Microsoft’s Surface Duo is reportedly launching months earlier than expected

As a tech reporter, I’m used to seeing companies announce a product early only to delay it by months come release time. So it was a pretty big surprise to read a Windows Central report claiming Microsoft may release the Surface Duo–its dual-screen Android phone–months earlier than anticipated.

When Microsoft announced the Duo and Neo–its larger Windows 10X-running sibling–in October, the company said the devices would be released during the holiday period of 2020. As much hype as Microsoft built around the devices, that’s a long time to wait for any product. But according to Zac Bowden of Windows Central “multiple contacts” suggest the Duo may actually be available as soon as this summer.

The report claims “the hardware and software are pretty much done,” and that Microsoft is basically focusing on putting the finishing touches on its Duo-specific features and Android tweaks. The software could be done as soon as April, but a summer launch would likely be primarily aimed at developers and enthusiasts.

[Read: Surface Duo, Neo, and everything else at Microsoft’s packed hardware event)

Microsoft is expected to announce the Surface Book 3 and Surface Go 2 at an event this spring; it’s likely we will hear more about the Duo there as well.

Another bit of a surprise from the report are the specs; if you were expecting a super-premium phone, it seems the Duo won’t be it. Bowden expects the device to come with a Snapdragon 855, 6GB of RAM, and 64GB of storage. While there will be configurations with more storage and RAM, it seems the 2019-era processor is present on all models. Lower performance than 2020 flagships aside, it also means you will likely miss out on 5G

This might disappoint people looking for a premium workhorse phone, but chances are the older processor helps Microsoft keep the price down. It also then makes more sense to release the phone earlier in the year, as the longer Microsoft waits, the more outdated the Duo will seem.

Then again, with COVID-19 causing product delays and event cancellations all over the world, I wouldn’t be surprised if the Duo’s launch ends up being pushed back anyway.

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Published February 28, 2020 — 21:49 UTC

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