consumer market maybe a bit different, but maybe a bit alike the surface market. It doesn't have to sell bazillions, the surface market is only a small fraction of the tablet/laptop market for example. With that said I do feel they made some fatal errors, in particular the camera. I realize they needed a flat back because of the 360 degree folding, but they could have put in a better camera. I suppose they see the device as a workhorse that is put away on the evenings and weekends when you take your non business phone with a good camera out? Personally I remember what taking pictures with a smartphone used to be like and I have zero desire to return to that. They also cheaped out on the bezel size, come on MS it's 2020 not 2012. Lastly the battery life is going to be an issue, business users tend to often be road warriors also. But again it's a halo device meant to generate buzz, and getting it as thin as possible was probably the primary concern.
  • "I suppose they see the device as a workhorse that is put away on the evenings and weekends" You just described Windows 10 PCs. Windows 10 may actually have a billion users, but the vast majority are part time users. Evenings/weekends/holidays/vacations, people are using phones and iPads.
  • Forgive me if this has already been mentioned but the one thing I think of when I see this device is, if budget wasn't a concern would I want one? Would it become my primary device? To both questions I answer a resounding YES! Even without the latest features or specs. With that said I can't justify it now, but I'm excited to see this form factor hit the market and hope for its success so I can eventually take a matured version of the form factor seriously as an option.
  • "the one thing I think of when I see this device is, if budget wasn't a concern would I want one? "
    I always forget to mention that, but it's a very good metric, I agree.
  • I can afford it and I'm generally a surface fan. I don't even mind that the camera sucks. But without nfc I'm carrying around another device to pay. I'm not dropping 1400 on a secondary device.
  • Same... That's an actual dealbreaker here... Expected the price to be just a tad lower a well but suppose I could have gone passed that eventually...
  • And that's perfectly rationale. I don't think people need to bend themselves in a pretzel. We all have that one thing we need, and no one can convince us otherwise. My guess is v2 is going to solve this stuff, so waiting is the smartest move here.
  • FWIW I use my watch (Galaxy) for payment all the time, to me pulling your phone out and unlocking is no different than pulling your card out of your wallet. If you can afford it, you can afford a watch too... solved your problem, you're welcome. :)
  • For all the people complaining about the price, just imagine the price if it had all the things people are complaining about it missing. When it does have everything that's "missing", will people be ok with paying $2k and above for it, or will they continue to complain about cost? That's more of a rhetorical question, cause I'm pretty sure I know the answer.
  • Fans don't mind paying a lot of money for top notch specs... Non fans would complains about the price in comparison to what's included... So Microsoft creates a device not including what fans wanted and are trying to sell it for non fans (business productivity) and advertising it as for fans ...
  • That's not entirely true. I don't believe "top notch specs" are something Surface enthusiasts necessarily go for. This device is about being more productive, and for what it's offering, I believe I can be more productive using it AND being able to do it with its current specs. I consider myself a fan, and I would rather pay $1400 for Duo 1 that doesn't have top notch specs than pay $2k for a Duo 2 that does. The things I would want in a Duo 2, and would justify me paying more, have nothing to do with it having top notch specs. It would involve refining the hardware we already have like decreasing the size of the bezels, finding a more elegant solution for notifications to where they could be seen on the outside of the device (maybe some sort of LED panel on the spine?), and a surface pen designed specifically for the Duo that slots in somewhere. I'd give up a little bit of its thinness for that. As the article states, I believe this is for Surface enthusiasts. People that are fans of the Surface line of products. The Duo is an achievement whether people want to give it its props or not, and like I did with the first Windows Phone and the first Surface device, I'll be supporting this effort cause they're innovating and trying new things, and I find that infinitely more exciting than just another device with the latest specs. I get to be on the ground floor of something unique and special, and that excites me.
  • "Fans don't mind paying a lot of money for top notch specs..."
    I don't think you're an actual Surface fan if you believe anything you wrote. Surface has NEVER been about the latest specs, being the fastest, or having the "most." See Surface Studio 1 and 2 with its mobile CPU, or Go with it slower Intel one, or Laptop and Book with no Thunderbolt 3. No, fans of Surface by it for the overall experience, which can't be found elsewhere. If you don't get that, you don't understand Surface or Panay at all.
