Microsoft (MSFT) on Wednesday announced a Sept. 10 release for the Surface Duo, the company’s first smartphone offering since the company quietly retired the Windows Phone 10 operating system in 2017.

The dual-screen Android device is now available for preorder from multiple outlets and starts at $1,399.

First announced in October 2019, the Duo is a distinct entry into the burgeoning foldable phone market. Unlike the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2, the Duo features two discrete 5.6-inch screens separated by a hinge instead of one screen made with special folding glass. When opened, the “phablet” is only 4.8-millimeters thick, which Microsoft said makes it the thinnest device on the market.

“I’m not trying to reinvent the phone,” Panos Panay, chief product officer for Microsoft, said during an online briefing on the product. “But I do believe this is a better way to get things done.”

With it premium price tag and unconventional form factor, Microsoft has pitched the Duo as less of a traditional smartphone and more of a specialized tool for app multitasking. With the full suite of Android apps on offer, the Duo is capable of running one app or web page per screen. During the announcement briefing, Microsoft gave the example of CEO Satya Nadella reading a book on the Kindle app while making notes with the OneNote app on the other screen.

Windows Phone, the company’s last endeavor into the mobile market, first launched in 2010 with the Windows Phone 7 OS. The software was largely available on Nokia branded phones, and saw the release of follow-ups, Windows Phone 8 and 10, in 2012 and 2015, respectively.

Microsoft’s OS was never able to capture any sort of competitive market share, due to the dominance of Apple iOS and Android products. In 2017, company representative announced that no new features or updates were in the works for the platforms, signaling its end and paving the way for the use of Android with the Surface Duo.

Microsoft shares were trading at around $208.76 around 11:00 a.m. following the announcement, up roughly 2.6% since the market opened.

Microsoft could become a major force in social media if it acquires the assets of Chinese-owned TikTok Microsoft could become a major force in social media if it acquires the assets of Chinese-owned TikTok Photo: AFP / Johannes EISELE