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Last month editor Windows Central Zach Bowden discovered eBay an unusual version of the Surface Duo foldable smartphone, which features a matte plastic body, a rounder appearance, a smaller main camera array, and flat displays like the first generation Surface Duo.
Immediately there was an assumption that we have an engineering sample of some unreleased device. By the time the device was authenticated, this version of the Surface Duo had already been sold to an unknown buyer, and the listing on eBay had been removed. But what was this device?
Zach Bowden’s sources say that this smartphone was developed under the code name Cronos and was supposed to be released in late 2022 as a cheaper version of the Surface Duo 2. The device was equipped with a mid-range processor from Qualcomm, had two main cameras, flat displays without a notification strip, and the body was all plastic. For comparison: the flagship Surface Duo 2 is based on the Snapdragon 888, has three main cameras, curved displays with a frequency of 90 Hz, and the smartphone body is made of glass and plastic.
Technical characteristics of Cronos would reduce the cost of smartphones of this form factor. However, it is not known at what price Microsoft planned to sell the younger version of the Surface Duo. As for the possible name, Cronos could well enter the market under the Surface Duo Go brand.
Work on the Cronos project was terminated at the end of 2021. The company has decided to focus on building its next flagship smartphone, the Surface Duo, due out in the second half of 2023.
Microsoft probably wants to wait until the Surface Duo line gets a little stronger, after which it will be possible to think about releasing models for other price segments. The appearance of Cronos confirms that the company wants to expand the line in the future, but the time has not yet come for this.
It’s also worth adding that Microsoft is actively working on releasing Android 12L for existing Surface Duo models. The update is expected to be released in the next few months.