back to article Microsoft has made an Android phone. Repeat, Microsoft has made an Android phone. A dual-screen foldable mobe not due until late 2020

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 …

  1. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge
    Coat

    If you can't beat 'em

    join 'em?

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: If you can't beat 'em

      Sue them for imagined patent violations and have your salesforce go around telling their customers that they could all be sued if they use this open source stuff.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: If you can't beat 'em

        There were quite a number of court cases that found that some of the patent violations claims were valid against Android at least.

    2. NeilPost Bronze badge

      Re: If you can't beat 'em

      Burned on Windows CE

      Burned on Windows Mobile 7

      Burned on Windows Mobile 8/10

      Burned on Windows RT

      ... burning about $10bn+ of shareholder value

      ... how Fucking stupid do they think people are??!

      1. jake Silver badge

        Re: If you can't beat 'em

        "how Fucking stupid do they think people are?"

        Burn me once, shame on you. Burn me twice, shame on me. Burn me five or six times ... I guess people are pretty fucking stupid.

        1. krakead

          Re: If you can't beat 'em

          Having been thrown under the bus on Windows Phone/Mobile/Whatever there's not a chance in hell I'd touch this thing even with someone else's 12' stunt cock.

      2. MiguelC Silver badge
        WTF?

        Re: burning about $10bn+ of shareholder value (???)

        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.

        1. gerdesj Silver badge
          Gimp

          Re: burning about $10bn+ of shareholder value (???)

          "I believe shareholders"

          Bugger the customers ...

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: burning about $10bn+ of shareholder value (???)

            > Bugger the customers ...

            yes, that's the general idea ...

            even if it hurts, where are they going to go?

            1. ArrZarr Silver badge
              Windows

              Re: burning about $10bn+ of shareholder value (???)

              Some people think that eating an apple or doing unspeakable things to a penguin is a replacement.

              But yes, you're right. There is no plan B for lots of users, even if they wanted to have one.

          2. bombastic bob Silver badge
            Meh

            Re: burning about $10bn+ of shareholder value (???)

            "Bugger the customers ..."

            Unfortunately it seems you are correct

        2. arctic_haze Silver badge

          Re: burning about $10bn+ of shareholder value (???)

          The shareholder value increase after Microsoft gave up on this Ballier-started mobile crusade. Maybe in part because of that.

        3. Old-dog

          Re: burning about $10bn+ of shareholder value (???)

          Nokia affair

      3. Mage Silver badge
        Flame

        Re: Burned

        They bought Danger Inc because of the Sidekick. Burned by 2008.

        1. jake Silver badge

          Re: Burned

          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 ...

    3. macjules Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Re: If you can't beat 'em

      If you can't beat 'em join 'em?

      Obviously not with 2 separate screens.

    4. J. R. Hartley Silver badge

      Re: If you can't beat 'em

      The bridge is on fire!!

  2. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge

    MeeGo

    Mee Comeback

    At least spiritually in the guise of the linux kernel

    Just don't let Stephen Elop anywhere near with his flame thrower

  3. IGotOut

    Apps?

    Surely the Neo is just going to be a dual screen monitor configuration. Why do you need special "apps".

    Or is it going to be another stupid project people buy and then MS abandon again?

    Zune? WindowsRT? Winphone?

    1. jake Silver badge

      Re: Apps?

      "Or is it going to be another stupid project people buy and then MS abandon again?"

      Gut feeling? It'll evaporate before this time next year, never making it into retail.

      1. nkuk

        Re: Apps?

        Yes, this is bound to be the usual MS vaporware. They have a long history of announcing projects years in advance that never materialise on the date they were supposed to, or are missing most of the required features.

    2. doublelayer Silver badge

      Re: Apps?

      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.

      1. ivan5

        Re: Apps?

        It would be useful if one of the screens was e-ink as it could be used in bright sunlight as well as using a lot less battery power.

        1. Mage Silver badge

          Re: Apps?

          Lenovo has a very expensive clamshell tablet that is eink + LCD. Unfortunately it runs Win 10 rather than MacOS, Android, Linux, BSD or iOS.

          1. Ilgaz

            Re: Apps?

            Well, a Windows laptop can run all of these OS, at least virtually.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    10 years in the making

    The Microsoft Courier concept comes to life.

    1. Dr_N Silver badge

      Re: 10 years in the making

      More like the Toshiba Libretto W100?

  5. ZenCoder
    Coffee/keyboard

    Please let the attention correction AI suffer from comically bad glitches.