  • People expect comparable specs for a device in it's class. For example people expect a Surface Pro to be comparable to a MacBook pro. They don't expect it to be double the price just because it has a touch screen and stylus and a MacBook pro doesn't. The Surface Go is like $500 bucks. So no one expects it to perform like a gaming laptop. At the same time it's not far off in price from the netbooks or tablets that it is competing with. But beyond just specs, Microsoft is asking people to give up basic functionality that they have grown accustomed to on their devices all for the sake of better multitasking. So people have to give up great camera performance, wireless charging, NFC, SD slot, convenient one handed use, etc. I'm sorry, but that is a HARD ASK for many people just for the sake of better multitasking. If multitasking is your primary use case for a mobile device, then sure, but most people have a lot of use cases for their phones beyond just one. I was all on board with the Duo until I saw the direction they were going. This is more like the Surface Pro 1. It has some good ideas, but requires a lot of refinement before it really takes off. Also I could easily see Samsung or Google improving the multitasking capabilities in Android and suddenly similar capabilities become available on the Fold and other devices. Opening up apps in split screen is not that revolutionary. All the Duo is really doing is locking apps to one side or the other.
  • "but that is a HARD ASK for many people" I think it's been stated pretty often that this device isn't for "many" people. It's a small niche group of people it's aimed at.
  • Fair enough, but I was responding to the idea that specs don't matter if you're a "Surface fan". Everything matters and specs certainly do matter when you're asking people to pay a premium. Even if I was in the market for a dual screen device. I would probably pay more for the Galaxy Fold than the Duo simply because I wouldn't be compromising on everything else. Add an extra millimeter to the thickness and give me a better camera, an external screen, SD slot and wireless charging.
  • False comparison of the Surface Pro to the MacBook Pro. The Surface Pro compares to the MacBook Air.
  • I currently own
    Wanna talk enthusiasts? I think owning the following would make me a surface enthusiast
    1) Surface Pro 3
    2) Surface Go LTE
    3) Surface Pro 7
    4) SurfaceBook
    5) SurfaceBook II 15in
    6) XPS (2019) 15 w 32gb RAM 2tb HDD The XPS is my go-to desktop replacement attached to a 49" Dell monitor
    The SP 7 is my mobile device. Using my iPhone max, I can more comfortably do EVERYTHING this device makes a use case for. For $1500 sorry I'm not that enthusiastic.
  • $1399 is the price point. I don't see MSFT raising the price with each generation. Maybe for more memory/better camera. But that will drive prices in increments of $100s. If the Duo is successful (don't know how to define successful other that reducing the cost of production through standardization of parts, scale), the list price will not drop but expect sales. For instance, in July Costco was selling a Surface Pro (i5/128) with keyboard and pen for $799, a huge discount to list. Could I see the Duo version 3 selling for $899 on Christmas sale at Bestbuy or Costco? Sure.
  • I'll be very happy if the price point remains the same, or within a couple hundred more, for a V2 next year.
  • If Microsoft was building it for fans, it would include everything that we're asking for, like better camera, wireless charger, etc... Fans would not care if they charged something like 3k for it, as long as it had it all on top notch hardware specs... No one wants to carry two devices just because one is good for some productivity scenarios than the other... I would not carry both devices on my pockets and had to use something like a backpack, in which case I would prefer to carry a small 2-1 laptop an a good mobile phone...
  • "If Microsoft was building it for fans, it would include everything that we're asking for, like better camera, wireless charger, etc"
    Wrong. As I wrote above that's not a fan of Surface. That's a specs nerd. I'll repeat:
    Surface has NEVER been about the latest specs, being the fastest, or having the "most." See Surface Studio 1 and 2 with its mobile CPU, Pro X with its expensive phone processor, or Go with it slower Intel one, or Laptop and Book with no Thunderbolt 3, Pro with its thick bezels. No, fans of Surface by it for the overall experience, which can't be found elsewhere. If you don't get that, you don't understand Surface or Panay at all.
  • So, you have a Tesla? Too bad you can't wirelessly charge your Surface Duo in the optional Qi charger. ;) Just kiddin'. I agree completely. This is targeted at a very small subset of users. I would think many of them would be here. Even those, while wanting one, maybe already having ordered one, wouldn't recommend it to friends and family. I'm in that boat. I do want one, though my only need for one is that I need one. Tough part is I am not the only one I need to convince I need to spend $1400-1500 on one. I'm actually not bummed by the lack of 5G, NFC, Qi (a little), great camera. I do wish it was Windows though. Win10X, Win 10 (on ARM), heck eve Windows Phone, just Windows. With the limited target, I don't think that it not having access to a significant app store would have hurt it that much. Zealots would have bought it anyway, and that's who is being targeted. With Windows Phone(ish), Continuum development/research could have continued, to realize that 'I can have a PC in my pocket to hook up to a monitor, keyboard, mouse, ' dream. That's a way different option than screen mirroring. With real Windows of some sort, the app issue sort of goes away. There are plenty of Windows applications, though Visio on a 10" is screen is still Visio on a 10" screen. You must have apps that work on a touch screen, actually work. Not just run with an awkward interface that cries out for a keyboard and mouse. Guess that's what Android is for. Where do you go when the zealots are done with it?
