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Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 (2019) Review



The king of 2-in-1 laptops is back. Dell’s new XPS 13 2-in-1 boasts a powerful Intel 10th Gen Core i7 processor, a superbright 16:10 display and double-digit battery life, all wrapped in an ultraportable 2-in-1 design and selling for $1,597 (starting at $979). However, the laptop’s slim design comes at the cost of a shallow keyboard and scant ports. But overall, that doesn’t stop the XPS 13 2-in-1 from earning its place as one of the best laptops out there.article continued below

Price and configuration options

The XPS 13 2-in-1 that I tested costs $1,597 and is outfitted with an Intel Core i7-1065G7 processor, 16GB of RAM, a 512GB SSD, a 1920 x 1200 display and an Arctic White interior.

You can pick up the base model for $979, and it’ll come with a Core i3-1005G1 CPU, 4GB of RAM, a 256GB SSD and a Black interior.

If you want to customize this baby to the max, you’re going to get the same CPU and storage in our unit, but upgrade to 32GB of RAM and a 3840 x 2400 display.

However, if none of this is in your budget, consider taking a look at our laptop buying guide and our best laptops under $500.


We’ve seen the traditional Platinum Silver design a number of times on the XPS line, and while it’s not as lovely as Rose Gold, it still looks premium on the new XPS 13 2-in-1. Unfortunately, Rose Gold isn’t actually available in the 2-in-1 (only in the standard XPS 13). The XPS 13 2-in-1 still has a glossy, silver Dell logo on its aluminum hood, but what lures me in is how the lid is just slightly slanted with the deck, moving away from the flat design on most laptops.

I got blasted with a storm of Arctic White when I opened the XPS 13. Thanks to the variable torque within the laptop’s hinge, I was able to open the machine up with just one finger, while the laptop stayed still (this made my co-worker giddy). The woven glass-fiber interior looked as slick as it did on the XPS 13, and the Platinum Silver, 360-degree hinges added a nice contrast to the blinding-white design. The bezels on the 16:10 display are pleasantly slim, and like the new standard XPS 13, the 2-in-1 sports a webcam on the top bezel. There’s also a Windows Hello-enabled fingerprint reader that doubles as the power button.

Folding this machine into tablet mode felt smooth, and thanks to the magnets that can stick the lid to the underside, the XPS 13 2-in-1 was sturdy in my hands.

Thanks to the variable torque within the laptop’s hinge, I was able to open the machine up using just one finger, while the laptop stayed still.

At 2.9 pounds and 11.7 x 8.2 x 0.3~0.5 inches, the Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 is not only the slimmest 13-inch laptop among its competition, but it will also fit into any laptop bag. However, it is still around the same weight as the HP Spectre x360 (2.8 pounds, 12.2 x 8.6 x 0.6 inches), Apple MacBook Pro (3 pounds, 12 x 8.4 x 0.6 inches) and Razer Blade Stealth (2.9 pounds, 12 x 8.3 x 0.6 inches).


While the XPS 13 2-in-1 is certainly scant on ports, it still somehow manages to beat the 13-inch MacBook Pro‘s two Thunderbolt 3 ports.

On the left side, there’s one Thunderbolt 3 port and a microSD card slot, while the right side holds room for the headphone jack and another Thunderbolt 3 port. The system does come with an included USB Type-C-to-Type-A adapter.

You’re probably going to want to pick up a USB Type-C hub or a docking station to expand your ports.


With a 13.4-inch screen, the XPS 13 2-in-1 boasts a 16:10-aspect-ratio, touch-screen display at 1920 x 1200. And boy, it is bright and just colorful enough to put you in a trance.

In the trailer for Zombieland: Double Tap, Woody Harrelson’s presidential Santa outfit glowed a proper crimson red that contrasted well with his fluffy, bright white beard. When fireworks popped off over a building in the dead of night, I could clearly see each and every zombie in the shot as well as the trees around them. The stitching in Harrelson’s jacket popped on the XPS 13 2-in-1’s sharp screen.

Despite what I saw during real-world testing, the XPS 13 2-in-1’s panel isn’t as colorful as I expected. According to our colorimeter, the screen covers 113% of the sRGB color gamut, which is good, but it doesn’t match up with the premium laptop average (131%). The XPS 13 can’t compete with the Spectre x360 (150%), MacBook Pro (163%) or Razer Blade Stealth (120%), either.

The XPS 13 2-in-1’s display is just colorful enough to put you in a trance.

