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    Microsoft’s new phone has two screens. Other brands that tried it failed

    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, two years after it stated it will now 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 gadget comes at a time when curiosity in ultralarge display screen telephones is on the rise. (By the best way, this is how the Surface Duo compares to the Galaxy Fold.)Microsoft claims that it is constructing a brand-new class of gadgets, 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, provides an analogous dual-screen resolution with assistance from a case. 

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    Dual screens are the long run for Microsoft

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    But the doomed historical past of dual-screen telephones stretches all the best way again to 2011, when Samsung, LG and Kyocera all tried to develop their cellphone screens’ actual property with a second show. From the ill-fated Kyocera Echo to the E-Ink YotaTelephone 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 be capable to make a second display screen cool? I’ve my doubts, however I’d like to see it strive.
    Samsung Galaxy FoldThe Galaxy Fold could also be a foldable cellphone with a 7.3-inch inside display screen, however it’s additionally a dual-screen gadget, with an outer 4.6-inch show. Our full Galaxy Fold evaluation is nearly right here, however this one verdict is obvious — that 4.6-inch “cover screen” is just too small to comfortably kind on and use for greater than only a look, even when whichever app you choose opens into the primary display screen. Read CNET’s ongoing Samsung Galaxy Fold evaluation.

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    Every approach Samsung improved the Galaxy Fold

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    ZTE Axon M ZTE’s dual-screen cellphone linked two 5.2-inch screens along with a hinge to provide you a complete 6.8 inches of usable area. It was definitely completely different, typically 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 (under), 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 might 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 digital camera and the earlier 12 months’s specs. And its imbalanced battery made it awkward to carry. Read CNET’s ZTE Axon M evaluation.
    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 really appreciated a number 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 bought poorly, and was killed off in underneath a 12 months, in September 2011. Read CNET’s Kyocera Echo evaluation. LG’s DoublePlay doubled down on screens.
    Josh Miller/CNET
    LG DoublePlay A mini display screen nestled inside a keyboard should have appeared like an OK thought 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 might press to shortly change apps, or complementary options that allow you to do issues like typing a message whereas studying your electronic mail on the primary show. The issues had been instantly obvious. The secondary display screen break up the keyboard into two halves that made it too small to be really 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 enchantment. Read CNET’s LG DoublePlay evaluation.The extra screens the higher, proper? Not so for the wacky Samsung DoubleTime.
    Sarah Tew/CNET
    Samsung DoubleTime One of essentially the most profitable functions of the dual-screen set, this cellphone had a second 3.5-inch display screen on the within to go along with the primary display screen on the skin. There had been no tips to be taught or secondary capabilities. It was simply one other display screen you accessed by opening the cellphone like a e-book.  Still, the added screen-and-keyboard combo thickened the cellphone, and left us questioning why we’d ever actually need the inside show. Wouldn’t the cellphone work simply in addition to a slider? We thought so.The $50 on-contract value was proper (bear in mind two-year contracts?), however an older model of Android on the time (2.2 Froyo) left us chilly, when virtually all different new Android telephones of the day ran the newer Gingerbread-flavored model of Google’s cell software program. Read CNET’s Samsung DoubleTime evaluation. The Samsung Continuum had a real ticker show.
    CNET
    Samsung Continuum Samsung took its unique 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 movement of data overwhelming. While we got here to understand the second display screen, it by no means actually caught on and we felt we might simply dwell with out it. Read CNET’s Samsung Continuum evaluation.Remember the YotaTelephone? Both it and the YotaTelephone 2 slapped a low-power E-Ink show on the again.
    Andrew Hoyle/CNET
    YotaTelephone and YotaTelephone 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 everyday LCD working Android.  The YotaTelephone intrigued us with its daring design. Would this be the cellphone to interrupt the dual-screen curse? Alas, no. It had an attention-grabbing, doubtlessly helpful idea, however some design and use points with that second display screen finally preserve it within the realm of likable oddball. The similar stood for the improved, however nonetheless unconvincing YotaTelephone 2 in 2014. LG’s V10’s second display screen was virtually indecipherable from the primary 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 broad and possibly a centimeter tall, this quick strip of show all however blended into the cellphone’s bezel. While reasonably helpful at instances, it did not make a lot of an affect 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 evaluation. For extra on the Surface Duo, learn up on how Microsoft’s daring tablet-like cellphone might beat the foldable cellphone design. And this is every part else Microsoft introduced immediately.Published earlier this week.

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