Microsoft teases dual-screen Surface Neo notebook, Surface Duo folding phone for 2020

Posted:
in General Discussion edited October 2019
Microsoft has uncharacteristically revealed a future Surface product that it doesn't plan to ship until 2020, with the Surface Neo consisting of a dual-screen notebook with an extra keyboard and stylus support.

Microsoft Surface Neo


The decision to preview both of the new devices long ahead of their expected releases is said by Microsoft to be a way to tip developers on what's coming soon, and to help encourage the development of apps that can fully take advantage of two screens.

Surface Neo

Teased at the end of its Surface hardware event, Microsoft's Surface Pro consists of two nine-inch displays on a 360-degree hinge, allowing the device to fold in half both ways. The hinge mechanism uses a micro-gear system to make sure it aligns and closes properly, while staying close to each other.

Able to be used in landscape and portrait modes, including holding it like a book, the second screen can be folded around to the back to treat it as a tablet. Apps can be launched on the screen that it was opened, allowing for multiple apps to be used at the same time, but it is also possible to span a single app across both screens, changing the layout to fit the device's design.

A Bluetooth keyboard can be magnetically attached to the back, allowing it to recharge over time. It can also be flipped out to below the device's second screen, or on top of one screen, which triggers the "Wonder Bar" in the section of the display not covered by the accessory.

A stylus is also available, again magnetically attaching to the back of the Surface Neo.

Microsoft intends to ship the Surface Neo in time for the holidays in 2020, and has yet to offer a price for the device.

Surface Duo

Microsoft also introduced the Surface Duo, a similarly-designed smartphone that uses two 5.6-inch displays that are connected by a hinge. Just like the larger version, the smartphone can use multiple apps, switch apps between screens, and fill an app across both displays.




When used in landscape, the lower display can be used as a full-screen keyboard, which should help with text entry.

Google is working with Microsoft on the device to make it work with Android apps, which enables Microsoft to offer a vast app catalog without opening its own store, or reverting back to the days of Windows Phone. It isn't clear if the device is running a version of Windows or if it is actually running a skinned version of Android, nor if this will change closer to its release.

Microsoft didn't offer much in the way of specifications, such as expected cameras or its internals, but it is believed to be running a Qualcomm Snapdragon processor of some description.

Again, without a price, Microsoft intends to ship the Surface Duo for holidays 2020.

Return of the Courier

The teasing of the Surface Neo and Surface Duo may cause some to recall the Courier tablet, a device that was being floated around by Microsoft over a decade ago, though ultimately didn't make it into production. In 2010, Microsoft confirmed it had effectively given up on shipping the device in its form at that time.

The revival may throw up questions from observers about Microsoft's choice to persist with two displays, when other hardware producers are coming up with devices with flexible screens. For example, the Samsung Fold provides a vaguely similar experience to what Microsoft proposes, but in one continuous display.

However, as Samsung's own device demonstrated, the folding display is not yet robust enough for long-term consumer use, whereas a hinge between two displays may be more hard-wearing, albeit with a visible seam between the two sections.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 33
    I love it in the video where the girl folded a dual screen Duo and using it just one lol.
    edited October 2019 watto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 33
    Duo phone? Is MSFT re-entering the SmartPhone market? With a zero market share OS? With a foldable phone that will likely not last a year and cannot be used while walking, nor easily mounted in the car? With a reputation for entering and exiting the phone biz?
    hydrogenwatto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 33
    philboogiephilboogie Posts: 7,671member
    Duo phone? Is MSFT re-entering the SmartPhone market? With a zero market share OS? With a foldable phone that will likely not last a year and cannot be used while walking, nor easily mounted in the car? With a reputation for entering and exiting the phone biz?
    It's running Android. Yup, the return of the flip-phone, running Android.