However, what it lacks in color, the XPS 13 makes up for in screen brightness. This baby’s display averaged 516 nits of brightness, crushing the category average (348 nits) as well as the results from the Spectre x360 (287 nits), MacBook Pro (441 nits) and Razer Blade Stealth (346 nits).

Keyboard, touchpad and pen

I have a sort of love-hate relationship with the XPS 13 2-in-1’s keyboard. It’s incredibly shallow, and while it offers some click, it feels a little sticky. It is reminiscent to the MacBook Pro’s keyboard, but the typing experience is much more comfortable. If you’re a fan of the recent MacBooks, then you’ll love this keyboard. If not, your fingers face a learning curve.

I ran my fingers through the typing test and scored 70 words per minute, matching my exact average. To make a more portable product, Dell had to sacrifice key travel, but this didn’t affect my typing much.

The XPS 2-in-1’s keyboard does have white backlighting, but it looks barely lit at maximum brightness, and the lighting doesn’t fully bold the letters.

For $99 extra, you can get the XPS 13 2-in-1 with Dell’s Premium Active Pen (PN579X), which offers 4,096 levels of pressure sensitivity, a 240-Hz report rate and tilt support. This stylus features three buttons that are customizable via Windows Ink Workspace. The pen is powered by a AAAA battery. When I put the device to the test, it kept up with me as I speedily drew a wooden dock on a beach with a rickety boat next to it.

The 4.4 x 2.6-inch touchpad felt premium, like being greeted by velvety-smooth bed sheets after a long day at work. The embedded clickers were a little shallow, but I didn’t feel like I bottomed out, and Windows 10 gestures like two-finger scrolling and three-finger tabbing worked swimmingly. Still, a productivity mouse will improve your workflow over a touchpad anyday.


At maximum volume, the XPS 13 2-in-1’s bottom-firing speakers weren’t as loud as I’d like, but overall, they sounded decent. In Arctic Monkeys’ “R U Mine?” the slick guitar riffs in the intro were bright. The percussion that lands in between the riffs could’ve had a little more depth. However, the vocals were crisp and shined throughout the song.

The XPS 13 2-in-1 comes with the Waves MaxxAudio Pro audio software. Unfortunately, there aren’t any presents apart from the default one. But you can customize the sound yourself via an EQ and simpler dials for bass, details and width. As much as I tried to mess with the sound, I found that the default preset sounded the best.


Packed with an Intel Core i7-1065G7 processor and 16GB of RAM, the XPS 13 2-in-1 had no problem tearing through 40 Google Chrome tabs and five 1080p YouTube videos while I blasted Spotify in the background.

On the Geekbench 4.3 overall-performance benchmark, the XPS 13 2-in-1 nailed 19,225, dominating the premium laptop average (16,234). The Core i7-8565U CPUs in the Spectre x360 (14,935) and the Razer Blade Stealth (16,934) couldn’t get near the XPS 13, although the MacBook Pro’s Core i5 CPU (17,366) came close.

The XPS 13 2-in-1 transcoded a 4K video to 1080p in 24 minutes and 49 seconds, which is a little sluggish compared to the category average (22:05). This machine was slower than the Spectre x360 (22:30), MacBook Pro (14:42) and Razer Blade Stealth (20:34). We did notice some wonky results upon retesting, however. In the second test, that time came down to 16 minutes. When we tested the machine again, it reverted back to its original score.

Dell’s 512GB SSD copied 4.97GB of data in just 11 seconds, translating to 463 megabytes per second, which isn’t far from the category average (510 MBps). The 256GB in the Spectre x360 (391 MBps) and the Razer Blade Stealth (254 MBps) didn’t do so well, while the MacBook Pro’s 256GB SSD excelled, with a rate of 1,220 MBps.


With an Intel Iris Plus GPU, the XPS 13 2-in-1 hit 47 frames per second on the Dirt 3 benchmark (Medium, 1080p), which is playable but below the premium laptop average (63 fps). The XPS 13 fell far behind the Razer Blade Stealth (164 fps), thanks to that machine’s Nvidia MX250 GPU, but Dell’s laptop also fell to the Spectre x360’s Intel 620 UHD GPU (56 fps). The XPS 13 2-in-1 did, however, surpass the MacBook Pro’s Intel Iris Plus 645 GPU (31 fps). At 1200p, the XPS 13 hit 45 fps.

