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Microsoft Unveils Surface Duo Folding Smartphone in Latest Gamble to Take on Apple and Samsung

Microsoft is once again attempting to gain a foothold in the multibillion-dollar smartphone market after announcing the foldable Surface Duo smartphone. It is the technology giant’s first phone in more than three years and comes after previous ventures failed to compete with the likes of Apple and Samsung. The Surface Duo was announced at an event in New York City alongside the Surface Laptop 3 and Surface Pro 7, as well as a dual-screen foldable tablet called the Surface Neo. A brand-new operating system was also announced called Windows 10X, which is designed to work with dual-screen devices.


Unusually for Microsoft, the company has used a rival’s software for the Surface Duo phone in the form of Google’s Android mobile operating system. “This product brings together the absolute best of Microsoft, and we’re partnering with Google to bring the absolute best of Android in one product,” said Microsoft product chief Panos Panay. “This is industry-pushing technology.”


The Duo will feature two 5.6in displays that fold out to form an 8.3in device. Consumers will have to wait at least a year to try the Surface Duo for themselves – Microsoft said its release date will come in time for “Holiday 2020”. Microsoft had to redesign its operating system to fit its new foldable tablet, but it won’t be used for its phone (Microsoft). Microsoft will be betting folding phones represent the next great market opportunity within the smartphone industry, though it is a relatively new and untested category.


By the time the Surface Duo launches it will face competition from the Samsung Galaxy Fold and Huawei Mate X, as well as other folding smartphones set to be released by other manufacturers over the next year. Industry analysts said it was too soon to see if this gamble will pay off but called it a bold statement in an already over-crowded market. “Microsoft is making a play for the mass market of devices,” J P Gownder, principal analyst at technology insight firm Forrester, said. “The success of these new devices will fully depend on the availability of software to light up experiences that make the form factors more than just pretty premium hardware. The pay-off could be big if the user experience and developer ecosystem come together - we will need to wait and see.”


Source: Anthony Cuthbertson for