    1. 's water music Silver badge

      Attention!

      I'm hoping it will be a snapchat style googly eyes filter

  6. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
    Facepalm

    Surface?

    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"?

    1. doublelayer Silver badge

      Re: Surface?

      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.

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

      2. katrinab Silver badge
        Windows

        Re: Surface?

        I think it is more "walk" than "run" when it comes to executing binaries compiled for Intel.

      3. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: Surface?

        "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

        Surface Duo

        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.

    2. Mage Silver badge

      Re: Surface Branding?

      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..

  7. simonlb Silver badge
    Unhappy

    No thanks

    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.

    1. werdsmith Silver badge

      Re: No thanks

      "But as is usual for MS they then abandoned it for no good reason"

      No good reason except that they couldn't get enough people interested in buying phones with their OS.

      1. RyokuMas Silver badge
        Meh

        Re: No thanks

        "... 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.

        1. werdsmith Silver badge

          Re: No thanks

          Microsoft had already tried and failed at rebranding with their iPod competitor Zune.

          1. BrownishMonstr Bronze badge

            Re: No thanks

            Is this the iPod competitor that never made it to the UK, or pretty much anywhere else other than The States (and Canada)?

            It looked awesome when I first saw it and I would have loved to have one, if I could afford it, but it wasn't even released here.

        2. Mage Silver badge

          Re: No thanks

          WinCE had maybe over 30% in USA before iPhone existed. Even though the GUI was stupid, especially on 320 x 240 PDAs.

          The Zune interface (bought in?) was a step forward, but the Zune product was 5 years too late and poor ecosystem and DRM.

        3. FIA

          Re: No thanks

          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.

          1. jelabarre59 Silver badge

            Re: No thanks

            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.

      2. NeilPost Bronze badge

        Re: No thanks

        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.

        1. Lazlo Woodbine

          Re: No thanks

          At one point WinPho had a 10% market share in Europe, so to say "no one bought Window's phones" is somewhat disingenuous.

          I had a Nokia 720 and 940, they were great phones with a very intuit interface, but I do agree the lack of App support was very annoying.

        2. Persona Bronze badge

          Re: No thanks

          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,

        3. Ilgaz

          Re: No thanks

          You can't ship even a Web browser to Windows store. It has to use Edge engine.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: No thanks

            Just like browsers on IOS devices have to use the crappy WebKit engine?

        4. bpfh Silver badge

          Re: No thanks

          I brought 2. 630 was good (until the screen broke), and I replaced it with a 635. Great as a company phone as it interfaced with all office products and good network sensitivity. For 150 euros could not be beat.

    2. GlenP Silver badge

      Re: No thanks

      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.

      1. NerryTutkins

        Re: No thanks

        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.

        1. krakead

          Re: No thanks

          Give Launcher 10 a try - it's as close as you'll ever get to a Windows phone UI on Android. Been using it on my Note 9 for the past 6 months and it's very good.

        2. Ilgaz

          Re: No thanks

          There is a Windows launcher for Android.

          https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.lx.launcher8

          Made in China :-)

      2. aje21

        Re: No thanks

        Still using my 1020 and will be gutted when it finally stops working

        1. James 139

          Re: No thanks

          Still using my 950XL, it currently still does what I need it to.

    3. Mage Silver badge

      Re: abandoned it for no good reason.

      Fell to < 1% of market.

  8. werdsmith Silver badge

    "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.

    1. katrinab Silver badge

      And also Visual Studio Code, Skype, and probably a few other things.

    2. sw guy

      GPL

      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

  9. Danny 5

    No, just no

    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?

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    adjust eyeballs in video calls to appear to be staring at the recipient

    next step: apply AI to appear that the caller calls the recipient and engages in an intelligent manner. Multiply by 100, to increase a productivity (PROFIT!)

    1. TechnicalBen Silver badge

      Re: adjust eyeballs in video calls to appear to be staring at the recipient

      Who asked for this? Like really?

      I can think of a ton more "useful" AI adjusting visual features that would get thrown out. But this one? Why did it slip through?

      1. Benson's Cycle

        Re: adjust eyeballs in video calls to appear to be staring at the recipient

        Big Brother. He wants people to know that he's watching you.

        And what he wants, he gets or it's Room 101 for you.

  11. djstardust

    Acer 6120 iconia

    All over again. Sigh.

  12. Avatar of They
    Thumb Up

    I for one.