  • "Too bad you can't wirelessly charge your Surface Duo in the optional Qi charger"
    It is unfortunate, but luckily, these days, I'm not driving anywhere anyway :P
  • Do you also anticipate not driving anywhere for the next 3 years?
  • Pretty much. I drive to the airport, gym, grocery store, movie theater, and to see friends. I put about 7,000 miles a year on my car and most trips are < 20 mins where Qi charging does absolutely jack squat. I bought a Tesla (without FSD) to support the tech and I get free charging at home on the weekends. Just made sense. Plus, it's cool AF. But thanks for asking!
  • For my own personal device, I can't yet justify it; my Note 9 is still a thoroughly capable device. From a work productivity POV, I can't wait to try this out. Since I'm an IT in charge of my budget, I'll be waiting a bit for experiences from the early adopters, as well as looking for that first pricing special. I made a mockup out of cardboard. While a different dimensional form than my Note 9, with the thick Clearview stand case, it is definitely pocket able. More so than the Note 9 + case. The thinness does a lot to mitigate the extra width.
  • So it's for fanbois? I'll take that answer.
  • The problem is that people expect new products to become champions. If it doesn't outsell or outclass the competition, it's an epic fail. It's like people forget that most phones are not champions. They cater to different demographics. The Duo targets a specific demographic. It's a proof of concept. It sets the base for future versions. IMHO, this seems like an excellent dual-display device. The magic isn't so much in the hardware itself. It's the software that brings this device to life. It sets the standard for how a DDD (dual-display device) should operate. By the way, what Microsoft is doing here will also benefit other dual screen devices. Congrats to Microsoft for getting this device and I'm looking forward to seeing how this product line evolves.
  • Its a $1500 device with last year's hardware.
  • Except no company has been able to build what they have built. You say "last year's hardware" but you mean the CPU. The display tech, the core of the device, has never been done before. There are no mobile devices that are 4.8mm thin.
  • Well it is a nice wording without facts to support it. I mean iPhone was there to start the conversation. It lacked many things that were considered very basic even at the moment it was launched (so yes it may be fine that Surface Duo lacks something). But. It had a clear 'wow' factor, something that even haters could not deny. It had high, but still reasonable price range for a consumer product. And finally it had reasonable targets - like selling millions. If Microsoft needs Duo to "start the conversation" with tens of thousands of people, it isn't quite clear why it has stopped the conversation with tens of millions of people with Windows Mobile. Sorry Daniel, but it is you who is overthinking and over-analyzing to support vague statements that can't pass simple reality checks.
  • Nah, I'm right on this. And this was an editorial, it's my opinion. I could have also mentioned how there haven't been any cancelled Surface devices since RT failed (and that was more on the OS, not the hardware). The Surface team's track record speaks for itself, imo.
    "but still reasonable price range for a consumer product."
    This isn't a consumer product. Not sure why this is so hard to understand or accept. Neither is Surface Studio, or HoloLens, Surface Pro X, or Surface Hub. Even Surface Book is priced too high for most people. Surface team doesn't build mass consumer products. It builds new, experimental ones that attempt to drive innovation in the computing industry. How are people not getting this eight years after Surface Pro?
    "It isn't quite clear why it has stopped the conversation with tens of millions of people with Windows Mobile."
    W10M had no future. OEMs were dropping it. The Lumia 95x was NOT that great. And, most importantly, the app situation was getting worse with no hope for it to improve. People were NOT buying WPs anymore. Sales plummeted. Only diehards remained. That's the facts.
