Microsoft's £1,000 folding phone is seriously dividing opinion

Times are tough right now, so sinking a grand into a flashy new piece of consumer tech probably isn’t what most people are considering.

Still, Microsoft has announced pricing and a release date for the Surface Duo folding phone it announced last year.

It’s kind of a big deal for tech fans as Microsoft famously bowed out of the smartphone scene when Windows Phone OS was brought to its knees by iOS and Android.

But now Microsoft is back with a new device that it hopes will receive the same warm reception as its excellent Surface Pro hybrid computers.

Except the Surface Duo is only available in the US (on September 10) and will have a starting price of 1,399 US dollars (£1,072). Ouch.

The Duo runs on Android and has Microsoft’s notable suite of Office apps pre-installed. But that hasn’t stopped gadget fans pointing out it’s running on underpowered hardware for the price.

Discussions about it online have varied between excitement and outright scepticism.

When unfolded, the Duo boasts two displays which can be used individually or together as a single 8.1-inch screen.

Microsoft says it has been designed to support a number of multitasking modes and includes a 360-degree hinge for placement and use in a range of positions.

The technology giant’s chief product officer, Panos Panay, said the aim of the Duo was ‘not to reinvent the phone, but to inspire people to rethink how they want to use the device in their pocket’.

The Surface Duo will be a new rival in the foldable phone category for the likes of Samsung and Huawei, both of which have released a number of flexible screen foldable devices in the last year.

Microsoft has not released a mobile phone since 2016, and back then they were considerably cheaper.

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