Microsoft today announced a clamshell phone called the Microsoft Surface Duo, and promised to ship it in time for the holidays. Next year. As in: 2020.
The most surprising bit is the operating system, which is Android. (The fact that it was code-named Andromeda should have been a clue.)
Beyond that we know it has two 5.6-inch screens, and a hinge. We don't know the price or any other details.
I predicted this phone a year and a half ago. I even predicted that Microsoft would “de-emphasize the phone function“ in its branding and marketing of the phone.)
And even after today’s announcement, we really don’t know much more about the device, other than the Android part.
More importantly, however, I talked about the advantages of a Microsoft-designed dual-screen phone and gave 10 reasons why it might succeed. Namely:
1. Phones and tablets are boring
2. Clamshell is the perfect mobile form factor
3. The pen is back
4. Combining pen and finger gestures is a Microsoft strength
5. The on-screen keyboard revolution is coming
6. Microsoft has killer hinge technology...
7. … hinge orientation is a ‘gesture." And that means...
8. … Courier is a feature, not a product
9. Microsoft even has interesting camera technology
10. Microsoft is better off in business
Long story short: Microsoft is well positioned to create a great phone with a clamshell form-factor. Unfortunately, the company is just too slow. Chinese companies will copy and ship long before Microsoft ships the original.