  • Thanks for answering. OK, you've got the right for your opinion, that's fair. Not sure why you have problem then that other people have right for their opinion too. You haven't addressed the primary point - iPhone started as a small and technically limited product and turned into the biggest product ever, so 'let's start conversation' narrative is possible but it also needs at least some elements to carry on. And Surface Duo appears to miss them all. When Microsoft said it will make the best enterprise phone in Windows 10 Mobile era, Tim Cook said that there are no enterprise phones just like there are no enterprise cars and timed proved that he was right. However Microsoft and you have some problem in accepting this fact. Finally Windows 10 Mobile was designed for failure from the very start. I would understand that Microsoft simply said there is no path forward for Windows Phone. But they cut all the costs in the market they had hard time to catch the position and expected to bloom. They've turned the software into the buggy byproduct of Windows 10 development without the good upgrade path for previous owners. Possibly someone was optimistic but every serious software engineer would expect something like that to happen. Then they released overpriced hardware. And finally they've pulled it expecting OEMs to come in when only Samsung had any profits in mobile phones. You may say that "The Lumia 95x was NOT that great". In many ways it is true. But it will end up selling at least 10x than Surface Duo and possibly even 100x.
  • Well this is wat u will get from a MS mouthpiece. Not balanced articles
  • Well... hopefully this does stir genuine UI innovation in app development at least. I do not see folding screen devices like the Galaxy Fold doing that on their own. With one single, albeit folding screen, most developers are just configuring their apps to rescale to the larger display. Great for those with vision problems, but that method does not fundamentally change how you interact with the app or truly leverage the larger canvas available. It is part of the reason why true Android tablets failed and large smartphones have succeeded. If there is nothing unique about the user experience on a tablet, might as well just upscale the size of the phone. However, with physically separated screens, developers will be more inclined to consider how their app will behave in such an environment, especially if they want to try leveraging the two screens uniquely. That kind of app innovation can help advance the concept of folding displays (and Android tablets), too. An app designed to leverage dual-screens like the Duo can simply recognize the single larger display as a pseudo-dual screen device and act similarly. I know it is likely more complicated than that, but that is the basic idea. And, of course, it is up to the app developers to be even interested innovating their UI design in this way in the first place. I do not know. It is just a thought.
  • If it truly was for Surface fans, it would be running Windows 10X. This is Microsoft trying to appeal to the masses, which it has never been able to do. Their enthusiastic fans are disappearing as fast as their consumer products.
  • Okay Karen Schaefer lol
  • Even fewer people would buy it then. We all know this. But hey, it has an unlockable bootloader, so there is hope for WP fans.
  • Except it isn't either "The Microsoft you love," nor, "The Android you know." I had NEVER bought an Android, until the Microsoft I love, dumped me off a Cliff, after the 950XL. What I had to then do, was buy a Flagship Android, the Samsung Note8. Three years later, I held onto that phone, for the promise, of a worthy Ms device, to "save" me, from Android Hell. What Microsoft offered me, is a depricated device, that, aside from the cool, dual screen, doesn't even offer me the NFC, or wireless Qi charging, of the 950XL. For $1400! At this point, with COVID raging, contactless payments, and ubiquity, of wireless charging, are 2015 basic spec checkboxes. I don't care if it folds, if it can't do what my 3 year old Note8, and previous Windows Mobile devices, can do. It was with the heaviest of Hearts, tha5, after watching Panos love g tour of the Duo, I had to preorder a Note20 Ultra. I really don't care for Samsung, or Android. But I'm not runni g backwards, through a cornfield, for Microsoft. Maybe, if they are still playing with Mobile, for the next three years, I can give Panos next Passion Project a try. Maybe they'll have adopted 2015 specs, that are basics, now, by then...
  • My thoughts exactly... ^^^
  • Wow. It's like you are inside my head. I would take my 950XL over my Galaxy S9+ any day, but Microsoft rolls out this half-baked device running an OS that I hate.
  • Why do you hate Android? Look at the ux. It acts more like w10 then w10 mobile ever did. There isn't a mobile os who acts more like windows than Android
  • Daniel, it's not 2015 anymore. There is NO Critical Mass, of size, tripping over ourselves, to buy for Microsoft's Experiments in Behavioral Economics Marketing. They won't learn much about Mass Consumers, using Duo, because Mass Consumers, are going to spend their $1300+ on more competent devices, with more feature richness. I use the Microsoft Launcher, have 5 Xboxes, at least 10 Windows Phones/Mobile devices, and all Windows PCs. I waited three years, with a Note8, replacing three screens, at a cost of $280/apiece, just to avoid buying another Android phone, awaiting the Duo's arrival. If I'M not going to buy this, I doubt too many will...
  • Explain all that to Samsung with its $1,400 Z Flip and $2,000 Galaxy Fold. Or reference the last Surface "experiment" to fail in the market/be cancelled.
