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Rumors regarding Microsoft diving headfirst back into the world of mobile devices started bubbling up in early 2014 before getting turned down to a simmer almost instantly – and then started to bubble right back up again in 2016.
Most industry experts believe that Windows was working on a next to generation overhaul of the Windows Mobile operating system, that a new phone would be unveiled by 2018 at the latest, and that it was going to feature many of the same design elements and engineering features most modern smart phones today are built on.
Instead, Microsoft decided to scrap things completely (as early as 2015) and begin fresh. New CEO Satya Nadella took the reins of Microsoft over from Steve Ballmer the year before and made one of the top priorities of Microsoft to get back in the mobile hardware game – leaving the operating system side of things to the folks at Google with Android.
In October 2019 Microsoft surprised absolutely everyone in the technology world when they unveiled the latest addition to their Surface lineup of hardware, the Surface Duo.
Featuring a 100% unique hinged dual screen configuration (and the slick design language of the Microsoft Surface tablets and laptops that already existed), this new phone was slated to be launched during the holiday season of 2020 and was announced to be running the latest version of Android – with a couple of Microsoft “tweaks” under the hood for good measure.
Well, the word out of Silicon Valley is that Microsoft may be way ahead of schedule and could be poised to announce the new Surface Duo months earlier than they originally intended.
Check out the inside information below to find out if there’s any legitimacy to these rumors or if you’ll have to sit on the sidelines like everyone else until late 2020 to get your hands on this new groundbreaking mobile device.
Multiple Surface Duos Have Been Spotted “In the Wild” Recently
Ever since Microsoft Chief Product Officer Panos Panay announced that the Surface Duo was just around the corner from launching commercially there has been a lot of buzz in the tech world regarding this dual screen phone.
Trying to get your hands on a physical version of the device, though, has proved to be more than a little bit challenging for a variety of different reasons.
Microsoft is obviously playing at their first major step into the mobile device world since the cancellation of Windows Phone back in 2017 quite close to the vest, and even at the announcement event Microsoft wasn’t exactly handing these devices out to be played with by the press or the general public.
Recently though, a number of Surface Duo devices have been popping up “in the wild” on social media. The Vice President of Corporate Communication at Microsoft, Frank Shaw, recently published a picture of his home office that included a brand-new Surface Book laptop as well as the Surface Duo sitting right atop it.
This was the first time that the Duo had been seen outside of promotional pictures, but there now have been a number of other instances of Surface Duo devices pictured in the hands of Microsoft personnel throughout Seattle (and New York City) which would leave people to believe that devices much closer to launching today than it had been expected.
Launched Announced for Holiday Season 2020 – But May Be Accelerated
A number of reputable sources are beginning to share information about Microsoft accelerating the launch timeline, with some reporting that they have spoken to Microsoft sources that want to get the mobile device out before the summer season.
This would represent a major acceleration of at least four months compared to what had been officially released by the folks at Microsoft, but it would also allow them to avoid having to go head-to-head with the next iteration of the iPhone – a phone that has launch annually like clockwork right before the holiday season almost every single year.
There’s been some chatter throughout the technology industry that Microsoft has been able to accelerate things throughout the supply chain, have been able to overproduce Surface Duo devices faster than they themselves expected, and that they may be in a position to announce the launch of this new device as early as April and have it out the door before May or June.
This could mean that folks looking for a new mobile device don’t have to wait until the holiday season to get their hands on what is sure to be one of the most exciting new pieces of hardware in the mobile industry.
Of course, a lot of this reporting about Microsoft being able to accelerate the timeline of the Surface Duo came about before the coronavirus and its impact on the global economy – not to mention the Southeast Asian supply chain responsible for much of the production of the Surface Duo.
Today industry experts are a lot more skeptical about whether or not it’s smart to launch a device like this with the economy in such turmoil, if they’d even be able to because of how shut down the Southeast Asian supply chain has been over the last 30 days or so.
Yes, we’re starting to see major improvements in this part of the world when it comes to combating the coronavirus and it’s possible that there is some light at the end of the tunnel as far as getting production facilities back online and consumer goods out the door again – but there is still so much uncertainty that has to be navigated that it may not be worth Microsoft speeding up the launch of this new device.
Microsoft may conclude that they are much better served sticking to the intended release schedule almost 8 months away to give themselves as much time as necessary to iron out any potential issues and guarantee that the supply is in place to match the anticipated demand.
What We Know for Sure
At the end of the day, there are a handful of things that we do know for sure about the new Microsoft Surface Duo that are worth reporting.
For starters, it has been confirmed that the Surface Duo is going to run the latest version of Android available at launch date. We know that the OS is going to be heavily modified from the “vanilla” version that comes direct from the folks at Google, but it also means that this new phone is going to have access to all of the applications already designed for the Android platform – giving it a real head start.
The Surface Duo is going to feature two independent 5.6 inch screens (high definition screens) that rotate with a 360° hinged between them – opening up to create an 8.3 inch tablet device when the screens are used in conjunction with one another.
Next generation Qualcomm Snapdragon processors are going to act as the heartbeat of the Surface Duo (with many expecting it to be the Snapdragon 865), but this is a bit of a double-edged sword as it means that the new phone isn’t going to support 5G wireless connectivity right out of the box.
All things considered, it’s easy to see why so many are excited about everything that this new device from Microsoft promises to bring to the table. Considering the success that Microsoft has had with the Surface lineup in general it wouldn’t be surprising to see these devices sell a lot faster than folks expect, making it one of the most in demand mobile devices since the original iPhone.