Microsoft unveils a dual-screen Android phone and a Windows 10X tablet

Amid the refreshes and new product announcements at their annual Surface Event, Microsoft revealed some exciting, new prototypes.

Microsoft’s Chief Product Officer Panos Panay showcasing the Surface Duo. (Photo: Microsoft)

Surface Duo

Remember when Microsoft had the Windows Phone? Well, that was discontinued because there just weren’t enough apps to drive the ecosystem.

Just when we thought they were out of the phone game, Microsoft surprised us all with a new Surface Duo prototype. It is an Android-powered mobile phone prototype with dual screens.

It seems Microsoft has given up on making a smartphone OS and has ceded to the behemoth that is Google. Android is the most popular mobile OS so it makes sense that Microsoft would leverage Google’s ecosystem.

The device sports two 5.6-inch displays separated by a 360-degree hinge down the middle. It’s a different foldable philosophy than the Galaxy fold as there’s no continuous, bendable screen.

The device is a very slim 4.8mm and one has to wonder how durable that hinge mechanism really is. After all, the device will be opened and closed thousands of times.

Surface Neo

As part of its dual-screen device vision, Microsoft also unveiled a Surface Neo. The design language is like the Surface Duo but the Neo is a bigger, tablet-sized, dual-screen device.

It packs two, 9-inch screens and runs Windows 10X, not Android.  The special version of Windows was designed to leverage dual-screen device hardware.

Windows 10X is optimised for dual screens. (Photo: Microsoft)

In between the two screens are over 60 micro-coax cables that are thinner than a human hair. Let us hope Microsoft’s engineering team thought this through as that’s mighty thin for a constantly bending hinge.

Each side of the Neo is a mere 5.6mm thin and the whole thing weighs only 655 grams.

Surface Neo will be powered by a hybrid, Intel Lakefield processor.

Surface Neo with an attached keyboard. (Photo: Microsoft)

The Surface Neo has built-in magnets that can hold a miniature keyboard or Surface Slim Pen. The keyboard can flip around and cover a part of the second screen to enable a PC like experience. Windows 10X will then present a special “Mac, Touch Bar” experience or a virtual trackpad.

Both the Surface Neo and Surface Duo are a part of Microsoft’s intent to supply a Surface device in every computing category. It is exciting when manufacturers experiment through engineering and design. These products look interesting; however, they may change a bit before their official release, Holiday 2020.

— Written by Renor C.