Battery life

Even with a taller screen ratio on a higher-resolution display, the XPS 13 2-in-1’s battery life kicks butt. When continuously surfing the web over Wi-Fi at 150 nits of brightness, the XPS 13’s battery survived 10 hours and 57 minutes, flying by the average premium laptop (8:08). The XPS 13 outlasted the MacBook Pro (10:48) and the Razer Blade Stealth (8:05), but it has nothing on the Spectre x360 (12:07).


As you might imagine, the XPS 13 2-in-1’s 720p shooter isn’t the biggest highlight, apart from its placement.

While my test shots didn’t look as blotchy as they do on most webcams, my face was rather soft, so it was difficult to suss out any detail in my beard or hair. The color on my blue-and-gray shirt actually looked decent, but the lights above my head completely blew out the ceiling, so it didn’t manage the contrast of the real scene well. As with most laptops, you should probably invest in a good external webcam and a privacy cover.


This baby is a stone-cold killer.

After the laptop streamed a 15-minute 1080p video, the underside measured 93 degrees Fahrenheit, putting the temp safely below our 95-degree comfort threshold. The center of the keyboard and touchpad hit 93 and 86 degrees, respectively. The hottest the machine got actually wasn’t on the underside, but rather just above the keyboard’s F8 key, an area that reached 99 degrees.

Software and warranty

Dell includes a seemingly endless amount of branded software in the XPS 13 2-in-1.

There’s Dell Mobile Connect (used to make calls, send texts and mirror-screen from your phone), Dell Customer Connect (an entire app dedicated to give you surveys), Dell Digital Delivery (a library of your software purchases from Dell), Dell Power Manager (monitors battery health and thermal management) and Dell Update (updates Dell applications and BIOS).

You also get the Killer Control Center, which you can use to manage your bandwidth. There’s also some Windows 10 bloatware, like Farm Heroes Saga, Candy Crush Friends Saga and Microsoft Solitaire Collection.

Dell ships the XPS 13 2-in-1 with a one-year, limited warranty. See how Dell performed on our Tech Support Showdown and Best and Worst Brands ranking.

Bottom line

The XPS 13 2-in-1 is a monster in a small package. Its slim design is jampacked with powerful performance, a superbright 16:10 display and an excellent battery life. Unfortunately, you might find it difficult to get used to the shallow keyboard and the less-than-desirable number of ports.

If you’re looking for a laptop with a better keyboard and more ports, than the Razer Blade Stealth is perfect for you. For $1,599, you’ll also get strong graphics performance and better audio than on the Dell.

However, the XPS 13 is not only one of the best 2-in-1 laptops around, but also one of the best laptops currently available.


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Introducing Pixelbook Go, a Chromebook laptop for people on a budget




Slim metal body, large touchpad, expansive 13.3-inch screen. Is it a MacBook Air? Or, a Surface Laptop? No, it’s a Google Pixelbook.

Next to Google’s newest Pixel 4 phonesPixel Buds earbuds and Nest products at Google’s fall hardware event, there’s also a new made-by-Google Chromebook in town. It isn’t a convertible tablet-hybrid or a snap-on-keyboard solution like last year’s Pixel Slate. It’s a laptop. Just a laptop. And maybe that’s a good thing?

The Pixelbook Go is designed to be a lighter, better and more affordable Chrome laptop than the really good but really expensive Pixelbook Google made two years ago. The Go has a larger screen (13.3 inches), but it’s lighter (2.4 pounds), shifting to a magnesium chassis. Google’s product team took me through what’s new, and why a more comfortable laptop experience was the most important goal this time around.

The bottom of the Not Pink Pixelbook Go, and its grippy pattern.James Martin/CNET

Pixel design touches

Besides being lighter, the Pixelbook Go promises to be better for typing on: A new keyboard is designed to feel better than the already pretty good Pixelbook keys, and quieter. The touchpad’s larger, too. My eyes are immediately drawn to a funky, grippy pattern on the bottom of the Go, a signature design move that’s supposed to help the laptop stay put on tables and be more easily held. It’s a good-looking laptop. Much like the MacBook Air or the Microsoft Surface Laptop, it has a clean overall look.

The Pixel phonelike design of the Pixelbook Go is there too, especially in the colors. The black and “not pink” color variants match what Google’s Pixel 3 phone came in last year. The curved and softer feel seems to fit the look, as well.

