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Why Microsoft put Android on Surface Duo and Windows 10X on Surface Neo

(Image credit: Windows Central)

Surface Duo

Surface Duo (Image credit: Microsoft)

Last week, Microsoft unveiled two new foldable devices that are expected to start shipping at the end of next year, which push forward Surface as a brand into new categories. One sticking point amongst fans, however, has been the decision to use Windows on the bigger Surface Neo and Android on the smartphone-sized Surface Duo. Some people don't understand why Microsoft has chosen two different OS's for these devices, and I continue to receive these kinds of questions on Twitter.

I want to explain why Microsoft has chosen to use different operating systems across the Neo and Duo, and how it's important for certain form factors to be running the OS that makes the most sense for that device.

The difference between Surface Neo and Surface Duo

While Surface Neo and Surface Duo look similar externally, they are actually very different devices. One is a PC, and one is a phone. This is the key reason behind why these devices run different operating systems. It appears there's some confusion around this, with many people on Twitter asking me why Neo isn't running Android like the Duo is, and vice versa. It's because they are different form factors at their core.

Yes, they are both foldable devices with dual-screens, but they are fundamentally different in all other aspects.

It all comes down to size. You use the right OS on the right size form factor. Anything smaller than 8-inches should run Android. Anything above 8-inches should run Windows. Android is excellent on small devices, but not big ones. Surface Neo is a large device that lets you do PC related things on it. That's why the Surface Neo runs Windows 10X, and not Android. No one in their right mind would buy a PC running Android, because Android isn't a platform that's very good at doing PC things.

This same reasoning can be used with the Surface Duo not running Windows. Unfortunately for Windows fans, Windows has no ecosystem on screens smaller than 8-inches, and as such, is not a viable platform for a phone. Android has mobile apps, all of which have been designed for small screens. Windows primarily has PC apps, which are designed for much larger screens, and as such, don't run well on phones.

A smartphone needs apps

Although Microsoft is trying to steer away from calling the Surface Duo a phone, at a fundamental level, that's pretty much exactly what it is. For it to be successful at being a smartphone, it needs apps. As mentioned above, Windows doesn't have mobile apps. Windows is great at having PC apps, which work best on screens larger than what a phone offers, even with dual-screens in the mix.

Android has a vast ecosystem of mobile apps, which is the number one priority for a device that goes with you in your pocket. The reason Windows Phone failed was that it didn't have the apps people want. Yes, it had the big ones, but it didn't have everything, and that's what ultimately killed off Windows on phones. Android does have everything: It has your banking app, it has your taxi-hailing service, it has your social apps, it has your games, it has everything you want.

If Microsoft were to put Windows 10X on the Surface Duo, the device would lose out on this vital ecosystem of apps that a phone needs. This isn't a want thing. This is a need. For a phone to succeed, it needs apps.

What about Android emulation on top of Windows 10X?

One question I've seen from Windows Phone fans is why didn't Microsoft use Windows 10X on the Surface Duo, but with Android app emulation on top to fill the app gap? This is something Microsoft considered and even started work on, but there are issues around doing Android app support in this way.

The primary reason against doing this is Google does not allow Play Store services on devices that are emulating Android (excepting their own Chrome OS). This means that if the Surface Duo shipped with Windows 10X with Android emulation on top, it wouldn't be a Google Play Store certified device, and as such, wouldn't be able to run many Android apps out of box. It wouldn't support Google Pay either.

Users could technically sideload Google Play, but they shouldn't have to and that wouldn't solve all these issues. It still wouldn't be certified and wouldn't receive support from Google. That's the primary reason why Microsoft decided not to go with Android emulation on top of Windows 10X for the Surface Duo. The other reason is allowing Android apps on Windows 10X discourages developers to build native Windows apps.

It makes more sense for the Surface Duo to run Android, and have Microsoft create a bridge between Android and Windows that allows developers to build native apps for both platforms easily. Microsoft doesn't want to enter a world in which most Windows apps are just Android apps running in an emulation layer, which is what would have happened had Microsoft enabled Android emulation on top of Windows 10X.

What about making Windows 10X an option for the Duo?

Another suggestion I've seen from Windows Phone fans is asking Microsoft to make Windows 10X an optional thing for those who want it. This would make more sense, but there's little reason to do it. Windows 10X is a PC platform, designed for PC apps. Die-hards who want to run Windows on the Surface Duo would not have an optimal experience trying to run PC apps on screens of that size. Besides, Microsoft shouldn't waste the resources in trying to make that a good experience for the few who do want it.

Debloating Windows has been a constant goal for Microsoft, and keeping around legacy phone call support for the few who want to run Windows 10X on a phone makes no sense. That, paired with the app problem Windows has, means there's no reason for Microsoft to make Windows 10X an option for the Surface Duo. It's just unnecessary for the small group of people who want it.

Clearing up the confusion

Surface Neo runs Windows 10X because Surface Neo is a PC. Microsoft is positioning this device as something that can do PC-related things, and as such, needs to run Windows. Surface Duo runs Android because it's a phone, and needs to have mobile apps that work well on small screens that can fit in your pocket.

It's as simple as that. Windows is great at PC stuff, and Android is great at phone stuff. The Neo is a PC, and the Duo is a phone.

Luckily for Surface fans, Microsoft doesn't see the platform as a key-component to its overall strategy anymore. The beauty of the Microsoft ecosystem is that it's cross platform, and Microsoft adopting Android means Windows users are about to have a better cross-device experience with their Android phone. That's a good thing overall, and I can't wait for the Surface Duo because of it.

Zac Bowden
Zac Bowden

Zac Bowden is a Senior Editor at Windows Central. Bringing you exclusive coverage into the world of Windows 10 on PCs, tablets, phones, and more. Also an avid collector of rare Microsoft prototype devices! Keep in touch on Twitter: @zacbowden.