    "If I'M not going to buy this, I doubt too many will..."
    I literally argued how selling a lot of these devices is not the goal or expectation. How this is not a mass consumer device. This has nothing to do with mass consumers.
  • Wasn't there a Surface Mini?
  • It's for me. Or people like me.
    I travel a lot (up to 50 weeks a year), so mobility is top of the list for me.
    I'm now working with a Surface Pro 7 and a Note 10+.
    But I lost count of situations when the Surface is just a tad too bulky and the note just not as productive as I need it to be.
    My note will be history as soon as I get the Duo.
    I can see myself keeping the SP7 in the bag for most of the day and just use it for the heavy lifting at the end of the day at the hotel while I do the rest of my work on the Duo during the day.
    If the battery gets me through a day, I think it's a tech dream come true for me. I'll use it it with a smartwatch, so I don't have to open it and turn on the screens to see notifications and with my surface earbuds, I can handle the calls without having to take it from my pocket at all, so I'd guess that will help with battery life.
  • I hope you travel to places you like. That sounds like it can get exhausting...ly fun😏 if you're only home for 2 weeks out of a year, can we truly call it home?
  • Home is where my suitcase is 😊
    It does get a bit exhausting but it will slow down in a year or so.
  • Where do I sign up to take your place?
  • I'm keeping my note 10+ for the camera and situations that the surface may be to delicate for. I'm interested how my Galaxy watch will work with this thing, I assume like any other Android. My dream is to have watch that handles most quick tasks and a folding tablet that I can get into something on occasionally. This is a huge step in the right direction. Really hoping they pulled off some miracle with the battery though.
  • It should drop in price later this year Daniel as it will only have two years left before it becomes an expensive paper weight...
  • Curious: why would it be a paper weight? Also, average upgrade cycle for smartphones in 2020 is 2.8 years.
  • While I suspect Microsoft is trying to maintain realistic expectations with how successful this device will be, cannot feel like this was a bit of a miss. As a surface fan, I was really excited about the Duo and Neo. However, I find myself in the niche that is saddened by the compromises Microsoft made. Not just the camera or the chipset or wireless charging or NFC or etc... but all of those things. This article does feel a bit too much like a counter to what I feel is fair constructive criticism towards Microsoft and Duo. I also highly doubt with the R&D invested and acquisitions made as a result of device's development that Microsoft is expecting "niche" success. Format is awesome. But between price and specs, this feels like a let down and Microsoft should be willing to hear that feedback from surface enthusiasts that are just that.... let down.
  • "This article does feel a bit too much like a counter to what I feel is fair constructive criticism towards Microsoft and Duo."
    I see it differently. I think the criticisms, which, mind you, we've been talking about since it was announced, are well known and we all agree upon. Zac and I have been playing down expectations for the camera since January. Everyone agrees this would be a better device with: Better camera or cameras NFC Qi Stereo speakers Reviews will reflect this. It's obvious. So, I agree, those are legit criticisms. Now, moving on from that, since we all agree - what about the core theory of the device that dual screens are better for mobile productivity? That's the question that really needs to be answered. Because even if the camera, Qi, NFC were there/great, it doesn't matter if the core experience does not even deliver.
  • Great article, Dan, and puts matters re the Duo into a perspective that many seem to be missing. Microsoft's mantra has been productivity for time in memorial, and more so with Satya. Let's just think for a minute, why has split screen been a thing for a while now, on both computers and phones? Because people have cried out in the past for it so the tech companies gave it to us. I don't know about anyone else but I bought a Note because of the ability to write on screen, and screen was big enough to be useful in split screen. Same reason I own a Surface Pro. The Duo takes that to another level and for people such as myself, this device is a Godsend. The ability to make half decent use of Excel and other Office products, for instance, when on the go alone, is worth the investment. As you say Dan, it is a device for those who need it. And I do... sorely. At the end of the day, it is absolutely pointless carrying a gadget costing good money when you can't make it pay for itself, monetarily.
  • I've got the 256GB model preordered so it's definitely for me.
  • I mostly agree with the article. But still I don't understand why android on surface fan device. There are no WhatsApp and other basic mobile apps on windows? Sure, that's what happens if you kinda kill the phone store in 2017. I mean, what you say about being patient with new form factors is (was) valid as well for new OSs. A lot of people, included this blog, speaking about w10m suddenly went from "there's hope" to "it's hopeless" as soon as Microsoft made that decision. No way, just because everybody says it, it doesn't mean it was the right move.