This is definitely the Chromebook I’d like to do work on, I think. But I tried “living on” the Pixelbook earlier this year and really appreciated it, too. Chromebooks are already really good at doing what they do. The limitations come down to being committed to Chrome and Google Play, and price.

A faster charge

Fast-charging through USB-C should offer a 2-hour boost in 20 minutes, which is more like what I’d expect from a phone. After suffering through used-up laptop batteries and waiting for a recharge, this sounds like a welcome change. The larger battery should last longer than those of previous Pixelbooks, too, 12 hours on a full charge according to Google.

The Pixelbook Go’s larger touchpad and quieter keyboard.James Martin/CNET

Standard specs, no microSD card slot

The Pixelbook Go may start at $649, but its tiered pricing and specs sound a lot like what Google did last year with the Pixel SlateIntel eighth-gen processor options include an M3, Core i5, and Core i7, with storage ranging from 64GB to 256GB and 8GB or 16GB of RAM. There’s a 4K display upgrade, too, which also costs extra.

The base specs of a Core M3 processor, 64GB of storage and 8GB of RAM sound OK, but there’s no microSD card slot, so storage space is fixed. I can live off 64GB on a Chromebook, but considering that these Chromebooks can access Android apps and the subscription Google Play Pass service, I’d prefer 128GB.

Google’s Titan-C security chip, similar to what was in last year’s Pixel Slate and a variant of the Titan M chip in last year’s Pixel 3 phone, puts this Chromebook in the same security landscape as other recent Google products.

Pixelbook GoJames Martin/CNET

One more Chromebook in the Chromebook world

The Pixelbook Go will be sold alongside the older Pixelbook and last year’s Pixel Slate, which aren’t going anywhere, Google says. The Go is meant to be yet another option in Google’s device portfolio. The laptop is more affordable, starting at $650, but its price can rapidly ramp up based on configuration. The $649 model has an eighth-gen Intel Core M3 processor, 8GB of RAM and 64GB of nonexpandable storage. There’s a $1,399 model with 16GB of RAM, a 256GB SSD and a Core i7 processor. There’s also a 4K display option (the default display is 1,920×1,080 pixels). 

There are already plenty of less expensive Chromebooks out there already, though, many of which cost less and offer more flexibility and tablet transformation tricks. When I asked Google why the Pixelbook Go isn’t cheaper, the Pixelbook team indicated that OEMs already do a fine job of filling that need. The Pixelbook Go is trying to be a great midrange laptop. At a $700-range price, it better be.


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Surface Pro X vs. iPad Pro | Spec comparison




If you’re looking for a tablet that can double as a laptop, the two best options are the iPad Pro and freshly-announced Surface Pro X.  Both these devices sport super-slim bezels, support for a pen, as well as a keyboard accessory that you may need for typing.

The Surface Pro X is the newer of the two devices, though you might be wondering how it stands up to the latest iPad Pro. In this guide, we’ll compare design, performance, and portability, and help you choose the right one for you.


surface pro x vs ipad 01

In terms of design, both iPad Pro and Surface Pro X are super slim and pack a large immersive display. However, there are some notable differences. First off, the bezels on the iPad Pro are much slimmer all the way around on the top, left, right, and bottom sides of the device. The bezels on the Surface Pro X have been cut down on the sides, but the top and bottom borders still remain a bit chunky.

iPad Pro 2018 256GB Wifi Only

The iPad Pro is insanely sleek, full of interesting features, and undoubtedly the most powerful tablet ever made.

As for the display between those borders, both devices are high-resolution options. The Surface Pro X comes a 2,880 x 1,920 (267 PPI), and the iPad Pro has a 2,732 x 2,048 (264 PPI) screen. The Surface Pro X also sports a 3:2 aspect ratio, whereas the iPad Pro is sporting 4:3. That makes the Surface Pro X a better option for productivity, while the iPad feels a bit more square, making for a nicer tablet experience.

The Pro X also has slightly more pixels per inch than the iPad, but the iPad Pro sports a brighter 600 nit 120Hz True Tone display, which we found makes scrolling smoother and more responsive. The Surface Pro X is slightly behind with a dimmer 450 nit 60Hz panel, common for most Windows devices.

Importantly, the Surface Pro X benefits from the built-in kickstand, which makes the device easier to use on your lap or on a desk.

