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Panos Panay Demoing Split Screen Features on Microsoft’s Surface Duo

Here’s a link to Microsoft’s Surface Duo press event from two weeks ago. I’m linking to just past 8 minutes in, when Panos Panay begins a hands-on demonstration of the split screen features Microsoft has created for Android to embrace this device’s unique form factor.

I think Surface Duo is one of the most interesting devices from a company other than Apple since the iPhone. Is it one of the best devices, or is it even a good device? I don’t know — reviews are still embargoed. But it’s certainly interesting. I find this split-screen design far more compelling and honest than any of the folding screen devices we’ve seen. The side-by-side experience seems far more intuitive than the split-screen stuff on iPadOS that I, among many others, find so frustrating. That’s not entirely fair — the iPad is a single-screen device where split screen is a secondary mode, and Surface Duo is a two-screen device where “full-screen” single-app use spanning both displays is secondary. I’m just saying that doing two things side-by-side is a common use case and Microsoft seems to have come up with a very thoughtful design here, especially when you consider that they’re working within the confines of Google’s OS.

Marques Brownlee has a great first-look video review of the hardware — early-access reviewers apparently have two embargoes, one for the hardware alone and one that hasn’t dropped yet for the actual experience. I can’t recall there ever being a review embargo just for the hardware alone for any device, but this hardware, in and of itself, is really interesting. Brownlee calls the hinge maybe the best he’s ever seen on any device, and the Surface Duo really is remarkably thin — 4.8 mm open, 9.9 mm closed. It weighs 250 grams — by comparison, an iPad Mini weighs 300 grams, and an iPhone 11 Pro Max weighs 226.

Sunday, 30 August 2020