In a highly unlikely and unprecedented move, Microsoft just gave us a sneak peek to its Surface products that are set to launch next year. The upcoming models will be Surface Neo, which is a dual-screen notebook with an external keyboard and stylus support and Surface Duo, which is a foldable smartphone.
Although Microsoft doesn’t often reveal its upcoming products in the early stages, this is a unique case because the devices in question are foldable. And like most companies that are bringing foldable smartphones these days do, Microsoft has announced the devices well enough in advance so that developers can start working on apps that can fully take advantage of the two screens of Surface Neo.
The Surface Neo was slightly given away at the Surface Hardware Event by Microsoft. The device will have two nine-inch displays latched on to a 360-degree hinge, which allows for the device to be folded in half like a book. The Surface Neo’s hinge mechanism has reportedly employed an innovative micro-gear system setup which aligns and closes the phone’s screens properly on folding and unfolding.
The foldable screen obviously gives the phone versatility in usage. The Surface Neo can easily be used in both landscape and portrait modes, which lets users use it as a book, while the second screen is folded around to the back to use the phone as a tablet. Another interesting trivia here is that the apps can be launched on the particular screen that they were opened on; therefore multiple apps can be used on different screens at the same time. And of course, you can also use a single app on both screens when you unfold the phone, which will change the app’s layout to the new aspect ratio.
Users can also attach a Bluetooth keyboard to the device on the back, magnetically, as you would do with an iPad. Similarly, the stylus can also be magnetically attached to the back of Surface Neo. Both the stylus and the keyboard can be recharged over time while they are attached to the device.
The Surface Duo phone is another new product in the Surface series. It has a very similar design like Surface Neo, with two 5.6-inch displays that are connected by a hinge. It can also open multiple apps like the bigger version, Neo, while also allowing you to toggle between screens, or fill an app across both displays. When you use the phone in landscape mode, the lower display works as a full-screen keyboard.
Microsoft will most likely start to sell the Surface devices by holidays next year; however, there is still no talk about the price tag.