Eight issues Microsoft is not saying about its Floor Duo cellphone


The Floor Duo is not precisely an open guide.


The fantastic thing about asserting a tool that will not launch for a 12 months is that you do not have to toss out the specs checklist or internal workings for the wolves to tear aside. You’ll be able to construct pleasure first. That is what Microsoft did last week with the Surface Duo, a dual-screen device that additionally occurs to be the company’s first phone in years — regardless that Microsoft says the Duo isn’t actually a phone.

We all know the gist of the product — an Android cellphone (which Microsoft denies is actually a phone) that primarily doubles your display area to take on foldable phone design. Though we now have to attend till “vacation 2020” to satisfy the Duo, Microsoft has actually created a way of hype by leaping again into the sport at a time when phones that double the accessible display area are seen as the next big thing in phone design.

A fast flash of the Floor Duo taken from an govt’s pocket, a 2-minute video and some minutes with a non-functioning prototype have been our solely glimpses on the gadget. Microsoft’s well-orchestrated teaser offers us solely fragments of element, leaving us to marvel if the Duo will come collectively as a tool that might really tackle foldable phones just like the Galaxy Fold and upcoming foldable Motorola Razr. (Scroll to the tip for all of the specs we all know.)


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Samsung Galaxy Fold, Microsoft Floor Duo and the longer term…


How a lot will the Floor Duo price?

Foldable telephones aren’t anticipated to be low cost. Samsung sells its Galaxy Fold for $1,980, and the (delayed) Huawei Mate X will go for the equal of $2,600. 

Whereas the Floor Duo will not be a foldable cellphone, it achieves about the identical aim by doubling up on the given display area it’s a must to work with for watching movies, studying, typing and taking part in video games.

This further display area is the actual profit, and the Galaxy Fold proves what a comfort it’s. It is a comfort you are additionally anticipated to pay for. 

The logic goes {that a} dual-screen gadget just like the Floor Duo (which connects two 5.6-inch screens with a hinge) is a real cellphone/pill hybrid that may maximize your productiveness and leisure — so put together to pony up.

I count on the Duo to promote for not less than $1,500, or within the ballpark of foldable telephones with comparable display space (the Duo offers you 8.Three inches versus the Galaxy Fold’s 7.3-inch span).

Will the Floor Duo could have 5G?

Regardless of Microsoft’s protestations, the Floor Duo is a cellphone. It makes cellphone calls. What we do not know is that if the Duo we see in 2020 will high out at 4G information speeds or if it is going to be 5G-capable.

The Floor Duo that Microsoft teased runs on Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 855 chipset, which is able to work with 5G if the gadget additionally has the best modem to connect with the sooner next-gen community. However a 12 months’s a very long time and Microsoft may additionally swap out Qualcomm’s subsequent chip, which is predicted to help 5G proper off the bat. Doing so may additionally bump up the value.

Since each premium cellphone is predicted to run 5G by this time subsequent 12 months, I am placing my cash on a 5G Floor Duo. Microsoft would wrestle to compete with extra mature foldable gadgets utilizing 4G alone.


Two cellphone screens — higher than one?

Sarah Tew/CNET

The place will it promote?

Microsoft has a historical past of sturdy service relationships from its Home windows cellphone days, however there is not any saying if these dried up alongside Windows phones. It is a honest wager that a part of the tech big’s aim in spreading the Floor Duo’s phrase early was to get carriers and massive field retailers to perk up.

The overwhelming majority of US consumers get their telephones from carriers, which suggests the Floor Duo shall be doomed if it sells via Microsoft shops alone. And whereas there are dozens of Microsoft Stores across the US, there are solely ten worldwide areas.

How effectively full-screen mode will work for all apps

Microsoft’s demo video of the Floor Duo reveals a slim finger merely dragging apps throughout each screens, and watching them snap right into a split-screen view to conveniently do two various things on the identical app at a time. 

That may actually be the case for some native apps, particularly people who have already got pill help, nevertheless it is not clear how an app will behave if it is not optimized for the dual-screen look.

