Microsoft Surface Duo is all just spin

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It’s a fascinating product, but will you want to spin it?

I’ve been waiting for this moment ever since Microsoft last made me reconsider my gadgetary definitions.

A year ago, the company’s chief product officer, Panos Panay, first introduced the innovative Surface Duo and insisted it wasn’t a phone.

Instead, he said: “You’re going to talk about it as a phone, and I get that. You’re going to talk about it as a communication device, and it does both those things incredibly well. But make no mistake, this product is a Surface.”

The initial chuckle didn’t dampen my enthusiasm. I’m moved by dual-screen phones and how they might make life if not better, then at least more interesting. And the Surface Duo will certainly be worth looking at, as soon as I can find one. (If only there was a nearby Microsoft store.)

I wondered, however, how Microsoft was going to present this new Surface to the outside world. So here we are, with the Surface Duo being launched and Redmond offering some new usage ideas, some “new possibilities” for your life.

In a new ad posted to Twitter, the company suggests you bend it inside out and perform origami-esque moves with it. 

It also suggests you spin it around in your hands and see how that feels.

Indeed, Microsoft wants you to practice the spinning using as many different angles as you can. Spin it while it’s flat. Spin it by holding its very edges. Be daring and spin it with just one hand. You can try flipping it occasionally too, just for variation.

I assume this is to impress your friends with your Surface moves the minute you get one. 

Frankly, Microsoft has a point. You buy the most expensive new phones to impress friends, family, potential lovers and casual onlookers. So why wouldn’t you spend $1,400 on a Surface Duo for similar reasons? 

And wouldn’t it be an even greater delight if you can perfect some of the moves in this ad and even practice them with your Duo-owning friends — a sort of Duo lingo for those in the know?

Moreover, I know Microsoft wants the Duo to put a new, livelier spin onto your existence because, if I’m not mistaken, the music in this ad is the instrumental part of Queen’s seminal “Keep Yourself Alive.

But I still feel a slight shiver. You see, when the very first Surface emerged in 2012, Microsoft launched it with an ad in which people played with the product. They also danced. And young women wore, oh, schoolgirl outfits.

This painful work of art still conjures troubled thoughts. So seeing this new Duo ad brings back one or two of those original playtime nightmares.

But the Surface Duo is a fine, very pretty and innovative product, one I want to like. My colleague Mary-Jo Foley already has one and can offer many productive revelations about the Duo experience.

I’m relieved, though, that the ad does finally come to (something of) a more serious, productive dénouement.

Right at the end, a man uses the Surface Duo to, oh, take a call.


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