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Microsoft unveils new foldable phone, announces AirPods rivals

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Shannon Liao, CNN Business

(CNN)-A few years after Microsoft began withdrawing from the smartphone market, the company now seems to be trying to break in.

Microsoft introduced the new phone at its annual Surface press event on Wednesday. The new device, called the Surface Duo, allows you to fold two 5.6-inch displays side by side and runs on Android.

“You’re going to talk about it like a phone call. I understand it,” Microsoft Chief Product Officer Panos Panay said at the event. “And you’re going to talk about it as a communication device, and it’s certainly doing both of them incredibly well,” he added, “definitely this product is a Surface.”

But as an unusual move, Microsoft tampered with the product before it was expected to hit the market. According to the company, the Surface Duo will be available more than a year ahead of the 2020 holiday season.

Over the years, Microsoft has suffered from a number of high-profile hardware failures, including a massive $ 7.6 billion write-down from the acquisition of Nokia’s handset business.

Conversely, these days most have succeeded in focusing on corporate customers rather than consumers. Under CEO Satya Nadella, the company has been successful in cloud computing for many years and, along with Amazon, positions it as one of the two major players in this fast-growing market.

But Wednesday’s press event emphasized that Microsoft wouldn’t give up on hardware. Both are for both consumers (multiple new products, including phones) and corporate customers.

In addition to Duo, Microsoft has launched a new dual-screen device called the Surface Neo. This will also not be available until the next holiday season. The device combines two 9-inch screens and folds inward. You can flip it over and reverse it to surf Netflix. You can also expand one app to two screens or use two apps at the same time.

“Neo is not only the next new surface, but also the next category,” Panay said.

The product may remind long-time Microsoft watchers of Courier, a dual-screen tablet concept older than the iPad. Former CEO Steve Ballmer has famously killed the device.

Microsoft also aimed directly at Apple with the launch of the new Surface earphones, a wireless earphone that was specifically intended as a rival to Apple’s AirPods. According to the company, earphones work with some Microsoft Office products, including allowing access to Outlook calendars and emails, and boast a day’s battery life.

The product will be available later this year for $ 249, compared to Apple’s $ 199 for AirPods with wireless charging cases.

In addition to these products, Microsoft has revamped its hardware lineup with the introduction of Surface Pro 7, an updated tablet with more advanced integration with Microsoft Office with USB-C, and a new processor. Surface Pro X, a hybrid of laptop and tablet, 4K video and end-to-end display.

According to Microsoft, the Surface Pro X was the first Windows PC to feature an integrated AI engine, making eye contact when talking to someone during a call to fix a video call and raise the line of sight. I can see it.

Tablets are priced at $ 749 and $ 999, respectively.

Microsoft is also expanding its hardware lineup. The SurfaceLaptop 3 is a new laptop that powers on as soon as you open it and has a “sandstone” colored aluminum finish.

According to Panay, this new laptop is “three times more powerful” than Apple’s MacBook Air. The 13-inch model starts at $ 999 and the 15-inch model starts at $ 1,199. Both will be available from October 22nd.

The-CNN-Wire ™ & © 2019 Cable News Network, Inc., Time Warner Company. all rights reserved.

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