Microsoft teases new foldable phone and unveils AirPods rival

Several years after Microsoft began retreating from the smartphone market, the company now appears to be trying to break back in.Microsoft teased a ne...

Posted: Oct 2, 2019 4:51 PM
Updated: Oct 2, 2019 5:15 PM

Several years after Microsoft began retreating from the smartphone market, the company now appears to be trying to break back in.

Microsoft teased a new phone at its annual Surface press event on Wednesday. The new device, called the Surface Duo, is foldable with two 5.6-inch displays side by side and works with Android.

'You're going to talk about it as a phone, and I get that,' Panos Panay, Microsoft's chief product officer, said at the event. 'And you're going to talk about it as a communication device, and it does both those things incredibly well for sure.' But, he added, 'make no mistake, this product is a Surface.'

In an unusual move, however, Microsoft teased the product well before it's expected to hit the market. The Surface Duo will launch in the 2020 holiday season, more than a year from now, according to the company.

Over the years, Microsoft has suffered a number of high-profile hardware missteps, including a massive $7.6 billion writedown of its acquisition of Nokia's handset business.

Conversely, it's thrived recently in large part by focusing not on consumers, but enterprise customers. Under CEO Satya Nadella, the company has made a successful years-long bet on cloud computing, positioning it as one of the two dominant players in this fast-growing market along with Amazon.

But Wednesday's press event highlighted that Microsoft isn't giving up on hardware either, both for consumers -- with multiple new products including the phone -- and business customers.

In addition to the Duo, Microsoft teased a new dual-screen device called the Surface Neo that also won't be available until next holiday season. The device combines two 9-inch screens and folds inward. You can flip it, reverse it and surf Netflix. It's also possible to expand a single app across the two screens or use two apps at the same time.

'Neo is not only the next new Surface, it's the next category,' Panay said.

The product may remind longtime Microsoft watchers of the Courier, a two-screen tablet concept that pre-dated the iPad. Former CEO Steve Ballmer famously killed that device.

Microsoft also took direct aim at Apple with the launch of its new Surface Earbuds, wireless earbuds that are clearly intended as a rival offering to Apple's AirPods. Earbuds will work with some Microsoft Office products, such as allowing you to access your Outlook calendar and email, and boast a full day of battery life, according to the company.

The product will be available later this year for $249, compared to the $199 Apple charges for AirPods with a wireless charging case.

Beyond these products, Microsoft refreshed its hardware lineup with the introduction of the Surface Pro 7, an updated tablet with USB-C and deeper integration with Microsoft Office, and the Surface Pro X, a laptop and tablet hybrid with a new processor, 4K video and an edge-to-edge display.

Microsoft said the Surface Pro X is the first Windows PC to have an integrated AI engine, which will correct a video call and bring the eye gaze up so if you're talking to someone on a call, they appear to be making eye contact.

The tablets start at $749 and $999, respectively.

Microsoft is also expanding its hardware lineup with the Surface Laptop 3, a new laptop that instantly turns on when you open it and comes in an aluminum finish that's the color of 'sandstone.'

Panay said the new laptop is 'three times more powerful' than Apple's MacBook Air. A 13-inch model will start at $999 and a 15-inch model will start at $1,199. Both will be available starting October 22.

Terre Haute
Cloudy
69° wxIcon
Hi: 72° Lo: 44°
Feels Like: 69°
Robinson
Mostly Cloudy
68° wxIcon
Hi: 72° Lo: 45°
Feels Like: 68°
Indianapolis
Cloudy
69° wxIcon
Hi: 72° Lo: 45°
Feels Like: 69°
Rockville
Cloudy
68° wxIcon
Hi: 72° Lo: 44°
Feels Like: 68°
Casey
Mostly Cloudy
66° wxIcon
Hi: 68° Lo: 47°
Feels Like: 66°
Brazil
Cloudy
69° wxIcon
Hi: 73° Lo: 44°
Feels Like: 69°
Marshall
Cloudy
69° wxIcon
Hi: 70° Lo: 42°
Feels Like: 69°
Clouds move in today with showers possible this evening.
WTHI Planner
WTHI Temps
WTHI Radar

