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Microsoft surprises with new foldable Surface Duo phone running Android

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It runs Android and will release holiday 2020

Microsoft had one last surprise at its Surface event: a foldable Surface Duo phone that runs Android.

The design of the device resembles Microsoft’s just-announced dual-screen Surface Neo laptop, but on a smaller, pocketable scale. The Surface Duo features two 5.6-inch displays that can rotate 360 degrees, allowing it to be fully unfolded as a miniature 8.3-inch tablet.

Each display can also run two different apps at the same time, or the Duo can be turned into landscape mode, allowing the second display to be used as a keyboard or game controller. The version of Android on offer here looks heavily skinned, too, to resemble the Windows 10X operating system that the larger Surface Neo runs.

According to Wired, the Surface Duo is powered by a Snapdragon 855 processor, but elements of the design haven’t been finalized yet — like whether it’ll feature a rear camera at all.

And while Microsoft’s chief product officer Panos Panay seemed loath to call the Surface Duo a “phone” onstage, the announcement is a big one for Microsoft, marking the company’s return to the smartphone space for the first time since the death of the Windows Phone platform back in 2017.

The Surface Neo (left) and Surface Duo (right).

Like the Neo, today’s look at the Surface Duo is an early preview. The device won’t be out until holiday 2020, but Microsoft wants to give developers plenty of time to start building apps for the new hardware.