If you can't beat 'em
Microsoft beat the leaks, and today announced a forthcoming Android Surface Phone Duo at its annual hardware event, among other dual-screen Qualcomm and AMD-powered goodies. There is a huge catch: you'll have to wait until Christmas 2020 if you want one of your own. Surface Duo In time-honored Jobsian tradition, Surface …
Microsoft is currently worth more than a trillion dollars. If 5 years ago Microsoft shares were $46 apiece, they are now trading at around $134. Adding to that increase the dividends paid during that time, I believe shareholders have been properly lining their collective pockets.
Anybody know if Philippe Kahn sold the rights to the Sidekick name to Danger Inc back around 2000/2001? Or did the name disappear into the vast uncharted swamp of Motorola back in 1998? I've always wondered, primarily because Motorola could have sued Danger Inc into submission, had the left hand known what cards the right hand was holding ...
I have no idea whether it will ever get released or how long it'll last, but I think the reason for special apps is that the screens may move around and depend on one another, unlike the traditional two monitors on a desk setup. For example, a web browser would want to show content across the entire screen if the two screens are simply placed flat but might want to separate the page into two self-contained sections if the screens were positioned like a book, so the experience would be more booklike. Similar considerations could apply with various methods of sending input, as there are two touch surfaces but they are not necessarily independent. I cannot really imagine attaching a keyboard without having the device be ungainly, and there will probably be several apps that have what they think are really clever touch controls.
How much do you want to bet that people will have the same problems with Surface Neo and Surface Duo as they did with the Surface tablets/laptops running WinRT, ie they'll think it should run the same stuff a proper Surface tablet/laptop will run and be disappointed.
I wonder why they are fixated on a brand like "Surface" for incompatible devices when they already have one of the most recognisable brands in the world with "Microsoft"?
According to the article, these devices are running standard Windows and Windows on ARM, both of which can run win32 applications. They're not making that terrible mistake again. I don't know how well ARM Windows can run these programs, and it's quite likely that certain older ones or ones that need lower-level hardware access will not work, but the devices should be able to run many of the traditional Windows programs.
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"According to the article, these devices are running standard Windows and Windows on ARM, both of which can run win32 applications."
According to the article
Microsoft is also not planning to crowbar Windows 10 into the hardware this time around, opting for Android instead.
Agreed, the Neo will run a version of Win10.
Why Brand different things Windows? NT 3.51, Win95 and Win CE were quite different. Unlike the NT and CE, Win9x only ran on x86 and was a hybrid GUI shell based on Win 3.1 & DOS and IBM PC compatible HW.
The fiasco of x86 vs ARM versions of Windows Surface was much later.
It's amazing that MS Xenix, MS Watch, Zune and XBox didn't have Windows in the name. After all Apple's Game console was the Pippin and PDA was the Newton, both Apple related names. As was original Macintosh, which was really a kind of MkII of Lisa..
They already did a phone OS which was arguably as good as Android and iOS, along with handsets which were - from my experience - well designed, well made and very durable. But as is usual for MS they then abandoned it for no good reason.
Then there is the complete clusterfuck which is Windows 10 that I loathe with an absolute passion.
They are a toxic company so I am more than happy to never buy or use an MS branded phone, or willingly use their abysmal OS on general principle.
"... they couldn't get enough people interested in buying phones with their OS"
I still believe that if they had taken the Xbox approach (ie: not branded "Windows" or "Microsoft" and throw enough money at until it sticks) and not chopped and changed directions like they were trying to navigate Heathrow airport's one-way system, we could have been looking at three main mobile ecosystems by now - WinPhone did manage to achieve over 10% market share in Europe, back in the day.
But, of course, this is Microsoft - and the only "right move" they've made in recent times is realising that the Cloud is currently the "big thing" in time to steal a march on Google.
Too bad it's not running AOSP.
Too bad it's not running AOSP.
They'd never do this though, it would be the worse of both worlds. Any changes they made would benefit Google, whilst they'd not get the benefits of any of the Google ecosystem; required by an increasing number of Android apps.
So you'd just have another mobile platform that doesn't do the stuff most users expect (payments/location services/cloud sync/etc...) If you're going to do that you might as well continue with windows phone as at least you control the entire ecosystem.
Who cares about Microsoft, having gone with AOSP could have been better for ***US***. Unless of course they went the Google route and said "we don't care if YOU paid for the device, we won't let you actually have root control".
