Last month, Microsoft disappointed thousands of fans who have been eagerly waiting for the Surface Duo by announcing that the product would be launching exclusively in the United States, with no plans to bring it to other markets for the foreseeable future. Adding insult to injury, Microsoft refused to provide any kind of timeframe for the fans who have been saving to buy one.
In the United States, customers can pre-order the Surface Duo now for $1,399 and have it by September 10. Outside the United States, customers have simply been told that Microsoft is taking “a measured and phased approach to availability to meet customer demand.” Essentially, Microsoft doesn’t want to make too many and sell too few.
Of course, this is a valid concern for Microsoft to have. It doesn’t want another Surface RT failure by building more devices than it can sell. But, as one of the Surface Duo’s biggest followers that also resides outside the United States, I’ve been extremely disappointed with Microsoft’s lack of real communication regarding its plans for Surface Duo elsewhere in the world.
I’ve since done some digging, and according to my sources Microsoft is looking to begin shipping Surface Duo in external markets in the first half of 2021 after seeing if the product surpasses internal expectations in the United States first. This plan is fluid, however, and Microsoft could decide to bring its release in other markets forward if circumstances change.
The longer Microsoft waits, the harder it will be to sell a product with a Snapdragon 855 with 6GB RAM and without wireless charging or NFC capabilities to new customers. The lack of NFC support in countries like the United Kingdom is a big miss, as tap and pay is everywhere and is most people’s default way of paying for things.
The product is already certified for Canada, EU, and Japanese markets, and I’m told BT/EE in the UK has already agreed to carry the device when it does arrive. Hopefully, it arrives sooner than 2021. But the latest internal information I have suggests Microsoft is planning to wait a while before Surface Duo is available to buy elsewhere in the world.
Two screens are better than one
Microsoft delves into the future of foldables with an ambitious dual-screen device, featuring two ultra-thin 5.6-inch AMOLED displays bound by a 360-degree hinge. This pocketable inking-enabled Android smartphone marks the latest in the Surface lineup, geared for mobile productivity.