Although Microsoft announced the Android-powered Surface Duo a full year ahead of its consumer release, the dual-screened device still has some secrets to give up. It now looks like Microsoft is working on various camera configurations for the upcoming hardware.
The Microsoft Corp. Surface Duo smartphone is displayed during a product event in New York, U.S., on … [+]
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The latest details on the camera come from a published patent. Called ‘Image Capture Using A Hinged Device With Multiple Cameras’, it describes a dual-screened device, much like the Surface Duo or Surface Neo, and how it could utilise multiple cameras. Mayank Parmar looks at the options:
“In the filing, Microsoft says a dual-screen device can have up to four cameras, wherein the first and second camera simultaneously capture an image. The first and second modules are configured to face the object, while the third and fourth cameras are configured to face forward.”
Microsoft is clear that this is not a phone, but for any modern mobile device, having a good camera is table stakes. A lot of development is put into cameras on smartphones, and camera specs are becoming more important on tablet devices (look at the rumored time of flight camera being prepared for the iPad Pro).
It makes sense for Microsoft to be working on the camera hardware of the entire Surface range, but especially the smaller Surface Duo. And as with any manufacturer, there will be a number of machines with different configurations to see how they perform in the real world, and of course any new technique is going to be protected by a patent.
Microsoft’s Chief Product Officer Panos Panay holds a Surface Duo at an event, Wednesday, Oct. 2, … [+]
So far we’ve officially seen one Surface Duo when the device was launched, and one mysteriously appearing on a subway train in Vancouver with many of the key features on show. Both of these featured a single camera above the screens. Yet the patent suggests that a number of camera locations and numbers of lenses have at least been discussed, if not tried out on actual Surface hardware.
Which will win out? The simplest answer is the single lens that matches the early build show by Microsoft’s Panos Panay last year. But with a powerful camera becoming a key battleground in mobile devices, there may yet be more surprises before the Surface Duo hits the retail shelves at the end of the year.