What I want from the Surface Duo 2

piemanny

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With the Surface Duo specs practically already confirmed being probably released this summer (hopefully), I wanted to know what you guys would want in the sequel. Personally, I think I’m going to skip the original Surface Duo as I trust Zac Bowden’s thoughts that the phone will be released with a Snapdragon 855, no 5G, only a front facing camera and those thick bezels, and although the final two items isn’t a deal breaker for me, a mid-2020 $1000+ flagship without a snapdragon 855 and no 5G is. I’m hoping there will be a sequel to the Surface Duo and this is what I would want Microsoft to do. Apart from the obvious; thinner bezels, top-end CPU for the time it is released, and a strong main sensor camera, I wanted to share my thesis on how I think Microsoft should position this device.

Now as we all know, if anyone is looking to get a smartphone, the typical flagship mainstay at the moment in 2020 is: Snapdragon 865, 5G, high refresh rate - cut hole display, thin bezels, 3 main cameras, wireless charging, IPX waterproof rating, fast charging etc - with every manufacturer emphasising how good their camera is. However, in recent years, another high-end phone trend has been occurring which is the Gamer phone. And the gamer phone is essentially a flagship with an eccentric gaming design, but they sacrifice the camera quality, the screen-to-body ratio for higher refresh rate displays and even greater speed performance through utilising more RAM and cooling innovations. And in this way, they can keep the pricing competitive, even more so than typical flagships.

In my opinion this is a great thing. There are consumers who are looking for the highest end spec phones but not because they want to take great photos, and gaming is just another example. Personally, I want high-specs because I want to be productive, I want to do more with my device than just your typical smartphone, that includes multi-tasking, doing PC-like tasks on mobile such as video rendering, or photo editing, using different accessories, and the Surface fits in there perfectly. I want Microsoft to own that paradigm.

To do this, I want Microsoft to emphasise speed, which means the fastest CPU and the most RAM possible and to do this over having 3 main cameras. I want Continuum back; Google is trying to build it natively into Android, Samsung, LG and Huawei all have implementations and this is an innovation that Microsoft started. If Surface Duo 2 was released with these over the top specs and a lapdock accessory, this would justify it, because as everyone knows, the one programme that’s going to eat up your ram is a web browser with multiple tabs opened. Apart from that, I would love there to be a plus size, which would bring the Surface Duo inline with every other flagship. The Surface Duo display is 5.6 inches and probably, if bezel less will get over 6 inches diagonally. But I want a device closer to 7 inches. I think that if you’re going to have a device like this, there will be people like me who think bigger is better.

Can you imagine, using a Surface Duo 2 connected to a lapdock. On your phone, maybe you have Twitter opened on one screen, Microsoft Outlook on another, and on your lapdock, you have Microsoft Edge opened with 20 tabs opened and Microsoft Word opened as you’re trying to complete an assignment, and the Surface Duo is handling it without any hiccups. Phones today could 100% handle this scenario easy, like the Samsung Galaxy S20 ultra, but no one is pushing this narrative, not like the HP Elite X3. Please Microsoft, push this idea.

What do you guys think?

TL:DR
Surface Duo 2 wants:
Fastest Snapdragon chip for the time + 16GB Ram
Lapdock + Continuum
Microsoft to own the productive narrative like HP Elite X3 tried to do
 

Indistinguishable

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It seems like Microsoft has pretty decisively moved away from the previous approach to Continuum, and moved towards the Your Phone model of continuum. This means Windows 10, not just Android, will be required for having a seamless experience been phone and PC.
 

DavidBS1989

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I just want the device running Windows and not Android, because I pay for a Microsoft device, not a Google one.

And think about this: you talk of skiping this first device… We're not getting a second if we don't buy the first.
 

Lucas234

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And think about this: you talk of skiping this first device… We're not getting a second if we don't buy the first.

I don't think Microsoft expects many early adopters for this. It's mostly going to be die-hard enthusiasts and developers. They can't expect to compete with flagship phones with these specs. They're surely not naïve enough to go into this expecting to sell millions and millions of handsets like iPhones or Galaxy devices.
 

DavidBS1989

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I don't think Microsoft expects many early adopters for this. It's mostly going to be die-hard enthusiasts and developers. They can't expect to compete with flagship phones with these specs. They're surely not naïve enough to go into this expecting to sell millions and millions of handsets like iPhones or Galaxy devices.

