Surface Duo
(Photo : Microsoft) The Surface Duo smartphone is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 chip. It also runs Android, but heavily skinned so as to resemble Windows 10X.

No matter how useful Windows Phone's operating system was in many ways, it still didn't manage to hold a candle to iOS and Android, leading Microsoft to shut its phone efforts entirely. But the company just changed its tune. Sort of.

The Windows Phone is back. Well, not exactly. Microsoft has a new phone with two screens, which folds in half, called the Surface Duo. This time, however, instead of running its custom OS, it fronts Android.

Surface Duo

The Surface Duo was the last surprise at Microsoft's recently concluded Surface Event, where it showed off a number of new Surface products, including laptops, tablets, and even wireless earbuds. The dual-screen Surface Duo phone features two 5.6-inch displays that can rotate 360 degrees, which means users can fully unfold and use it as a small 8.3-inch tablet.

Each of the Surface Duo's display can run two different apps simultaneously, or users can use the whole thing in landscape mode, which turns the secondary screen as a keyboard, or as a controller for games. Though this runs Android, the OS looks very different from current-generation Android skins on other tablets. It appears Microsoft has heavily skinned the software and given it its personal touch. As a result, the OS resembles Windows 10X, which the larger, also foldable Surface Neo runs.

Surface Duo Specs

The Surface Duo comes equipped with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 chip, according to Wired, but it's worth noting that a lot of its design elements remain tentative, including whether or not it'll have a rear camera. Microsoft seems wary of calling the Surface Duo a "phone," but it seems to be one, for all intents and purposes. It's a significant announcement for Microsoft, as this marks its first-ever return to the smartphone world since killing the Windows Phone platform back in 2017.

Surface Duo Release Date

It's important to remember both the Surface Neo and Surface Duo are early previews. The device won't be out until late 2020, and in the interim, Microsoft will be giving developers some leeway to develop apps for the new hardware. Whether or not this new smartphone effort will prove a success remains to be determined, of course, but having a competitor is always a good thing as it will keep the smartphone industry interesting.

Do you think Microsoft has a chance of shaking up the smartphone world with its new Surface Duo? As always, if you have anything to share, feel free to sound them off in the comments section below!

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