The Surface Duo is a great idea, but who's going to buy a Surface phone?

Microsoft's long-awaited Surface Phone is not a phone at all.

At least that's what Microsoft wants you to think - but in reality, everyone calls this thing a phone - after all, a promo video shown at the Microsoft event even showed someone lifting it up while holding it to your ear and say "hello", in much the same way you would use any other phone.

What Microsoft is trying to do, of course, is that Surface duo (and, to some extent, Surface Neo) should not be compared to other flagship phones out there - Surface main Panos Panay wants you to think about it as in a new category. And of course, at the moment a direct comparison will reflect on the device, unfair when this year does not hit the street.

Appeal Management

The duo's surface taps on demand for increasingly portable devices with larger screens. But if you always want the latest iPhone, you still want the new iPhone. The duet is not about dealing with it. And categorize it as a competitor, say the Samsung Galaxy lay down to miss the moment a bit.

Microsoft is people-oriented, already buried deep in the Windows and Office ecosystem. People who want style continuum flip between a Word document on your phone and a Windows PC. And of course, there are a lot of those people - we know that Office 365 has just under 200 million users worldwide.

Side-by-side multitasking - doing serious work on mobile devices - is something Apple, Samsung, LG and others have been talking about for some time, but it's still widely useful in many cases.

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Microsoft wants to kill the app. To do this, of course, had to compromise. Ten years ago, it was unforeseen that Microsoft would kill criminally underdeveloped Windows Phone in favor of switching to Android. And yet we are here.

So Microsoft needs in best-in-class apps and services experience with Office, Outlook and OneDrive along with other Google play app store. Can the duo (and Neo) really succeed in this? We certainly saw some excellent cross-display multitasking in the demo video, but who knows how well this will translate into practical use.

Surface halo effect

Unlike Windows Phone though, there must be clients of this time. People are like a surface. They're like Office 365. And we know Microsoft's surface business is doing well - at the end of 2018, Microsoft became one of five US PC vendors, although sales in other countries aren't as strong. This is a big surface for customers who could potentially be asked to select a Surface phone.

Another intriguing aspect of the game. Neo and duo are also interesting fixtures for the xCloud project. During the duet video demo, the game was running on a device, and we know there will be an API for xCloud developers that will allow games to stream on devices such as these. Which could make the duo a compelling game controller.

One thing for sure, Microsoft will have its work cut out - by the time the duo is up for sale, we'll not only have the second generation of foldable phones, but we'll have the 5G iPhone and the next generation Samsung Galaxy S11. The market keeps moving - can Microsoft convince us it can hold enough to invest in the duo?

  • First Look: Microsoft Surface Surface Neo and Duo
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The long-awaited

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