The 6 key announcements from Microsoft’s Surface event

3 Oct 2019

The Duo device that was announced at the event. Image: Microsoft

New dual-screen devices have been unveiled alongside updated Surface tablets and laptops.

On Wednesday (2 October), Microsoft 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.

Surface Neo

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.

A foldable, dual-screen tablet which is standing up on its hinge in front of a keyboard that can be used with it.

The Neo. Image: Microsoft

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 for emojis 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.

Surface Duo

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.

A person holds a foldable device in both hands. It has a black screen and a grey line running down the centre where it folds. In the background there is a wooden tray on a table with glasses and a bowl on it.

The Duo. Image: PA Media

It will also run a version of Android that Microsoft has been developing with the operating system’s maker, Google, and can make and receive phone calls. 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.

Surface Earbuds

Another new product category for Microsoft comes in the shape of the Surface Earbuds – the company’s first wireless earphones.

The side profile of a man in a grey sweatshirt. He has a tight haircut and black hair, and is wearing a white circular device in his ear, which is about the size of a 50 euro cent coin.

The Earbuds. Image: PA Media

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 email 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 $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 tablet with an attached keyboard, propped up on a stand. The background on the screen shows mountains.

The Surface 7 Pro. Image: Microsoft

A USB-C connection has also been added. It will go on sale in October, starting at $749.

Surface ProX

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.

A propped up Surface tablet, and a user picking up a stylus that is built into the keypad of the device and can be removed.

Microsoft’s Surface X Pro. Image: Microsoft

It has a larger 13-inch display with reduced bezels around the edge of the device, and an updated keyboard that 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.

A woman with her hand on the touchpad of the Surface Laptop 3. The laptop is on a light-coloured wooden table. The device appears to be rose gold or gold.

The Surface Laptop 3. Image: Microsoft

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 80pc in under an hour plugged in.

The Surface Laptop 3 will be released in October, with the 13.5-inch starting at $999 and the 15-inch at $1199.

-PA Media