229 Comments
  • I remember when Windows Phone 10 was still in testing and could run android apps. The issue is on older hardware. It struggled and couldnd access hardware like the camera and network. As much as I know a lot of us would love Windows phone to make a comeback (I know I would) it just isn't realistically possible. Android and IOS have just too much of a lead. It's too hard now for a 3rd OS to break Apple and Google's hold.
  • ...." and keeping around legacy phone call support for the few who want to run Windows 10X on a phone makes no sense." - to you Zac. To quote Arthur/ Joker - "you would not get it."
  • I can't imagine it's that resource intensive to keep a phone dialer in an operating system. The reality is that this Jekyll-and-Hyde strategy by Microsoft is going to backfire. I have no idea what they think they're going to achieve by becoming an Android phone manufacturer--especially in a tiny, unproven, niche market. The best they could hope for is for the Duo to sell well enough to get out of the red, but by actually manufacturing, distributing, marketing, and selling these things, that's going to be a lot of red. And even if they do achieve that, it'll be at the expense of aiding Google, helping them improve Android as an OS for dual screen / foldables when they *should* be trying to make Windows 10X superior to Android on this front. Android may not be great "for PC stuff now", but it's getting there, and helping Google get their faster by collaborating with them on this will only hurt Windows 10X and the Neo too. This decision undermines confidence among consumers and developers in Windows 10X by showing that Microsoft themselves don't think they can fully compete. Windows 10X needs new apps to succeed. But if I were a developer and I saw Microsoft hedging their bets by investing resources in Android too, I know where I'd invest my own time and money, and it wouldn't be Windows 10X. Releasing the Surface Duo with Android is foolish. Microsoft will continue to lose market share in all of the apps and services they're trying desperately to promote, even though they've all been decimated compared to what they were in Windows Phone's heyday, because being the platform holder is hugely important.
  • Yes and no. If all things stay the same then the future you envision is logical, but you're forgetting about PWA's. PWA's are the future. When all apps are PWA's (less than five years I bet) anybody can build a phone operating system and have all the apps in their store from day one. When that happens you'll see Windows on phones again.
  • "PWA's are the future. When all apps are PWA's" That will never happen. Not all apps are based on web sites. Plus, how many browsers are we going to develop and test on? If its more than 2, then it will be easier to continue with iOS and Android apps. Chrome? Edge? Firefox? Safari? Opera? Are we going to test on all of those?
  • When all apps are PWA, ChromeOS rules. That is the whole point of Google making PWA, to help ChromeOS become relevant.
  • How is that possible when chrome doesn't support most of the PRO Apps. (Creative apps both video editing, graphics design, picture manipulation). But windows 10X will support both
  • U r drinking too much kool-aid supplied by windows central writers. Pwa will not challenge apps
  • Tell me what an app can do that a PWA can't? The idea about PWA has been along for a long time: The iPhone 2G was meant to run "web apps" (essentially PWA) when launched. 99% of "mobile apps" today are online based (time to do critical thinking: an "app" such as a banking, supermarket, alarm system, streaming app etc is essentially a "wrapper" that reformat an online service with a small screen interface. PWA is a way of managing this kind of "apps" in the most logical way possible: Through a web browser rather than running something which essentially is a "browser-in-the-app" taking up a lot of space and require more time due to the need to develop for Android and iOS. A PWA bring the "app" experience to the user but works everywhere, is auto-updated without user interaction or need to download a lot of data and allow the service to be accessible wherever a modern browser is available. Google embracing PWA is a logical step since they want to migrate away from and reduce dependency on Android. PWA is the logical future.
  • Google created and is pushing PWA because it removes reliance on Windows. ChromeOS become relevant when PWA takes over.
  • Not only ChromeOS but every OS, both old and new Oses to come
  • "I have no idea what they think they're going to achieve by becoming an Android phone manufacturer" Brand building. Microsoft's mobile efforts have been one huge sequence of failure after failure since Apple announced the original iPhone back in 2007. They want to start anew, with a clean slate, and rebuild their reputation in this market. "And even if they do achieve that, it'll be at the expense of aiding Google, helping them improve Android as an OS for dual screen / foldables when they *should* be trying to make Windows 10X superior to Android on this front." Microsoft's core business strategy hasn't gravitated around Windows for quite a while now, they could care less which OS you use so long as you're a regular user of their cloud services. It's in their best interests to keep Windows as an option so as to not be wholly dependant on Apple and Google playing nice, sure, but they're not bounded by it anymore. "Android may not be great "for PC stuff now", but it's getting there" No, it's not. Google isn't developing a whole new OS, Fuchsia, just for kicks, they clearly realized Android is too smartphone/small tablet centric to be used in pro devices (desktops and laptops). ChromeOS support for Android on a device basis reeks of kludge.
  • "brand building...starting anew" Overextending the Surface brand and using non-Microsoft software on it will hurt Microsoft's brands--Surface and Windows, in particular. Using Android isn't "starting anew", it's capitulating and sends a poor message to consumers and developers: "we can't compete with Google." So why would consumers and developers buy into their new OS, Windows 10X with that kind of mixed messaging? They won't. Becoming an Android phone manufacturer makes far less sense than resurrecting Windows phones, and resurrecting Windows phones doesn't make a lot of sense. "they could [not] care less which OS you use so long as you're a regular user of their cloud services" Which we already know won't happen. The opposite has happened. Since Windows Phone was killed off, Microsoft's services have taken a massive hit: Cortana is on life support, Groove is dead, UWP on desktop has failed to gain traction, mobile Bing search is irrelevant as is mobile OneDrive, Edge on mobile has decimated user counts, Skype has become a meme, Outlook is outshined by Gmail, and even Office is getting taken on by Google Docs. That's the outcome of not being the platform holder. Helping Google improve Android also helps Google secure control over those other app markets too. "Google isn't developing a whole new OS, Fuchsia, just for kicks" Anything Google does, operating system-wise, will be compatible with Android apps in some way. They will never throw away that advantage.
  • "Edge on mobile has decimated user count"
    25K reviews on iOS with a 4.5 star rating, #7 app under utilities, literally the second most downloaded browser behind Chrome on iOS. It's been out less than 2 years. On Android, 4.6 rating (69K reivews) with 10 million+ downloads
    "Skype has become a meme"
    From 2018, Skype has more than 300 million monthly active users. Yeah, hilarious. 4.4 rating on iOS, #17 in social networking, still default video calling app for the planet On Android, 1 billion+ downloads, 4.3 rating from 10 million reviews.
    "Outlook is outshined by Gmail"
    On Android, 100 million downloads, 4.4 rating (4.4 m reviews) On iOS, 4.7 rating (1.2m reviews), #5 app in productivity.
    "even Office is getting taken on by Google Docs"
    Pure lies. From 2018:
    "According to Silicon Valley-based cloud security specialist Bitglass, Office 365 was being used by 65 percent of respondents, up from 43 percent in 2016, while G Suite was being used by 19.2 percent; down from 22 percent in 2016."
    Different 2018 report:
    "The cloud access security broker (CASB), in its 2018 Cloud Adoption Report, analysed software usage of more than 135,000 companies globally and found Office 365 continues to rule the roost." "56.3% of the more than 135,000 companies analysed were users, compared with only a quarter (24.8%) for G Suite. The latter has actually decreased – admittedly from 24.9% - compared with two years ago, while Office 365 uptake in 2016 was at 34.3%." "In terms of Office 365 and G Suite houses by size, the trend for larger firms to go with Microsoft remains apparent. Regular readers of this publication may remember a 2015 survey from BetterCloud which found companies surveyed who ran Office 365 had IT teams on average five times the size of their Google compatriots."
    From the last quarterly report from Microsoft:
    Office Commercial products and cloud services revenue increased 14% (up 16% in constant currency) driven by Office 365 Commercial revenue growth of 31% (up 34% in constant currency) Office Consumer products and cloud services revenue increased 6% (up 8% in constant currency) and Office 365 Consumer subscribers increased to 34.8 million
    Microsoft Teams also started years after Slack and now has 13M monthly users (vs 12M from Slack) while increasing momentum. They also have captured nearly all the top Forbes 100 companies effectively cutting Slack off from the big fish for future growth. Reason? They're on iOS, Android, Windows and soon Linux and it's all tied to Office 365. Some of you ex-Windows Phone fans are so dishonest, just making up whatever you think sounds right without a shred of research. Just sad 👎
  • "25k reviews on iOS, 69k reviews on Android with 10million downloads" That's decimated. Every Windows Phone user was using Edge. Way more than the number of users on iOS and Android combined, despite those platforms having hundreds of millions more users. "Skype has more than 300 million monthly active users" How many of them on mobile? "#17 in social networking" That seems pretty bad for what used to be *the* VoiP app to beat. "still default video calling app for the planet" Facetime, Line, Whatsapp, Facebook, and others have way more mind share. "Outlook...100 million downloads on Android...1.2m reviews on iOS" Yeah, and how does that compare to Gmail? "[Regarding Google Docs vs. Office] Pure lies [proceeds to cite a quote about enterprise adoption that has nothing to do with mobile]" We're talking about mobile here, not enterprise. Go talk to college students and see how many of them are using Google Docs instead of Office. "[digression about Teams] Reason? They're on iOS, Android, Windows and soon Linux" No, the reason is because they bundled it into Office 365 and therefore gifted it to all of their existing enterprise customers. Again, that you need to keep bringing in non-mobile, enterprise numbers to refute these "Pure lies" is all that needs to be said. Also, where are your defenses for Bing mobile search, OneDrive that isn't built in to Windows 10 PCs, Cortana on mobile, and Groove? "Some of you ex-Windows Phone fans" I'm not an ex-Windows Phone fan. I use an HP Elite X3.
  • "Every Windows Phone user was using Edge. Way more than the number of users on iOS and Android combined, despite those platforms having hundreds of millions more users." According to Statista, there was a peak of about 7 million Windows phone users and an average of 5.3 million users during it's last 3 years of life. Yet, Microsoft Edge has been downloaded over 10 million times on Android alone. So how did you reach your conclusion? Source #1: https://www.statista.com/statistics/232796/forecast-of-microsoft-users-i... Source #2: https://www.windowscentral.com/e?link=https2F2F...
  • You're quite literally wrong on all your points.
    "That's decimated. Every Windows Phone user was using Edge. Way more than the number of users on iOS and Android combined,"
    Wrong. See above. There are more Android users of Edge today than there ever were of WP users. WP never got above 1-4% in most markets.
    "Facetime, Line, Whatsapp, Facebook, and others have way more mind share."
    Says who? Every movie/TV show uses Skype when doing video calls. iOS is only 12% of the mobile market and FT has no Windows access point. It's a drop in the bucket. And businesses use Skype (and now Teams), not Facetime, Line, Whatsapp, or Facebook.
    "Yeah, and how does that compare to Gmail?"
    It has over 100 million downloads on Android and is the #5 app for productivity on iOS man. Stop trying to convince anyone that it's unpopular or not doing well. You're not convincing anyone. This is just pathetic.
    "We're talking about mobile here, not enterprise. Go talk to college students and see how many of them are using Google Docs instead of Office."
    Many schools still have Office 365 licenses for students and use Microsoft. Microsoft is one the one with tremendous growth for Office 365 for consumers and enterprise, not Google. I already gave you those numbers. Office 365 Consumer subscribers increased to 34.8 million. Those are paying users. And I brought up Teams because it would not be successful if employees could only use it on their PCs vs phones. Have you never worked in an office before? I guess not with an Elite x3. Your analysis is a joke, you have no actual numbers, and you're just shooting from the hip because you're trying to convince yourself. No one will ever take you seriously. Time to give up the Elite x3 and come back to earth.
  • I think MS wants to do that but iOS probably does not make it easy for them. They probably come up with a solution eventually.
  • Hi Daniel,
    I made two comments regarding this article but two of them I can´t see here. is that any kind of censorship here regarding criticism about the text? Best regards,
  • You seem to have the uncanny ability to exaggerate stuff concerning MS apps. I cannot really take you serious if you e.g. say that Outlook and OneDrive are irrelevant.
  • Ok, so i do not have any facts or official figures, or anything like that. I just have a few thoughts from a from a Windows/Phone/Mobile ==> Microsoft fan perspective.
    The number one question i have been having a hard time answering is, if i am a developer, why on earth would i develop a W10X app when i could simply create a new, or adapt my current Android app for a tablet like experience (larger/dual/foldable screens). If the Surface Duo ran W10X then I would think that MS is fully committed to this endeavor. I know a lot of people like to draw a distinction between phones and tablets and laptops, but I believe that part of the point of these devices is to blur the line between the categories.
