Another Microsoft phone failure? Seven months after Redmond’s dual screen smartphone device went on sale, and prices are being halved
Microsoft’s expensive Surface Duo dual screen smartphone device has had its price dramatically axed in the United States.
When it went on sale in the United States in Q3 2020, prices started at an eye-watering $1,399 for the 128GB version, rising to $1,499 for the 256GB version.
But now Microsoft is now being sold in the United States for just $699 at BuyDig, which is more than 50 percent off its recommended retail price.
The Surface Duo launched in Europe in February 2021, but on this side of the pond still seems to be saddled with a ‘premium’ purchase price starting at £1,349. In Germany the device is priced at 1,549 euros.
Microsoft for its part believes that the unique selling point for the Surface Duo is the fact that it offers two screens for multitasking.
This means one screen can have Twitter open for example, and the other screen can be running Office 365.
Microsoft last year had also previewed a dual-screen tablet called the Surface Neo, but chose not to bring that to market.
Both of those devices had a hinge in the middle for a mechanical fold, rather than utilising a bendable screen like the Samsung Galaxy Fold does.
But the reality was people were fairly underwhelmed by the Duo specs when they were revealed last year.
The Surface Duo is a two-screen folding phone, that features two 5.6in screens (resolution of 1800×1350 each) joined together with a hinge that folds a full 360 degrees.
Essentially, the phone opens up like a book, but can then fold all the way round.
It supports Surface Pen, and that the device itself is 4.8mm thin.
The device initially ran Android 10, and whilst it can make calls and send SMS messages, Microsoft is not describing it as a phone as such.
And it was only a 4G device, and was not 5G compatible, but it does offer Bluetooth 5.0 and Wi-Fi 5.0.
The Surface Duo ships with a ‘tried and tested’ Snapdragon 855, but again disappointed by only offering a surprisingly tiny 6GB DRAM.
There is a single 11MP camera sensor above the right display that will be used for both front and rear-facing photos and videos.
The displays themselves are AMOLED panels with a pixel density of 401.
Battery wise, the Surface Duo will come with a 3577mAh battery.
Other features include USB-C fast charging and a fingerprint scanner, but there are no wireless charging or NFC capabilities.
As the time, Silicon UK questioned whether Microsoft could overcome a big hurdle by convincing consumers and business users to back its idea with the Surface Duo.
Microsoft did not help matters by saddling the Surface Duo with a hefty upfront purchase cost, coupled with fairly lacklustre specs.
This massive price drop in the US could be a sign that sales are not what it had hoped, and prompts concern about Microsoft’s long-term commitment to this latest hardware foray.