Microsoft Promises Big Improvements for the Surface Duo in 2021

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Microsoft has made phones in the past, but they all ran the now-defunct Windows Mobile or Windows Phone OS. The Surface Duo, which launched last summer, is Microsoft’s first Android phone. The $1,400 dual-screen device hasn’t been in the news much since its release, but now Microsoft is promising a big year ahead for the Duo. More apps are rolling out Duo integration, and you’ll be able to get the phone in more countries. 

The Duo is one of just a handful of phones with two screens — in this case, a pair of 5.6-inch OLED panels with a hinge in the middle. It’s reminiscent of Microsoft’s fabled Courier prototype that made waves a decade ago. Despite the high price, the Duo launched with an older version of Android, no 5G, and few apps able to take advantage of its distinctive form factor. It was also limited to the US. Now, Microsoft seems to be urging people to keep paying attention to the Duo as it prepares for a busy 2021. 

Microsoft confirms the Duo will finally launch internationally in 2021. You’ll be able to pick the phone up in Canada, United Kingdom, France, and Germany. The company hasn’t offered any specific launch dates nor prices. However, considering the $1,400 price tag has held in the US, it will probably cost something similar in the local currency. You can sign up on Microsoft’s website to be notified when the phone launches in each of those countries. 

When international users get their hands on the Duo, Microsoft says there will be more app integrations. It points to the recent release of an upgraded TikTok app as evidence that progress is being made. The new app shows video on one screen and the TikTok home screen on the other. Microsoft also says it’ll update its Teams client on Android with Duo features in 2021. The screenshot provided (above) shows participant video feeds on one screen with a presentation on the other. 

Microsoft says that’s just a hint of what’s coming to the Surface in the next year, but that might not be enough. The Duo’s price is up there with the top-of-the-line Samsung flagships, and the Galaxy S21 will launch in early 2021. The company’s next foldables, which compete directly with the Duo, will probably arrive a few months later. 

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