    Would like to congratulate Mr Torvald.

    There are plenty of reasons why but this new android phone from M$ one is one of them.

  13. Chairman of the Bored Silver badge

    Attention correction?

    I can see it now.... I'm talking to a key client. After a pregnant pause in the conversation after he asks for my firm's total commitment, I look straight towards him and say, "Absolutely." And immediately the AI decides to modify my expression with a double wink...

  14. 89724102172714182892114I7551670349743096734346773478647892349863592355648544996312855148587659264921 Bronze badge

    WHY THE F*CK didn't they do this when they owned Nokia?

    1. Mage Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Re: when they owned Nokia?

      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.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: when they owned Nokia?

        wtf was ballmer thinking?

      2. werdsmith Silver badge

        Re: when they owned Nokia?

        Nokia didn’t stick with S60. They released ^2 and ^3 which developed through touch based gui in Anna and Belle and had Carla and Donna in the pipeline.

  15. caffeine addict Silver badge

    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.

  16. Unep Eurobats
    Windows

    Fear of missing out

    'Foldable mobile' is a bit of a mouthful. How about fomobe? (You know you want one.)

    1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

      Re: Fear of missing out

      Surely just foldy? To go along with mobe, lappy and desky.

      Which means we should probably go back to the El Reg style guide and lengthen mobe to moby.

      1. Andytug Bronze badge

        Re: Fear of missing out

        Which would mean someone being annoying on their phone (e.g. on a train..) could be referred to as a "moby d*ck"....

      2. LoPath
        Trollface

        Re: Fear of missing out

        Foldable laptop = Fappy?

        1. Ken Hagan Gold badge
          Meh

          Re: Fear of missing out

          I think "flappy" is more likely to be where the linguistic dust settles.

        2. sum_of_squares

          Re: Fear of missing out

          This is 2019. You can't get away with calling the ThinkPad thingy "clit mouse" anymore..

    2. Robert D Bank

      Re: Fear of missing out

      I'd prefer MoFo. Or Deux (as in Doh!)

      other options..

      - Bender :-)

      - Double (french form)

  17. revenant Silver badge

    Nice phone

    I quite like the look of it (but I imagine it's too pricy for me). Shame it's an android phone, though.

    I'll scrub and disinfect my hands after typing this, but I would have preferred to see Windows 10 on it.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Leopard? Spots?

    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:

    -- http://www.groklaw.net/articlebasic.php?story=20071023002351958

    As Pamela Jones says -- "Nauseating".

  19. Tigra 07 Silver badge

    This is intriguing. I'd be interested in the size of the battery if it's powering two screens. Plus, price?

    1. Tigra 07 Silver badge

      Apparently i'm not allowed to be curious of the specs or before release, judging from the downvotes.

  20. 404 Silver badge
    Happy

    Could it be the One?

    I've wanted a e-ink foldable paperback- sized tablet/reader for a looong time (decades?) - I'll take a color version of that dream in a phone. No problem at all.

    I like it. Just about the perfect size imo.

    1. Tigra 07 Silver badge

      Re: Could it be the One?

      It's from Microsoft though, so expect a price similar to the Surface tablets.

    2. A K Stiles Silver badge

      Re: Could it be the One?

      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+

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: Could it be the One?

        2 x Kobo readers on ebay for $20 each

        1 roll of duct tape $5

        1. A K Stiles Silver badge

          Re: Could it be the One?

          And some coding & soldering iron jiggery-pokery to keep the pages in sync and turn them 2 at a time...

          1. 404 Silver badge

            Re: Could it be the One?

            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

            1. alexdonald

              Re: Could it be the One?

              Even the Zero?

  21. andy 103
    FAIL

    2 things MS have never understood

    There are 2 things Microsoft have never, ever gotten to grips with:

    1. The Internet

    2. Mobiles

    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.

    1. TechnicalBen Silver badge
      Terminator

      Re: 2 things MS have never understood

      No. They perfectly understand. They just want it the opposite way. (See icon, total control)

    2. Tigra 07 Silver badge

      Re: 2 things MS have never understood

      3. Security

      1. andy 103

        Re: 2 things MS have never understood

        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).

        1. jake Silver badge

          Re: 2 things MS have never understood

          "But this seems to be one area where they did learn lessons and improve things."

          From "none" to "some" is an improvement, true ... but it's hardly to the point where I'd trust it to any great degree.

    3. FuzzyWuzzys
      Happy

      Re: 2 things MS have never understood

      Things they got right...

