Since 2007, new touchscreen smartphone launches have been following the slate form factor. Displays have got bigger, the front bezels have been reduced, and we have seen popup camera solutions, but the basic form factor has been the same. Since 2019, though, three new form factors have emerged. The first is a horizontally folding foldable phone with a true foldable display, such as the Samsung Galaxy Fold and the Huawei Mate X/Mate Xs. The second is the vertically folding phone with a true foldable display, such as the Motorola Razr and the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip. The third, however, is a foldable phone that doesn’t have a foldable display at all. Instead, it features dual screens that have an hinge in between. This form factor was shown off by ZTE in 2017 with the Axon M, but it took until 2019 for it to get some momentum. The LG V50 ThinQ, LG G8X ThinQ, and the new LG V60 ThinQ come with a Dual Screen attachment that can be attached to their displays for a dual-screen Android experience. Taking things up a notch, Microsoft announced the Surface Duo dual-screen phone in October 2019 along with other Surface products.
The Surface Duo is a unique device, and Microsoft would rather not call it a phone, even when it can make phone calls. It was shown off in a leaked video for the first time this month. It’s a foldable phone with a hinge that contains two dual 5.6-inch displays inside. (The 5.6-inch displays have an aspect ratio closer to 4:3 than 16:9.) Microsoft opted not to go with a third outer display, unlike the Galaxy Fold’s 4.6-inch cover display. This means that when the device’s hinge is closed, no display is visible. That would lead to usability issues as quick glancing at notifications or the call screen is not possible. Microsoft has thus added a new feature that lets users partially unfold the Surface Duo to peek at notifications.
— WalkingCat (@h0x0d) February 26, 2020
A new leaked video shows the peek feature. Android notifications will automatically appear on the right-hand side display, and users will be able to preview and dismiss them without fully opening the device. Incoming calls can also be peeked at, and then users can fully open the Surface Duo to accept a call or close it to shut or silence the call. This is Microsoft’s alternative solution to having an outer display, and while it doesn’t seem to be as convenient as having one, it’s up to the market to decide which solutions work better.
The Surface Duo was announced a full year before its official release schedule, even though one report has said the device could be launched earlier than Fall 2020. Microsoft is expected to reveal more about the Surface Duo and the larger, Windows 10X-powered Surface Neo at the company’s Build developers conference in May. This month, it did demonstrate Android on the Surface Duo, but the demonstration was plagued by software glitches. Microsoft expects Android developers to develop dual-screen apps on Android for the Surface Duo, and Windows dual-screen apps for Windows 10X. The Surface Duo is running a customized version of Android that looks like Windows 10X. Finally, the company released its own vision last month for how dual-screen apps should look like on Android.
Via: The Verge
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