We additionally did not get to see how the middle seam will look once you’re taking part in a video or sport with the Duo completely open. Microsoft clearly expects you to show the gadget to panorama mode and use just one display to observe the motion. A scene depicting gameplay reveals off gaming on one lobe and on-screen controls on the opposite.

Microsoft known as out to builders to hitch the trigger — it is a honest wager we’ll see main builders spruce up their apps to work with foldable and dual-screen telephones.


The Galaxy Fold is way from gentle.

Angela Lang/CNET

If it is going to be snug to carry for lengthy durations of time

I held the Galaxy Fold rather a lot — to observe hours of films on an airplane, to take hours of notes and to learn article after article in mattress. Guess what? At 9.7 ounces, it bought fairly heavy fairly quick. That is why I am curious how Microsoft’s design will stack up. 

Each telephones have loads of glass, however within the Floor Duo’s case, most of that’s defending the internal screens, whereas the Galaxy Fold has a plastic Infinity Flex show on the within and Gorilla Glass on the skin (together with a 4.6-inch outer display).

Will a heavy cellphone deter consumers? In all probability not, however drop a half-pound weight into your pocket or bag and you will discover straight away.


Look to the best of the speaker to search out the Floor Duo’s sole digital camera.


Will the Floor Duo have just one digital camera?

Microsoft confirmed us a Floor Duo with a single digital camera — it lives on the best display as you open it up. Examine that to the Galaxy Fold’s six cameras (three on the again, two within the center, one within the entrance) and the Duo might begin to appear missing. We do not know something in any respect in regards to the digital camera tech.

However Microsoft appears to imagine that one digital camera ought to be sufficient to take any picture you need — flip it a method for a selfie and the opposite for a portrait. The issue is that this: Picture high quality is without doubt one of the high options that consumers care about in a cellphone, and any top-tier gadget is virtually anticipated to have not less than two cameras on the again. 

Even Google’s Pixel ($218 at Amazon) cellphone, which has bucked the development with one very glorious rear digital camera, is getting a pair of lenses in the Pixel 4 this month.


The Galaxy Fold has 5 extra cameras than the Floor Duo we noticed, however will it matter?

Angela Lang/CNET

If Microsoft cannot display terrific image high quality, the Floor Duo may very well be in hassle. We’ll see what number of cameras the completed product will get.

Software program: Android 10 or Android 11?

The Floor Duo runs Android 9 proper now, however Android 10 is already on some telephones and by this time subsequent 12 months, Android 11 shall be, too. That does not make Android 11 a shoe-in at launch, since gadgets require hefty lead occasions to organize. 

Microsoft is not identified for being nimble, and it’ll wish to be cautious about its first-ever Android cellphone. It is probably we’ll get Android 10 out of the field, with a later replace to Android 11.


Can the Floor Duo do that? We’ll discover out.

Angela Lang/CNET

If Microsoft solves the water-resistance downside

The shortage of water-resistance solely makes or breaks a cellphone the moment it hits a wall of water. To this point, foldable telephones do not repel water and dirt the identical manner as the oblong handsets we have come to know and love. 

That is an issue for the Galaxy Fold, whose plastic display stretches throughout the hinge and is already inclined to break. However the Floor Duo’s glass shows cease on the hinge, which may assist outpace the Galaxy Fold’s sturdiness in additional methods than one. 

All the things we all know in regards to the Floor Duo

  • A 360-degree hinge means you may fold one display flat towards the opposite to carry it like a word pad.
  • You get a complete of 8.Three inches of display actual property.
  • There is not any outer display — it’s a must to absolutely open the gadget to make use of it.
  • Cellphone calls are available on the Duo’s proper display.
  • It helps the Floor Pen, which you will want to purchase individually.
  • The Floor Duo has thick display bezels, however that may assist preserve you from by chance tapping whilst you maintain it.
  • You’ll be able to drag and drop gadgets, like a cellphone quantity, from one display to the opposite.
  • It seems to have a digital cursor (though that might simply be a visible help within the video).

Floor Duo specs

  • Two 5.6-inch shows (decision and show expertise unknown)
  • 8.Three inches of whole display actual property
  • Snapdragon 855
  • 4.8mm skinny
  • Fingerprint reader
  • USB-C charger

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