As a finale for its Surface event in New York City today, Microsoft teased a dual-screen PC called Surface Neo, powered by Windows 10X. Each screen is about 9-inches and the two add up to a 13.1-inch total display size. Microsoft expects Surface Neo to ship in time for holiday 2020.
Panos Panay, head of engineering for all of Microsoft’s devices, said the product will be “ready next holiday. We want to bring our fans on the journey, but we also want to bring developers on our journey with us.”
Today’s event is a Surface event. The focus is first-party hardware. The company used it to unveil the Surface Laptop 3, Surface Pro 7, Surface Earbuds, and Surface Pro X. But those are for 2019. Microsoft wants to also talk about 2020.
Surface Neo looks like the Microsoft Courier reborn. “I believe this is the next category,” Panay declared.
Surface Neo is 5.6mm thick on each side, weighs 655 grams, and features a 360-degree hinge. Panay said Surface Neo uses Gorilla Glass and features the “thinnest LCD ever created.” It’s powered by a new Intel Lakefield processor.
— Microsoft Surface (@surface) October 2, 2019
Surface Neo comes with a USB-C port and supports the Surface Pen, which can attach to the device’s back. But the most interesting part is the inclusion of a keyboard that folds over one of the screens. When you dock the hardware keyboard, Neo recognizes the keyboard and reveals what Microsoft is calling the “Wonderbar.”
Typically, when you add a second screen to the bottom of a laptop, your biggest loss is the physical keyboard. There are performance concerns, battery life issues, and so on. But the lack of a physical keyboard is a huge productivity hole. It’s the main reason we still have laptops and why tablets haven’t taken off like smartphones. Microsoft is making a point to keep the keyboard around for its dual-screen PC.
“Neo is not only the next new Surface,” Panay concluded. “It’s a new category.”