Microsoft begins taking orders for its dual-screen Surface device in the U.S. on Wednesday, an attempt to re-enter the mobile handset market with a product that blends the features of a tablet with those of a phone.
The Android-powered Surface Duo starts at $1,399 and will be available Sept. 10, said Microsoft Chief Product Officer Panos Panay. The device will be sold on Microsoft.com as well as by AT&T Inc. and Best Buy Co. It is the thinnest Surface ever, with screens that unfold completely to serve as a phone or act like a book to provide more space for different apps.
The gadget represents Microsoft’s return to the handset market following an ignominious retreat in 2016 after the company’s acquisition of Nokia’s handset unit crashed and burned in a costly writedown. It’s also the company’s first Surface device running Google’s Android operating system, which Windows Phone once sought to vanquish. Why Android? Panay told reporters it came down to the need for apps — Microsoft’s previous efforts were largely doomed because of the lack of mobile developer support.
The U.S.-only release will disappoint international fans of the Courier concept device that Microsoft teased a decade ago — it’s the original digital notebook inspiration underpinning the Surface Duo and something that enthusiasts have been asking to see as a real product for a long time.
Source: Microsoft Corp, Bloomberg!