Microsoft Canceled a Cheaper Surface Duo, but It Showed Up on eBay Anyway
Microsoft is rumored to be working on a new premium Surface Duo smartphone, though the timeline is uncertain. We can say with reasonable certainty that it won’t be launching a cheaper version as many had hoped. The budget Duo existed internally at Microsoft, as evidenced by a dev sample that recently appeared on eBay. However, the mid-range Duo has reportedly been canceled.
The Surface Duo line is Microsoft’s take on a modern Android phone. While some device makers are focusing on foldable screens, Microsoft is all about dual screens. Like its more expensive sibling, the leaked mid-range Duo has a “book” form factor with both of its screens inside. Unlike the current Duo phones, this one had a curvy plastic chassis instead of glass.
Windows Central reports that the device was known internally as “Cronos,” and it was intended to ship later this year as a lower-cost version of the Duo 2. Unfortunately, the eBay listing has been deleted, but sources say the phone was going to include a mid-range Qualcomm chip, a dual camera, and flat displays. The premium Duo 2 has a pair of OLEDs that curve at the edges to form a “Glance Bar” along the hinge side. The idea is you can use that to check notifications and the time, but it was not a very successful addition to the product line.
The changes to Cronos were intended to make it less expensive, which is a good idea. The Duo 2 launched at a whopping $1,500, which is within spitting distance of the much more capable Samsung foldable phones. This was undeniably one of the primary stumbling blocks for the Duo 2, and Microsoft’s buggy version of Android with its dual-screen optimizations didn’t help. Microsoft has lowered the price of the Duo 2 over the past several months, bringing it down to $1,000, and worked to refine the software.
For now, this is the only leak from Microsoft’s Android team. However, the company is reportedly planning to release a Surface Duo 3 later this year. In fact, the company decided to cancel Cronus in order to focus completely on the new premium smartphone. Even though it’s not launching a budget Duo this year, the leak shows that Microsoft is interested in expanding the product line, even with lackluster sales thus far. Even though it hasn’t had much luck in mobile, Microsoft cannot be accused of moving on too quickly. It was still working to make Windows Phone a viable platform until 2017. The Duo should get at least a few more chances to attract an audience.