It's seriously the problem with Android (and as an aside, the same applies to iOS, but that's not the topic here). Heck, even on a bog-standard MSWin system, you can still get down to the internals, adjust and reconfigure the services, and when the system goes titsup, you can mount the storage on another device or even boot a live boot image and recover everything. Sure, Apple are even putting that sort of crap on their latest MacBooks, but Apple have their own personal way of sucking.
First Microsoft goes with a Chromium-base for Edge (when they should have gone with Mozilla), and now they suck off Google yet again by teaming up with them on a nailed-and-glued-shut Android.
No one bought Window’s Phones, as there were key ‘must have’ missing App’s not ported, and others that escaped like Nokia Drive which became Here and acquired by a German Auto-triumvert of BMW/VW and Mercedes..
Became a vicious circle/self-fulfilling prophecy. Windows Phone 10 was ok, some things better than IOS/Android, some worse. Just no scale or thriving community drive behind it and it withered away.
Microsoft should have tossed the developers money to port Apps or offered to do it them-self to plug the self-evident gaping holes that emerged.
Same issue affected Blackberrry, hence the move to Android and the Core BlackBerry must have’s became an App.... just not on standard IOS and Android which is where they should have gone instead of flogging a dead hardware horse.
Fucking people over on Windows Phone 7.x was also uncool, and same again with Windows RT tabs.
Was sad as I grew up with Compaq IPaq, Dell Axim, and HTC and HP WinMo phones after Nokia lost the plot with their Symbian misadventures.
I had a 640XL and ran it for (I think) 4 years till the last security patch came out in June. Almost every time I use my new and more expensive Android replacement it reminds me how much better the final version of Windows Mobile was than the latest Android offering. Overall the interface was much cleaner and more intuitively configurable and live tiles beat widgets hands down. Features like notification handling and particularly dual SIM handling were streets ahead. Even having multiple separate mailboxes worked better.
But now I have apps …… many of which are pretty crap. Some don't refresh as easily as a web browser or work in both landscape or portrait orientation and often they are dumbed down and don't have all the options available on the web. Yes some have better features than the web versions, but its a bit of a lottery,
The fundamental reason WinPhone failed was the lack of app support.
It was a good operating system on some decent devices.
I, and I'm sure many others, would have continued to use it but once it got to the point where even MS themselves weren't keeping apps up to date (the Office app was at least 2 years behind the IOs version) I called time, shame as I still miss the Nokia 1020 camera.
App support was an issue, but I recall they had released trial code which alllowed you to run Android apps on it (just googled, it was called 'Astoria')... it was geeky, but could have plugged the app gap if they could have made it more consumer friendly and built in. But then they canned that project apparently on the basis that if they supported android apps, nobody would bother writing Windows phone ones. But people weren't writing Windows ones anyway, so it basically killed the phone altogether.
My bigger problem with Microsoft was that they basically stopped improving Windows phone itself. It was a great base, but had annoying things that never got sorted (had to enter pin just to turn the flashlight on, mail app was very poor, etc.) and they didn't even work much on their own apps.
I personally loved my Windows phone, liked the tile interface and it ran fast and had a nice uniform feel in most apps. I have the MS launcher now on Android, but it's rubbish. Like virtually all launchers, it basically looks like android. I would have thought MS would have had the capability to pull in the best parts of Windows phone (i.e. the tiles and look and feel) and ported that to their launcher, even as an option. Then you'd have the best of both worlds, android code running all those apps natively, plus the tile elements of Windows phone.
"If Microsoft ever does applications for Linux it means I've won," the kernel creator Linus Torvalds said back in 1998. Well, you've won, Linus."
As Android have taken a linux kernel and modified it without contributing their changes back, and used this as a starting point to build their own phone OS, for me Android isn't linux.
However, Microsoft have done a version of the database component of SQL Server for actual Linux.
Under my understanding, updates of Linux *kernel* made for Android (mostly in the IPC area) are now available in mainstream kernel. Anyway, sources already were available because GPL applies.
Even important part of Android user-level stuff is available as sources, hence AOSP
(I once compiled an AOSP, possibly augmented with hardware-specific drivers and was able to flash some Samsung phone and give a call).
Not that important chunks of Android stay beside closed doors, though, and more and more chunks, BTW: the (in)famous Google apps are just that: Google. And I reckon one of them is the PlayStore. But we are far from *kernel* there
After the massive kick in the crotch that the Lumia 950 was, I am never getting a Microsoft device again. They destroyed the beautiful Lumia line and have lost my loyalty forever. I'm once again a Nokia user, now sporting a nice Nokia 8 and I'm as happy with it as I was with the real Nokia Lumia devices.