  • "I mostly agree with the article. But still I don't understand why android on surface fan device."
    Panos was asked this by the press during our briefing. He had a one-word response: apps. That's it. Android has the mobile apps people expect. He's not wrong.
  • Thanks for replying Daniel. You know, I've heard of that word a lot :) sorry, I'm not convinced. On both sides of that dilemma there was something. PC-programs + OS consistency + basic mobile apps (in a growing young store) VS all mobile apps from a competitor platform.
    To me, there are a lot of potential costs in their choice: it is a gift for google, it has been incentivating developers to shift away from Microsoft and it will reduce Windows to a secondary and very technical OS. In short, they threw away the baby with the bathwater. Fair enough, we will shift to the technology they decide to give us, Android seems a mature system after all. However, we will need multiple accounts, multiple development tools to deploy apps on every device and not to mention the confusion of all that bloatware ... Unless we won't embrace a single platform which today can't be Microsoft at all. Not everything is getting simpler as you can see. What I want to stress is that Microsoft shouldn't do what people expect, as too many companies do. Microsoft should go beyond and the bold vision to give us a 3rd option on mobile, to put a true PC in our pockets, to unify the software development and the OS experience, well, truly suited them. A Surface phone like this just sounds unnatural to me.
  • Love how this is now coined as a conversation changer.
    Friends: What's that you've got there?
    Me: This is the brand-new Surface Duo.
    Friends: What does it do?
    Me: This improves my productivity.
    Friends: Really, that's nice. What else does it do?
    Me: This improves my productivity.
    Friends: Seriously, what else does it?
    Me: Seriously, this improves my productivity. Man, stop asking, this does not have ugly raised cameras like your flashy Note 20 does. It has a nice pen writing, but I need to remember to have the pen with me and in my pocket. I have five wireless charging pads laid around my house for I am too lazy to plug things in and those are now heading for recycling bin, and I just forgo the mobile payment I've been using for the past 5 years because I traded in my last mobile phone for this. All for improving my productivity. Nothing is more important than improving my productivity.
    Friends: How much did you pay for it?
    Me: .... productivity is priceless. There you go, I've scripted a nice conversation that we will all likely to have with our friends when they see our shiny Surface Duo. Cheers, I have long been a Surface fan and have owned Surface Pro 2, 3, 4, Book 2 and Laptop 2 and I've owned Nokia 920, 1050 and Windows Phon 950 so, I am a bit entitled to let out my frustration about some simple omissions of the production decision made by SD. There are things I just can't forgo, and mobile payments / wireless charging are unfortunately two of them. I'll wait for gen 2 or 3 Surface Duo, but why can't they just get it right the first time?
  • Probably will buy it for around 700/800 since it is already old hardware. But another problem is that it is quite bulky...hopefully duo 2 will be lighter and more powerful...
  • Those of you looking to upgrade via a a ATT next program, when you go to what's in the box, the bumper protective case is listed so I guess that's a plus. It would be nice if the stylus or surface earbuds were also thrown in but I already have the ear buds which are very nice despite the naysayers so I'd like to have the option of one of the other items by honestly, I also already have a surface pen that cane with my surface pro 4 so I really have everything I need to make this productive. I'm really on the fence about pre-ordering this 'computer, I mean phone' especially since I just enrolled to college recently.
  • 'people who want a different Android experience that is more focused on productivity and creativity' This is an actual segment, and not just some imaginary creature?
  • Are you suggesting that people with Android smartphones don't work, or don't have situations where an in-between device (phone and laptop), would be beneficial? Smartphones today are not optimized for what we use them for. They are designed primarily for phone calls, and yet, look at most people's call history and compare it to screen time to see what they are actually doing on their device.
  • The last time I heard Microsoft making things for "fans" , it ended up being a very depressing and painful story for the "fans" (L950/950XL). While I am optimistic about this product, my problem with Microsoft is their lack of planning and discipline. It has been more than a year since they made the announcement and yet are unable to deliver a product that will at least provide the latest specs. Have you ever seen Samsung or One Plus launching a product with last year's specs? How don't know how things work at OEM level but Microsoft being a big company must have planned for this..
  • All the same criticisms against Surface Duo have been/were made against Surface Studio too. Just saying.
  • First off, lots of people buy LG phones. More people than buy Surface devices certainly. Second, "a different Android experience that is more focused on productivity and creativity" is laughable when this device has fewer productivity and creativity features than foldable devices already on the market.
  • "First off, lots of people buy LG phones."
