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Microsoft’s Surface Duo is coming in September, and no, it doesn’t run Windows

Could this be the folding device that gets it right?

surface duo device held by woman
Image: Microsoft

The upcoming Surface Duo has been teased by everyone from an SVP at Google, to a Microsoft Corporate VP, and now we finally have the last pieces of the puzzle. Coming to shelves on September 10 for a whopping $1,399, the Surface Duo will be available in all its Android-powered glory.

We’ve seen no end of images of the device, so to finally get some specifications is fantastic. Unlike foldables from other mobile device manufacturers, the Surface Duo uses two separate 5.6 inch OLED panels at a resolution of 1800 x 1350. They’re also covered in Gorilla Glass for durability, and can function similarly to multiple displays on a desktop PC.

When unfolded, that makes a familiar aspect ratio for anyone who was alive before widescreen panels took over, 4:3. Anyone remember when all laptops came with a 4:3 screen, with a similarly squared-off keyboard section? Well, the Surface Duo uses half of the screen for a virtual keyboard, or can be used with one of the Surface pens, if you prefer scribbling to trying to type on a small screen.

The base unit is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 855, with 6GB of RAM and up to 256GB of storage. You can also get 4G LTE connectivity if you use it on T-Mobile, AT&T, or Verizon, which is probably for the best since 5G still has spotty coverage at best. Two batteries, one in each half, powers the device with a total of 3577 mAh of capacity. A single-camera module at 11 MP f/2.0 does dual duty on video calls or normal picture taking, and it supports 4K and 1080P video recording at 30 or 60 fps.

The interesting part for me isn’t the sexy hardware though, it’s the modifications Microsoft did to Android to make it usable on two screens. They committed to making any and every app be able to run on the device, so they can either open on one screen or if optimized, span across both displays. All of Microsoft’s apps are already able to span, and so are third-party apps you’d expect such as Amazon’s Kindle app.

Smart algorithms also respond differently, so if you’re opening a link from an app on one screen, it’ll open in a browser on the other screen. I can see this being super handy for productivity, and might be the killer feature that makes dual-screen devices more commonplace.

You can pre-order the Surface Duo from the Microsoft Store, Best Buy, and the major carriers, starting at $1,399 for 128GB of storage and $1,499 for 256GB of storage. Currently, only the Microsoft Store link is live, but the others should be up soon.

What do you think? Interested in the Surface Duo? Let us know down below in the comments or carry the discussion over to our Twitter or Facebook.

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