Microsoft is making a phone. Again.
The tech giant, which stopped producing phones years ago, is hoping to stage a comeback . As the name suggests, the device has two screens, connected by a hinge. . (Here’s how the .)
“This product brings together the absolute best of Microsoft, and we’re partnering with Google to bring the absolute best of Android in one product,” said Microsoft Product Chief Panos Panay. “ .”
The whole thing is a bit of a surprise, considering Microsoft eventually Nokia for . This time, Microsoft says its new innovations, like the dual-screen folding display and special technology it built for the Google Android software that powers the gadget, . We won’t know for sure until the Surface Duo is released next year.after its troubled 2014 purchase of phone giant
It’s not the only product Microsoft announced Wednesday. The company also showed off updates to its Surface laptop lines, including , a larger, dual-screen laptop, powered by a new version of Windows designed to allow apps and keyboards to work more seamlessly with these new devices. Like the Surface Duo, it won’t be released till next year.
It’s rare for a company to preannounce new devices so far in advance of their launch, particularly because excited customers may hold off on purchasing this year’s devices while they wait for the ones coming next year.
But for Microsoft, the risk may be worth the reward of surprising the tech industry with new devices and the promise of a different approach to its laptops. Microsoft pulled off such a surprise in 2012 when . Until then, the company had primarily been a software maker, with the exception of its Xbox video game console and some phones.
New laptops for this year
The attention on Microsoft may be focused on next year’s new devices, but the company also announced new laptops coming this year. They includeand the new with new high-performance “Ryzen” graphics chips from AMD. Microsoft also announced an ultraslim Surface Pro X tablet-laptop hybrid, powered by a custom chip that promises better performance and battery life.
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The company known for its Windows operating system is getting back into smartphones by embracing Google’s Android. The Surface Duo will have two 5.6-inch displays that expand to an 8.3-inch device. Microsoft said that it would be released in time for the holidays in 2020.
Equipped with dual 9-inch displays, the Surface Neo weighs 1.4 pounds and is only 5.6mm thick — a super-svelte profile achieved by using the thinnest LCDs ever created. Attached with 360-degree hinges, the displays have more than 60 microcoaxial cables running between them. Like the Surface Duo, the Neo won’t appear in stores until the 2020 holiday season.
The Surface Neo will run on Windows 10X — a new version of Microsoft’s OS specially designed and optimized for dual-screen devices. “It’s a new expression of Windows 10 that we’ve been designing and building for the last couple of years, with hundreds of engineers and designers at Microsoft,” said Carmen Zlateff, Microsoft Program Manager for Experiences and Devices. “Our goal is to fuel a new era of mobile productivity and creativity across two screens.”
Windows 10X OS coming to dual-screen Surface devices
The third generation of the Surface Laptop will come in two sizes, 13.5-inches and 15-inches, starting at $999 and $1,199, respectively. Both have a touchscreen display, enhanced keyboards and trackpads, USB-C connections and a modular design. And the specs have gotten an upgrade, too: the Surface Laptop 3 features 10th-gen quad-core 10nm Intel CPUs and the exclusive AMD Ryzen Surface Edition graphics chip.
The new 13-inch Surface Pro X is a Windows tablet that runs on a special Microsoft-custom version of a Qualcomm Snapdragon processor, the SQ1 Arm chip. The Pro X has a 13-inch display, a new Surface Slim pen that can be stowed in a garage above the keyboard and two USB-C connections. The Surface Pro X is available for preorder now, starting at $999, and will ship in November.
SQ1 custom Arm chip
Screenshot by Stephen Shankland/CNET
Developed in partnership with Qualcomm, the new SQ1 chip offers dedicated circuitry for accelerating AI software — a major advance in computing technology for intensive tasks like recognizing speech and editing photos. Microsoft emphasized the chip’s efficiency, claiming that it delivered three times more performance per watt than the one used in the previous Surface Pro model.
Microsoft tries Windows on Arm chips again
Videos from the event