    That was, as we say in the biz, sarcasm. And like all sarcasm, it's rooted in some truth e.g. 2020 headlines like "New LG CEO won’t give up on smartphone market, promises profitability by 2021" with gems like "Kwon didn't share many details on how he plans to resurrect LG's smartphone business, which has lost money for something like 14 quarters in a row now", are revealed. And that was before the COVID pandemic. LG is struggling in the smartphone biz is my point. And for all the people citing Velvet as a "better option", most are certainly not going to buy it themselves. It's aconvenientt canard for criticizing Duo. I think you'll see more Duos in the US than Velvets with dual screens in use.
  • "It's a convenient canard for criticizing Duo." No, it isn't. Here's the deal: no matter how you position it, <i>the Duo is still an Android device</i>. As such, it is going to have positive and negative comparisons to other Android devices. Also, it wasn't dishonest at all. Ever since we heard this device rumoured over a year ago, the hype - from Microsoft and backers like this - was that this was going to represent some new advance. Innovative form factor, new hardware, new hardware, new features, SOMETHING. Instead, ah no. This device is no different from any other Android device. Which made it a huge letdown. There is no benefit to buying this device at all. Meanwhile there are benefits to buying similar devices from Samsung and LG. <b>The reason why people pointed out the LG phones is because it costs $1000 less than the Samsung phone.</b> Otherwise, they most certainly would have recommended the Samsung Galazy Z Fold instead. But ultimately, folks were looking for something new, better, different or at least cheaper. Instead, Microsoft whiffed on all 4. So it wasn't "dishonest criticism from people who will never buy the device." It seems as if you are somehow paranoid because you believe that Android types are looking for reasons to bash this phone because it comes from Microsoft. Sorry, that absurdity belongs with the hypersensitive iPhone crowd. The truth is that Android folks have seen OEMs come, go and in some instances come back again. "I think you'll see more Duos in the US than Velvets with dual screens in use." That is only because the United States is iPhone, Samsung and everybody else. That doesn't change the fact that far more LG dual screen phones are going to sell. And again, it doesn't change the fact that for all the hype, Microsoft only managed to deliver "a typical Android phone" - honestly the ZTE Axon M with better software - that lacked a ton of features yet cost more than every other Android device in existence except the Galazy Fold. That is an accomplishment but not a good one.
  • Lots'a words posted, some relevant and others, not so much... Wonder what "direction the posts will take" the week of September 14, 2020. How about the week of September 14, 2021? If it matters to anyone, I have written code for over 40 years... and retired 3 times! :-) ... seen a few things come and a few things go... I can't wait to get my device on September 10, 2020! Daniel, I enjoy your articles and common sense perspective, keep doing it...
  • Thanks! And I appreciate your insight here.
  • Yep, and as much as I like this device, I do not need it and it will not empower me to do more than I already do on Android. If it was Windows 10 or 10x on it or whatever they are having a hard time building then ABSOLUTELY I would buy this....
  • I agree that I would give my pinky toe to see this run Windows 10x. I'd probably even happily pay $1400 for it. But mainly because I think this Android-only device formally kills off UWP and the Microsoft Store. The dream is dead. And unfortunately I think killing off UWP/MS Store undermines any reason for a lite Windows operating system... ie Windows 10x. In all seriousness Microsoft would be better off making a Surface branded Chrome OS device at this point.
  • I think I'll wait another 5 years and then see where Microsoft is going. I think the concept is very interesting, but this gen 1 Duo device hasn't been the buzz for me like the first gen Surface Pro had. It's too far off the long teased courier device. Contrary to Daniels perspective I think this first gen is more generic and for the masses device with the current specs and software than a niche device. Even for a gen gen 1 device I think this device, even though I have been quite a Surface user over the years, including owning two first gen Surface Pro's, isn't complete. I think Microsoft could have done better with this first gen device, especialky for that price. It,''s not the hardware or Android OS, but I think the narrative of the device is very unclear and at this point opinions vary as to who this device is for. Apparently in this article it is for the "enthusiasts". I have mixed feelings about that claim. I think it's okay to overthink it, because in my experience Microsoft has shown they can do great things with Surface, but after several years of using it, I think for a first gen device the compromises for the device are too big for what you invest in. I'm also missi g a bigger narrative on touch and pen. And it's missing li e tiles in the OS. Yes for such a mobile device touch and pen is the way to go. Live tiles fit that mobity glanceability user experience profile. I don't know how to civet it, but after live tiles on Windows and Widows Mobile for several years it needs to come back and be fully upgraded and improved in the same breath. Even Apple is intorducing a live tiles equivalent!But Microsoft, I think, is already too late with this. I think this first gen duo reminds me a lot of how Windows Phone went, and it is not a good start. Enthusiasts deserve better on gen 1, and I think Microsoft is now very capable of doing this. It's a question of setting priorities. I don't think it's there yet at Microsoft at this point in time.
