Microsoft could be getting ready to launch its dual-screen Surface Duo pretty soon, reportedly to beat similar devices to market. Previous rumors suggested a summer launch for the new Surface device, but Windows Central’s Zac Bowden is saying today that Microsoft may now want to launch it before Samsung’s Galaxy Fold 2, which may be announced on August 5.
For those unfamiliar, the Galaxy Fold 2 will be the successor to the original Galaxy Fold, which launched on September 6, 2019 after a much talked-about delay. Samsung’s first folding phone suffered from reliability issues from the beginning, and many reviews highlighted that while impressive, Samsung’s folding screen technology wasn’t completely ready.
We’ve seen other folding phones come to market since then including the Huawei Mate X, as well as folding phones using a clamshell form factor such as the Samsung Z Flip and the new Motorola Razr. However, Microsoft went into a different direction with the Surface Duo, which will use two screens connected by a central hinge instead of a single folding screen.
The Surface Duo will be Microsoft’s first Android phone, and the company already released a Surface Duo emulator allowing developers to optimize their apps for dual-screen use. If the first folding phones from Samsung, Motorola, and Huawei didn't turn current smartphones obsolete overnight, Microsoft deserves credit for trying something different with Surface Duo, even though the device won't come with flagship specs and a top of the line industrial design. It won't have a selfie camera or an external screen, and the bezels are also pretty big by 2020's standards.
It won't be easy for Microsoft to compete with juggernauts like Samsung, so launching the Surface Duo before the Galaxy Fold 2 could make sense. Microsoft is apparently serious about dual-screen devices, and the company is also still working on the bigger Surface Neo that will run Windows 10X instead of Android. However, this second dual-screen device may not be ready until next year as Windows 10X is currently being reworked, and is now planned to ship first on single-screen devices.