Microsoft Is Building A Foldable Tablet That Can Run Android Apps

As Samsung prepares to relaunch its foldable smartphone called the Galaxy Fold, Microsoft is planning to release a Windows-based foldable device of its own.

There's no name given for the upcoming Microsoft foldable, but the "foldable Surface" as some call it will have a foldable design though it won't function like a foldable. What this means is that Microsoft is planning a dual-screen device that will have two 9-inch screens with 4:3 aspect ratio that will fold together when the device is closed. When the foldable Surface is open outwards, it will display two screens, one left and one right.

The new foldable Surface, according to IHS Markit, will use a new Windows 10 OS version called Windows Core OS with a dual display user interface (UI) and feature Intel's 10-nanometer Lakefield processor. Surprisingly, though, the new foldable Surface (or dual display Surface) will run Android apps and iCloud in Windows 10.

Microsoft's decision to play nice with Android here means that Microsoft has had a change of heart regarding Android. Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella's ascendancy to his current role has brought with it a rise in Microsoft's commitment to bringing its best apps and services such as Microsoft Office and its Cortana AI to Android. At one point, it was rumored that Microsoft would abandon Windows Phone and embrace Android.

Back in May 2017, Microsoft introduced its tools to allow developers to make cross-platform apps using its .NET 2.0 standard as well as XAML Standard 1.0, a technology that features cross-platform integration for even Android. The foldable Surface may very well showcase the best apps and services of Windows developers on a device that will still cater to Windows but entice some Android smartphone users. The foldable Surface will also feature Wi-Fi and LTE (or 5G) for always-on connectivity.

The dual-display foldable Surface differs from Samsung's own foldable "phablet," the Galaxy Fold, because it utilizes two displays instead of one (the Fold only has one). While the foldable design may prove to be a new form factor, dual-display smartphones are not. The ZTE Axon M (Axon Multy) launched around the time that Samsung gave notice to OEMs that it would soon bring its foldable smartphone prototype to market.

Chinese OEM Vivo launched its NEX Dual Display Edition six months ago with a 6.39-inch Super AMOLED panel on the front and a 5.49-inch AMOLED panel on the device's back cover. HiSense (A2), Oukitel (U6), Siswoo (R9 Darkmoon), YotaPhone, Meizu, and Nubia (Nubia X), have launched dual-screen smartphones. Current Trade War victim Huawei says that it no longer plans to launch its foldable Mate X smartphone due to Samsung's foldable smartphone flaws and recall.

At MWC 2019, battery company Energizer announced its own foldable smartphone with a 6-inch screen (2,160 x 1,440p resolution) on the front, an 8-inch screen (Full HD+ resolution) on the inside, Qualcomm's Snapdragon 855 SoC, a 24MP selfie camera, a rear dual camera (48MP +12MP) setup, 5G connectivity, 8GB of RAM, 256GB of storage with a microSD card slot for expandable storage, and a massive 10,000mAh battery for less than $1,000 USD.

Korean juggernaut Samsung has been working on foldable smartphones since it started filing patents for foldable screens back in 2011. The Android giant announced its Galaxy Fold smartphone on February 20th, but before its April 26th release, recalled the device due to screen defects. After its investigation and repair, Samsung is now prepared to relaunch the Galaxy Fold at the end of July. Its foldable smartphone is to be distinguished from Samsung's upcoming dual display smartphone it filed a patent for recently that has a full front display and partial back cover display.

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About the Author

Deidre Richardson

Staff News Writer
Deidre Richardson is a tech lover whose insatiable desire for all things tech has kept her in tech journalism some eight years now. She is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she earned BA degrees in both History and Music. Since graduating from Carolina in 2006, Richardson obtained a Master of Divinity degree and spent four years in postgraduate seminary studies. She's written five books since 2017 and all of them are available at Amazon. You can connect with Deidre Richardson on Facebook.