Microsoft’s Surface range continues to expand. The recently-released Surface Duo was the company’s first smartphone (even if it doesn’t explicitly say so!) since the last Windows Phone in 2016.
That device made the much-anticipated shift to Android, but it also introduced a brand new dual-screen form factor. It’s an exciting device for many reasons, but struggles for mainstream appeal.
It begs the question, then: will Microsoft return to making regular smartphones? On first glance, it’s the only major form factor to be missing from its Surface range. Designer Jonas Daehnert was clearly curious, producing some concept renders on what a Surface ‘Solo’ might look like:
Similar design, conventional form factor. Surface Solo. pic.twitter.com/mmc4qERjV4
— Jonas Daehnert (@PhoneDesigner)
September 10, 2020
Of course, there’s no confirmation that Microsoft will be releasing a “Surface Solo”, or indeed if it has any plans to release a single-screen phone. But it’s fun to speculate, right?
If this design were to ever make its way to market, it would surely be popular with Surface fans. With an almost bezel-less screen, minimalist aesthetic and premium design, it would compete with the very best smartphones you can buy.
While the Surface Duo is our only evidence of Microsoft’s current thinking on phones, it would be foolish to think that the company would adopt a remotely similar design on a regular smartphone.
For example, the thick bezels are more acceptable on the Duo due to the extremely impressive hardware and folding mechanism. This would simply not be tolerated in the fiercely competitive phone market, regardless of its pricing. It would also be unlikely to go without the likes of NFC, expandable storage and multiple cameras, all of which are missing on the Duo.
However, we can draw some inspiration from the software. The Duo is the first time, Microsoft has embraced Android, but it has a very different look and feel to what you’ll find on Pixel phones.
The beauty of Google’s operating system is that it’s highly customisable, and the Duo is evidence that that can be used to good effect. It does mean that any upcoming Surface phones will likely come with lots of pre-installed apps, hopefully, Microsoft will continue to see a future in Office apps on phones.
In the meantime, we expect a successor to the Surface Duo to arrive in the next few years. Here’s everything you need to know about what we assume will be called the Surface Duo 2.