Microsoft's Surface Duo phone hangs up, drops out of support

Remember Microsoft's first attempt at an Android foldable? Of course you don't

Microsoft has drawn a discreet veil over another of its attempts to become relevant in the mobile hardware space. The original Surface Duo has dropped out of support, meaning it is bereft of support as well as users.

Three years after it was launched, Microsoft has snapped shut the first iteration of its folding Android phone for the final time. Released on September 10, 2020, Microsoft promised users three years of updates and as of September 10, 2023, the party is over.

By our reckoning, the device is quite some way behind the rest of the Android world in terms of updates, and Microsoft has become progressively more lethargic when it comes to tweaking its own software.

Even though support is ending, the devices won't simply stop working. However, we'd urge the brave niche of Windows fans who bought the device to be cautious: there will be no more security updates from now on. That said, a community of enthusiasts exists with alternative update options for users comfortable with the risk of turning their expensive devices into bricks.

And goodness, the Surface Duo was certainly an expensive bit of kit. When it first launched in the US in September 2020, it was priced at $1,399, and when it finally made it to UK shores in February 2021, the dual-screen Android phone initially retailed at an eyewatering £1,349 ($1,683). The hardware behind the scenes was also decidedly mediocre, with Snapdragon 855 silicon, a below-average camera and limited, non-expandable storage.

The price at the time put it on par with a high-end iPhone or Android device, thus inviting some unkind comparisons. As well as the comparatively low-end chip running the show – at least for such an expensive device – a lack of 5G connectivity was also noted by reviewers.

However, the form factor was unusual and made for some impressive demonstrations using Microsoft's suite of applications. Although it was undeniably impressive as a mobile portal into the world of Microsoft 365, from a consumer standpoint it was anything but.

Microsoft took steps to address many of the Duo's failings in its follow-up, which has just over a year of support remaining, but the pace at which updates have emerged has frustrated some users.

The Duo's time as a supported device ended this weekend. It joins a cupboard of dusty mobile relics, including Microsoft's many and varied attempts to breathe life into Windows Phone as well as the 2010 era Kin. ®

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