There’s many compelling features about the Microsoft Surface Duo, the freshly unveiled folding phone built by Microsoft and running Android software, but price isn’t one of them. The Surface Duo costs $1,399 — toward the lower range of what other foldable devices costs, but $500 more than some of the leading flagships.
Microsoft may have reduced some of that sticker shock by confirming to Android Authority (opens in new tab) that the Surface Duo will receive three years of OS and security updates. That should extend the lifespan of Microsoft’s phone, making that high initial price easier to swallow.
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For some buyers, continued OS support is an important tenet of purchasing a new smartphone. And it’s been a bit of a sore subject for Android users, where support is usually subject to the device maker and can vary wildly from phone to phone. Apple’s iPhones, in contrast, can count on support for at least four years, with even devices released in late 2015 able to run this fall’s iOS 14 update.
Microsoft’s pledge to deliver OS updates to the Surface Duo puts its new phone in line with devices from Google, which also keeps its Pixel phones up to date for that long. Samsung recently announced during the Galaxy Note 20 launch that it would also provide three generations of Android OS updates for phones in the Galaxy S and Z series. A TizenHelp report (opens in new tab) claims that some Galaxy A series phones might be among the supported devices, too.
The Surface Duo is Microsoft's first true foray into true Android devices, so having the peace of mind that this $1,399 phone will continue to be supported for years after its debut is a boon for anyone looking to cement their decision on which folding phone will end up in their pocket this fall. When the Surface Duo ships on Sept. 10, it faces tough competition from the likes of Samsung’s Galaxy Z Flip 5G as well as the upcoming Galaxy Z Fold 2.
The Surface Duo is not a folding phone in the traditional sense — that is, if folding phones can claim much of a tradition at this point. Rather than a panel that bends in two, Microsoft’s phone features a pair of two 5.6-inch AMOLED PixelSense displays connected via 360-degree hinge that open up to give you an extended workspace. The phone features a Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 CPU, 6GB of RAM, up to 256GB of storage, and a single 11MP camera. It's an intriguing device that's meant to help you multitask by helping cement the concept of "flow" when it comes to shifting from task to task. Otherwise, it has very little in common with the other folding phones on the market, both in terms of size and form factor.
You can currently pre-order the Microsoft Surface Duo via the Microsoft Store (opens in new tab) and Best Buy (opens in new tab). It's also available via AT&T with a specialized carrier model, though you can use the unlocked version at Verizon, T-Mobile, and AT&T if you so choose.