The Jolly Teapot

by Nicolas Magand

21 October 2021

The future of Microsoft in smartphones continues to unfold, and it still sucks

I just watched Marques MKBHD Brownlee’s hands-on video of the Surface Duo 2, a new device released a year after the first edition. Brownlee summarises his impressions and explains very well that Microsoft improved many individual aspects of the Duo 1, but ended up making their initial concept worse as a whole.

One doesn’t need a hands-on device to see how this update couldn’t work. The big camera bump for instance, on a device that is supposed to fold two ways and be thin and flat? Terrible idea.

The shiny dark glass on a device that can’t really be used with a case and begs for fingerprints? Terrible idea.

Having pixels simply being not displayed at all when they are supposed to be in the middle of the screen aka the hinge”? Terrible idea.

This is what I wrote last year about the first-gen Surface Duo:

Maybe Microsoft is hoping that this device will improve its image as an innovating company? Maybe the whole point of this device is to bring some excitement among the bored Microsoft teams?

One thing is certain though: imagine for one second if Samsung, Google, or Apple unveiled this product […] Imagine the torrents of crap they would face from the public, from the investors, and from the media. Sure, the hinge looks cool, and this is thin, and sort of new. But this doesn’t translate into a desirable consumer product in my opinion.

Today, I’m confident that what is basically a prototype will also be a dud (it is, believe it or not, even more expensive than the previous generation: $1499).

The Duo 2 camera bump even manages to ruin the only cool features of the Duo 1: it was thin, it could be folded perfectly flat with the screens whether inside or outside, and it looked good, in a second phone for special purposes” kind of way. Now it seems to be worse in almost every way that mattered for this concept of a foldable tablet.

I’ve been following and writing about Microsoft for a long time on this blog, but I think this is close to being their worst product since Windows RT.

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