While it’s really too soon to judge, without the device being generally available for users to judge its overall experience, it’s hard to deny Microsoft has come out with a head-turner in the Surface Duo. It’s long-term success, however, will largely depend on how much it sells in the market. Unfortunately, even if people are actually eager to shell out $1,400 for one, Microsoft isn’t too eager to make the device available outside of the US, almost ensure it won’t get as much attention globally.
Microsoft finally announced the availability of the long-awaited Surface Duo but, in addition to the price tag, it came with another important caveat. Initial retail would be available only in the US, which isn’t a surprise. Unfortunately, Microsoft has so far also kept mum on when the dual-screen device would be available outside the country.
Windows Central’s sources have sadly been less than hopeful, pointing to a global launch no sooner than the first half of 2021. Microsoft is supposedly wary of making the same mistake it did with the Surface RT where it produced more than it could sell. It is, instead, now going to the opposite extreme by limiting the sales in the US and in smaller numbers as well.
It is trying to first gauge reception in the US before daring to expand to other markets. Unfortunately, it might a self-fulfilling prophecy, as interest in the dual-screen smartphone could start to wane as the months go by without any hopeful word of its availability. Not that it’s an affordable phone in the first place but there is almost an element of urgency as consumers become less likely to make big expenditures as the current economic uncertainty stretches on.
There is also the fact that the Surface Duo’s hardware may not age gracefully. Although last year’s specs still look acceptable this year, even without 5G, 2021 might have a different story and the Surface Duo might end up dead on arrival outside the US by next year.