11 inch apple ipad pro deal on amazon 2018

Next, there is a need to address connectivity, which is also different between the two tablets. On the iPad Pro, there is a single USB-C port, as well as a keyboard connector port and a nano SIM Slot. The Surface Pro X, meanwhile, doubles that up. It features two USB-C ports, nano SIM, as well as Microsoft’s proprietary Surface Connect port for charging. You’ll also find the connector for the keyboard on the bottom.

Both products lack a headphone jack, which means you’ll need to buy a dongle or use a newer pair of headphones. There’s also no SD-card slot, which means you’ll need to settle on a storage option that fits your need, though the Surface Pro X does feature swappable SSDs.

Finally, both 2-in-1’s sport an option for a keyboard cover. Apple’s Smart Keyboard comes in at the cost of $170. It’s fairly comfortable and has a lot of key travel, as we found in our review. However, there’s no touchpad on board. That holds it back from being a true laptop replacement. It also doubles as a stand, propping up the screen to up to two angles.

The Surface Pro X, meanwhile, sports an optional $140 Type Cover. In terms of comfort, we found essentially the same as what we experienced with the Surface Pro 6, but it now also houses a special spot in the top for the Surface Pen — which we will discuss later. However, note the Pro X does not support older Microsoft Type Covers, as the connector is different.

iPadOS has come pretty far toward offering a better software solution for multitasking and productivity, but the full version of Windows 10 offered on the Surface Pro X will be more familiar for most people. The iPad Pro wins the tablet comparison, but the Surface Pro X is the better laptop replacement.


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In terms of performance, there’s quite a bit difference between the iPad Pro and the Surface Pro X. Unlike previous Intel-based devices, Microsoft partnered with Qualcomm to create an ARM-based Microsoft SoC, dubbed the SQ1 processor. The iPad Pro, meanwhile, sports a custom ARM-based Apple SoC, named the Apple A12 bionic.

The SQ1 runs at 3GHz, sports eight cores, and two teraflops of graphics power. Microsoft says this SoC features three times more performance per watt than the Surface Pro 6’s Intel 8th-gen chip. However, there are some limitations to take note of, as some areas of Windows 10 and 64-bit apps aren’t optimized for ARM-based chipsets. More testing is needed, but it should still be great for web browsing, and other day to day activities. Other apps like Photoshop might not work quite as well.

surface pro x vs ipad sq1 microsoft

Now onto the iPad Pro. It sports the A12 Bionic processor. This has eight cores and also an embedded M12 co-processor. We found this processor quite powerful for editing in Photoshop and Lightroom, as well as for gaming in Civilization VI. No matter what you download from the app store, the iPad Pro will run it at breakneck speeds.

Quite obviously, the iPad Pro is limited to apps in the App Store, as it is powered by iPadOS. The Pro X meanwhile runs full Windows 10 and is compatible with Google Chrome and other traditional Windows programs, though there will be limits to 32-bit apps, as we mentioned before.


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In terms of portability, the Surface Pro X and the iPad Pro are almost neck and neck. The Surface Pro X measures in at 11.3 x 8.2 x 0.28 inches, and the iPad Pro at 9.7 x 7 x. 0.23 inches. In weight, Surface Pro X is about 1.7 pounds, whereas the iPad Pro is 1.4 pounds.

Now, for battery life. With the iPad Pro, Apple promises up to 10 hours of battery life, though we were able to push our iPad Pro through several days with a few hours usage at a time. The iPad Pro also supports fast charging, with the optional 30-watt USB-C Power Adapter.

Next, Microsoft promises up to 13 hours of battery life on the Surface Pro X with the screen at 150 nits of brightness. We need to test it more, but judging the fact that the Pro X is an always-connected PC — which we’ve seen get up to 13 hours of battery — we’re assuming that this is indeed true. It also supports fast charging, via the Surface Connect port. Microsoft especially claims that this can get you to an 80% charge in just one hour.

microsoft surface pro x review 2

We’ll also mention the support for LTE on the devices. All models of the Surface Pro X have a nano-SIM tray. That means that you get LTE with any configuration, whereas with the iPad Pro, you need to pay $150 extra if you want a model with LTE.

Finally, there is the pen. Microsoft’s new Surface Slim Pen with the Surface Pro X slots right into the Type Cover keyboard and recharges wirelessly. This makes it easy for portability, but it’s also a separate $145 purchase. That’s significantly more than the $129 Apple Pencil, which also charges wirelessly and can attach to the top of the iPad Pro.

