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Microsoft back in the mobile phone game

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Microsoft back in the mobile phone game


Brandon Cerocke
Published 2:10 p.m. PT Oct. 16, 2019 | Updated 3:12 p.m. PT Oct. 16, 2019

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Microsoft has shown off new products in New York on Wednesday, including two foldable devices and new wireless headphones. (Oct. 2)
AP Domestic

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If you’re a technophile, you’ve probably seen the recent news from Microsoft that they’re back in the phone game. Although many were left with a bitter taste in their mouths from the Microsoft/Nokia Lumia products launched in the earlier part of this decade, their new device is drastically different and is set to build off the success of their Surface line of tablets and laptops. The new device, the Surface Duo, will be hitting markets around the holidays in 2020.

Microsoft’s success with the Surface tablets and laptops has contrasted with the reception and short lifecycle that their mobile OS platform had. There were droves of users who loved the layout of the phone and its “metro” tile style, but like many products it failed to maintain consumers interest for a multitude of reasons. One of the main reasons that stands out to me the most was the lack of app development for the platform, and they were being outdone in a big way by the larger players in the mobile space: Google and Apple.

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Many people believed that Microsoft was turning a corner in the mobile phone market when it partnered with Nokia in 2011 for the exclusive rights for their OS to be paired with Nokia’s hardware. In 2013 Microsoft decided to acquire the device division of Nokia, and for a short-lived time produced numerous phone models. Unfortunately, it all came crashing down in 2017 when Microsoft sold off their mobile device division.

Now the time has come for Microsoft to re-enter the mobile device field, but with a small difference from their predecessors. They will not run on a Windows Mobile OS platform. Instead, Microsoft is partnering with Google to utilize the Android OS for their new mobile device.

Microsoft learned from their mistakes and in the announcement made it very clear that they were partnering with Google because the consumer is driven by mobile apps — a very smart move by Microsoft, as it was one of the things that drove them out of the market to begin with. Now, with some hardware experience under their belt, they’re about to unleash a game changer.

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Microsoft’s new “phone” is a foldable device that can act as a tablet or a phone, or sit like a laptop. It’s truly meant to bridge the gap between mobile devices and tablets and challenge the current foldable phone market. The chief product officer for Microsoft won’t even refer to it as a phone since it can be (and is) so much more. What is known about the hardware is that it will integrate two 5.6-inch screens with a 360-degree hinge that when fully expanded will create an 8-plus inch surface area.

Since the official debut of this phone is over a year away, we can expect that any internal components will likely change between now and production. In the short video that is available the device looks very sleek, but if you are expecting a more reasonable price tag compared to currently available foldable devices, don’t hold your breath.

Brandon Cerocke is VP of sales and marketing for IQ Technology Solutions.

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