Microsoft thinks a dual-screen Android phone can take on Apple and Samsung

CNET | 10/2/2019 | Shara Tibken
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Microsoft's Surface Duo runs on Android and will hit the market late next year.

More than two decades ago, Microsoft started designing software for mobile devices. Two years ago, it gave up on phones, conceding that Google and Apple had won the OS battle. On Wednesday, Microsoft reversed course, unveiling a dual-screen smartphone. But rather than push a homegrown operating system in phones, Microsoft has taken up rival Google's Android software, which powers over 2.5 billion devices around the world.

Microsoft - Event - Wednesday - New - York

Microsoft, during an event Wednesday in New York, showed off its new Surface Duo, as well as a dual-screen computer called the Surface Neo. The Surface Duo sports two 5.6-inch displays that curve 360-degrees around a hinge and combine to make an 8.3-inch display. The company didn't give many specific details about the device but touted the ability to do things like view your inbox on one half of the device while responding to a specific email on the other.

"We started really with the goal of how can we help make people more productive," Yusuf Mehdi, corporate vice president for Microsoft's modern life, search and devices group, said in an interview after Wednesday's event. "If you're going to have a device that fits in your pocket, and you can do phone calls and you want to run apps ... it made sense for us to choose" Android.

Surface - Neo - Surface - Duo - Microsoft

Watch this: Surface Neo and Surface Duo: Up close with Microsoft's...

The Surface Duo marks Microsoft's foray back into the world of smartphones after roughly 20 years trying -- and failing -- to position Windows as the phone OS of choice. Opting to make an Android phone now is Microsoft's admission that it's unlikely to make an operating system that powers the bulk of the world's smartphones -- but it still needs to be...
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