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Surface Duo: No, Microsoft does not make another Windows Phone



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In an unexpected twist, the Surface Duo will run on Android.


Sarah Tew / CNET

Microsoft did something unexpected when launched the Surface Duo an Android phone with two screens folded around a hinge in the middle. The company announced that after two years out of the phone game it is ready to try again – just not with its own software running the show.

Although the Surface Duo will not arrive for a full year – in 2020 – Microsoft's new hardware is a renewed interest in a lucrative category that Microsoft has almost sworn off. If you join the conversation on phones with a screen twice the size of the foldable Galaxy Fold Microsoft will be able to become relevant to a topic of increasing interest. The Surface Duo could produce a future phone , which runs under its new Windows 10X operating system just like the other device that Microsoft has announced on Wednesday, the dual-screen Surface Neo . The Neo is basically a larger Surface Duo that does not make calls. The basis for Windows software is therefore available. (Note that the Neo has a different processor and works with a magnetic keyboard.)






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But Microsoft has assured CNET that it stays with Android and does not intend to build a Windows-based phone. The company's chief product officer, Panos Panay, was so excited about this fact that he twice told Wired. From a practical point of view, it might be easier to leave the practicalities to Google, a company that is well ahead of the fold with the support of a variety of apps, and may provide a better software package for developers.

A more pressing reason to opt for Android is that Microsoft has learned the hard way to buy Android phones and not Windows phones. Android dominates most of the global marketplace, and Microsoft has already become embarrassed by Android (and Apple's iOS ) when low phone sales forced it to shut down its Windows Phone business .

One Microsoft's Windows Mobile software was one of the leading mobile platforms in the 2000s. The company's mobile demise began with the emergence of the iPhone's much more intuitive iOS and cemented several Microsoft software releases that could not compete with Apple's and Google's rapidly evolving Android operating system.

Despite radical redesign of the operating system and even the purchase of the Nokia phone business Windows never reached the features or apps that Android and iPhone had for mobile phones. Windows phones are no longer supported.

Should we calculate a Surface phone running Windows forever? After what Microsoft says, yes. The fact that we even see a new Microsoft device with a cellular voice connection is a sign that the company's mobile ambitions are not as dead as we once thought.

While the prospect of a future Windows Phone is highly unlikely, this upcoming Microsoft Android phone indicates that anything could happen.






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Originally published earlier today.


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