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Microsoft Re-Enters Phone Business PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 03 October 2019 07:32

Two years ago, Microsoft gave up on phones, conceding that Google and Apple had won the OS battle. This week, Microsoft reversed course, unveiling a dual-screen smartphone. But rather than push a homegrown operating system in phones, Microsoft has taken up rival Google's Android software, which powers over 2.5 billion devices around the world.

The Surface Duo sports two 5.6-inch displays that curve 360-degrees around a hinge and combine to make an 8.3-inch display. The company didn't give many specific details about the device but touted the ability to do things like view your inbox on one half of the device while responding to a specific email on the other.

"We started really with the goal of how can we help make people more productive," Yusuf Mehdi, corporate vice president for Microsoft's modern life, search and devices group, said in an interview after Wednesday's event. "If you're going to have a device that fits in your pocket, and you can do phone calls and you want to run apps ... it made sense for us to choose" Android.

Opting to make an Android phone now is Microsoft's admission that it's unlikely to make an operating system that powers the bulk of the world's smartphones -- but it still needs to be a part of the mobile world. Instead of controlling every aspect of the device, Microsoft has to be content with its current mission-getting Office and its other services into as many places as it can, while using artificial intelligence to make everything smarter.