Monday, May 20, 2024

Microsoft’s Dual Screen android phone can take on Apple and Samsung.

More than two decades ago, Microsoft started designing software for mobile devices. Two years ago, it gave up on phones, conceding that Google and Apple had won the OS battle. On Wednesday, Microsoft reversed course, unveiling a dual-screen smartphone. But rather than push a homegrown operating system in phones, Microsoft has taken up rival Google’s Android software, which powers over 2.5 billion devices around the world.

During an event Wednesday in New York, Microsoft showed off its new Surface Duo, as well as a dual-screen computer called the Surface Neo. The company didn’t give many details about the device but touted the ability to do things like view your inbox on one half of the device while responding to a specific email on the other.

The Surface Duo marks Microsoft’s foray back into the world of smartphones after roughly 20 years trying and failing to position Windows as the phone OS of choice. Opting to make an Android phone now is Microsoft’s admission that it’s unlikely to make an operating system that powers the bulk of the world’s smartphones but it still needs to be a part of the mobile world.

Microsoft’s move comes at a time when it’s getting harder for companies to sell pricey smartphones. There are really only three major players in smartphone hardware today — SamsungHuawei and Apple — and even those companies have struggled to spur interest in their highest-end devices. People are increasingly buying less-expensive models and holding onto them for years. 

To address that trend, Apple priced its new mainstream phone, the iPhone 11, at $700, which is $50 less than the initial selling price of its predecessor, 2018’s iPhone XR. And Samsung has been expanding its cheaper A Series offerings around the globe. Microsoft didn’t say what its phone will cost when it becomes available in a year, but will have a very good value to the price offered.”

It remains to be seen whether productivity, two screens and the Surface brand are enough to woo phone buyers away from Samsung and other handset makers.

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