    watto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 33
    mubailimubaili Posts: 441member
    it looks ridiculous with the huge middle separation line, and in the age of Samsung Fold and Huawei Mate X
    mwhiterogifan_newmuthuk_vanalingamwatto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 33
    Duo phone? Is MSFT re-entering the SmartPhone market? With a zero market share OS? With a foldable phone that will likely not last a year and cannot be used while walking, nor easily mounted in the car? With a reputation for entering and exiting the phone biz?
    Did you even read the article? Why can this not be used when walking? Why can it not be mounted in a car? Why are you asking so many stupid questions?
    edited October 2019 ctt_zhatomic10178Banditelectrosoftbluefire1
  • Reply 6 of 33
    jimh2jimh2 Posts: 353member
    It is always a bad plan to show products before they are imminently shipping.
    williamlondonrogifan_newEsquireCatswatto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 33
    Looks interesting and it has me thinking about the creative ways that it could be used on a daily basis.  One of the most cumbersome and limiting factors of a "smartphone for everything" mentality is that we lose the usability and utility from a more grounded setup (i.e. notebook, desktop).  A multi-screen setup for my workstation at work is wonderful for productivity.  I could see the same applying tor a smartphone.  I can't be the only person that has been frustrated with the every-growing multitude of swipes and multi-finger gestures needed to wrestle around the multi-tasking functionality of existing smartphones.
  • Reply 8 of 33
    canukstormcanukstorm Posts: 2,532member
    Duo phone? Is MSFT re-entering the SmartPhone market? With a zero market share OS? With a foldable phone that will likely not last a year and cannot be used while walking, nor easily mounted in the car? With a reputation for entering and exiting the phone biz?
    Yes they are.  And it's running Android.  Not Windows.
  • Reply 9 of 33
    crowleycrowley Posts: 8,712member
    The Neo has an appeal, it will be interesting to see where the dual screen laptop concept goes, and I’m intrigued by the keyboard solution.  The same concept on the phone looks gimmicky and awkward to use.
  • Reply 10 of 33
    atomic101 said:
    Looks interesting and it has me thinking about the creative ways that it could be used on a daily basis.  One of the most cumbersome and limiting factors of a "smartphone for everything" mentality is that we lose the usability and utility from a more grounded setup (i.e. notebook, desktop).  A multi-screen setup for my workstation at work is wonderful for productivity.  I could see the same applying tor a smartphone.  I can't be the only person that has been frustrated with the every-growing multitude of swipes and multi-finger gestures needed to wrestle around the multi-tasking functionality of existing smartphones.
    I hear you. I have an iPad Pro with pencil and keyboard and my productivity is 10% from what I would be on a Mac laptop or desktop. All these swipes, gestures, cumbersome window management, limited copy/pasting and no desktop is not working for me. 
    The promise of a phone that, when connected to a monitor, turns into a desktop OS, is great.
    ravnorodomd_2bigtds
  • Reply 11 of 33
    DAalsethDAalseth Posts: 1,711member
    The folding device with two separate screens is VASTLY better than bendy screens will ever be. The two screens can be reinforced and will be solid. Future work can minimize or nearly eliminate the line in the middle. The screen will last better, and the device as a whole will be more reliable. Flexible screens are always going to be more fragile, prone to failure, and there will always be a ripple in the middle. Well done Microsoft for not following the hurd off of the bendy phone cliff.
    entropys80s_Apple_GuyRayz2016watto_cobra
  • Reply 12 of 33
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 9,449member
    Looks like Microsoft and others are betting the farm on folding phones. So phones have gotten so large now that the next step is for multiple screens?
    edited October 2019 williamlondontmaywatto_cobra
  • Reply 13 of 33
    jimh2 said:
    It is always a bad plan to show products before they are imminently shipping.
    Yep, typical Microsoft, and also in typical Microsoft fashion they'll miss their deadlines and/or cancel the products.
    cornchiphydrogenwatto_cobra
  • Reply 14 of 33
    entropysentropys Posts: 3,102member
    The wonder bar configuration with the keyboard makes the neo look like all laptops did before the PowerBook.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 15 of 33
    I feel like I'm the only one who wants a folding phone that expands to the size of a current smartphone. As opposed to taking a current phone and doubling it. I don't want a phone that is also a tablet, I was a phone that folds to half its size.
    80s_Apple_GuyDAalsethwatto_cobra
  • Reply 16 of 33
    rogifan_newrogifan_new Posts: 4,297member
    Someone needs to call Microsoft out on the BS of showing a device they admit will look different than what they showed off and it will be 12 months before it will ship. It’s basically vapor ware on stage just to get the writers at The Verge to wet their pants.
    mike54tmaymuthuk_vanalingamcornchipwatto_cobra
  • Reply 17 of 33
    entropysentropys Posts: 3,102member
    I feel like I'm the only one who wants a folding phone that expands to the size of a current smartphone. As opposed to taking a current phone and doubling it. I don't want a phone that is also a tablet, I was a phone that folds to half its size.
    I suspect technology limitations ( for example, battery tech capabilities, space for the hardware to run it) requires larger devices at the present time.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 18 of 33
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 9,449member
    Someone needs to call Microsoft out on the BS of showing a device they admit will look different than what they showed off and it will be 12 months before it will ship. It’s basically vapor ware on stage just to get the writers at The Verge to wet their pants.
    But it’s typical Microsoft. Back in the day a startup would announce a revolutionary device or software. A few days or weeks later Microsoft would announce THEY were going to bring out the same thing, only better of course. Investment and interest in the startup would wither away. Microsoft would then buy the startup and, voilà, the new product would come out as developed by Microsoft. Ta-Da! They did it over and over again because nobody ever got fired for buying Microsoft.


    cornchipwilliamlondonDAalsethwatto_cobra
  • Reply 19 of 33
    Next, we need a triple-screen phone. It can also double as triple-mirror-ish selfie.
    cornchipwatto_cobra
  • Reply 20 of 33
    DAalseth said:
    The folding device with two separate screens is VASTLY better than bendy screens will ever be. The two screens can be reinforced and will be solid. Future work can minimize or nearly eliminate the line in the middle. The screen will last better, and the device as a whole will be more reliable. Flexible screens are always going to be more fragile, prone to failure, and there will always be a ripple in the middle. Well done Microsoft for not following the hurd off of the bendy phone cliff.
    I think “well done” is a bit much, but yes, they avoid the material break that is inevitable from having a constantly folded plastic material. On the other hand, who is demanding this? I’d like to see what micro-niche is being served.
    edited October 2019 cornchipwatto_cobra
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