      XBOX

      Hmmmm....I'm out, anyone else got anything?

      1. 2+2=5 Silver badge
        Happy

        Re: 2 things MS have never understood

        > 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.

        1. jake Silver badge

          Re: 2 things MS have never understood

          "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?

          1. 2+2=5 Silver badge

            Re: 2 things MS have never understood

            > 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.

      2. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: 2 things MS have never understood

        >Hmmmm....I'm out, anyone else got anything?

        Their keyboards used to be nice, next desk over swears by the weird split in the middle ergonomic thing

        1. Ogi

          Re: 2 things MS have never understood

          > 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.

  22. matt 83

    But can it run

    Donkey Kong?

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    So Mr Ballmer, Linux is a cancer hey ?

    Insert this device between two slices of bread, add a topping of your choice and eat it Ballmer.

    Interesting that Microsoft opened up exFat recently then released this, are they going to enter the market more with Android mobiles ?

    1. simonlb Silver badge

      It doesn't matter I still wouldn't buy one!

  24. mark l 2 Silver badge

    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

  25. Unicornpiss Silver badge
    Linux

    Human sacrifices, dogs and cats living together..

    ..Mass hysteria, etc., etc...

  26. sal II

    AMD Ryzen Laptop

    For me the highlight of the announcement is not the gimmicky dual screen devices that might never come to fruition.

    It's the advent of AMD Ryzen powered Laptops, that will light a fire under the lazy Chipzilla butt.

    1. jonathan keith Silver badge

      Re: AMD Ryzen Laptop

      If only they could have held off the announcement of the Surface 3 for a month or so until the 7nm mobile chips launch. As it is, the Surface 3 will be obsolete from the moment it goes on sale.

  27. JDX Gold badge

    Windows 10X

    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?

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: Windows 10X

      Does it need 2 CALS, one for each screen ?

    2. MrKrotos

      Re: Windows 10X

      I am also very confused here, Windows 10 seems more than able to manage multi-screens.

      So what is the difference? Anyone?

  28. src

    A new Microsoft mobile phone. What could possibly go wrong?

  29. Mage Silver badge

    Folding?

    Is it the Courier but with Android rather than windows? Seems more like it than the Samsung idea which may be less durable.

    I did like my Nokia 9110 and 9210i phone bricks.

  30. Bob Vistakin
    Pint

    One question

    Can it be reflashed, so we can get rid of any ms garbage in the inevitable eBay firesale?

  31. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    The X moniker was also slapped on the Surface line...The fondleslab smacks of Microsoft turning to makers of Arm-compatible laptops, and saying "this is what we meant by Windows on Arm."

    What I mean by Windows on Arm also has an X: X-windows.

  32. Not also known as SC
    Angel

    Data Slurping?

    So who will be slurping the user's data? Microsoft with Windows 10 style telemetry, Google, or both?

    1. Kiwi Silver badge
      Big Brother

      Re: Data Slurping?

      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?)

  33. Anonymous South African Coward Silver badge

    *yawn*

    will this break market saturation, or are everybody just as jaded as I am?

    I'd prefer longer battery life, batteries which won't self-combust and the such.

  34. BGatez Bronze badge

    paging The Doctor

    "You will be upgraded!"

  35. anthonyhegedus Silver badge

    It'll be abandoned

    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.

  36. adnim Silver badge
    Meh

    Gimme root

    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

  37. HmYiss

    Wait... Is that??

    ..an Internet Explorer icon?

    **Runs away vomiting, laughing and crying, all at the same time.

    1. sum_of_squares

      Re: Wait... Is that??

      I think it's called "Edge" these days..

  38. This post has been deleted by its author

  39. C_D

    Clamshell flashbacks anyone

  40. The Average Joe

    Same old Microsoft... playing games bait - wait - switch

    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

  41. jelabarre59 Silver badge

    Neo and what???

    Now if that Surface Neo came with Android I might be interested. MSWin10, nope.

    Then there's:

    ...Microsoft's Eran Megiddo...

    Appropriate name for someone who works at Microsoft, I guess. Considering the Greek name for "Megiddo" is "Armagedon".

  42. sum_of_squares
    Happy

    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..

  43. Milton Silver badge

    About time!

    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.

  44. Eduard Coli
    Terminator

    Whats old is now a reimagining

    Woh, Neo, this is not the Matrix but Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure.

    https://www.theregister.co.uk/2010/06/21/toshiba_libretto_w100/

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2019