Today at an event in New York, Microsoft announced a bunch of new Surface devices, including a new dual-screen PC—but you won’t get your hands on it until next year. The new Microsoft Surface Neo is a PC made of two 9-inch screens held together by a “360-degree” hinge and running a new version of Windows 10, dubbed Windows 10X.
What appeared to be a prototype was shown on stage today; the finished product won’t be available until “next holiday.” Microsoft didn’t give away too many details about the device, but you can get the gist by reading the few specs listed above. Two 9-inch displays open up like a book thanks to the hinge that holds them together.
Microsoft’s Panos Panay boasted the hinge’s design, which includes micro-gears, a torque system, and components thinner than strands of hair. It essentially makes the device a tiny two-in-one, flexing into laptop, tablet, and other use modes. The device is 5.6mm thick and weighs just 655 grams. In many ways, it looks similar to Lenovo’s Yoga Book, but with two LCD panels instead of a hybrid LCD and E-Ink pairing.
— Microsoft Surface (@surface) October 2, 2019
A Bluetooth keyboard magnetically attaches to the Neo, either on top of one of the screens or separated entirely. The keyboard doesn’t fully cover the screen when it’s sitting on top of it, so the exposed display space can still be used. Microsoft called this space the “wonder bar,” and it changes depending on where the keyboard is placed. If the keyboard sits on the bottom edge of the display (closer to the user), the rest of the display shows apps, quick-access tools, and more. When the keyboard sits along the top edge, the display turns in part into a trackpad. The Neo also supports inking and can be used with Microsoft’s new Surface Pen.
The Surface Neo runs Windows 10X, an operating system Microsoft designed specifically for dual-screen devices. The brief on-stage demo shows that it looks like a hybrid of standard desktop- and tablet-Windows 10 with added controls and automations for dual-screen use. One side of the Neo showed a menu screen with recently used apps and programs, and tapping on one opened the app on the opposite screen. Users can choose to run two apps at once, one on either screen, or “span” the app across both screens.
Inside the Surface Neo is a new Intel chipset, called Lakefield, that Microsoft describes as a hybrid CPU with an 11th-gen graphics engine specifically designed for dual-screen devices. Intel designed this chipset with a reduced silicone footprint, which is one of the reasons the Neo is so thin.
But those are all the details we got about the internals of the Neo (and for the Neo overall), and we likely won’t learn more until closer to its launch date. Microsoft says the Surface Neo will be available for the 2020 holiday season.