What if Microsoft was the Apple of the next decade?
While the apple company is struggling to renew itself after creating the iPhone, iPad, or MacBook Air, its “sworn enemy” is beginning to take its place in the hardware market, and 2020 could even be the Microsoft year. Why? Simply because the Windows publisher will launch two innovative devices, as only Apple seemed to be able to do.
It was during the presentation of its new Surface (Pro 7, Pro X, and Laptop 3) that Microsoft first unveiled the Surface Duo smartphone. It will take a year to see it on the shelves, but the promise is enticing. It is quite simply the realization of the Courier or Centaurus projects; many times announced and visible only in patent applications. This time, it’s real, and it’s a smartphone equipped with two 5.6-inch screens linked together by two 360° hinges that allow for multiple configurations.
An innovative keyboard
Depending on your needs, the Neo can be transformed into a tablet, book, or laptop, and to use it; you can use a Bluetooth keyboard or a stylus. The keyboard is innovative because it can be “glued” to the lower screen. It allows you to leave a touch area above the keys to access functions dedicated to open applications and software. And if you place it on the top of the screen, it is a touchpad that is available, thus avoiding using a mouse.
It’s the Duo but in the XXL version. The difference is at the software level since we discover Windows 10X, a new operating system, adapted for this type of device. During his presentation, Microsoft explained that the objective was to impose this new type of format, and other manufacturers could thus propose it to their catalog and customize it. Exactly as if it were a traditional laptop. For the moment, the Neo and Duo have no prices, and they are expected by the end of 2020.
A smartphone using Android
It can be placed flat with a display surface of 8 inches, more prominent than that of an iPad mini, for example, and the lower part can then be transformed into a virtual keyboard. The good news is that Microsoft has chosen to run it under Android and that we will be able to access all the usual applications to download from the Play Store. Some should have functions dedicated to this type of dual-screen display. By the time the Duo is launched, the Huawei and Samsung models will be on the market, and we will already have a taste of these adaptations.
The other major innovation is the Surface Neo, a kind of hybrid tablet, equipped with two 9-inch screens. Here again, the 360° hinges are located between the two, so it is not a foldable screen, but two independent screens. And here still, we find ideas borrowed from the Courier and Centaurus projects with a versatility that could appeal to the highest number of people.