Not a Surface Duo: A folding smartphone now for £500?

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With the Surface Duo still an unimaginable year away, I thought my review of the latest and most similar current offering might be of interest. LG's V50 Dual Screen also offers two glass panels with a hinge, set inside a slightly clunky clip-on accessory - and with software that does almost nothing to maximise the presence of a second display. Yes, you can work in Word or Excel in landscape, with one display as a QWERTY keyboard, but it's not exactly a holistic folding/expanding experience...

LG V50 Dual Screen

Surprisingly, the configuration above is quite stable, in that the weight of the phone is in the bottom/keyboard section, with the top document display being in the much lighter accessory section. But it's all a bit of a pain to set up, in terms of getting Word on the left screen, tilting the phone to get it in landscape mode, then manually popping out the split keyboard.

Here's my video review, anyway:

If anything, the LG V50 Dual Screen just goes to prove why Microsoft needs that extra year to get the software right - Android can cope with a single huge genuinely folding display right now (Galaxy Fold, see the link below), albeit with many hardware compromises. But even Android 10 hasn't got the smarts - yet - to handle intelligent optimisations across twin displays within the same application. Microsoft is working with Google to ensure that Android 11 has this covered and that's - in my opinion - why the Duo is even now so far away. 

I estimate that developers will start seeing prototype Surface Duos next summer, to be used with the official beta versions of Android 11. The latter will get a formal release in September 2020 and then the Duo will be made available for retail in November 2020. Price unknown, but I'd bet on something around £1000 ex-VAT in the UK.

In the meantime, any comments on the LG dual display accessory system? Too chunky, too clunky?

PS. See also my thoughts on the actual folding smartphone, the £2000 Samsung Galaxy Fold here.

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