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Microsoft’s dual-screen Surface Neo laptop isn’t coming this year

Published Apr 9th, 2020 7:31AM EDT
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Image: Microsoft

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  • Microsoft’s dual-screen Surface Neo laptop is not going to launch in 2020, a new report says.
  • Instead, Microsoft will focus on delivering Windows 10X on single-screen devices even though the operating system is supposed to power dual-screen laptops.
  • Windows 10X won’t be available for any other dual-screen Neo alternatives from other Windows device makers this year.
  • Visit BGR’s homepage for more stories.

The novel coronavirus has already ruined a bunch of product launches in the tech world, as several events had to be canceled in the past few months. We’ll see other product delays in the coming months as well, as it’ll be a while until life returns to normal. Save for a vaccine, we’ll have to worry about COVID-19 reemerging through 2022, so the old “normal” isn’t coming back anytime soon. Recent reports said the iPhone 12 series could be pushed back as far as December because of the pandemic. The Xbox Series X isn’t delayed, according to a recent interview, but things are still in flux, and launch plans might change depending on the progress of COVID-19 management. But it looks like the coronavirus has made at least one victim when it comes to 2020 products, and that’s Microsoft’s dual-screen Windows 10X-running Neo laptop.

Announced last fall after a few months of rumors, the Neo is supposed to offer Windows users a novel form factor. The device looks just like a compact laptop, but there’s no built-in physical keyboard — although one can be laid on top of the bottom screen. Instead, we have two displays for the tablet-like device. The Neo can be used with a stand or by itself and will have several modes available, including a book model and a regular notebook mode. Running everything is a special version of Windows 10 called Windows 10X, which is an operating system customized for dual-screen devices.

If any of that sounds exciting, then you’ll have to wait until 2021 to get it. Or even later. It’s unclear at this point when the Neo will launch, but ZDNet heard from sources familiar with Microsoft’s plans the Neo has been paused. Not only that, but Microsoft isn’t even going to make Windows 10X available to other laptop makers interested in launching their own dual-screen laptops this year:

While the official line is that Windows 10X targets dual-screen devices, Microsoft is apparently looking to get it working on single-screen laptops. However, the operating system isn’t ready for prime time:

In February this year, Microsoft showed off publicly how containerized apps would work on Windows 10X. Officials didn’t discuss how well/badly Win32 apps worked when virtualized on 10X, but the inside word was the team had a long way to go to make this something “normal” users would understand and accept, as compatibility levels were not great.

Microsoft could still have some Windows 10X features ready this year, the report notes, like having Windows apps run virtually in containers. If that’s the case, these features could be packed into Windows 10 as well.

The report also notes that the smaller version of the Surface Neo, the Duo, is still on track for a 2020 launch. Surface Duo, however, is an Android dual-screen phone.

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.