Microsoft has unveiled a fold-out two-screen smartphone in New York on Wednesday. With this, the company makes its interest in the smartphone market in 2020, after the earlier Windows Phone initiative failed due to overwhelming competition from Android and iOS.
The Surface Duo has been developed in collaboration with Google and will run on a version of Android. Microsoft product manager Panos Panay emphasized at a press conference that the Duo is a true Surface product, with an emphasis on productivity.
The two screens allow users to multitask by running two apps next to each other. It should also be possible to seamlessly continue activities on the smartphone, such as writing an e-mail, on a Windows device.
The technical specifications of the Surface Duo are not yet known, but a working prototype that was shown in New York had two fairly large screens of at least 6 inches.
Microsoft also gives a taste of fold-out tablet
In addition to the Duo, Microsoft also showed a foldable tablet with two screens: the Surface Neo. Just like the Surface Duo, the tablet will not appear until the end of 2020, but Microsoft has already unveiled the products to call on developers to develop apps for the devices.
The Surface Neo tablet contains two copies of the thinnest LCD screen ever developed, with a hinge in between. Each side of the device is 5.6 millimeters thin, which means that the collapsed product is barely more than one centimeter thick.
A separate keyboard can be attached to the bottom and folded over one of the two screens. Part of that screen remains uncovered and then works as a trackpad, or as a 'Wonder Bar' that shows shortcuts. Videos in small format can also be shown on this bar.
According to Microsoft, the Surface Neo should enable users to be more productive by running two full apps side by side. Apps can be moved from one screen to the other with a swipe movement.
The Surface Pen stylus is held at the back of the device with a magnet. The device runs on Windows 10X, a new version of the operating system for flexible devices such as the Surface Neo. Microsoft promises that all Windows apps, including the Office suite, will work on 10X.
With the foldable Surface Neo tablet, Microsoft also comes with a new version of its operating system: Windows 10X. (Photo: NU.nl/Jeroen Kraan)
Surface X Pro with virtually borderless screen
In addition to the foldable tablet, Microsoft also announced a more compact version of the Surface Pro. The device has a virtually borderless 13-inch screen and an ARM processor from Microsoft itself. The Surface Pro X runs on the SQ1 chip from Microsoft and, like other Surface Pro devices, can be used with a detachable keyboard and stylus.
It is the first time since Surface RT and Surface 2 (from 2012 and 2013) that Microsoft is making a Surface device with an energy-efficient ARM chip. Such processors are typically found in mobile Android and iOS devices, not in Windows machines. The SQ1 chip from Microsoft was made in collaboration with Qualcomm.
In the past, Windows devices with ARM chips suffered from compatibility issues with older applications. That also seems to be the case with the Surface Pro X, although product boss Panos Panay stated that 'the full power of Windows' is available, including all Office 365 applications. Adobe brings various programs, including drawing app Fresco, to the Pro X. But the full versions of apps such as Photoshop and Illustrator will not work on the device.
The new Surface tablet is only 5.3 millimeters thin and weighs 762 grams. A thin version of the Surface Pen stylus can be hidden under the Surface Pro X screen. In the keyboard there is a compartment for the rechargeable stylus, which disappears under the display. The 13-inch screen itself shows 2,880 by 1,920 pixels, and the tablet can use 4G networks.
The Surface Pro X appears in the US on November 5 for prices starting at $ 999
Surface Laptop 3
Microsoft renews its Surface Laptop with larger screens and a refreshed appearance. The Surface Laptop 3 will be available in screen sizes of 13.5 inches with an Intel chip and 15 inches, which is equipped with the Ryzen 7 chip from AMD.
The laptop will be available in a version made entirely of aluminum. There is also a version that, just like previous generations, has a layer of Alcantara, a plastic that looks like suede, around the keyboard. The battery must already be charged for 80 percent in less than an hour, via the magnetic charger. For the first time a USB C port is available on the side, in addition to a USB A port.
Under the keyboard is a replaceable hard drive, in addition to an AMD Ryzen 7 chip specially designed for the Surface. Microsoft promises to double the speed compared to the Surface Laptop 2, which appeared two years ago, as well as greatly improved graphics performance.
In the United States, the laptops will be released on October 22. The 13.5-inch model costs at least $ 999 (about 912 euros) and the 15-inch model is sold for $ 1,199. Dutch details are not yet known.
Surface Pro 7 with detachable keyboard
Microsoft also announced the seventh version of the Surface Pro. The laptop with detachable keyboard is also equipped with a USB C port, instead of the earlier Mini DisplayPort.
The design remains the same, with a 12.3-inch screen and a fold-out stand that makes it possible to use the Surface Pro 7 in different positions.
The Surface Pro 7 is also available in the US from October 22 for prices starting at $ 749.
Wireless earbuds with microphone
Following the example of companies such as Apple and Samsung, Microsoft has developed its own wireless earplugs. The Surface Earbuds focus on business applications, such as dictation of e-mails and Word documents.
The microphones in the relatively large earplugs must be able to filter ambient noise well, so that the wearer is correctly understood. By swiping over the earplugs, the volume can be adjusted, among other things, or music apps such as Spotify can be operated.
The Surface Earbuds offer support for sixty languages, and it is also possible to hear a translation directly between two of those languages. The Surface Earbuds appear before the end of the year, for 249 dollars.
It is unclear whether the earbuds will be sold in the Netherlands, what they will cost in that case and whether Dutch will be supported.