The first Android phone from Microsoft and the first own-brand phone are slowly becoming a reality. The Surface Duo, which was announced a year before its planned launch, was recently spotted in the wild. Twitter users Israel Rodriguez discovered a person with a prototype on the Vancouver subway and sneaked up a spy video out into the world.
The video appears to show a new hardware expansion that wasn’t there in the first announcement in October 2019: an LED flash next to the camera. The Surface Duo has a single camera above the right display, which acts as a front and rear camera thanks to the 360-degree hinge. The video shows a new white circle next to this camera. Now it seems like you’re getting a back (and front) flash.
The Surface Duo actually spends a lot of the video being slow and not responding. After 46 seconds in the video, you can see the device blocking in some kind of app. If you tap a button first, nothing will be done. Then you have to swipe down from the top of the screen several times to open a control panel. Swipe in from the bottom of the display to trigger gesture navigation and close the app. The good news is that because of the Holiday 2020 release window, Microsoft still has about nine months to fix all the bugs.
In addition to blocking and crashing the device, you can view all Surface Duo form factors. Sometimes it’s a book-style device with side-by-side apps. Sometimes it is folded into a single-frame landscape device. Sometimes there are two screens that are stacked vertically for a large scroll area. When you’re done, close the device and you’ll get two screens on the inside of the device and nothing but the metal outside on the outside.
Aside from the fact that the Surface Duo runs Android, comes with two 5.6-inch displays, and will be available in Holiday 2020, we know next to nothing about the device. Microsoft hasn’t said a word about the internal specs like SoC, RAM, or battery life of the strikingly thin device, and we have no idea how much the device will cost. Surface devices are usually high-end devices, but when it comes to foldable smartphones, “high-end” can mean between $ 1,000 and $ 2,700. Microsoft isn’t looking for one of those expensive, flexible, high-tech OLED displays, but it has twice as many displays as normal and they have a strange aspect ratio for booting.
Microsoft last month released an SDK for the Surface Duo, which enables developers to deal with the dual-screen functionality and hopefully integrate support for it into their apps.
The release date for this device is still a while away, so we’ll look out for more leaks.