They wouldn't release it if they would be thinking like that. The time and cost is not free for waste it without sense.
 

me just saying

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I like it. I might even consider getting one, however the only real problem is it's thickness. would not be able to sneak it into work :) so, It would have to be thinner. I would also want it to work with samsung or google pay. I am too hooked on mobile payments to give it up. one thing though, it would be a great attention getter making it a nice conversation starter. but the deal breaker would be wireless charging, gotta have it.
 
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tgp

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I would also want it to work with samsung or google pay.

It should have Google Pay, as it's probably pretty much straight up Android. The only way to use Samsung Pay on a non Samsung phone is to have a Samsung watch. That's what I do now because I currently use a OnePlus phone.
 

sd4f

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The funny thing about the title for me is, it speaks volumes about the industry, how everyone is so used to underwhelming devices, that everyone is always waiting for the next model.

The last flagship I paid full price for was a Lumia 920, bought it in January 2013. Ever since that phone, I recognised, that no really impressive new features were being added, a lot of phones not too long after were being gimped instead (headphone jack is the best example) or had stupid gimmicks that just don't interest me (motorised selfie camera), that buying a flagship just seemed pointless. Why pay multiples for a new flagship, when you can get yesteryears one, and get almost the same experience, albeit, on android, you do lose that support period.

Dragging myself back to the topic at hand, the duo is an interesting device, I guess they made decisions to get something out, and cut others, probably in an iphonesque kind of way (first iphone was notorious for missing features). Iunno, it may bother them, it may not. Being a first gen device, this one is really testing the waters. Gen 2 or 3 should be better, but I kind of get the feeling that if it doesn't hit the ground running, MS will never pull it off.

I'm curious if there has been any sort of response for dedicated apps? I get the feeling that developers are by and large sitting on the fence waiting and see if anyone else will move first.
 

Dan12R

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To be frank, I honestly couldn't care less about 5G on a mobile device. At least not right now. I've yet to hear the use case that causes me to say "Yes! That would be awesome and can only be done with 5G!" I've heard people speak poorly of the device, many saying "No 5G is a deal breaker!" but I've yet to hear anyone say "No 5G is a deal breaker because that means the device can't do X!" I can already stream video at a resolution that meets my needs. Audio streaming is fine. The only plus I've seen so far is that apps will download and install faster. I'm not installing apps left and right and very rarely are the apps I install so large that they'd benefit from 5G. For now, 5G doesn't even fall into the "nice to have" category for me.

What I would like to see are things that are established table stakes. Wireless charging is becoming one of those. This is the biggest let down for me on the device. I'm hoping that makes it into V2. The same goes for NFC.

Outside that, from a hardware standpoint, and this is based on not actually using the device and besides the obvious generational improvements of more and faster, I'm thinking some way to store the stylus. If it magnetically attaches like we've seen on the Neo demos, that's asking to be lost. The Surface Slim pen is, near as makes no difference, $150. I'm very hesitant right now to get a stylus for this device because I do ask myself how I'm going to keep from losing it. There hasn't been a lot of talk in this area so there may be a solution already in place. For now, it's a concern of mine that if not addressed in V1, needs to be addressed in V2.

One other item that hasn't been announced one way or another is color options. I have a black Surface Laptop 3. It'd be kind of nice if my Duo could match in color.

On the software side of things, while V2 might be too early to discuss a Windows 10X version (which would be my preferred OS), I'd like to see as little Google out of the box. For many of us who ran Windows phones for so long, one of the draws for that OS over Android is that we didn't fully trust Google to have its hooks in the most personal piece of tech any of us own. Google's primary business model is to sell data. I know a few Windows phone people who are going to iOS over Android for that very reason. If Windows 10X on the Duo isn't to be, I'd like to see Microsoft move to a very MS version of Android, moving away from Google Mobile Services (GMS). GMS includes the Google Play store though so for that to work, MS would need to convince devs to add their app to an MS Android app store. That's a little easier ask than re-writing the app for Windows 10X since it would basically be asking them to just upload their .apk, but it could still be a challenge.
 

naddy6969

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"Can you imagine, using a Surface Duo 2 connected to a lapdock"?

Yes, I can. It would suck. You would have to carry around the phone, the dock, a monitor, mouse, keyboard, the cables and power supplies. Why not just carry a laptop?

When traveling, do you think airports and hotels are going to provide all of this stuff for you, just so you can walk in with a phone and nothing else? Is your client going to provide all of this stuff for you, when you show up at their site carrying nothing but a phone? You would be escorted out of the building and they would be on the phone to your boss, requesting someone who is prepared to work.

Look, I realize some people have this weird fantasy of "Windows in my pocket", but this is just not going to work. It is totally impractical.
 

justjun555

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"Can you imagine, using a Surface Duo 2 connected to a lapdock"?