    I do acknowledge that there is an app issue with Windows10X but i do not think it would be prohibitive, in that, should the Surface Duo also run W10X it would gain support and concurrent momentum from the Surface Neo. In other words, the messaging to developers, and indeed consumers, is lackluster at best, IMO. I would rather see MS jump, on the deep end, and not look back. I think another reader, somewhere, commented that MS lost a lot with Xbox, and perhaps still is loosing money, but that does not make it a nonviable business. And the same can be said for Bing.
    When i saw the Duo being lifted from the bag, i nearly lost my mind. And then when I found out it was running Android, I was like meh. Not because "Android sux" or anything like that. It simply does not inspire excitement or confidence in me as a die hard MS fan. At this point, I do hope for an option to Get a Duo with W10X I personally do not care about app, BUT I do recognize it is indeed a significant issue. I just cant help but think that MS could get away with W10X on the Duo, given they are not positioning it as a traditional smartphone.
    Android may not be the best place to go for tablet and desktop apps, but most assuredly, every effort put towards a phone that can turn into a tablet, will unequivocally assist Google in their post Android efforts, if that pans out to be such a thing. Because, surprise, Android tablet apps work great on Chrome OS and eventually Fuchsia.
    I am unmistakably a Windows and MS fan, but i believe I can also present logical arguments; if we believe in W10X and it being modular and adaptable, etc, then we should not be hedging our bets. Right now, as we speak, Apple, in Mac OS Catalina, has allowed certain iOS apps to run on Mac OS. and this is just the beginning. If a Chromebook OEM would have made compelling hardware, developers would be more enticed too convert their Android apps on the big screen. I am fully aware that Windows is no longer the focus of Microsoft, and is not material to their future, but I don't think that choosing Android does NOT benefit Microsoft in the long run.
    Sorry if I was all over the place. Just wanted to get it out and contribute to the conversation
  • People are way too impatient for their own good. Windows 10X as a choice for Duo would be good to have maybe five years from now when hopefully 10X has managed to gather a robust ecosystem designed especifically for Neo-like devices. Now? No, just no. Microsoft's resources would be better employed elsewhere.
  • And that's the important bit here, Microsoft always has the OPTION down the road. But right now? Android is better for Duo. I wish that weren't the case, but it's so obvious.
  • The problem is that the Duo is going to fail long before that, and a portable Windows PC that can double as a phone will be buried along with it...
  • Just curious on why you think this?
  • Because it has many failings as an Android smartphone compared to the competition. It's unwieldy due to width. It's difficult to handle due to obligatory two-handed use. It will likely have an inferior camera. Finally, Android apps are simply not designed to work well in a dual screen environment. Considering these issues, I can't see anyone but enthusiasts giving it more than a second glance.
  • "Because it has many failings as an Android smartphone compared to the competition. It's unwieldy due to width. It's difficult to handle due to obligatory two-handed use. It will likely have an inferior camera." So you're projecting your expectations of what a good traditional smartphone should be on a brand new form factor that is designed to fulfill a completely different use case? "Finally, Android apps are simply not designed to work well in a dual screen environment." Fairly sure Microsoft stated that they're working with Google to implement this support on stock Android.
  • Of course I'm projecting my expectations. It's all anyone of us can do, unless you have a magical mirror that shows the future!
    So yes, I doubt a smartphone with lesser usability will gain much traction in the future. As for Microsoft working with Google... What's that going to help? Google doesn't make all the millions of apps that people want to run on their smartphone, and what's the likelihood of independent devs going out of their way to cater to this niche product?
  • The Duo will not be the only foldable phone. What makes you think some popular devs will not add dual screen support as soon as the foldable phone technology becomes more mass adapted? (many people love big screen phones so it will become popular one way or the other, either foldable tech or something similar)
  • No? Care to share links to any leaks of other foldable phones? Ones that haven't been complete failures, mind you...?
  • Your ignorance betrays you. The only failing I see here is you... failing to see that all your assumptions are just that, and have zero merit.
    - You haven't held it, and therefore have no idea if the width will or won't work.
    - You don't know if its difficult to handle, or if 2 hands are obligatory.
    - Nobody knows what the camera will be like
    - Android apps don't have to be designed to work well in 2 screens. Those that aren't can be put on one screen.
  • I haven't held it? No, but I can clearly see that it's wider than any standard smartphone out there, and most of these are already too wide to handle comfortably in one hand.
    The fact that it has no screen on the outside pretty much dictates that you need two hands to at least open it. To be fair, one could imagine it being left permanently open, with both screens out, but from their presentation that's not what MS has in mind
    We don't have camera stats, no, but with a thickness of less than normal smartphones (according to Daniel) and only one selfie lens visible, it's safe to assume it's not going to be outgunning the flagships of today.
    If you don't care for apps that actually perform on a dual screen device, why would you want to shell out the (probably) premium price for one? I'll refrain from using similar derogatory terms to yours; I'd appreciate if you could return the favor from here on...
  • "If you don't care for apps that actually perform on a dual screen device, why would you want to shell out the (probably) premium price for one?" And you shouldn't. But that's the same as the Samsung Galaxy Note line. If you don't care for a stylus why would you "shell out premium price for one?" Yet nearly 100 million units of that line have sold since its inception. Imagine if you had a folding Duo with stylus support too? Outstanding. But not for everyone.
  • The Note series has inherently been more powerful and had a bigger screen than the S series. The stylus is completely optional, unlike the dual screen nature of the Duo...
  • You're assuming it will have an "inferior camera". Compared to which other phone? I'm assuming it will have one of the best cameras because that was always something Microsoft was good at. As for "difficult to handle" and "unwieldly", isn't that exactly what Apple used to say about phones with screens larger than 4 inches?
  • Compared to any multilens flagship on the market. With one (selfie) lens in a paper-thin body, it's not going to be a camera king. Unless they come up with a completely new camera tech; I'm ready to be pleasently surprised! And Apple was halfway right, but modern smartphones are still capable of one-handed use (just), and the payback from the larger screen outweighs the discomfort. But having to use both hands to open it up just to take a call will be a deal breaker.
  • People said the Galaxy
    Note was difficult to handle when it first came out... Now most people buy phones bigger than the original Note...
  • There is a LOT wrong with the Galaxy Fold, but you can bet your ass Samsung isn't going to give up on that form factor... Same can definitely be said about the Duo, regardless of how well it sells.
  • Only thing wrong with the Fold is the screen being fragile. Otherwise it is fine.
  • Also tiny front screen. It will take 2 or 3 years time till folding gorilla glass is ready to use which would solve many of its problems.
  • They can make the front screen bigger for sure. That would be a nice upgrade.
  • So what you're saying that you are not interesting in foldable Android devices, which is fine of course but you are just one guy and most likely your opinion will change after a few years that foldable phone technology is more mature and improved.
  • Yes, and no. I don't think a foldable Android smartphone brings value, certainly not to offset the negatives. A foldable PC would be great though. Like the Neo, if only it was small enough for the folding to serve a purpose. Like the Duo. I don't much care for Android (well, mostly Google) as it is, and making an Android device more unwieldy for no reason is not likely to make me change my opinion about the OS...
  • I get what your saying and I don't care much for Google (and hence to a degree to Android) either and therefore hope W10x is a success. Can't really blame MS though that they won't put W10x yet on a Duo, it just seems to early and could break w10x reputation and atm more people would probably buy a Duo with android.
  • I thought the Windows PC that can double as a phone (aka Windows phone with Continuum) died a long time ago.
  • Duo has a good chance of breaking out, I doubt it will be a failure, niche at worst. The Neo, on the other hand, that I suspect is going to struggle. I get the feeling it's going to be a repeat of the Surface RT.
  • Yeah, though I would prefer the Neo becoming more successful the Duo. The Neo does seem to have a good chance to become somewhat popular for enterprise and/or pen users (the 2 screen setup looks very useful for stuff like reading + note taking and it is very portable).
  • Neo is not going to struggle, it's setting the standard for a new form factor that you'll see trooping out next holiday next year.
  • very good points. And UWP has to finally die with this. There is zero reason for that platform at this point. Microsoft should simply continue to embrace win32/.net as THE way to make native apps on windows and ditch UWP permanently. And if you want to make true multi-device apps for duo and neo, which UWP cannot, pickup xamarin or a comparable framework. good bye UWP.
  • That's not going to happen at all. Win32 does jack for HoloLens and Hub platforms aka Microsoft's future hardware goals. It's also not the way forward for touch, and the dev community around Win32 is all but in maintenance mode now. The point you're missing is Windows 10X is basically a UWP OS. I'm not sure why that's not obvious to you. They removed (modular-ized) the Win32 system to make it a substyem so it ONLY runs when needed, not by default. It's quite literally de-emphasizing Win32 because (newsflash) Win32 is terrible on mobile for battery, power, and resources because (2nd newsflash) Win32 was built for desktop PCs not laptops or handhelds. Win32 on Neo is the fallback app platform, not the default. If anything, UWP is going to expand. Rumors are building up that Microsoft may add Android and iOS as targets for UWP (see unannounced Java WinRT API projection). The whole idea of dual-screen optimized apps is about UWP, not Win32 development. I'm not sure why some of you are still riding this despite all the evidence in front of you. There will be no "Win32 dual-screen apps" coming out. It's UWP and UWP-related tech only.
  • And therefore Windows 10X is a dead end. It has not a single advantage compared to Windows 10...and everything UI related could be easily done via Windows 10 as well.
    The myth, that Win32 is terrible for mobiles devices for battery has long been debunked and the WoA devices are the very prove. I am getting standby times of weeks out of my Envy X2 and i mostly running Win32 apps. Even if we go down more technical, there is not single reason why Win32 is bad for battery and power. It is just a mantra repeated again and again here without evidence.
    Finally the UI aside, what requirements for an OS precisely change, when developing an OS for desktop or mobile? Almost nothing. - Android has a Linux underneat with pretty much all desktop capabilities (again minus the UI)
  • I guess you didn't see the other article that basically stated that Windows 10X is the future of Windows 10. Microsoft will give the option for OEMs to preinstall it on some devices, but it will ultimately replace the current Windows 10 version.
    Also keep in mind, Windows 10 X is supposed to bring a better interface for touch devices. So, not just folding devices can benefit from this, but two-in-ones and touch screen laptops.
  • Good point about win32 & battery life. but what about scaling & input issues with desktop apps on smartphone size device. I don't think there is any magical tool that will make old desktop apps touch friendly & adaptable for mobile screen size.
  • Why should they be? Nobody would want to use old 32 programs on the Duo displays; the Duo would wirelessly connect to an external monitor for when you need to do that kind of computing...
  • Ignorant assumption, again.
    Nobody? Here's a tip.. dont speak for others and you won't sound as oblivious in the future.
  • Strictly speaking using a Win32 app that doesn't scale well on a 9.7-inch display makes touch input and navigation much more difficult. There's a reason why Windows 10 tablets (8 to 10-inches) completely failed in the market. At least on Surface Go you have a more traditional laptop form factor ergo you can use the real trackpad and a mouse. You can do that on Neo too,but it's not quite designed that way for primary input.
  • Then let's change it to the tiniest of minorities. In all practicality, though, nobody.
  • Win32 programs are not necessarily old. Many programs just exist as Win32 version, like for instance many console, home computer and arcade emulators.
    Personally i do like running these on mobile devices and since they are generally full-screen there is no UI issue at all.
  • Thing is you can run any UWP app with whatever mobile friendly layout also under Windows 10. You dont need Windows 10X for that, which apparently is a dumbed down version. I am sure Micrsoft can make Windows 10 to directly boot into a mobile shell like UI (e.g. simliar to Windows 8) if installed on mobile devices...again they dont need another OS for that.
    So what is the point of Windows 10X then, aside it looks to be a solution for a non existing problem?
  • The architectural changes between 10 and 10X do not look small to me. They're not all visible to the end user in their moment to moment work flow, but that doesn't mean they aren't important, especially going forward. So just a few things: instant updates, better battery life, adaptable ui, improved touch ux, better handling for transferring data from app to app, feature and device support flexibility, easier maintenence, better security, smaller install size. Windows 10 is an architectural and UX dead end. OS variants like 10X and other WCOS based versions, like what's running on Surface Hub 2X and HoloLens 2 are the path forward. They're all UWP first platforms, with some level of Win32 support. And Surface Hub and HoloLens are actually doing quite well in terms of industry adoption, which should drive more UWP investments. That being said, UWP and windows apps are never going to resemble Google Play or iOS stores until there's a more dramatic shift in computing paradigm. 10X isn't going to dramatically change usage patterns away from the browser and productivity apps, which is what you need to see if you want a thriving consumer app ecosystem. Until there's a consumer HoloLens there won't be much possibility for traction with consumer apps.
