But Panos Panay, Microsoft’s chief product officer, doesn’t want you to call it a phone.
Never mind that the thing slips in and out of the pocket of Panay’s salt-and-pepper tweed blazer exactly the way a smartphone would.
Or that one of the earliest scenes in the marketing video for the thing, with its slow, fetishized swirls of the gadget, shows a woman picking it up to her ear and saying “Hello?” the way you would with, well, you know.
Or that Panay himself admits he makes what are universally known as a “phone calls” from it.
Never mind that it doesn't run Windows but Android, the most widely-used smartphone operating system in the world.
When you ask Panay what this thing is, this device with a seam and two side-by-side screens that fold closed like a soft Moleskin notebook, he immediately says, “It’s a Surface.” The company’s chief executive, Satya Nadella, underscores this distinction, saying Microsoft is not entering an existing device category; instead, it’s trying to create a new one.