The Surface Duo launch has been something of a long, drawn out affair, and even now the first USA reviewers are bound not to show the device turned on, since evaluation of the software is both waiting for updates and also the expiry of an embargo (possibly the date of public availability in the shops). But we are starting to see real units handled and shop presence, so I've embedded a few likely candidates below along with some thoughts on the Duo's future...
Teased in Panos Panay's hands late last year, the Surface Duo (Surface Phone, as we knew it) has finally been officially launched by Microsoft. See the quotes and details below. To no one's surprise it has emerged as a device for business and the enterprise rather than a consumer offering, with an emphasis on productivity and remote management by IT departments. The 'perfect fit for the modern workplace'. Which will disappoint a few here - ditto the pricing, which 'starts' significantly north of £1000/$1000. The Surface Duo ships on September 10th (2020).
The original Microsoft vision was to bring as much of Windows to phones as possible, even extending phones to Continuum desktops to run 'as' PCs. Sadly, they gave up on Windows 10 Mobile and had to shift to plan B. Or C, depending on how you're counting(!) Regardless, Microsoft has been pressing forward with their 'Your Phone Companion' (Link to Windows) software for a couple of years now, buoyed up by a developing partnership with Android phone manufacturer Samsung. With the launch of the latter's Note 20 range yesterday, extra integration features were announced - see below for some interesting animations, demonstrating how it works.
The Surface Duo (Surface Phone) has been a long time coming. A very long time, and will arrive with Android at its core and not Windows 10, after an OS change in 2018. But it's still of interest because of its innovative hinged form factor. True, its specs are going to arrive a little dated, but at least there's not much longer to wait. News reports and titbits linked below indicate that the Surface Duo should become available in the next month.
PAWA has been a staple here for fans of PWAs, i.e. Progressive Web Aapplications, as being implemented by many companies around the world for their mobile web sites. Edge already runs most of these PWAs under Windows 10 Mobile, with PAWA facilitating their launch without the typical Edge URL bar and other browser 'furniture'. But now a wider range of PWAs should be accessible, thanks to support for telling the relevant sites that you're using an Android or iOS device (even if you're not!) and, with this new major update, the facility to store which user agent you want used on which PWA. Pretty cool.
Long time AAS readers will remember the Nokia N93, a unique multi-form factor smartphone with a barrel camera that included a genuine continuous 1-3x zoom lens system. It worked superbly, at least in good light, with the caveat that the reduced aperture when zoomed meant that evening and night shots suffered. Partly because of this, Nokia (and then the world) moved to computational photography and smart cropping into large, high megapixel sensors in order to try and zoom without the same degree of aperture loss, cuminating in 2012's Nokia 808 and 2013's Lumia 1020. But now comes news that a continuous zoom lens system may be making a come back, 14 years on from the N93...
The story so far: HERE Maps (née Nokia Maps, then Navteq) provided all the map data for the mapping and car navigation in Windows Phone for years*. Windows 10 brought a first party mapping client from Microsoft, but using all the HERE map data under the hood, on Desktop and Mobile. But over the last few years Microsoft has been getting cosier with TomTom, a rival map (and traffic data) supplier, and has now announced that future map updates will come from TomTom. Details below, plus I muse on how this affects Windows 10 Mobile and 'Windows 10 Maps' on our phones.
OK, nothing to do with phones by now, but Windows fans might like to know that '20H1' (a.k.a. 'v2004') of Windows 10 for the Desktop is now officially starting its months-long rollout. And, as ever, there are ways to get it now rather than having to wait. Here's what's new in 20H1 and here's how to jump the rollout queue to download it today.
The trouble with launching a flagship smartphone a full year before availability (in this case, for reasons of encouraging developers to write for a new form factor) is that the specs can end up being a bit... underwhelming. And while I'm certainly not a benchmark obsessive, there are some spec points which - if true - will be very disappointing. Specifically, in term of imaging, battery, and Google Pay compatibility.
A few days late with this (sorry, normal service is now resumed), and yes, we know it's not a phone, but Microsoft announced the Surface Go 2 this week, online of course, with no physical meet in these COVID-19 times. We covered the original GO extensively over the last 24 months, but the Go 2 has smaller bezels, faster internals, better microphones, and a redesigned hinge. See the announcement text, design and sizzle videos below. The Go is a fabulous companion to a Windows 10 Mobile or (now) Android smartphone (thanks to 'Your Phone').