For now, the iPad Pro is the winner

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The Surface Pro X doesn’t launch until November 5, so right now, the iPad Pro is your only real option. But beyond that, most people will be happier with Apple’s offering. Configured with 64GB of storage and LTE support (that is the default on the Surface Pro X,) it starts at $1,149. The price then comes up to $1,448 when factoring in the keyboard and Apple Pencil cost.

With the Surface Pro X, you’ll be paying $999 for just the device, when configured with 8GB of RAM and 128GB of storage. That is then pushed up to $1,285 with the keyboard and pen. Sure, it is cheaper than buying an LTE connected iPad Pro, and you get much more storage space, but there is a lot that is currently unknown about the device.

We need to test the Surface Pro X some more to see the true performance of the SQ1 chipset, as well as match the battery life claims.  iPad Pro is the way to go right now, but that could change when we get more time with the Surface Pro X.


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Microsoft says its Surface Duo phone isn’t really a phone — here’s why




Microsoft doesn’t want you to think of the newly announced Surface Duo as a phone. And the reasons are far from technical. The Surface Duo attaches two 5.6-inch screens around a central hinge. It has a modem to connect to the network and make phone calls. By any definition, Microsoft has made a phone. It even runs Android.

Panos Panay, Microsoft’s chief product officer, even had difficulty denying that the Surface Duo is a phone. During the launch presentation in New York, he acknowledged that media would probably refer to it that way no matter how he spun it. (Here are 8 things we still don’t know about the Surface Duo.)

“Make no mistake,” Panay said by way of a redirect. “This is a Surface device.”

Microsoft announced the Surface Duo at a pivotal time when interest in devices that can double a phone’s screen size is on the rise. Samsung’s problematic Galaxy Fold shows the promise of an ultralarge screen you can fold up and put in your pocket, but it also revealed the peril of a bendable screen that’s far weaker than glass. With the Surface Duo, Microsoft thinks it can do better than fragile foldable phones.

In the Surface Duo, Microsoft attempts to plant a flag on the best of both worlds, a cellular device that doubles your screen size with two sturdy glass screens.

Microsoft Surface Duo and Surface Neo

Microsoft Surface Neo and Surface Duo: Dual-screen prototypes up close26 PHOTOS

So why can’t a Surface device be a phone, too?

Phone or Surface device, the difference is mainly semantic. Perhaps it exists within Microsoft’s marketing psyche as a way to deflect an awkward explanation for why a company with such a rich history making Windows phone software is now trying to sell an Android phone.

Maybe calling the Duo a “phone” is a way to explain why it doesn’t have a second, external screen like the Galaxy Fold and other prototypes we’ve seen. Or maybe it would be Microsoft uncomfortably admitting defeat after it closed its phone business in 2016 — the Lumia 650 was the last phone to run mobile Windows software. 

“Surface Duo does much more than make phone calls – it’s a dual-screen Surface that fits in your pocket, bringing together the best of Microsoft productivity experiences, Android apps, and Surface hardware design into a single device,” said a Microsoft spokesperson in an email.

Before the iPhone arrived in 2007, Windows Mobile was on the rise, with a 50% US marketshare in Q2 2007, according to NPD Group, and 12% global reach, according to O’Reilly, citing Gartner

At its inception, Windows Mobile software had a sophisticated file system that turned small-screen phones into mini computers that were perfect for on-the-go geeks. But it was Apple’s more intuitive iOS that caught the attention of the masses, with Google’s rapidly maturing Android OS following a year later. 

Despite several overhauls to Window Mobile, Windows Phone and Windows for phones, Microsoft’s mobile software struggled to match the features and apps available in Android and iPhone — even after buying Nokia’s phone business

By 2011, the brand barely registered 2%, while Android soared to capture 53% of the US market and iOS took 29%. Joining the Android current, which just a few years before was barely a blip on the radar, would be a bitter pill for any former competitor to swallow.

Microsoft begs to differ. “We are embracing customers where they are and building on technology they use with benefits only Microsoft can bring,” the spokesperson emailed. “We are building on top of Android, just as we’ve built on top of Chromium in our Edge browser, to give our customers the best of both companies.”

Microsoft may have a checkered mobile past, but its leadership today, helmed by Panay and CEO Satya Nadella, is taking the first necessary step to possibly repair Microsoft’s smartphone reputation. Making any kind of dent is a radical long-shot by any measure.

But by giving the Surface Duo an Android OS and the power to make calls, Microsoft is putting itself back in the conversation — no matter what kind of device you want to call it.


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