Microsoft Surface Duo could launch in time to fight Galaxy Z Fold 2

Microsoft Surface Duo
(Image credit: Microsoft)

The Microsoft Surface Duo dual-screen Android-powered device looks like it’s gearing up for launch, as it’s been listed on the FCC and has appeared on the Bluetooth SIG certification page. 

While Microsoft has scheduled the Surface Duo to launch at the end of the year, recent rumors have it tipped for a launch in the summer. And 9to5Google reported that the new listings mean the Surface Duo could soon release in the US, and such listings regularly appear just ahead of electronic device launches. 

If it does indeed launch this summer, the Surface Duo will bring a rather odd dual-screen foldable device to the market. Microsoft hasn’t called it a phone, despite preview videos showing it can accept calls and it will be running on a modified version of Android. 

Microsoft seems to envision it as a form of companion device for Windows 10 laptops and PCs. It’s heavily modified version of Android has been designed to deliver a pseudo mobile Windows 10 dual-screen experience, with a whole slew of Microsoft productivity apps shown in videos and images of the Surface Duo. 

Microsoft does have Windows 10X in the works, which is a version of Windows 10 that’s being rejigged to work on dual-screen devices. But that’ll be the operating system to underpin the Surface Neo, a device that’s basically a bigger Surface Duo running Windows natively with an Intel processor; the Surface Duo is expected to use a Qualcomm Snapdragon 8-series chip.

Unlike the upcoming Samsung Galaxy Fold 2, the Surface Duo will not have a foldable display but will instead use two separate screens connected together by a slim neat-looking hinge. That should make it a lot more durable than phones with foldable screens have been so far.

Other specs and features have yet to be revealed. But the Surface Duo will have a selfie camera that can be effectively swiveled using the hinge to point the camera away from the user. And a new slim Surface Pen will also feature for people who want more precise note-taking and doodling on phone screens.

With the Samsung Galaxy Note 20, Pixel 4a and iPhone 12 set to launch in the coming months, the Surface Duo will have a lot of competition for attention. But it’s quite bit different from those devices, so it could stand on its own. We just hope Microsoft has nailed the software experience to make such a foldable device feel like a worthy purchase.

Roland Moore-Colyer

Roland Moore-Colyer a Managing Editor at Tom’s Guide with a focus on news, features and opinion articles. He often writes about gaming, phones, laptops and other bits of hardware; he’s also got an interest in cars. When not at his desk Roland can be found wandering around London, often with a look of curiosity on his face.