In 2008, the Microsoft Courier dual-screen tablet concept got leaked all over the internet. It was a fascinating idea that never came to fruition, but Microsoft is going all-in with dual-screen devices in 2020.
The company has announced a pair of dual-screen devices at its latest SurfaceSEEAMAZON_ET_135 See Amazon ET commerce event: the Surface Neo computer and the Surface Duo Android phone.
Referring to the new dual-screen devices as a new era of mobile creativity, the Surface Neo and Surface Duo will be optimized for multi-tasking.
“What started as an effort to create the two-in-one evolved into a full line of products that are more versatile, more adaptable and more personal.”
The Surface Neo straddles all the tablet and notebook categories. It folds, but it’s not a “foldable” like the Galaxy Fold which has a single flexible panel. Instead, the Neo has dual 9-inch displays.
The device weighs 655g (1.44 pounds) and each side is 5.6mm thick. It has a 360-degree hinge, so you can fold the screens inward to close it or position it like a traditional laptop (there’s an optional keyboard cover).
Microsoft says it comes with a custom Intel Lakefield processor with 11th Gen graphics powering both displays.
There’s also support for the Surface Pen, which attached magnetically to the back. It runs on Windows 10X, which appears to be a tweaked build of the full OS for dual-screen devices.
It also has similar hinges, allowing you to use it in various configurations. For example, you can fold it all the way open to access just one of the 5.6-inch displays or flatten the device out to use both screens side-by-side.
While the Neo doesn’t have the expansive flexible OLED like the Galaxy Fold, it’s probably going to be more durable — flexible OLEDs are plastic, but the Surface Duo can use glass like every other phone.
Microsoft is also working closely with a one-time mobile competitor Google to make this distinctive design play nicely with Android. We don’t know much about the internals, but the Duo is currently running a Snapdragon 855. That could change by the time it launches, which won’t be soon.
According to Microsoft, it’s showing off the new dual-screen devices early so developers can get ready. The company is all set to launch the Surface Neo and Duo in time for the 2020 holiday shopping season.