Microsoft hasn’t made a phone in several years, ever since it abandoned the mobile version of Windows 10. Now, Microsoft is all-in with Android and plans to release its dual-screen Surface Duo later this year. The launch might be coming sooner than you think, though. Microsoft has submitted the Duo to the FCC, indicating work on the hardware has wrapped up.
Microsoft announced the Duo alongside the Windows-powered Neo in late 2019. While the Neo may not launch when Microsoft originally envisioned, the Duo might show up a bit early. Manufacturers have to submit final hardware to the FCC for testing to ensure it meets key regulatory metrics. So, while the FCC won’t tell us what the phone is like to use, it can verify cellular bands, model numbers, and more. In the case of the Duo, it has model number 1930 and the usual assortment of LTE frequencies. There’s no 5G, though.
Windows Central believes that the Duo could launch somewhat earlier than the vague “holiday 2020” timeframe Microsoft has announced. The FCC docs also support that assessment. It’s common for device makers to request confidentiality when they submit devices for testing. That means the FCC won’t make images or device manuals available for a period of time. For the Duo, the confidentiality agreement only runs through October 29. Sources claim the Duo might even launch before October.
The Duo will launch at a difficult time for smartphone makers. The COVID-19 pandemic and associated economic disruption has caused consumers to hold off buying new phones — some reports claim smartphone sales have dropped as much as 25 percent this year. And yet, display panels are among the most expensive components in modern smartphones, and the Duo will have two of them. Microsoft also risks looking behind the times as some manufacturers have started launching devices with foldable displays.
Microsoft hasn’t announced pricing or specs for the Duo, but leaks have pointed to a Snapdragon 855, 6GB of RAM, and up to 256 GB of storage. The OLED displays will be 5.6-inches each with a 4:3 aspect ratio. The Duo will be going up against new, established phones like the Galaxy Note and iPhone.
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