Yes, I can. It would suck. You would have to carry around the phone, the dock, a monitor, mouse, keyboard, the cables and power supplies. Why not just carry a laptop?

When traveling, do you think airports and hotels are going to provide all of this stuff for you, just so you can walk in with a phone and nothing else? Is your client going to provide all of this stuff for you, when you show up at their site carrying nothing but a phone? You would be escorted out of the building and they would be on the phone to your boss, requesting someone who is prepared to work.

Look, I realize some people have this weird fantasy of "Windows in my pocket", but this is just not going to work. It is totally impractical.

He is talking about laptop dock which will have built in screen, keyboard, ports, battery, trackpad etc. Except cpu,gpu, ram, memory which will be provided by surface duo.
 

Dan12R

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"Can you imagine, using a Surface Duo 2 connected to a lapdock"?

Yes, I can. It would suck. You would have to carry around the phone, the dock, a monitor, mouse, keyboard, the cables and power supplies. Why not just carry a laptop?

When traveling, do you think airports and hotels are going to provide all of this stuff for you, just so you can walk in with a phone and nothing else? Is your client going to provide all of this stuff for you, when you show up at their site carrying nothing but a phone? You would be escorted out of the building and they would be on the phone to your boss, requesting someone who is prepared to work.

Look, I realize some people have this weird fantasy of "Windows in my pocket", but this is just not going to work. It is totally impractical.

I'm going to disagree with this. First, the original comment is about a lapdock. This is effectively a laptop shell that leverages the mobile device's CPU, RAM, etc.

Even then, I had the Continuum dock for the Lumia 950XL. I had it plugged into my TV and connected a wireless keyboard and mouse. The solution worked great.

It does require the OS/software to work in the solution as it relates to a use case. Continuum, while needed some small but significant improvements, worked great in a lot of use cases. This is largely because it wasn't just the device screen but bigger. It used the extra real estate. Without Continuum, I do think there could be some use cases with a solution like this. These use cases would mainly be situations when the app on a bigger screen would work better. The two that come to my mind are remote desktop and Project XCloud.
 

sd4f

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What I want is some release news!

I'm not optimistic about their devices. The surface line got the benefit of a lot of inertia, but they're going into territory with the Duo that has been mired in consistent failures.

For that reason, it looks like gauging interest with the reveal is probably demonstrating to them, that it shouldn't be a priority at this stage. After all, it looks like the Neo has been shelved for that reason. I speculated that the Neo was DOA, and it seems that MS must be getting that sort of feedback. I can only presume that the Duo, while probably not as badly as the Neo, also isn't living up to expectations.
 

Indistinguishable

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I'm not optimistic about their devices. The surface line got the benefit of a lot of inertia, but they're going into territory with the Duo that has been mired in consistent failures.

For that reason, it looks like gauging interest with the reveal is probably demonstrating to them, that it shouldn't be a priority at this stage. After all, it looks like the Neo has been shelved for that reason. I speculated that the Neo was DOA, and it seems that MS must be getting that sort of feedback. I can only presume that the Duo, while probably not as badly as the Neo, also isn't living up to expectations.

You have some strange assumptions and conclusions.

Neo was postponed due to the software, Windows 10x, not being ready to go. Additionally, people aren't looking to spend of $$ on new form factors in this economy.

Duo is a different story. It's running Android, not a new OS. Microsoft is doubling down on their efforts to have Microsoft Launcher developed. Developing an android launcher is no where near the same level of sophistication and developing Windows 10x from the ground up.
 

sd4f

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You have some strange assumptions and conclusions.

MS failure with windows phone, I think received a lot of soul searching within MS. They as a company definitely drilled down to the core of why it failed. I strongly suspect it contributed to the adoption of chromium for edge and now, is governing their approach to any platform based products. These devices rely on third party developers to offer anything decent, more to the point, without third party developers, the product is dead.

I doubt MS would invest this sort of money on such a niche product, and realistically, this is yet another attempt at reinvigorating their platform in a world of mobile apps. UWP has failed, so they've morphed it into something else, and even that isn't really sticking.

The current situation has no doubt changed a lot of plans, but that's just a complication in what is otherwise a litany of failures, with such examples as windows 8, windows RT, UWP, three attempts at windows phone, and in the process, at least ten years have been squandered.

It's not easy, but in the meantime, consider where MS competitors we're back then, and where they are now.

So yes, I think the Neo is still a doomed product. The question that remains unanswered is, why should a developer make an app specifically and exclusively for it?
 

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