  • So many people just refuse to let Windows grow up and be a member of the 21st century.
  • "The myth, that Win32 is terrible for mobiles devices for battery has long been debunked and the WoA devices are the very prove." Debunked? Since when? There isn't a single app with both x86 and ARM versions for us to measure their battery consumption. Come back to us when, say, you're able to play an Youtube video on repeat with either Edge or Firefox ARM and compare the results with their classic x86 versions.
  • The wrong claim is that Win32 is terrible for mobile apps. Not sure how is this related to x86 vs. ARM?
    What i am saying is that Windows ARM device is not hold back by the fact that it is running Windows and Win32 apps compared to so called mobile OS like Android and iOS with respect to battery duration and standby times. So Win32 cannot possibly be terrible for mobile devices - with respect to battery duration.
  • "What i am saying is that Windows ARM device is not hold back by the fact that it is running Windows and Win32 apps compared to so called mobile OS like Android and iOS with respect to battery duration and standby times. So Win32 cannot possibly be terrible for mobile devices - with respect to battery duration." Manufacturers can way more easily compensate less performant software with bigger batteries on laptops, not so on smartphones: there's a tight physical limit to how much the latters can pack.
  • I am comparing same device category with similar sized batteries. There is no apparent advantage between a ARM Windows Win32 tablet and an Android or iOS tablet.
    And "less performance SW"? A native Win32 apps is not less performance than the same or similar app targetting UWP. There is not a single reasonable argument for such claims.
  • "I am comparing same device category with similar sized batteries. There is no apparent advantage between a ARM Windows Win32 tablet and an Android or iOS tablet." Link to scientific analysis proving that. Your personal belief is worth crap "less performance SW"? The discussion is about battery consumption, so by "less performant" I obviously mean software that is not ideally optimized in its use of the system's resources, depleting battery charge faster.
  • "And therefore Windows 10X is a dead end. It has not a single advantage compared to Windows 10."
    Battery life is better, security is better, OS updates are faster, the OS itself is faster require fewer resources and the UI is designed for touch, inking, dual-screens and new form factors. But yeah, otherwise just like Windows 10 🙄
    "and everything UI related could be easily done via Windows 10 as well."
    Says the guy who has never talked to a human being who works on the Windows Shell team. Must be nice to declare how easy something is with no expertise whatsoever!
    "The myth, that Win32 is terrible for mobiles devices for battery has long been debunked"
    It was never debunked. It's why mobile OSs exists vs. desktop ones. Ask Apple.
    " It is just a mantra repeated again and again here without evidence."
    Talk to Microsoft who give it as a reason for its removal then. The amount of background processes that need to run because they're tied to the OS is not ideal for mobile.
    "Finally the UI aside, what requirements for an OS precisely change, when developing an OS for desktop or mobile?"
    From a dev on Quora:
    "Win32 is very old API, it’s roots are in the beginning of Windows OS, and it has to be backward-compatible, so that old applications continue to run on newer versions of Windows. It has years after years of additions for new functionalities, which has lead to" "The API itself is not really object-oriented, to write even the simplest application requires a lot of code, thus a number of object-oriented wrappers were created, most prominently MFC (Microsoft Foundation Classes) by Microsoft and OWL (Object Windows Library) by Borland." "Compared to that, UWP is designed to be fully object-oriented, and has great support for modern declarative descriptions of user interface layout. In Win32 you have to either create all user interface elements and position them in code, with multiple API calls for each, or use special kind of text files called resources for a primitive static (non-resizable) layout of controls in dialogs."
    In short, you write a mobile OS with less code, less overhead, has a translation layer when talking to the OS core, fewer API calls, that can run siloed with fewer dependencies (this also helps with security, which Win32 is terrible at).
  • "From a dev on Quora:
    "Win32 is very old API, it’s roots are in the beginning of Windows OS, and it has to be backward-compatible, so that old applications continue to run on newer versions of Windows. It has years after years of additions for new functionalities, which has lead to"
    "The API itself is not really object-oriented, to write even the simplest application requires a lot of code, thus a number of object-oriented wrappers were created, most prominently MFC (Microsoft Foundation Classes) by Microsoft and OWL (Object Windows Library) by Borland."
    "Compared to that, UWP is designed to be fully object-oriented, and has great support for modern declarative descriptions of user interface layout. In Win32 you have to either create all user interface elements and position them in code, with multiple API calls for each, or use special kind of text files called resources for a primitive static (non-resizable) layout of controls in dialogs."
    In short, you write a mobile OS with less code, less overhead, has a translation layer when talking to the OS core, fewer API calls, that can run siloed with fewer dependencies (this also helps with security, which Win32 is terrible at)." Thanks, Daniel. I figured this out for quite a while already, but it's good to see it validated. It really showcases just how wholly ignorant on the excessive complexity of software development for Windows UWP haters are.
  • "Battery life is better, security is better, OS updates are faster, the OS itself is faster require fewer resources and the UI is designed for touch, inking, dual-screens and new form factors." One would think, that security would be the most stringent requirement in an enterprise setting and not with a consumer device. So the so called security advantage is not even tangible. Faster updates, not necessarily a tangible advantage either. Battery still a myth, otherwise devices like the Envy X2 would not be remotely competetive with likes of iPads - which according do your claim would have such vast advantages. "Says the guy who has never talked to a human being who works on the Windows Shell team. Must be nice to declare how easy something is with no expertise whatsoever!" Wow Dan, you did talk to someone who is an expert? Render me impressed... NOT. Besides you do know nothing about me, so dont start making assumptions. "Talk to Microsoft who give it as a reason for its removal then. The amount of background processes that need to run because they're tied to the OS is not ideal for mobile." Ok they tell you something and you run with it. Again Windows tablets would be not possible or far from beeing competetive if background tasks would be a serious problem with respect to battery. Besides background tasks are there for a reason, if they are not required for say a mobile use-case they can be disabled as far a system services are concerned or like with modern stand-by very rarely scheduled. Regarding Win32, yes it is not object oriented, but neither is the Linux Kernel nor POSIX or GNU/Unix APIs, still no-one with a sane mind would propose a device Linux device with these APIs removed. Everyone today is using frameworks like QT anyway on top of Win32 for the UI. MFC is pretty much dead an burried for good.
    Oh and did you ask your contacts if WPF/.Net apps will run unmodified within Windows10X. Because WPF apps are not UPW but have a similar modern and object oriented UI paradigm. What about Windows Forms/.Net apps? "In short, you write a mobile OS with less code, less overhead...." Yes you certainly can write an OS with less code if you strip features. In the end you are getting less for less, while Microsoft could just deploy the current Windows 10 OS (with UI adaptations, mind you?)
    And people will start complaining about missing features... Regarding security, what would be the right balance? So would you consider Windows 10 having so many security flaws that every enterprise should ban it or is it possibly acceptable even within an enterprise setting? From this point on more security for most users again ist not tangible. I hear such arguments fom Microsoft since years and they almost always shooting themselfs in the foot. In the beginning of Windows Phone there where only managed languages available, because native code is so evil from security point of view...2 years later Microsoft gave in and opened up for native C++/C development - they acknowledeg what you loose can not be compensated by the slight security gain. Still many programs involving dynamic translation where not possible like Javascript engines, Web browsers, emulats etc ...the reason? Microsoft considered the availability of memory management function like VirtualAlloc() and cache management detrimental for security. It took another 2 years until Microsoft introduced such API in WinRT. In the meantime Android, which did not have such security related restrictions took over the world. I could go an an reason about the pitty story of background task on Windows Phone - because you know - background tasks killing battery...until Microsoft introduced well backgound tasks...in a very limited form...still under Android i can create background tasks to my liking...
    And still in 2019 i hearing the same arguments again...by websites like this and by over credulous journalists, who just repeating the stories Microsoft told them without reflection of critricism.
    In the meantime we have even in mobile space CPU/GPU and RAM resources in each single mid range phone devices, which could easily handle Windows 10. This was not the case 10 years ago.
  • "One would think, that security would be the most stringent requirement in an enterprise setting and not with a consumer device. So the so called security advantage is not even tangible." Until malware gets installed on your phone and steals your bank and credit card data. "Regarding Win32, yes it is not object oriented, but neither is the Linux Kernel nor POSIX or GNU/Unix APIs, still no-one with a sane mind would propose a device Linux device with these APIs removed. " And yet Android app development is not done using either of these APIs. "Oh and did you ask your contacts if WPF/.Net apps will run unmodified within Windows10X. Because WPF apps are not UPW but have a similar modern and object oriented UI paradigm. What about Windows Forms/.Net apps?" Containerized like any other Win32/non-UWP app. "In the meantime Android, which did not have such security related restrictions took over the world." Android took over the world because a) it was the first iOS-like alternative to reach the market for any phone manufacturer not named Apple, b) it reached the market not long after the original iPhone, and c) Google released it for free to OEMs. Microsoft, Nokia, Blackberry and others were slow to realize the systemic change Apple had brought on the phone market and even slower to react to the yearly update cycle of both iOS and Android, making catching up getting harder the longer time went by.
  • Does Microsoft have a plan to get these things in people's hands? Will we be able to buy a $300 Windows 10X device day 1? If they want dual screen or even UWP apps of any type, they need to build a user base ASAP.
  • Then the platform will die due to low sales. If they are serious, they need cheap devices ASAP. If this platform is supposed to compete with Chromebooks, there needs to be $150 devices.
  • Surface Neo-like devices aren't supoosed to compete with cheap Chromebooks, that's for the likes of Surface Go.
  • The only thing the Neo will be competing against is common sense... 'Hm, should I buy this very expensive device that is actually just a Windows tablet which folds into a smaller (but not THAT much smaller) tablet at the expense of fragility, power, weight etc.?'
  • Dude I had to pay 2,400USD (MacBook PRO) to be able to develop apps for iOS.. watch how the device will get to the hands of top developers. I and my team have already started designing /prototyping some useful utility apps for windows 10X. We just waiting to get our hands on the device, which we will be first inline not minding the cost. No time for bad energy
  • Then my Lumia 950 XL will be useful for a bit longer since UWP apps are not yet out in the cold. In other words it would have been fine to still keep Windows 10 mobile phones around. This zigzag strategy is getting a bit hilarious so to say 😂
  • I don't think you understand the point of Windows 10X, it is literally a UWP OS. If they wanted to solely embrace Win32, then they would have done nothing and continued with Windows 10 as is. .NET Core already supports UWP, so I'm not sure what you're going on about there. Then again, you didn't know about .NET 5 supporting Android.
  • It's actually much more likely we'll see UWP evolve as an app platform that works across both Windows and Android. Or at the very least, makes it easy to build an Android app from a UWP app. UWP is the future of Windows. Windows 10X puts UWP front and center. It's never going away.
  • Zac can't you guys put pressure on Microsoft to put resources into UWP lol. Even a snail sitting on a bazzilion year old tortoise swimming in an ocean of molasses will move faster if Microsoft keeps to this pace on the UWP front lol.
  • But what exactly do you think they're moving slowly on or is missing from uwp?
  • WinUI 3 shows promise for making cross platform development easier, and it is due out in early 2020.
  • You just said Android is good for small screens and Windows is good for large screens. If the same UWP app works for both, why will it work fine on a large screen for one OS but not for the other? And vice versa for small screens...?
  • Exactly. Microsoft finally got UWP to the point where you could truly write one app for all Windows device types (Desktop, table, phone, Xbox, Holo Lens, etc.), then Nadella killed Windows Phone. Eventually Microsoft will get Xamarin to the point where you write one app for all OSes, rather than individual projects for each.
  • because there are no/not enough actual mobile phone UWP apps right now No banking apps, no Snapchat, no apps for drones, your smart home, etc.
  • Is that in response to my question? Hard to tell on these boards... Anyway, if it is, it doesn't answer it.