    Fingers crossed and see what they make of the Duo in the coming years. Maybe I might turn into an enthusiast... Soon.
  • For anybody that works and takes its works seriously.
  • I work and I take my work very seriously. I moved from a Lumia 950XL to an iPhone Max. I bought a Surface Go with LTE. That didn't allow me to take my work seriously enough. So I bought a Surface Pro 7, I connect it to my iPhone as a hotspot, and I can literally work comfortably as possible when away from my desktop.
  • What? You were close George, but you should have saved your money by skipping the iPhone. Then wait for Surface Go 2 with LTE and M3 processor. There's no need to replace this small beast with the bigger SP7, which is good for at home but not as mobile. Finally, spend the saved cash on the Surface Duo which is seriously awesome for multitasking on the go. Why carry two devices when you can carry one that does everything you need?
  • I don't see the use case for this device. 3 years ago as courier, it would have changed the conversation. 3 years from now people who spent $1500 on this device will find themselves stuck in the same place MY FANTASTIC WINDOWS phone is...nowhere. It was a great phone. It did ALL the things this devices promises to do. It could connect to keyboard, mouse and a monitor, and you could use it as a computer. That device is sitting on my nightstand. Or perhaps we should imagine the Microsoft Band, I owned 1 and 2. Where are they 3 years after? VANISH. This device is 3 years late.
  • After watching Panos' video I can see this device being used by executives. Sales professionals. Real Estate professionals. Pilots. Lawyers. Construction Managers. Estimators. Interior decorators. Federal, State, and Local government field workers like tax auditors, social workers, inspectors. Financial advisors. Logisticians. But even on the consumer side of the fence I could see Microsoft making XCloud work great on this device. And for consumers who really really love to read this is the perfect form factor for that. It's also the perfect device for watching movies on a plane. The downside is of course the price. $1400 is a HEFTY price tag to pay for the privilege of having the ultimate "book like" experience, tent/presentation mode, a built in game controller, or drag and drop multitasking. But from a pure "use case" perspective there are tons of cool things that could be done on this device. Will they though at $1400? I guess we'll see.
  • The only thing that this device proves is that Moore's Law has just been reinforced yet again as alive and well. All tech can do now is keep reinventing the wheel with scale and code, and call it "magic." It was a fun ride it its heydays though.
  • I can't speak for everyone else, but I can speak for myself. I use an Android phone because there isn't a mobile device the is focused on Windows. I use the Office suite, One Note, One Drive, Teams, To Do, and the My Phone app. Now while I'm an avid Surface fan and have been waiting for this device for about two years, many others don't use Surface products and won't care about the Surface brand. I believe there is a group of people who like me use an array of Microsoft software productivity applications because either through their job, school, or independently. This demographic I do see potentially finding intrigue in this device. Not enough to purchase it albeit, but enough to draw interest. I think Microsoft is playing the long game here with Duo. That same group that showed interest in the first generation Duo device, may find themselves holding one by the third generation which I think would be a win for Microsoft. Microsoft's productivity applications aren't going anywhere, and if they can provide a mobile experience that can give you a desktop replication in the palm of your hand like no other device can, what seems as a niche and overpriced, could change to mainstream and worth the money in three years. Sound familiar? It should, it's the Surface playbook.
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  • Spending $1400 to "test" Microsoft's vision of productivity is a bold move. Version 1.x of Microsoft devices is always a gamble. It might even make it to version 2.x.
  • I have an LG phone. A V40 to be precise, after previously having a V30. I haven't really considered getting a V50 or later because I don't see the extra cost being offset by extra benefit. I am hoping that my next phone will be a Surface Duo, but not this generation. I am not prepared to do without NFC and it would be hard to give up Qi too, considering how many wireless chargers I own. If the next-gen Duo adds those two features then I'm probably in, regardless of what else they do or do not do. Slimmer bezels and a camera better than the current one looks to be would be nice but not deal-breakers, as would a more current processor. I can certainly see myself getting benefit from the dual-screen configuration but the actual form-factor seems more appealing than the LG options.