Microsoft has revealed its first two dual-screen devices as part of a major revamp of its Surface product line of mobile computing products.
The new Neo and Duo folding devices will launch at the end of next year but were unveiled alongside new versions of popular Surface computers and the company’s first wireless earphones.
Here is a round-up of all the key announcements from the tech giant’s latest event.
The flagship device in Microsoft’s new dual-screen device line-up is the Neo tablet, which combines two nine-inch screens on a 360-degree hinge, meaning the device can be opened, folded and used in a number of different ways.
It can also be paired with a magnetic keyboard, which when placed onto one of the displays sees that screen space turn into a keyboard extension — offering shortcuts to emoji or GIFs to drop into text when above the keyboard or a virtual trackpad when the extra screen space is below the keyboard.
It will also run a new streamlined version of Windows known as Windows 10X, which has been designed specifically for running multiple apps at once, as users will be expected to on the dual-screened Neo.
However, Microsoft confirmed the Neo won’t launch until the end of next year.
A major flirtation with a full return to smartphones for Microsoft for the first time in three years, the Surface Duo is a smaller version of the Neo designed to fit into a user’s pocket — much like a phone.
It will also run a version of Android Microsoft has been developing with the operating system’s maker, Google, and can make and receive phone calls.
However, Microsoft has notably stayed away from calling the Duo a smartphone in any of its documents on the device. What is has confirmed is that it has two 5.6-inch screens and will also not be launched until the end of 2020.
Another new product category for Microsoft comes in the shape of the Surface Earbuds — the company’s first wireless earphones.
The Earbuds feature voice and touch controls for music playback and calls and also include integration with Microsoft’s Office 365 — allowing users to access their calendar and e-mail with their voice and even get live captions and translations from a PowerPoint presentation.
Microsoft has confirmed the EarBuds will go on sale later this year for US$249.
Surface Pro 7
The much-expected update to Microsoft’s popular two-in-one, laptop-tablet hybrid device was also announced.
The Pro 7 has been given a major overhaul internally with Microsoft claiming the new device is twice as fast as the previous generation thanks to new processors.
A USB-C connection has also been added. It will go on sale in October, starting at $749.
In a further boost to the Pro line-up, Microsoft also unveiled the ProX, which it says is the “thinnest, lightest, most powerful” Surface pro ever.
It has a larger 13-inch display with reduced bezels around the edge of the device and an updated keyboard which includes a concealed storage and charging area for the new Slim Pen stylus.
It will go on sale in November, starting at $999.
Surface Laptop 3
To complete the refresh of its hardware, Microsoft also unveiled the Surface Laptop 3.
The third-generation computer now comes in two sizes — either a 13.5 or 15-inch display — and has fast-charging capabilities for the first time, with Microsoft promising up to 80% in under an hour plugged in.
It will be released in October, with the 13.5-inch starting at $999 and the 15-inch at $1 199.