What do they think to achieve here? They're extremely late to a saturated market, the foldable screen isn't going to change that, is it?
They never owned Nokia.
They bought a temporary licence for the name, a phone division ruined by mismanagement before Stephan Elop came and factories that were going to close.
Some other company licences the Nokia name now for phones.
Nokia realised they'd messed up by sticking with S60 (killed better S80 and touch based GUI), messed the Trolltech/QT buyout instead of outsourcing GUI to them, messed up the Linux tablet by switching to Intel version. Internal competition in Phone division sowed seeds of doom from about 2003.
Nokia ate Siemens Networks and Motorola Networks.
They have done welly boots, paper, TVs, satellite boxes, computers before phones. No-one expected them to succeed at phones and MS paid them over $10 Billion to take away the dying division. MS didn't get any IP either. Only liabilities and temporary use of the brand.
Forget the 360 hinges - if they can make it 180 with edge to edge screens then (IMO) they have a better product than Samsung of Huawei.
I still wouldn't buy it though. My Nokia8 is a fantastic machine for sod all money. I just wish they'd make it a couple of mm thicker and double the battery size, but that's the same for all modern devices.
Quote: "If Microsoft ever does applications for Linux it means I've won," the kernel creator Linus Torvalds said back in 1998. Well, you've won, Linus.
Not so fast. What about "Embrace, Extend, Extinguish"?
Or maybe a quick re-read of "Evangelism is War" -- here's the whole text (with commentary) from Groklaw:
As Pamela Jones says -- "Nauseating".
Absolutely - two e-ink screens, roughly A5 each, that I can read like an 'real' book, plenty of storage so I don't have to be connected and thus battery will last much longer, night-light backlight option so I can read it in the dark. Not even worried about colour or internet connectivity.
If anyone could do that for £100-£150 I'd be happy, which means it'd be £500+
Own a 3d printer so a case wouldn't be an issue - so two e-ink screens, large battery, powered by maybe a Raspberry Pi? Shouldn't get overly hot, but what would be more suitable?
I've got some time ;)
edit: Raspi would be overly thick, run too hot unless you underclocked it. idk lol
There are 2 things Microsoft have never, ever gotten to grips with:
1. The Internet
1 became apparent many many moons ago with their 'Online Services' bundled into Windows (95 I recall?). Clearly a total misunderstanding of the basic concept of how browsing and general internet usage worked - even then. Many other examples have followed right up to Office 365, blatantly trying to play catch up with G Suite whilst providing nothing noteworthy themselves. Their half arsed concept of "cloud" technology is another.
2. Where do we begin? Any form of Windows Phone has been seen as a joke, demonstrated by the fact virtually nobody - in the grand scheme of things - used one. Further demonstrated by them abandoning it. I owned one and it was the shittest phone I've ever had. The only device where I've thought buying it took me several steps backwards.
Buying a mobile device that Microsoft have made combines the shit of points 1 and 2 into one convenient package. With an admission that their own software was too shit to go on it, so let's use Linux and that negates both points? I don't think so. If you're a moron, you'll be very interested. Otherwise keep well away.
3. Security - that's an interesting one. Historically I'd say they made a lot of mistakes there. But this seems to be one area where they did learn lessons and improve things.
The 2 examples I gave are things where, in my opinion, they've never understood it from day one. This misunderstanding seems to have carried on, and influenced their present-day ideas. Albeit terribly. Their work in the mobile arena seems shockingly bad. To the point it's like saying to someone - go and make a phone, but without any research or understanding of how users actually use them, or what they want from a device. Ok here's your phone. A phone nobody wants to use, because everything about it is awful (in comparison to Android/iOS devices).
> Hmmmm....I'm out, anyone else got anything?
I know you're being sarky, but in the interests of objectivity, one thing MS got right from the first version of Windows and have consistently done right ever since is... fonts.
Fonts on Windows 'just worked' from day one. MS included a decent selection of quality fonts with the price of the OS which pre-empted a ton of pain related to "recipient does not have the same fonts as author". When anti-aliasing came along, it just worked. Then OpenType came along and it just worked. Later still Unicode fonts came along and ... it just worked.
If anyone at MS deserves a Computing Hall Of Fame recognition then it's the fonts team over the years.
"one thing MS got right from the first version of Windows and have consistently done right ever since is... fonts."