  • But I thought UWP would be the future and that Windows 10 X would need those UWP apps to succeed as an operating system on mobile devices.... Wait this all sounds like the same talk as with Windows 10 mobile phones....
  • I think this is where this process on Microsoft's part is bound to prove fruitful. These apps either aren't available, or they're poorly updated by the app devs because nobody uses UWPs on Windows 10 (for the most part). For anyone with a laptop or desktop, browsing to the site is just simpler. With the Neo, that option is still available, but now there's a form factor that makes sense for developers to target. Banks probably aren't going to go out of their way to develop apps for it, but a lot of messaging platforms, social media, etc, are all well-positioned to benefit from making UWPs with a focus on the Neo. Microsoft can use telemetry to determine how much use the UWPs are getting, and compare that information to which apps and how often their used on the Android platform via their Duo. They could take this a step further to try to work with Android app developers to get them on board with developing via their platform. Otherwise, they would have to continue their work on getting Android apps to work on 10X. Either way, they'd know when they can reliably switch away from Android and onto a mobile phone Win10X OS.
  • If UWP will eventually work across both Windows & Android, then UWP is not really the future of Windows but the future of MS' apps & services platform
  • This is honestly the only thing that makes sense. Without it, devs will have to develop for two systems for the duo and neo. Even a software bridge is an obstacle. They should just make UWP run on the Duo. Nothing AFAIK in the google license prevents this, otherwise the store would not be full of emulators and software subsystems. Code once, compile once, deploy multiply.
  • Full UWP on Android is not gonna happen. I am a newbie in software development but I do know that Google would like a word with MS on that. The most that could happen is small parts of it would be somewhat compatible with Android. Which would be completely useless for devs because it without require extra work
  • I'm a developer who's done a lot of UWP, Xamarin and .net core backend development over the years. I'll say this, it's already possible actually and the one spearheading this at the moment is a 3rd party developer (Uno) who's resources are smaller than MS. UWP unlike WPF and WinForms is very modular, you can replace it's XAML.Composition layer with another renderer as needed. And MS has the necessary steps in place for this (Xamarin.Android / IOS) or even go for the flutter route of rendering everything on a raw Canvas using a native renderer like Skia. Google can't have a say here since like ReactNative and even their own Flutter, these libraries only need to adhere to Android's native renderers or provided UI components. They can't ban usage of them since it's an integral OS component that even they use. You can't ban native canvases as games will need the low level APIs for performance, nor can Google disallow usage of the provided native UI components else you can't build any apps at all. The only thing that you'd need to check in code are OS specific APIs, everything else works pretty much.
  • There will be just one .NET going forward, and you will be able to use it to target Windows, Linux, macOS, iOS, Android, tvOS, watchOS and WebAssembly and more.
    https://devblogs.microsoft.com/dotnet/introducing-net-5/
  • Can it spit out apk, uwp, etc with the exact same code?
  • Yes you can actually do that even today with .Net core. It's called multi targeting. Same code and the compiler does the heavy work for you on compiling them to their associated platforms. We do this on a lot of our code that spans Windows to Linux severs. You just specify the arch + platform on your build step (x86 / x64 / ARM + Linux, Win). It'll be the same case for added plaforms as it's ever been, you'll need to add some runtime specific checks like how Xamarin does it if you use an OS specific feature but it shouldn't be anymore complicated than developing on multiple languages and frameworks.
  • In regards to how well Windows 10X would run on a Duo, I would want to see it before I make a decision on the experience. Obviously, some features wouldn't work too well. The whole physical keyboard that was demoed wouldn't be that great of a user experience. But the rest, I'll wait and see. And, assuming the experience is fine, I do think there's a market for a Windows 10X Duo device. Having an Android version is still a must due to the demands of most consumers. But by offering a Windows 10X Duo, those who don't care about the app gap (basically anyone who's still using or only bailed on Windows 10 Mobile due to the upcoming end of life) and those who want the security/privacy that comes with a Google-free platform might be interested. It also gives another endpoint for those looking to develop for Neo. Not only could those apps run there, they could run on select Duo's.
  • A Microsoft platform doesn't have privacy/security advantages over a Google one. If that is what you want, carrying a smartphone is tough to justify on any platform. Your carrier sees everything you do and everywhere you go. They are much less trustworthy than Google or Microsoft.
  • This is true; the carriers are really flying under the radar!
  • "Windows 10X is a PC platform, designed for PC apps. "
    You mean UWP and PWA apps, right? I don't think Windows has been designed for PC apps since Windows 7.
    .
    "Die-hards who want to run Windows on the Surface Duo would not have an optimal experience trying to run PC apps on screens of that size. "
    I remote into PCs from my droid to run PC apps all the time without issue, and android in general is FAR from an "optimal" experience, never mind their deluge of junk and spy apps that bloat the playstore.
  • "You mean UWP and PWA apps, right? I don't think Windows has been designed for PC apps since Windows 7."
    But it can run Win32 apps too like any traditional PC. The difference is it is now part of the Win32 subsystem similar to how WSL works. Win32 apps in that sense is more of a fallback, just like how it's very unlikely someone is buying a Windows 10 PC to run Linux 100% of the time as their default OS.
  • WSL2 is virtualized because it runs the native Linux Kernel. For Win32 no virtualization is needed - it is just there mostly in form of DLLs in the System32 folder which make up the larger parts of todays Win32 subsystem in Windows 10.
  • Right, but in 10X it is now containerized and doesn't run if no app is running/has no hooks to the OS itself. That's a huge reduction in overhead for the OS.
  • If you know that, show us windows 10x running.
  • I completely disagree. Panos said Duo was a "Surface". With Android on it, it doesn't even deserve the Surface name. Also, screen size is not an issue. With Cshell, a custom experience for the device size would be easy to do. Some people, like me, live all day long with our Surface Pro. We just want the option to fold it up and stick it in our POCKET so we can continue our FLOW from wherever we want.
  • I think Panos, the creator of Surface, gets to decide what is and isn't a Surface. Not you :)
  • He also said the Duo is not a phone; what's your excuse? :-)
  • He never said that. He said Duo is more than just a phone, not that it isn't a phone.
  • He said it 'could phone'; not that it 'was' a phone. Semantics really, but if it's more than a phone, it's not really a phone anymore... Otherwise, an Apple Watch is a phone too.
  • To add to that point, Surface is a line of hardware, not software. So the Duo is very much a Surface product.
  • Technically just barely became true, but is still not true yet. I'm on board with 10X and Android, just pointing out no Surface device has yet shipped without Windows in some form
  • Surface Headphones don't run Windows.
  • It would be interesting for him to spell out what he regards as "Surface," though. A certain level of hardware quality? Staying in the flow? Microsoft hardware? Hardware Microsoft didn't buy from Nokia? Apparently, not any particular combined OS + hardware + apps experience since the OS is now interchangeable.
  • But why? So it can die like the previous Windows phone? The fan base wasn't big enough last time to save Windows mobile. I don't see how a Surface Duo running Windows 10X with a tiny selection of UWP apps would be successful at this point. Try this experiment: Grab your phone and delete EVERY app on there that isn't on the Windows Store. Then try to live that way for a month. Then ask yourself how many people would want to live like that.
  • I wonder if you dock it you could have Windows for the big screen. E.g., Dex for Samsung.
  • Maybe it will dock and run ChromeOS.
  • Zac, isn't the mobile code part of Windows 10 anyway along with the telephony stack? Microsoft has themselves to blame with the lack small screen friendly applications, direct result of their penny pinching imo. Let's not forget the constant re-orgs and debacle inflicted on everyone with the borked updates lol... If they had put more resources into UWP / UWA they wouldn't be in this situation and they would have been able to completely decouple Windows from all that legacy code. But foresight isn't Microsoft's strong suit when it comes to anything in the mobile space lol. Lamenting the lack of foresight isn't going to change anything... I just wish Microsoft would get a move on with UWP / UWA development already lol. So when Autumn 2020 rolls around there are quite a lot of apps for the Neo and WoA.
  • I've been told via sources that Microsoft pulled out the telephony stack from Windows earlier this year. I mean, they could put it back, but there's no reason to if they have no plans on making a Windows phone.
  • I see... thanks Zac, typical Microsoft lol.
  • Are those the same sources that told you there would be no folding phone?
  • But it's not a phone; Panos said so! Or maybe he didn't; it depends on which story Windows Central wants to push...
  • I was gonna build my Xbox Handheld with Latte Panda (for my Ultimate sub) but I decided to wait for this event to see what other options I might have. So I bought a One Netbook Mix 2S (+ a gamepad dock) instead.
    It's a 7" Win10 2in1 (95% of the time is in tablet mode tho).
    * I'd prefer a 6" but there was none on the market. > Anything smaller than 8-inches should run Android.
    I purposely set the resolution smaller, and adjust the UI size to a suitable size for my finger 1) to save power 2) I don't need 2K for portable gaming.
    Anyhow, besides gaming, I also use OneNote, WinCentral, Email, web browser, book my movie ticket, weather checking, MyTube, Android emulator and other standard stuffs on this 7" tablet. It works fine... Apps including OneNote, WinCentral, Email, all support 2 panel mode as intended. Windows is only for bigger devices so we are not doing the small one?
    If they don't start it now, then when? When can people start building apps for smaller (well, for both small and big, scalable UI) Windows then? Will Microsoft ever create some guideline / API for devs to follow, to support different screen sizes? Well... there goes my dream of running XPA on a smaller Windows.
    xCloud is coming you know? I know, but native execution is more reliable. How do you stream on a flight? On a bullet train? In some basement? Or behind thick walls? 5G? Unlimited plan? How cheap? Data passing around == electricity bills right? Will ISPs be that generous when everyone is on 5G? We can only count on OEMs then... it'd be super boring if every OEM on the planet only know how to make 9" x2 Win10X. Back then, WinPhone/Mobile couldn't run the same app (including XPA) we run on our WinClassic.
    Win10X can, right? Such a good start. This is such a waste of opportunity / potential, and lack of synergy. > The other reason is allowing Android apps on Windows 10X discourages
    > developers to build native Windows apps.
    If Android emulation is only available on Duo but not Neo?
    Maybe first few month, you rely only on apk, but after that, if you want to support Neo and all other form factors, you need UWP. Besides, native execution runs better than emulation. If you don't do it, your competition will. And... will existing apk adapt those API made for Duo? Do most app need this? Can you drag an image from browser into some other apps with Android? Windows does this by copying the image into the memory and paste it directly from the memory. I don't think Android support that...
    Well, for existing apps to support both Neo and Duo, they need to (make a new UWP app and) support 2 different APIs, then QA on 30~40 most popular / recent Android phones.
  • MSFT figured out several years ago, as Windows phone slowly died, that they would have to build iOS and Android Apps for its own windows based software (office, teams, etc.). MSFT is building a bridge to all ecosystems to meet the needs of their customers. Whether you are using an android, iOS, OSX, or windows device you still want to be able to run onedrive, office, etc. on your device and carry all your info with you from device to device.
  • Here's a scenario: Maybe it's the Windows-bit and not the-Office bit, that people here are asking for...?
  • 'Anything smaller than 8-inches should run Android... ...Android is excellent on small devices...' Not only do I disagree with this, but I would very much like to see just where this has been carved in stone? You're expressing your opinion like it's fact... You probably know a lot more about W10X than me, so I won't argue it's use on smaller displays. I do wonder what niche Microsoft hopes to claim, if their versatile OS for foldable devices can't be used on devices, where foldability actually serves a purpose. As it stands, I predict little success for both the Neo and the Duo. One is a Windows tablet that folds for no apparent reason; the other is an Android phone apparently failing in at least three major areas - easy handling, functional apps and camera.
  • Except 9 inch screen size neo is perfect. Can you tell me why it should not fold ?
    As for duo I agree about easy handling part but I disagree with functional apps & camera part. As a single screen phone duo will work just fine as any other android phone . For those who need more multitasking dual screen will be handy for them. Now about actual dual screen apps I think they will come with a time.but I don't think dual screen apps are that much big deal for surface duo users. I think people will use this phone more in 360 degree mode & laptop mode compared to dual screen mode.
  • Why it shouldn't fold? Because it adds weaknesses, bulk and weight. If you want a Windows tablet, buy a Surface Pro or X. But more to the point, let's hear your argument for the folding feature? In my view, folding only serves one purpose: To make the device more portable. However, a fat 8" device is not more portable than a thinner, lighter 12" device; you need a bag to carry both around all day. As for the Duo: Yes, you could carry it unfolded (with screens out) all the time. You'd have a very bulky smartphone in your pocket, but it would be a possibility. Let's hope for some serious Gorilla Glass! You'd have to use the selfie camera, which from the looks of it appears to be quite underwhelming, for all photos. Again, possible, but... Finally, to have any proper use for two displays, you'd need the functionality imbedded in every app. How likely do you consider this scenario, in an Android world where everyone else is going for the single foldable display...?
