Microsoft’s first dual-screen Android smartphone has largely been a flop. Announced months ahead of its summer 2020 launch, the device featured 2019 hardware in an otherwise pleasing design. But add to that the subpar software experience, the lack of a competitive camera, and the $1,399 price tag, and you can understand why reviewers weren’t happy with Microsoft’s efforts.
Microsoft has since cut the first-gen Surface Duo’s price significantly and even gave it an Xbox game streaming feature. The device’s second screen turns the handset into a rather formidable portable gaming device.
Microsoft isn’t done making smartphones and plans to launch a second-generation Surface Duo this year that will reportedly fix the worst things about the first model. The Surface Duo 2, a name that Microsoft hopefully avoids, will launch in the second half of the year if this leak is accurate.
Microsoft is currently working on the next Surface Duo phone, reports Windows Central. The device will be a flagship handset sporting the latest available hardware. This suggests the phone might rock the same Snapdragon 888 processor that powers the Galaxy S21, OnePlus 9, and other 2021 Android flagships.
The report says the Surface Duo 2 will have the same form factor as the first-gen handset. Minor design tweaks are expected, but nothing too significant. The overall shape and size of the Surface Duo aren’t likely to change significantly, and the modifications will go unnoticed unless you have a Duo 1 to compare the two devices side by side. The new Duo should have slightly bigger displays with rounded corners and slightly thinner bezels.
The handset would still feature two separate displays, even though more Android vendors are preparing to launch foldable handsets this year.
Aside from the latest flagship chip upgrade, the Surface Duo 2 is expected to feature an NFC chip that will enable wireless payments and an external camera system that will offer better photography performance. It’s unclear how many lenses Microsoft will employ, but the system will have a camera bump.
Microsoft reportedly aims for a September or October Surface Duo 2 release date. If that’s accurate, the device will compete directly against the iPhone 13 series, which should launch in mid-September. Moreover, Google’s first foldable Pixel phone is rumored to launch around the same time. Samsung should unveil the Galaxy Z Fold 3 and Flip 3 foldable handsets in August, and launch them in stores by the time the Surface Duo 2 arrives.
As for the Surface Duo 2’s price, it’s unclear what it’ll cost. The original handset was already too expensive at $1,399 when it launched last summer, considering that it featured 2019 hardware. The Surface Duo 2 will deliver significant upgrades if this report is accurate, so the final price might reflect that.