Can Surface Duo break the dual-screen curse?

    The Microsoft Surface Duo cellphone claims to be completely distinctive. That’s not precisely true.
    Sarah Tew/CNET
    Microsoft needs to succeed the place Samsung, LG and others have failed. With the Surface Duo, a dual-screen cellphone, the software program big needs to make dual-screen telephones profitable. The announcement got here on Wednesday (together with the announcement of the dual-screen Surface Neo pill), two years after it mentioned it could not make any cellphone {hardware}. Although Microsoft’s new Surface cellphone will not be out there for a 12 months, the corporate’s dedication to the dual-screen Android system — nope, it is not a Windows cellphone — comes at a time when curiosity in ultralarge display screen telephones is on the rise. (By the way in which, here is how the Surface Duo compares to the Galaxy Fold.)Microsoft claims that it is constructing a brand-new class of units, however that is not precisely true. While this would be the first dual-screen cellphone that helps a digital pen — the Surface Pen — the Duo is way from the primary of its sort. LG’s G8X with Dual Screen, for instance, affords the same dual-screen answer with the help of a case. 

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    But the doomed historical past of dual-screen telephones stretches all the way in which again to 2011, when Samsung, LG and Kyocera all tried to broaden their cellphone screens’ actual property with a second show. From the ill-fated Kyocera Echo to the E-Ink YotaCellphone and 2017’s ZTE Axon M, dual-screen telephones by no means fairly fulfilled their dual-screen promise. They ranged from gimmicky to downright awkward.At the very least, Microsoft’s involvement with a dual-screen cellphone and Samsung’s Galaxy Fold present phone-makers’ persevering with drive to ship double the display screen actual property on a tool that matches into your bag. Will Microsoft have the ability to make a second display screen cool? I’ve my doubts, however I’d like to see it attempt.
    Samsung Galaxy FoldThe Galaxy Fold could also be a foldable cellphone with a 7.3-inch inside display screen, nevertheless it’s additionally a dual-screen system, with an outer 4.6-inch show. Our full Galaxy Fold evaluate is sort of right here, however this one verdict is obvious — that 4.6-inch “cover screen” is just too small to comfortably sort on and use for greater than only a look, even when whichever app you choose opens into the principle display screen. Read CNET’s Samsung Galaxy Fold evaluate.

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    ZTE Axon M ZTE’s dual-screen cellphone linked two 5.2-inch screens along with a hinge to offer you a complete 6.8 inches of usable house. It was actually totally different, usually helpful and much from boring.  In 2017 when it launched, the Axon M got here nearer to reaching the dual-screen dream than the Kyocera Echo (beneath), which debuted the one side-by-side display screen design we all know of. ZTE gave its cellphone 4 separate modes, together with one that permits you to watch movies and play video games throughout the two-screen unfold. You may additionally mirror the contents of an app on the second display screen, and open two apps on the similar time, a boon for incurable multitaskers. But {hardware} and software program flaws held the cellphone again. The Axon M was dear for a tool with a so-so digicam and the earlier 12 months’s specs. And its imbalanced battery made it awkward to carry. Read CNET’s ZTE Axon M evaluate.
    Kyocera EchoThe Echo’s dwelling display screen stretches out throughout each of its shows.
    Josh Miller/CNET
    When it was first introduced in early 2011, the thought of unfolding a dual-screen cellphone into pill mode was lofty and unprecedented. This is the Surface Duo’s true ancestor. We truly preferred a few of the Echo’s capabilities — like turning the underside 3.5-inch display screen right into a digital keyboard whereas the highest display screen acted as a browser, or locking each screens collectively to summon a 4.7-inch map.  The cellphone was cumbersome, nevertheless, the central seam was distracting (a possible pitfall for the Surface Duo, too) and the educational course of extra difficult than typical.  With in any other case unremarkable options, the Echo offered poorly, and was killed off in underneath a 12 months, in September 2011. Read CNET’s Kyocera Echo evaluate. LG’s DoublePlay doubled down on screens.
    Josh Miller/CNET
    LG DoublePlay A mini display screen nestled inside a keyboard will need to have appeared like an OK concept on the time. The DoublePlay wedged a tiny, low-resolution 2-inch contact show within the heart of its break up keyboard. It alternately confirmed icons you could possibly press to shortly change apps, or complementary options that allow you to do issues like typing a message whereas studying your e-mail on the principle show. The issues have been instantly obvious. The secondary display screen break up the keyboard into two halves that made it too small to be actually helpful and too massive to keep away from distraction. In the tip, we by no means fairly discovered our stride and the DoublePlay’s disappointing battery life additional sank its attraction. Read CNET’s LG DoublePlay evaluate.The extra screens the higher, proper? Not so for the wacky Samsung DoubleTime.
    Sarah Tew/CNET
    Samsung DoubleTime One of probably the most profitable purposes of the dual-screen set, this cellphone had a second 3.5-inch display screen on the within to go along with the principle display screen on the surface. There have been no methods to study or secondary capabilities. It was simply one other display screen you accessed by opening the cellphone like a ebook.  Still, the added screen-and-keyboard combo thickened the cellphone, and left us questioning why we might ever actually need the inside show. Wouldn’t the cellphone work simply in addition to a slider? We thought so.The $50 on-contract worth was proper (keep in mind two-year contracts?), however an older model of Android on the time (2.2 Froyo) left us chilly, when nearly all different new Android telephones of the day ran the newer Gingerbread-flavored model of Google’s cellular software program. Read CNET’s Samsung DoubleTime evaluate. The Samsung Continuum had a real ticker show.
    Samsung Continuum Samsung took its authentic Galaxy cellphone of the day one step additional. The Continuum had a tiny ticker display screen on the backside for RSS updates, climate and social-networking standing updates. Customization was restricted, typing a bit extra cramped and the fixed circulate of data overwhelming. While we got here to understand the second display screen, it by no means actually caught on and we felt we may simply stay with out it. Read CNET’s Samsung Continuum evaluate.Remember the YotaCellphone? Both it and the YotaCellphone 2 slapped a low-power E-Ink show on the again.
    Andrew Hoyle/CNET
    YotaCellphone and YotaCellphone 2 In 2013, Russian producer Yota proudly showcased the primary handset to make use of a power-saving E-Ink show on the again facet of the standard LCD operating Android.  The YotaCellphone intrigued us with its daring design. Would this be the cellphone to interrupt the dual-screen curse? Alas, no. It had an fascinating, doubtlessly helpful idea, however some design and use points with that second display screen in the end hold it within the realm of likable oddball. The similar stood for the improved, however nonetheless unconvincing YotaCellphone 2 in 2014. LG’s V10’s second display screen was nearly indecipherable from the principle show.
    Dan Graziano/CNET
    LG V10 and V20 The LG V10 and V20 adopted the Samsung Continuum’s lead with an always-there shortcuts bar. About 2 inches extensive and possibly a centimeter tall, this brief strip of show all however blended into the cellphone’s bezel. While reasonably helpful at instances, it did not make a lot of an influence and LG dropped the screen-on-top-of-its-screen with its most up-to-date mannequin, the LG V30. Read CNET’s LG V30 evaluate. For extra on the Surface Duo, learn up on how Microsoft’s daring tablet-like cellphone may beat the foldable cellphone design. And here is all the pieces else Microsoft introduced immediately.Published earlier this week.

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