  • Each side is only 4.8mm, so less than 10mm when folded. That isn't very bulky, especially since you probably won't have a case on it. We already carry our smartphones with the glass on the outside. This won't be any different, but you will have the option to fold it closed when you need protection. I highly doubt any platform will convince developers to create dual screen optimized apps. The numbers just aren't there, and they certainly won't be there for Windows 10X. At least with Android you will have single screen apps to use. They can also span both screens and Android apps do tend to scale with screen size.
  • That's an interesting perspective. I'd hate to put a cover on it, but it's likely to be pricey, and it has glass on the outside... don't you think that'll warrant protection?
  • Protection would be nice, but if both sides fold flat together, there will be no room for cases or screen protectors. Your only protection will be folding the screens closed. If you prefer quick access over protection, you can have them folded open.
  • You can't run your PC with two monitors?!? It works fine for me...
  • I use a triple monitor setup with my Surface. Apps aren't optimized for it though.
  • It would be a PC. Apps are irrelevant. I don't understand why this is so hard to convey!?! Duo running Android is a smartphone. Duo running W10X is a PC that can make calls. Or it would be, if MS got their act together!
  • "Not only do I disagree with this, but I would very much like to see just where this has been carved in stone? You're expressing your opinion like it's fact..."
    Did you ever buy an 8-inch Windows tablet like Lenovo's ThinkPad 8? I did. It was full Windows 8 (and then 10) on an 8-inch device. You know who else bought it? No one.
  • I did as well. However, I found it too difficult to use due to the lack of a swipeable keyboard and desktop programs not scaling properly. It was quickly replaced by an Android tablet.
  • Did your ThinkPad 8 run a Windows version optimized for small screens? I kind of doubt it... There's going to be a new day tomorrow; just because Windows of yesteryear didn't work well on small screens, it doesn't mean this has to be an eternal fact. For someone running a tech site, you're pretty stuck in the past...!
  • It has nothing to do with size. It's simple really. Duo is a consumer device that needs apps to survive, hence why it runs Android. The Neo is more of an Enterprise device where you don't need apps for it to survive.
  • Nice article. But just to be clear ChromeOS doesn't emulate Android. Android is running from a container in ChromeOS amd using the same Linux kernel.
    I think putting a similar Android container in Windows 10X would have made it bloated also Windows don't have a Linux kernel to begin with and on the other hand an emulator wouldn't gave us expectable performance and also it wouldn't had Google Play certification.
  • All I know is I can't wait to find out more and get this bad boy for my birthday Jan.3 2021.
  • Unfortunately, this reads like an opinion blog than an article. Very little referencing and factual content.
  • Not only does it read like one; it is one...
  • I'd rather think it's salty ex-Windows Phones who refuse to face the obvious reality.
  • And what is the reality Daniel?
    1. Microsoft do not have the technical ability to make hardware as good as South Korea and China.
    Not all Windows Phone fans liked the Lumia brand. While I'm typing this on 950xl, in the earlier years i Windows'ed on Samsung ATIV.
    I've never owned a Surface product, my 2 in 1 is Huawei matebook E signature.
    2. Any company with resources can procure a couple of computer parts and build a PC.
    In the mobile space that won't be enough. You can't ride on your money, devices have to be smaller, cutting edge, thin bezels etc.
    3D printing the battery cover of 950 and Xbox controller shell or laser cutting the back cover of Surface won't cut it.
    3. Why would they want to complete with the big hardware companies from the east on the android space? I don't get it.
    Software and more importantly OS is what we want from Microsoft with a little bit of peripheral hardware. Bar Xbox.
    4. We accepted 950's poor enclosure because it was all about the software. I'm not interested in MS hardware without Windows software especially knowing there are better companies who can do hardware. It's all about the software. Windows.
  • "1. Microsoft do not have the technical ability to make hardware as good as South Korea and China." Lol, what? "I've never owned a Surface product, my 2 in 1 is Huawei matebook E signature." Oh, look, the explanation.
  • So you would by a Microsoft Android phone over a galaxy? Why? If yes.. Then you'd lying to yourself. We've come to accept mediocre hardware aesthetics from Microsoft for software and processing power.
    Look at those bezels, they spent 5 years on this thing.
    Android oem's are doing curved displays and seamless folds. Why would i buy this thing without Windows...
  • First of all, both Neo and Duo are a year away from being available on the market. Today's bezels aren't necessarily going to be tomorrow's. Second, I don't have a bezel-less obssession some people seem to have: my current phone is a Galaxy A8+, which, surprise, surprise, does have bezels. Finally, my phone isn't the device I value the most - my Surface Pro 6 is -, using it as little as possible.
  • The bezels on your Surface are about 5 times as large as on your Galaxy. So, you say you use your Surface much more than your Galaxy? Well, imagine if they were the same device...? Edit: By the way, I own a Surface Pro 4. A nice piece of hardware, but I've never owned a PC that freezes crashes, reboots etc. as much as this one.
  • Exactly! Why buy an Android from MS? No sense... In 2 or 3 years they will leave the platform complaining about the customer (tha asked for a Windows mobile device, not Android), the developers etc, as usual.
  • The only obvious reality is that you ought to change the name of the site to Microsoft Central...
  • Obvious reality? Well, here is a reality. Millions of Windows phone users has been let down. It is claimed that UWP apps are the reality but yet Microsoft goes for Android on their Surface Duo "phone" and then it is claimed that the Windows 10 X operating system is the future because of its UWP apps, which Windows 10 mobile also ran.... Windows 10 Mobile was abandoned together with users and hardware vendors. This is no longer making sense. No clear strategy, no clear goal and no stable solutions. Zigzag and chaos. Also Microsoft now offers company solutions with Android as a service. How is Windows 10 X going to succeed this way?
  • The same reason that derailed WP might sink Surface Neo as well! It's incorrect to say that "productivity" is only limited to using Microsoft office apps. This flawed reasoning thrives because Microsoft is looking at productivity from the mirrors of enterprise world of which Microsoft is also a part. To me, there is nothing more productive than a reading books, but Kindle UWP app doesn't exist!
    For streamers, "Mixer" may be an useful app but that is missing from UWP store!
    Zac, what makes you think that Surface Neo can survive the "app gap"? You also stated that allowing Android apps on Windows 10 through some sort of emulation will discourage developers from making UWP apps. The thing that discourages Windows developers the most is that no one uses Windows OS on a 5 inch form factor! Just think about this....
  • Surface Neo doesn't have an app gap. It runs all the same apps your current Windows 10 PC runs.
  • Exactly. The same would be true for the Duo running W10X. Which is why so many of us are super disappointed; we wanted a Windows device to put in our pockets - not another Android device, of which there are plenty already.
  • You need to understand that Neo & duo are completely different products.
    Neo relies heavily on win32 apps more than mobile apps.
    On the other hand duo heavily relies on mobile apps.
    People who gonna buy neo will compare it with their laptops or 2 in 1s not smartphones.
    Vice versa people who gonna buy duo will compare it with smartphones not tablet or laptops. Mobile app gap is the sole reason for choosing android over whatever Windows for Mobile that Microsoft is cooking .
    That can be changed only if Microsoft have proper solution to counter app gap. Otherwise android is here to stay on Microsoft's future phone hardware as well.
  • Again: New device category. The Duo would be a portable PC, not a smartphone, so mobile apps wouldn't be an issue, especially if web apps gained traction. Take what you just said, and replace the word 'Neo' with 'Duo'; THAT'S how it ought to be...!
  • Exactly. Is it hard to understand? We, Windows users, are asking for a WINDOWS mobile device, that runs Windows softwares and capable to make phone calls. Why buy an Android in this case. Better go to Samsung, Huawey, Moto etc. Soon there will be folded devices from them, too.
  • Just a simple question: What can Kindle provide that Calibre and MoonReader Pro aren't providing? I don't see it since all books can be read using those two (import Kindle books into Calibre and they can be read there and also using MoonReader Pro on an Android device). I have been reading ebooks for years and I don't have a Kindle app installed most of the time (I install it sometimes but not for reading, just as a stop-gap for importing). It sounds like a device "must" have a Kindle app in order to work as an ebook reader. It sounds like a theory similar to "this tablet can't do HD video because Netflix HD isn't available due to missing DRM" (I didn't know that HD video and Netflix is the same thing....).
  • Best comment ever. If only people would realize it. No hardware that needs the UWP apps means no developers and that means the Windows 10 X will fail as Windows 10 Mobile and windows phones did when Microsoft abandoned those platforms.
  • After all these years, Microsoft's great mobile plan is to just use Android? If positions were reversed and Google was in Microsoft's position in mobile, I know exactly what Google would do. They would fork Android and provide competing Android store and services. To attract developers, they would offer devs larger profit sharing on app store in exchange for some advertising space on apps. In addition, give devs more control and rights over the app store. They would then offer OEMs this version of Android and services for dirt cheap price and co-branding on the app store. If you made Android and the services truly open source, you would get partners lining up with you.
  • Easier said than done. Most Android apps REQUIRE Google Play Services to work.
  • Back up a step. Does anyone know of a successful product that had this much controversy before its launch? The Xbox One's plan to be always connected to the Internet was the right move, but the fan base rejected it before it was launched. The Xbox One did not have a good launch and has been outsold by the PS4 due to the animosity that plan generated.
  • "Back up a step. Does anyone know of a successful product that had this much controversy before its launch?"
    There is no controversy outside of the echo chamber of ex-WP fans -a teeny minority of tech users. Rest of the world is like "cool, seems neat". Major tech sites and YouTubers were impressed by it.
  • Correction: Rest of the world is like 'What? Never heard of it. Is it an Android smartphone? Looks awkward. I'll pass...'
  • That minority will be majority of Surface Duo users, or not? As Manus Imperceptus said, for majority Surface Duo will be just another Android, and they will pass. And what you think that minority of ex-WP fans would want in Surface Duo? Android or Windows 10X?
  • I'm not buying a Duo if it's running Android. Period. If it's running W10X, I'm buying a Duo and a Neo.
  • You are spot-on here. 👍🏻
  • Sadly Microsoft has earned a reputation for not supporting their devices ecosystem. A lot of media has written about this for years. Also, many might ask why they should go for a Surface Duo with Android on when other more powerful android phones offer the same or better. The dual screen idea LG, ZTE and Samsung all have done before. It is not a new thing anymore. Microsoft seems to be too late for the party once again.
  • I think the key to Duo's success is going to be "integration." When I was using a Windows phone, it integrated naturally with my PC, Surface Pro, and Band 2. Everything played nice together and had a cohesiveness. The pieces just fit. Now, with an Android phone (even with all the Microsoft apps) and a Fitbit Ionic, my personal world feels fragmented. So, the question to me is, how is Microsoft going make it "fit?" (I'm not just talking about a launcher that "looks like Windows.") I'm certain this is something they are working hard on. I don't think Android was built with any thought at all of synergy with PCs, so that makes this an uphill battle, but I hope Microsoft partnering with Google will push Android itself, not just the apps, in that direction. I look forward to Daniel and Zac's reporting on this over coming year. I really want the Duo experience to feel like it naturally integrates into my world.
  • It will happen in 3 year
  • Daniel - while I agree that Android belongs on the Duo, it is Microsoft who is mixing the message here by continuing to insist that the Duo is a not a phone. That is central to the demarcation line you have drawn, and the point of market confusion they are causing. Now, if they stick to the reveal ad - Neo for productivity but pull out the Duo to answer calls, texts, address lookup, calendaring, AND they show more and more integration (aka Continuity-like attributes), the market will then understand, and only us zealots who would kill for a folding 8" Windows device will keep squawking. I for one are glad to see Andromeda did not die, and Centaurus may be a beast...
  • "Daniel - while I agree that Android belongs on the Duo, it is Microsoft who is mixing the message here by continuing to insist that the Duo is a not a phone"
    This is nonsense. What Panay said:
    "I want to be super clear about this, you're going to talk about this as a phone and I get that. And you're going to talk about it as a communication device and it does both of those things incredibly well, for sure. For sure, you can text, you can write, you can do what you want. But make no mistake this product is a Surface."
  • So, no more a phone than an Apple Watch is...
