Photo: Microsoft

After long teasing the Surface Duo, Microsoft is finally offering full details on the dual-screen Android device, available for pre-order today for a hefty $1,399.

Why it matters: Microsoft hesitates to call it a phone, but it's the closest thing to one the company has made in several years. While it looks like other devices in the Surface line, it's the first Microsoft device to run Google's mobile operating system.

Details: Thanks to a 360° hinge, the device can be used in a variety of configurations.

  • The Surface has a single 11-megapixel camera, requiring the owner to fold their screen a certain way to use it as either a front or rear-facing camera.
  • It comes with a host of Microsoft software, including all the Office apps, Skype and OneDrive, as well as all the standard Google Android apps.
  • The device supports most major LTE networks, but doesn't have 5G capabilities. And yes, it can make calls, too.
  • AT&T will sell the device directly, while an unlocked version that works on all three major carriers will be sold by Microsoft, and other retailers.
  • It will be officially available and shipping starting Sept. 10.

Our thought bubble: With its 360° hinge and dual screens, the Surface Duo is a truly unique device, with some unmatched abilities, including sophisticated multitasking. But at $1,399, it is competing against the priciest smartphones, including Samsung's Galaxy Z Fold and Galaxy Note 20 Ultra.

What they're saying: "I'm not trying to reinvent the phone," Surface head Panos Panay said during a briefing with reporters on Tuesday. "I do believe this is a better way to get things done."

Flashback: Microsoft first previewed the Surface Duo last year, along with a larger Windows-based clamshell device, the Surface Neo. The Neo has reportedly been delayed until next year and Microsoft made no mention of it during Tuesday’s briefing with reporters.

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Ina Fried, author of Login
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