The Surface Duo may not have taken the world by storm, but that hasn’t stopped Microsoft from plotting a follow-up, if of Windows Central Sources believe.
The site claims that the Surface Duo 2, codenamed “Zeta”, will be released in the second half of the year, most likely in September or October. Importantly, it will fix somewhat outdated internal specifications, which made the original Surface Duo feel a bit overpriced when it was launched in the UK late in February.
Sources cited say that the Surface Duo 2 will ship with “the latest flagship SoC for 2021,” which the site understands to be the Qualcomm Snapdragon 888. That doesn’t mean the Surface Duo 2 will have speeds matching the best Android phones. Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra around, but it will also be able to connect to 5G networks.
The report also claimed that the Surface Duo 2 will feature NFC this time around, enabling wireless payments, as well as “an external camera system for better photography”. Screens will be slightly larger, probably thanks to thinner bezels, which will lead to a “more streamlined fit and finish.”
If you weren’t impressed with the style of the original Surface Duo, don’t get too excited. The report states that the changes in size and shape are “mostly not noticeable unless you have a Duo 1 to compare side-by-side.”
We’ve contacted Microsoft to ask about the report, and will update this piece when we hear back from the company.
Lucky the second time?
As Deputy Editor Max Parker wrote at the time of the UK release, the original Surface Duo was ultimately a device that felt dated before it even arrived. Compared to the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2, which launched in the US at the same time, the Surface Duo felt clunky with its two separate clamshell screens and underpowered with dual-screen software that wasn’t quite ready for Showtime. was.
The potential features mentioned above do fix some issues — it’s certainly easy to pay four figures for a phone with top-of-the-range internals — but if it’s actually barely different from what it originally looked like, Microsoft may face the same resistance it met with the original.
That said, there may still be a market for such a dual-screen productivity device and the potential is clearly there. When the device was first unveiled, Microsoft’s Panos Pana actually spoke of the advantage of two screens instead of a foldable one: “We know absolutely scientifically that you’ll be more productive on two screens – can do more than one screen at any time,” he said. “But it must be elegant.”
Elegance is arguably a gap the Surface Duo still needs to bridge, but there are signs the software is getting there: Xbox Game Pass app on Surface Duo now supports gamepad on bottom screenFor example, it almost feels like a Nintendo 3DS. If Microsoft can find similar use cases across the board, the Surface Duo may still have life.