  • "Surface Neo runs Windows 10X because Surface Neo is a PC. Microsoft is positioning this device as something that can do PC-related things, and as such, needs to run Windows. Surface Duo runs Android because it's a phone, and needs to have mobile apps that work well on small screens that can fit in your pocket." I 100% agree. A mobile friendly version of Windows 10X would probably look a lot like iOS or Android... but with no apps. This is the right move. I do wonder if Microsoft would ever consider doing a single screen "not-a-phone" in the future. They could call it the Surface Uno. I think I would be more inclined to buy a Android phone if it was made and supported by Microsoft.
  • Because that's how Microsoft wanted it?
  • I love the retroactive clarity here. Wasn't Zac Bowden "confused" about exactly this issue just weeks ago? This is like a Jason Ward article, but clearer and with gaslighting.
  • How can I be confused "weeks ago" about a topic that we didn't even know was coming until just last week? And to answer your question. I've not been confused about this topic. Since announcement, this has been clear as day to me.
  • Zero apps for such small screen vs ton of apps on Android. Easy to see why they went with Android.
  • Windows 10X on Duo "Besides, Microsoft shouldn't waste the resources in trying to make that a good experience for the few who do want it.", Zac. The real goal for the Duo is to sell it well. They're adopting Android OS because their target is to make profit from the mobile device as Android ecosystem has the largest user base. With Windows 10X on Duo, the 'small group' is still important for the goal. Even 1% from the overall profit is important rather than lose. Some might really love the device but go with iOS instead because of no option for Windows.
  • I fail to see the point in 'selling well'. MSFT makes bugger all from hardware and profits from services on android will be tiny even if massively boosted. They make more money from office subscriptions than they'll ever make selling phones, or one drive storage. And they'll make a lot more from xcloud, windows games, or azure. The win you describe sounds a smaller company would care about.
  • Microsoft needs to change the Surface Duo to Windows 10X ASAP! We did not wait for another cookie cutter Android phone.
  • I have a lot of respect for your opinions, Zac and Dan, but what you just said is sounding like complete rubbish... or maybe, this is my old age interfering with today's stark reality. In any case, Microsoft returned all the Nokia patents to HMD, so one can be rest assured that none of that camera innovation will ever show up again in anything that Microsoft ever does. I could compromise on it, but most people will never settle for anything less than the best camera... wow to iPhone XI, Samsung, Huawei, OnePlus etc, and Microsoft cannot hold a candle to them past the Nokia writeoff.
  • They didn't return all of their patents.
  • Did they give them access to them or did they wholesale sell them? I.e., does HMD also have access to them or does Microsoft no longer have access to them?
  • If you are a gamer (especially someone who's in the Xbox ecosystem). 2 devices in front of you.
    1. Dual screen Android. The only way for it to run your Xbox game is through streaming. And we all know how reliable and cheap it can be, especially when you're on a mobile network.
    2. Singles (or dual) screen 6 inch win10x, capable of running (some of) your Xbox game natively. Which one would you buy next?
    ps: By now, everyone on the planet should have had a smart phone in their pocket already. Imagine this. At the end of the e3 show, Phil pull out this small little thing, running Cuphead or some other computation cheaper game.
    "this is native execution".
    "you can still game, even when you're in the air".
    "If you want to run Halo Infinite, we have xCloud, we got you covered".
    Sony can't do that.
    Valve can't do that.
    Google can't do that.
    Apple cannot do that either.
    It will be news everywhere.
    If people playing Xbox game when other streaming services are out of reach, there'll be free advertisements.
    Now you miss the opportunity and the synergy. Dedicate Xbox handheld using Win10X? People will expect to run all their new games natively even if it's in lowest settings, which is not ideal for MS and devs. -- Gaming is important in our lives --
    Look at Windows, look at Play Store and App Store. When people running outta idea to make on a platform, people make games. Indie game A supports stream only.
    Indie game B supports both natiev execution and stream.
    Which game would you buy / install?
    Dev will adapt XPA more willing if he/she wants people to play his/her games instead of others. * Both Android and iOS now supports gamepad.
    * xCloud and other streaming services will lure people into carrying a gamepad.
    * Native execution is more reliable than streaming.
    Do the math... It'd be toooooo late for MS, when devs start putting computation cheaper console games on smart phones. More and more devs will follow, market share will shift (and will never comeback) and gaming is important to Windows...
  • Cannot edit anymore so I'll add. For existing apk to support both Neo and Duo, devs need to make a new UWP app and support 2 different APIs (and there will be limitations on Android side. Inconsistency), then QA on 30~40 most popular / recent Android phones.
    For existing uwp to support Duo, maybe you can use Xamarin.
    You are pushing people away from Windows... I don't think most apk need a dedicate dual screen support, and if Google's not making these new set of APIs official... why bother? Without the synergy around Wini10X, Neo, Duo and Windows Classic while gamepad gaming might become a thing on phones... I'm afraid this could be the tip of the iceberg. If you want Windows family to be a new category, you need Duo on-board.
  • I don't care what anyone says, mobile devs are the holes that created this abyss and we live in the dystopia of their creation. Hard MEH
  • Microsoft made this "abyss" by releasing a subpar mobile operating system and never fixing it's deficiencies. Developers just follow the users. You cannot fault them for not supporting a platform that never broke 4% of the world's smartphone market.
  • Hard to fix IN A TIMELY MANNER what was deeply broken. Microsoft's use of the extremely limited Windows CE kernel to power Windows Phone 7 is the original error that snowballed, coupled with others and led to the end of Windows mobile effors 5-6 years later: their efforts to move to a more robust, future proof kernel (NT) threw the then infant app ecosystem into trash and wasted time that could've been better used to add 64 bit support to the OS. When the smartphone world began to cross the memory threshold that required 64 bit OS support and Windows Mobile still being so far away from moving to that from 32 bit it was pretty much game over.
  • I think there is a much better chance that the Neo 2 (assuming there is one) will be running Android than the Duo 2 (again assuming there is one) will be running Windows. Why you ask? First, because no one who is looking for a mobile device thinks "Windows". Well, no one but Windows fans. The vast majority of the planet thinks Android or Apple. Second, because no developers who are targeting mobile devices think "Windows" either. They have been burned so many times by Microsoft's incredibly inept mobile efforts thus far, that none are going to pay any attention to yet another Windows "tablet".
  • Not gonna happen. Android is good as os for mobile but hardly did anything in tablet and laptop form.
    Neo will remain with Windows in future as well. Only change I might see is Microsoft making 11 or 12 inch version of neo.
  • More likely google will have killed android on tablets by then, in favour of chrome. Android won't be around forever, and it's certainly not succesful in the tablet space.
  • I think they already stopped putting Chrome on tablets. I doubt they will remove the tablet UI from Android. Some people still use it, especially Samsung and Huawei. They actually don't sell that bad. Android is still like 60% of the tablet market.
  • 34%. iOS is 65% As of 2017, it's probably shifted even more since. All the tablet market has shrunk, but android is the fastest shrinking. Yes, even samsung have lost ground for years. Chrome? https://www.google.com/chromebook/device/google-pixel-slate/
  • There are numerous reasons why google doesn't really like android, and why they are pushing chrome and PWA. One is the licensing to MSFT, which costs 10-15 dollars per device. Another is the dependance on open source, as well as on linux. Their difficulty breaking into larger computing spaces. Whether it's Fuschia, or Chrome, marky my words: one day Google will kill Android.
  • The size of a device (eg. this 8" screen cross over point) is not relevant when you dock it. The Surface Duo will not be a sales leader due to a high price and unconventional design. So what is the point of MS making the Surface Duo. They probably will not make a profit on it. They should have it running 10X. Enterprise would probably find a use for this. True, it will be a niche device, but so is Hololens. They need to show off what Windows 10X can do as a form factor agnostic OS. This is the only way to erode this lame mindset of 8 inches above is a PC; below is a phone/tablet. Docking makes a small device with big screens, keyboard, and mouse. So Zac, if you had a small device docked to a PC setup, what OS would you want running. I would want Windows. And that is why I would want Windows on a small device that can dock. The pattern is clear where computing is going. Devices are getting smaller and more powerful. I want a future where I don't have to switch OSs and apps just because I go below 8".
  • That's just stupid. Neo and Duo are same devices. Foldable, and dual screen. Both need new apps adapted to dual screens. Duo is Android only to sell better. And to attract developers to make those apps for dual screen devices. There will be other Windows 10X devices from OEM's. Duo is important to attract developers from Android to make UWP's for Windows 10X devices. I think that's MS's plan. Just wait and see when they present plans for developers...
  • "Neo and Duo are same devices. Foldable, and dual screen." Except one of them is a lot smaller and has phone capabilities. These factors make them vastly different devices. Windows 10 doesn't even have telephony, so it was not even an option for the Duo.
  • I'd like to see the developer story before I'd agree with you on that. They're both dual screen ... on different operating systems. So if I want to design an app that can run on the big one, what steps do I have to take to make it be great on the small one - both in design changes to maximize each screen reality, and in work to accommodate/utilize either underlying operating system.
  • "Die-hards who want to run Windows on the Surface Duo would not have an optimal experience trying to run PC apps on screens of that size. ..." I think we are easily forgetting about continuum. Continuum is very powerful and impressive. I remember showing my cousin (an iPhone user) continuum from Lumia 950XL using Miracast on my smart TV. He said it was the best innovations he has seen in years. Now, imagine continuum with all the win32 apps. BIG DEAL! Also, a version of Hololens, in the short term, that uses a pocketable device as a processor can be a winner for Microsoft. In order to make it stylish for the consumer, a pockatable device might be required and that pocketable device can be none other than the DUO with Win 10x.
  • Yeah. Imagine a phone can run win32 apps/full windows apps via Continuum! A phone that can run desktop apps like Office, Edge, Adobe. Can Android do that? What are u gonna do about it? That's so brilliant and so innovative. On Lumia days, the Continuum wasn't powerful enough and this day Microsoft has a chance to show the world the real innovation!
    Plus, this gonna be a productive phone-pc-like device since everyone has at least one phone already.
  • Don't rain Mr. Bowden's parade....remember windows on phones died and continuum on windows phone died along with them...but wait continuum is an experience not a feature 😉
  • Sweet. Can't wait to see how all of this develops in a years time. I don't know this site's actual traffic figures or anything. But judging by article comments on average in the last two years, things have kinda been slow. It's great to see so much "life" again. Even if it is idiots that think the product is DOA or idiots that can't let wp die. Regardless of what anyone says..this is a great thing. And I'm excited. And you're excited. And we will buy it. Your Elites and ATIVs or whatever and 950xl's will die. Like mine did. And what will you do at that point? Go on ebay and buy another? Get an iPhone? Don't be dumb. Just go get an android now. Get yourself ready. Accept it. It's happening. Let it happen. The water's fine. The kool-aid tastes great. "Holiday 2020" will be amazing. Keep the updates coming Zac.
  • I think there is another possible reason to it. (I didn't read all comments so please be fair if someone already mentioned it) As far as Dan wrote, the main difference is the use case of the both devices. It's correct that the Duo is used like a phone. Sure, Microsoft could put Win10X on it but it would struggle with the App Ecosystem as already mentioned. Would you use a phone without apps? I say that using a already highly used OS like Android is a good decision since the device itself is a bit of a concept. To really get the users adopted to the form factor, you need to use every resource that's available. After one or two iterations you can slowly switch over to a hybrid system (if Google agrees on it) and use the then hopefully evolved integration between those systems (Microsoft Launcher for ex.) for transition to a maybe own system. From this perspective I think it makes sense.
  • Problem is, I would want apps on my Neo as well. In stead of slowly moving towards the mobile phone segment, releasing larger devices people love, that stands out and gets lots of attention, that are not cell phones but still have a potential for a growing ecosystem, developers would notice the fact that there is a potential market of millions and millions of Windows devices where sice and form factor, not to mention hardware, says people buying these would actually want their apps. I'm sure that the approach of not releasing a phone, but rather other types of devices that are not expected to get killed off at once because they are phones with no apps would enable deves to take a more secure approach towards the ecosystem. Releasing an android device says those devices are pcs, they don't need apps. I hope I'm wrong, but this notion as well as saying there will not be future mobile phone Win10X devices would make devs less eager to make Win10X apps. MS should have released the Neo only.