WTHI Events

 

Illinois Coronavirus Cases

(Widget updates once daily at 7 p.m. CT)

Cases: 1363409

Reported Deaths: 24725
CountyCasesDeaths
Cook54578510114
DuPage906281281
Will75577990
Lake67248988
Kane58414774
Winnebago33247475
Madison30525520
McHenry28604288
St. Clair27862514
Peoria23136315
Champaign20649145
Sangamon18762234
McLean18167179
Tazewell16959288
Rock Island14994317
Kankakee14193210
Kendall1306094
LaSalle12553243
Macon10762199
DeKalb9874119
Vermilion9653132
Adams8466123
Williamson7433130
Whiteside7165172
Boone670773
Ogle611481
Grundy589375
Clinton576090
Coles568795
Knox5565145
Jackson502764
Henry498167
Livingston482585
Stephenson475983
Woodford475176
Effingham472972
Macoupin470282
Marion4472115
Franklin445075
Monroe435793
Jefferson4296120
Lee416952
Randolph413184
Fulton392756
Morgan390382
Logan388058
Bureau372082
Montgomery372074
Christian366773
Perry317560
Fayette317455
Iroquois302266
McDonough285647
Jersey268950
Douglas258835
Saline256454
Lawrence240525
Shelby229837
Union226040
Crawford212026
Bond205024
Cass199225
Jo Daviess181524
Clark179833
Warren179846
Pike179152
Ford178647
Wayne177553
Hancock176032
Carroll175436
Richland175040
Edgar170440
White169726
Washington164525
Moultrie161028
De Witt151324
Mason151045
Piatt149814
Clay148143
Mercer147033
Johnson144415
Greene143733
Wabash134512
Massac134340
Cumberland129019
Menard123612
Jasper115018
Marshall107318
Hamilton83315
Schuyler7587
Brown7066
Pulaski6877
Stark63823
Edwards57112
Henderson52514
Calhoun5182
Putnam4823
Scott4791
Alexander46811
Gallatin4584
Hardin38612
Pope3224
Out of IL40
Unassigned02356

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

(Widget updates once daily at 8 p.m. ET)

Cases: 733591

Reported Deaths: 13466
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion1003871748
Lake54020975
Allen40829679
St. Joseph35898552
Hamilton35735408
Elkhart28745442
Tippecanoe22432219
Vanderburgh22342397
Porter18871310
Johnson18028381
Hendricks17283315
Clark13015191
Madison12725339
Vigo12482248
LaPorte12011214
Monroe11928170
Delaware10726187
Howard9959218
Kosciusko9451117
Hancock8325142
Bartholomew8085156
Warrick7792155
Floyd7677178
Grant7080174
Wayne7064199
Boone6722101
Morgan6596139
Dubois6162117
Marshall6083112
Cass5839105
Dearborn582178
Henry5767104
Noble563684
Jackson502773
Shelby493696
Lawrence4571120
Harrison436372
Gibson436292
DeKalb429685
Clinton428153
Montgomery425389
Whitley397439
Huntington393380
Steuben390057
Miami382668
Knox372690
Jasper370148
Putnam362360
Wabash354980
Adams341955
Ripley340270
Jefferson331581
White315654
Daviess298299
Wells291981
Decatur285692
Fayette281662
Greene280085
Posey271933
LaGrange268370
Scott267254
Clay260647
Washington241832
Randolph241481
Spencer232631
Jennings230649
Starke217854
Fountain213246
Sullivan212142
Owen202156
Jay196730
Fulton195640
Carroll189620
Orange184154
Perry184037
Rush173725
Vermillion169743
Franklin168435
Tipton163045
Parke146616
Blackford135132
Pike135134
Pulaski117145
Newton108334
Brown102641
Crawford101315
Benton99014
Martin89515
Warren82415
Switzerland7938
Union71110
Ohio57111
Unassigned0417