Finally, after years of waiting, Microsoft released its dual-screen tablet and phone-- Surface Neo and Surface Duo. That's nice! And honestly, I am very excited to see the launch of these two devices. But right after the launch, criticism started going on. I mean, just like other devices, right? As a "so-called" ex-Microsoft fan, I also have some random thoughts about these two amazing devices.
Do we really need two screens?
The answer is: I don't know! Maybe? Or maybe not. But I can say that dual-screen devices do have the potential, especially in terms of productivity. This potential, however, can only be enabled through great apps and ecosystem that are tailored for the device. So it really depends on the developers at Microsoft as well as third-party developers.
Ummmm. The thick border kinda suck, and I think it's really not too hard to make devices with smaller border. Why Microsoft didn't? I don't know.
But what about the hinge in the middle? Well, it's thick, and it's ugly. But given that the screen is made of glass, there isn't many good ways to avoid that, I guess.
What I specifically like about the design of Neo is the keyboard and the "TouchBar-like" thingy. I really like how the keyboard can slide over and turn the bottom screen into a trackpad, and how the top part of the bottom screen just kinda blend with the keyboard. Well, at least way better than a TouchBar.
Operating System and Microsoft's Windows Phone PTSD
Yes! I called it Windows Phone PTSD. It seems like Microsoft is just too freaked out by the mobile platform after the complete, legendary failure of Windows Phone. They just don't have enough confidence to start a new phone operating system. Given that Microsoft already made a new Windows for Neo, it should not be too hard to make another one for Duo, right? I did hear engineers at Microsoft talking about how badly the system runs on Duo. I don't buy it. If Microsoft is realy willing to put their effort into creating a better, new mobile operating system, they could have done better than that. Also, I don't know how difficult it can be to implement something similar to Project Astoria. I mean, not necessarity exactly the same thing as Astoria since Astoria is just a total failure. But I would say that it is possible to run Android apps on Windows, if they want to.
But the thing is: is Android really that bad? Maybe not as bad as many people thought. By "many people", I mean those Microsoft fans who started throwing shade on Surface Duo right after noticing the device runs Android. Those people are just too obsessed with the legend of Windows Phone. You have to admit it: Windows Phone is dead and Microsoft are not ready to ship a new phone operating system yet. And in general, Android might be the best option for Microsoft at this point. It has decent existing user base, and it has more third-party apps availabe. And most importantly, developer are more willing to write apps for Android rather than some brand-new Windows 10X Mobile or whatever. But, again, just as I mentioned earlier, these new devices need specially designed apps, apps that are tailored for dual-screen devices. I saw Netflix and Spotify running on both devices, smoothly, with some new features desgined for dual-screen devices. It's good, but we still cannot tell how likely third-party developers will pay attention to those new devices with new form factors.
Did Microsoft fall behind its competitors
It kinda did, but not. Yeah, I know that sentence is too vague. First, we cannot say that Microsoft and Samsung are competitors. There is literally partnership going on between the two companies. Plus that Samsung definitely won't rely on the Samsung Fold, so at this point, competitors may not even care about Microsoft launching this new Surface Duo. Secondly, Samsung Fold is just...buggy. Dual-screen technology is not mature enough and I think it's actually pretty smart for Microsoft to wait for a while instead of shipping incompleted devices with cracks on the screen.