Here’s the first credible Microsoft Surface Duo 2 leak | GeekComparison

The Surface Duo was one of the biggest hardware flops in recent memory, but Microsoft is still working on a follow-up to the device, and now we have the first credible photos of it. The story here is a bit weird. We’re actually not sure where the photos came from (they were uploaded to this random YouTube channel with other uncredited content), but Windows Central’s Zac Bowden says the images are legit, and since he has an impeccable history of nailing Surface Duo rumours, its confirmation is good enough for us. Bowden calls the two devices shown in the leak “almost final prototypes.”

The most obvious change in the photos is a huge camera bump on the back of the device. The hump houses three cameras, along with what appears to be an LED flash on the right and another sensor, perhaps laser autofocus, just below the flash. The standalone fingerprint reader on the side is gone (Windows Central speculates it will be integrated into the power button), and the USB-C port on the bottom is now centered. Unfortunately, we don’t yet know what the inside looks like.

The Surface Duo 1 never had a proper camera solution, in fact it didn’t have a rear camera at all. Cameras are one of the biggest demands on phone body thickness (hence the camera bumps), and the Surface Duo, one of the thinnest phones ever made (only 4.8mm thick for each half), simply didn’t have room for a good photo camera. The device had only one low-quality front camera, and since the phone was foldable, it could also do double duty as a rear camera.

Skipping a rear camera for the Duo 1 wasn’t the only solution Microsoft tried, though: early prototypes showed a rear camera with a matching cutout on the other half of the device, allowing the proto-Duo to have a rear camera and still fold flat. This Duo 2 prototype has a big camera bump but no sod on the other side, so it looks like it can’t fold flat? A big selling point of the first Duo was its 360 hinge and the ability to use it in single-screen mode if desired, but it seems that feature is being compromised.

Another issue with the Duo 1 was its weird and outdated spec sheet, but many of the device’s technical shortcomings will be addressed in the future. Windows Central says the phone will ship with a modern SoC – the Snapdragon 888 – along with NFC, one of the Duo 1’s more bizarre omissions. The phone should ship sometime in September or October.

Is Microsoft changing enough?

The Surface Duo 1 was Microsoft’s first-ever own-brand Android phone, and the company’s first foray into a smartphone since the Nokia Windows Phone days. By all accounts, the Duo 1 was a disaster. In our time, we have encountered a lot of bugs and glaring software flaws, such as the bad keyboard. But our big takeaway was that the form factor didn’t work. Even when folded, the Duo 1 was significantly wider than any other device on the market, eclipsing even historically large phones like the Nexus 6 at 10mm, making it uncomfortable to hold or put in a pocket. Android doesn’t scale well to ultra-wide screens (tall is fine, wide isn’t), so the phone didn’t show much content.

The dual screen design wasn’t all that convincing either. A tablet or foldable tablet can offer similar side-by-side app action and also offers the flexibility of a single large screen for videos and tablet apps, which isn’t achievable on the split-screen Duo. The Duo also didn’t have a front screen for notifications, which is a standard feature on every other foldable device such as the Galaxy Fold and Flip, the Moto Razr, and the foldables from Xiaomi and Huawei. When your phone beeps, you want to be able to glance at it to see the notification without having to use two hands to open and close the device. It appears that none of these issues will be addressed in the sequel.

The Surface Duo was also a market failure, with discounts starting almost immediately. Today, the sky-high MSRP of $1,400 has dropped to nearly $1,000 off. During the hottest fire sale, Duos unloaded for $409, but today these things are just sitting in Amazon warehouses for $419, and they still haven’t sold out. You’d think a serious market flop like the Duo 1 would lead to dramatic changes in the sequel, but Microsoft doesn’t seem deterred.

The company can fix at least some of the buggy software and outdated hardware that came with the Duo 1. But if you weren’t already a fan of the concept, the Duo 2 isn’t trying to change your mind much.

Leave a Comment