  • Wow, I see a lot of comments here on the underlying coding, the Interface the OS. For me the Neo is all about the form-factor and associated experience. If you look at Neo through the eyes of a PC/Laptop useage i.m.h.o. you are missing the point. Just revert to the original MS Courier trailers. This is about a new device category to attract the millions of Moleskine users and introduce them to a true unique electronic alternative. This is not about substituting a PC experience to a 2 screen environment. This is about providing a dual screen productivity environment for creative pro's and anybody else who wants to have a device at hand that is almost an electronic extension of their thoughts, ideas. If you look at it from that perspective, you do not need a huge app store you need a limited set of core apps that help you collect idea's , jot down information, draw, design, create and you need an OS that's agile, powerful and intuitive. On 5 December 2017 D. Rubino already nailed it - spot on folks! So my dream suite on MS Neo (not in order of importance): OneNote, MS Office, Autodesk Sketchbook, Staffpad, 3d Paint, Adobe Sketch, Scrivener & Scapple, MindManager, Corel Painter, Bryce. https://www.windowscentral.com/microsoft-bring-back-courier-2018
  • If it's not literally as simple as ticking a checkbox, compiling apps for both systems, this move of splitting the app ecosystem will hurt them. The issue of windows versus android is not nearly as important as needing lots of dual screen focused software for both, and using two OSes as being a potentially way to cripple that.
  • I think Dan and Zac put it best during the podcast, we need to stop thinking of Windows devices and think of Microsoft devices. MS is looking to make the best Microsoft devices, that isn't always a Windows device. I'm cool with that, my Note 9 is pretty much all in with MS. I use Google for the bare minimum needed on the phone and pretty much ignore it.
  • I don't care about Microsoft devices. Microsoft is just a company, and I have no brand loyalty. I happen to like Windows better than MacOS or ChromeOS, and I happened to like Windows Phone better than Android or iOS. If I liked Android as much as Windows, I'd spend more time on Android Central. So of course it's disappointing to hear that what could have been a fantastic, multi-purpose device has turned out to be just another Android device, where it's special feature actually becomes a hindrance instead of a bonus, at least to my eyes...
  • I wish the due just looked like Windows. I can live with it being andriod. As it has the apps. But it would of been nice if Microsoft had a launcher that like like Windows 10 with tiles.
  • Already bored with Android, definitely interested with Windows 10X. Needless to say, I am so eyeing on the Surface Neo.
  • i think MS should release a win10x version of the Duo if even simply to provide a smaller form factor of the Neo, I think the sale of the devices would be split pretty evenly between android and win10x version.
    some people (like myself) have been looking for the "PC in your pocket" experience for a long time and continuum on windows phones came pretty close. i personally dont live on my phone, i carry an 11 inch tablet when im out and i use my pc when im home. so if my duo sized Neo made calls that would be a plus, and if not i carry a phone for texting and calls anyway so no loss, I am a Windows fan still using my Elite x3 and still have a hard time explaining to people that im using my phone when im using the lapdock, im looking at the Note 10 for the end of the year but since the Duo is running android i may wait until next year..
    hmmm .. Neo and Duo
    or
    Note 10 and Duo running win10x???
  • Hope that the Surface Duo will have a UI overlay that will simulate functions that make users forget they are using an Android Phone. I like the way the Microsoft launcher works currently and hides a lot of Androidcentric UI elements and allows a cohesive Windows style ecosystem in tandem with Android's. Hoping that Windows 10X UI will be a fluid and a comprehensible replacement for the awful tablet mode in windows 10 when using a Surface Pro format PC and the necessity of needing a type cover will be a thing of the past.
  • I don't want to forget I'm running an Android device; I don't want to run an Android device period!
  • Hopefully they will make an ARM version of windows 10x. Then we can tweak it to work on a small device. That, or someone like Asus or HP will solve this problem for us with a small intel device. I don't need the most functional mobile device. I just need a windows phone that can be a phone and a computer the rest of the time.
  • That explanation is strange. There is CoreOS with capability to run on any device. CShell can be tailored on any form factor. Is that true? So there is no reason to classify some devices as Android form factor and other as PC form factor. In my opinion Microsoft knows importance of having good developers and good apps. The best way to strength its position on market is to achieve to run Windows applicatins on another platforms.
  • They have no idea what's going on. They didn't even know there would be a phone. MSFT is keeping it's cards close to it's chest, and WC are guessing.
  • Microsoft has not given up on mobile! Windows 10X is just Windows Mobile rebooted with a more Android-like experience + dual screen support + running Win32 desktop apps. I guess Neo & Duo would have quite similar UI experience. Duo users would consider buying a Neo as the experience is similar. Microsoft is doing a safe bet on Windows 10X. This is a wise strategy indeed. If Windows 10X can gain significant market share (5% at least maybe....?), Microsoft may consider making a Duo with Win10X. But that's too early to tell.
  • Google themselves suffer from the same "app gap" issue with Chrome OS (i.e. the thesis about Android superiority because of Google Play because of Android market share because developers prefer to make Android apps because of market share and Google Play) and is embracing PWAs as the future since it is evident that around 99% of "mobile apps" are web services (banking apps, ride hailing apps, shopping apps, transit apps etc). The "smartphone" (i.e. a device that support carrier talk/text and runs a mobile OS) has reached end of the line and there's a new market emerging for "converged" devices. The Surface Duo is not one of them either because of conservatism (i.e. this theory that you "need" Google Play when the screen size is such and such). An appropriate intermediate solution for this conservatism, while still moving toward the future would be the "dual OS Duo" as follows: 1. An outer display is added to the Duo and it's powered by "Google Play" (since it sounds like this thing is the most important aspect, more important than the OS itself I start to wonder whether Android should have a new name - Google Play OS when bundled with the store...) with Android as the OS.
    2. The folding display is powered by Windows 10 X. It make little sense to run Android apps on a "tablet sized" display, while having a smaller traditional phone sized ditto on the outside for them would be more logical. A windowed mode for those apps (i.e. mirroring the outer display on the inside) can be used, though. Such a solution would allow a Duo to work as a traditional smartphone when being closed and open up a proper computer, which can be docked when opened. Most Android apps (especially those involving tapping the device to pay or verify transit passes etc) work best on a smaller non-folding display. Dual display/dual experience devices did exist before: Nokia Communicator employed such a concept with a "phone interface" on the lid and a "computer styled interface" when opened. Such an approach would make sense for Duo: It can be used as a regular smartphone or a computer. It would allow Microsoft to innovate toward the converged device while still offer Google Play and a traditional Android experience at the same time. A logical development path would be: I. Surface Duo 1. Android on the outer screen, Windows 10 X on the inside when unfolded. 2020.
    II. Surface Duo 2. Still Android on the outer screen and Windows 10 X on the inside but the display is fully folding without the gap in the middle. 2021.
    III. Surface Duo 3. Windows 10 X in all modes with PWAs as the primary apps when being closed. 2022. The current Duo has a usability problem due to the lack of an outer display when being used as a "smartphone" and can't replace a computer due to Android. It means a "two box" solution BUT when buying a Neo (which can replace a computer), a traditional cheap Android device make more sense as a companion (digital wallet). Duo won't be as good as Neo when unfolded and isn't as convenient as a traditional smartphone (or folding device with an outer screen) when used in such a context (paying in a store, sending a message on the go etc). Walking down the street with a Duo opened is impractical (there's a reason why Nokia Communicators were dual-mode devices). I wouldn't consider the Duo as it is now but would be happy to get one if it provide dual-mode, i.e. Google Play (Android) on an outer display and Windows 10 X when opened up.
  • And it's gonna be a 3k phone. Pikachu face now!
  • Asus achieved similar thing with their hybrid laptop " transformer book duet " but Microsoft didn't liked it so asus moved on to different root
    with "transformer book trio & transformer book v hybrid laptops ". Which had a tablet or phone portion that carried android hardware inside & keyboard portion that carried windows hardware inside.
    That device could seamlessly jump between android & Windows. Even mix them.check that out. it might be possible with duo in future iteration.
  • Further searching about it I found that both Microsoft& Google were against dual os devices like "asus transformer book duet" & they had taken considerable measures to prevent such kind of dual os devices.
  • So the Neo can't do phone calls?
  • Not for now. LTE is just for always-connected PC
  • I don't believe this is going anywhere. I'm under no delusions anything can resurrect Windows Mobile. But, bigger investment in Android aside, I see absolutely no hint they are doing anything significant with it. "Cute" hardware means nothing.
  • If the goal of an article is to raise the discussion, congratulations! this is pretty effective :) Usually, I appreciate your posts and comments but this time I don't like your rigid approach to the subject. I wonder why Zac and especially Daniel hurry up so much to convince and even label all the "ex windows phone fans" about their opinions. After all, we are a tiny, nostalgic and irrelevant community ... that follows you by the way :)
    Should we repeat together that a foldable android phone is a surface? I don't think so.
    Besides the market, the choices of companies, trends and numbers, there is more to me, such as the identity, the coherence ... Sorry, but the Nadella's decision to embrace android is not a perfect one, although you quickly try to demonstrate that. It has obviously pros and cons. I would prefer, if I may, some form of windows in a device from the "windows company". Anyway, the decision and your opinion about it are totally respectable. But please let's call things with their name: it's a colossal retreat! That said, I look forward to next year, I expect some surprising hybrid solution for the Duo's software.
  • Going for Android on Duo spells the death of UWP. For developers, now UWP makes no sense whatsoever. One cannot promote the advantages of a multi-factor development platform and they simply abandon the mobile factor completely. UWP suffered a huge hit with the fall of Windows 10 Mobile but there was some small hope that Microsoft will return to the mobile arena. Now Android on Duo stoke the coup de grace. And it is not only Surface devices. Duo is also a clear message to OEMs that Windows X is not good for mobile and small-screen devices and even Microsoft doesn't believe in it. As a developer, I see no motivation to invest any of my time in UWP anymore. It looks like still a work in progress on desktop, the integration with the other components of the OS is under works. When I cannot access the full range of devices with it, I simply don't need it. When Neo is your only target, you are a facing a very limited market. For all the rest of us, we can just move on and stick to whatever we prefer. In the long run, Microsoft is basically abandoning the desktop and native apps. There is not a single proof they have any serious intentions to make developers love the native.
  • "Microsoft decided not to go with Android emulation on top of Windows 10X for the Surface Duo. The other reason is allowing Android apps on Windows 10X discourages developers to build native Windows apps." Having the Duo run Android discourages developers from building native Windows apps.
    The Amazon Fire fire has Android apps in their store. Nothing would have stopped Microsoft from making their own Android Store.
  • Silly explanation. Nadella and company are "accounting heads", therefore the profits prevail. IMHO it is the first movement to get out of the OS market and go deeper on the cloud strategy (cloud service does not care about the OS, lets sell Office365 and cloud services, right?). MS is going to IBM strategy, a niche company leaving low margins markets. Better for the shareholders, but not for the users of legacy and others. They declared this strategy saying the OS is not the center of MS strategy anymore. Unfortunately, Android sucks and there are much better options in this plataform the Microsoft. Soon more folded Androids will be available. I think in a couple of years MS will abandon this line of Surface, obviously complaining about developers, as usual.
  • My past comment desapears... Hummm. Well, let me repeat: Android is far the worst OS regarding user experience against IOS and Windows. IMHO Microsoft is going to the IBM strategy: a niche company selling services and leaving the users abandoned in many lines of products (they did a lot of it in the recent past, no?). They started the move to abandon the OS marketing (cloud services don´t care about the OS). Why buy a MS product running Android? There are many many better vendors and soon a lot of folded devices using this plataform will be available. Is just a "accounting head" thinking of Nadella and others there working. Better for shareholders but not for the Windows mobile plataform users.
  • Microsoft is just joining the party... It's not brain surgery to figure out why. I feel like they might end up flopping these devices though. A year away is like a decade in tech evolution. And it's just another android device no matter how much they try to skin it or customize the ui.
  • I am really bothered by this site now a days. At this rate, this site might as well change its name again to Android Central's Little Brother because WC is sure on the Duo Android kick. I have wanted a "pocket pc" experience for so long now that it is not even funny. Duo is announced and I get excited only to see that it is running Android, really?? I really believed Nadella would make a Windows Phone, but it seems he is leaving mobile. A lot people who enjoy the MS ecosystem are scratching their heads, me included. At least give those want Win10X on Duo a special order option! Forget that this site says that I dont know what I want, I know the downfall of W32 apps on small form factor. But that is what I want, a PC in the pocket.