In a surprising turn of events, Microsoft unveiled its long-rumored "Surface phone" which turned out to be... an Android device. Yep, for all the talks that Microsoft will be back in the phone business, it is not resurrecting the mobile Windows platform, but rather going with the world's most ubiquitous mobile operating system, courtesy of archrival Google.
The Surface Duo moulds the hybrid design philosophy that made the Surface line so popular into a dual-screen device with a 360-degree hinge in the middle. It is an intriguing answer to the complicated flexible screen phone designs coming from Samsung, Huawei or Motorola, but, above all, it is Microsoft's first Android-powered phone. Why?
Well, according to Panos Panay, the chief product officer for the Microsoft Devices group, because the 'best OS for this product is Android," basically throwing in the towel on shoehorning any type of Windows into a mobile gear with a SIM card. How come?
Well, the upcoming Surface Duo phone will inevitably come with a full suite of Office apps, and Microsoft also has a comprehensive partnership with Samsung to have Word, Excel and other Microsoft apps preinstalled on its phones. If you can't beat them, conquer them from within, seems to be the new Microsoft strategy, and the fact that it recently surpassed Google in market capitalization shows that its move away from mobile and the continuing bet on Office and the cloud, were a smart managerial choice.
Still, a dual-screen Surface Duo with Android on board? We'd have to examine such a strange animal up close and personal, as, by the time it ships, Android's dual- and flexible display support will be much more comprehensive than it is now.