Tech

Microsoft unveils new folding smartphone in surprise announcement

Key Points
  • Microsoft unveils the new Surface Duo, which runs on Android, at its annual hardware event on Wednesday.
  • The folding phone features two side-by-side 5.6-inch displays that are connected by a 360-degree hinge.
  • The Duo will launch in late 2020, in time for the holiday season.
Microsoft had its annual product event on Wednesday.

Microsoft made a surprise announcement Wednesday of a new two-screened Android smartphone, the Surface Duo. The device will launch in late 2020, in time for the holiday season. No pricing details were announced.

The device features two side-by-side 5.6-inch displays that are connected by a 360-degree hinge. Once it's folded up, the Duo is small enough that it can fit in your pocket.

Panos Panay, Microsoft's chief product officer, holds up the new Surface Duo.

Microsoft said it partnered with Google to "bring the best of Android" to the device, while incorporating elements of Windows 10X, a new operating system meant for hybrid devices. It can also run two different apps at the same time.

The phone opens up so that the second display can be used as a game controller or a keyboard. The second display can also function as a stand, enabling users to watch videos in landscape mode.

"You can text, you can write, you can do what you want," said Panos Panay, Microsoft's chief product officer. "Make no mistake, this product is a Surface."

The Duo folds open so that the second screen can be used as a game controller.

Microsoft was rumored to be developing a Surface phone for some time. The company's last stab at a smartphone, the Windows Phone operating system, didn't sell as well as Microsoft had hoped, and it has since been discontinued. This time around, Microsoft isn't relying on its own mobile operating system; instead, it has chosen to bring Android, the most popular operating system globally, to the Duo.

The company unveiled Duo alongside other Surface announcements. The company debuted an all-new dual-screen computer, called the Surface Neo, as well as the Surface Pro 7, the Surface Laptop 3, the Surface Pro X and the Surface Earbuds.

VIDEO5:0205:02
First look at Microsoft's new folding phone the Surface Duo