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Microsoft launches ‘foldable-like’

At Microsoft’s Surface event in New York yesterday, it launched the Surface Duo, a pocket-sized two screened device that runs Windows and Android apps, writes BRYAN TURNER.

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Microsoft has entered the foldable race with a different type of foldable called the Surface Duo. It is a pocket sized Windows device that folds like a 360 degree computer and features two screens.

We’ve called it “foldable-like”, because other manufacturers have made screens that actually fold, while this device features two distinct screens with a very small bezel between them. One can think of it as a small laptop that has replaced the keyboard and trackpad with another screen. This approach may just be the most cost-effective approach to getting users on-board with foldable at the right price.

Microsoft says it will be able to run Windows apps as well as Android apps. Its form factor is 5.6-inches per screen, which can be folded back into a one-screen configuration. When fully opened, it becomes an 8.3-inch Windows tablet with multitasking on each screen. The hinge allows it to act like a laptop with a virtual keyboard, or as a stand for watching videos or multitasking. For those who want to take notes, it also supports the Surface Pen stylus.

It will run a new type of Windows 10, called Windows 10X, which is specifically designed for this new category of dual-screen, touch-enabled PC. 

Watch the launch video below to see how this device looks and feels in the various configurations.

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Motorola unveils foldable Razr

Motorola has relaunched a new Razr flip phone, dubbed the Moto Razr 2019, that flips out into a full 6.2 inch smartphone – without a display crease on its fold.

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The iconic Moto Razr flip phone has returned, but instead of a tiny LCD with a T9 keyboard, users get a 6.2 inch OLED foldable Android phone. Having a foldable OLED display puts the new Moto Razr in the same league as the Huawei Mate X and Samsung Galaxy Fold. This also, naturally, means it’s extremely expensive, starting at $1500 in the US, and is locked to Verizon for now.

Two major aspects make this device stand out: the hinge design, and the unfolding design. The new hinge uses an interesting unfolding technique, that features a large air gap to allow the hinge to move out the way of the display. This is vital for reducing the crease to the point where it’s no longer noticeable.

Credit: Yanko Design

The way it unfolds seems a bit more practical than the other phone-to-tablet designs we’ve seen so far. Instead, we now see a smartphone-in-hand, which means when closed, the device is really small, but normal-sized (by 2019 standards) when unfolded. It also allows the Razr to dethone the Galaxy Note 10+ for the crown of the tallest phone on the market. It’s great to see a different kind of foldable.

The design remains strikingly similar to its older sibling, with some improvements like a fingerprint sensor on the chin, and a much larger camera lens.

The biggest drawback is the spec-to-price ratio, for a Snapdragon 710, which is not a flagship processor. At half the price, one could get a Snapdragon flagship or another equivalent flagship processor device from Samsung, Huawei, LG, or even an iPhone 11. 

Fortunately, it comes packed with 6GB of RAM, so performance will likely be smooth for those who aren’t playing graphics-intensive games. Another huge plus for nostalgic users is retro mode, which skins the phone with a small screen and T9 keyboard, like its 2004 sibling.

Motorola says the device will be available in Europe, Latin America, Asia, and Australia. The new Razr will launch in the US first, and only on Verizon, on 9 January 2020, with preorders starting 26 December.

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Dynabook adds 13.5-hour laptop battery to Tecra range

Dynabook, formerly Toshiba, has announced the A40-E, a lightweight laptop with a 13.5-hour battery life.

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Dynabook Europe GmbH has announced the latest addition to its Tecra range of laptops with the new A40-E. Being a highly portable, highly connected, and secure business laptop, the device has been designed to meet the Microsoft Modern Computer standard. The product completes Dynabook’s A-Series family, alongside the recently announced Portégé A30-E.

Weighing in at 1.47kg and boasting up to 13.5 hours of battery life¹ – with a Quick Charge feature giving 4 hours’ battery life from just 30 minutes’ charging – the Tecra A40-E offers users optimal portability. It features a 14-inch Full HD anti-glare display that reduces workers’ eye strain and means performance is not impacted by variable lighting. The A40-E has also been designed with durability at its core. It has a highly robust chassis and has been tested under rigorous military-grade standards. 

“The Tecra A40-E has been developed with all businesses in mind, no matter what their size or industry,” says Damian Jaume, President of Dynabook Europe GmbH. “The launch of this device demonstrates our commitment to innovate within the European business PC market and broaden our range of user-centric devices, following on from our company rebrand.”

The A40-E has been developed with a range of robust, in-built security measures. Dynabook’s in-hous BIOS provides enterprise-grade security, alongside a Trusted Platform Module (TPM), which stores data safely. Two-factor authentication also protects against unsolicited logins should the device be lost or stolen. A SecurePad with fingerprint reader is included as standard, with optional Smart Card reader and face recognition also available.

It features a USB Type-C port and, depending on configuration, one or two further USB 3.1 ports, along with Gigabit LAN, HDMI port, and micro-SD slot. An optional USB-C dock provides further connectivity options. The device’s Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 8265 Wi-Fi Antenna configuration enables fast Internet connection. Optional LTE also ensures Internet is available to employees outside of Wi-Fi zones. 

The device is also equipped with an 8th generation Intel Core processor and a range of storage capabilities including three SSD options – 256GB, 512GB, 1TB PCIe – to enable high performance and efficient workflows whatever budgetary and capacity requirements a business may have.

The dynabook Tecra A40-E will be available in January 2020.

¹measured with Mobile Mark™ 2014. Mobile Mark is a trademark of Business Applications Performance Corporation

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