Hardly. Up through Windows 3.0, fonts were pretty dreadful. They became acceptable starting with Windows 3.1's introduction of True Type ... And of course, you know that TrueType is from Apple, not Microsoft, right?
> Hardly. Up through Windows 3.0, fonts were pretty dreadful.
Compared with what? No worse than the Macs of the time.
> They became acceptable starting with Windows 3.1's introduction of True Type ... And of course, you know that TrueType is from Apple, not Microsoft, right?
Of course - and that reinforces my point. Instead of MS going their own way, they implemented the best technology.
> Their keyboards used to be nice, next desk over swears by the weird split in the middle ergonomic thing
Yeah they were ok. However they were just re-branded Logitech devices. Nothing Microsoft about it, except their logo printed on the device.
I liked the split keyboard, but I found that once I got used to it, I could not really type on normal keyboards, which made using laptops a pain. So I switched back to the normal keyboard layout and just accepted poorer ergonomics in return for consistency and standardisation.
I am not sure how usable the Surface Duo will be in tablet mode with a black line down the middle of the screens as I would find that annoying if say watching a video spread over both screens.
The ability to have 2 different apps running on each screen maybe a useful feature for some users rather than having to switch between them on one screen. I expect MS will develop some of their own apps such as Office to take advantage of the second screen, but it remains to be seen how many other developers bother to tweak their apps for 2 screen phones.
Since MS now have an Arm build of Windows 10 available I am surprised they have not said they would offer the Surface duo with a Windows 10 ARM version as well as Android
The slabtop will use Windows 10X, which is described here: it's essentially a flavor of 'doze that's customized for dual-screen gadgets. And by that, Redmond means it has tweaked the user interface so it makes sense on two side-by-side displays that may be held like a half-open book in your hands, for instance. It also lengthens the battery life for these sorts of handhelds, apparently. It can still run stuff like Office, Win32 software, and so on.
I thought W10 has excellent multi-monitor support anyway. Doesn't quite seem worthy of a new OS variant?
I opened this tab some days back to ask the same question.. Then forgot about it,
I think we'll see the full slurping efforts of MS, G and FB (and anyone else they can
crapwarecram in there), the full hardware reliability of cheap android junk, and the full software reliability of MS coupled with MS's exceptional security code.
All at the full Apple-tastic price of course. (did I miss anyone out?)
Seeing as Microsoft can't even design the scratch-off style COA stickers for OEM products properly*, I doubt they'd be able to make a ribbon cable that needs flexing a hell of a lot more than normal laptop ribbon cables without it fucking up after just a few months.
Anyway, it'll be abandoned after they realise that they can't write software that actually works reliably, a sort of pre-requisite for a phone.
*Yes, they're fine now, but for the first couple of years of win10, if you tried to scratch off the grey substance hiding the COA, it would inevitably wipe off the entire COA, rendering it unreadable. This is the same tech that's been in lottery scratch cards and the like for years, maybe even decades.
I might try the phone.
My 5 year old Moto G is getting old and Lineage hasn't been updated for a while, and my screen has a line down it cos I dropped it and the case is getting dirty.
I need root cos I will have to fix the OS and restore my idea of privacy whenever I let Microsoft install updates
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Yes, release you have something but make them wait 12-24 months... I wonder if anyone will stand up to this kind of corporate stupidity from marketing. It would be like Ford saying don't buy the Tesla because in 2 years we have one that will be faster, lighter and cheaper.... LOL
MS has finally understood that there's more money to be made if you occupy ecosystems and let them work for you instead of the old monolithic everything-from-one-company approach. Three more years and Windows will run on the Linux Kernel, Office will be a cloud-only service and there will be a MS-hardware product line "inspired by" apple..
I've been banging the drum for a while, suggesting that foldability will beat bendability, and I'm delighted that MS—that anyone—has taken the plunge.
When you consider what Samsung was able to achieve with the "edge" displays, and what additional cleverness can be incorporated into this tech—subtle shaping of glass at the hinge, to bring pixels together by focus; fixing the hinging mechanism so that the glass edges are directly adjacent; use of software to fool the eye in a time-honored tradition that dates back from colour TV design—I think after a generation or two of foldables, we will have devices where you have to look very hard to see the join. This will be a true game-changer. What you saw simulated in TV's Westworld will be in your pocket.
And MS will be right. We'll stop calling these things "phones", because they're not: they are mobile personal computing devices ... which happen to include voice comms as an option.
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