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Surface Neo and Duo offer a unique — and challenging — opportunity for developers

Panos Panay on stage with Surface Neo and Surface Duo
Panos Panay on stage with Surface Neo and Surface Duo (Image credit: Daniel Rubino/Windows Central)

When Microsoft unveiled the dual-screen Surface Neo and Surface Duo last month, it took everyone off guard. Not only was the Andromeda concept, which had been rumored for years, alive and well, but Microsoft went even further by revealing a PC and a phone.

While phones like the Samsung Galaxy Fold and Huawei Mate X have already shown us some of what we can expect from devices with folding screens, the Neo and Duo are different beasts. Instead of utilizing folding screens and all of the problems that come with them, Microsoft opted for two separate screens while still embracing the folding form factor. And from its presentation, it's clear the company is focusing hard on productivity with both devices.

The result is a set of hardware that, at first glance, impresses with Microsoft's usual Surface touch. But some burning questions remain: How are developers going to best take advantage of these two screens, and how can Microsoft entice them to embrace its dual-screen approach?

Is two really better than one?

Aside from the tech behind them, the differences between foldable and dual-screen devices might not appear to be major, but they present different challenges in how apps can best take advantage of the screen real estate. For one large folding display, for example, it's easy to envision something like a YouTube video expanding across the entire screen when open. But when you slide a bezel between two screens, as in the Neo and Duo, that idea doesn't work nearly as well.

Instead, Surface Neo and Duo are likely to invite app interactions that improve workflows, says Frank Gillett, a vice president and principal analyst for research firm Forrester. "Think of workflows where you need to be able to see the big picture, work through a sequence, or switch among options," Gillett said. "Those will benefit from a left/right notion of overall visibility or control on the left, with a drill-down or focus on the right."

The dual-screen approach may prove more useful for workers in the field, rather than those working at a desk job, Gillett added. But whether that boost in productivity will actually be measurable or subjective will be an interesting thing to examine once the devices are on the market, he said.

Galaxy Fold standing on table

Source: Android Central (Image credit: Source: Android Central)

Sasha Krsmanovic, chief marketing officer for Uno Platform, agrees that users may frequently view devices like the Surface Duo as a multi-tasking device, rather than one large device. "Dual screen tablets and phones lend themselves naturally to a mode that's common on desktops and traditional laptops but rare on existing handheld devices," Krsmanovic says. "At a technical level, it's 'multi-tasking,' but from a user perspective, it's not really that – it's more like 'multi-app single-tasking,' like having a term paper open in one window and Wikipedia open in another. "

Apps that benefit from powerful multitasking could really thrive on folding Surfaces.

Apps are often used in conjunction with each other on laptops and desktops. Jumping between tasks and apps is a natural part of workflows on PCs, but can feel awkward on phones because you're entirely switching between apps, rather than having things open side by side. Krsmanovic highlights how a common multitasking setup from PCs could translate well to the Surface Duo. "When watching [an] NBA basketball game on a mobile device via NBA app, the user has an option to slide out real-time stats via a slider, which usually comes from the bottom or from a side," Krsmanovic says. "We love stats. We crave stats. This is what announcers on TV do for us all throughout the game. However, on the app itself, when those slides are slid out, they take away a good chunk of the screen real estate, getting in the way of following the actual game. In this scenario, a split-screen real estate can have a great and positive impact on user experience."

Media apps like YouTube and Netflix would benefit more from a phone like the Galaxy Fold that can unfold to have a larger screen, but there are many apps that could benefit from a bezel between two displays. Non-media apps that expand onto tablets often just add extra space between elements. While developers could optimize their apps better for larger screens, extra features and elements of the app could also be placed onto a second screen. For example, Reddit wouldn't benefit that much from just having a larger screen, but being able to jump in and out of continued threads on one display, while having the main thread open on another, would streamline browsing comments and posts.

Lauren Guenveur, a senior research analyst at IDC, agrees, noting that any app that can be used across multiple screens, such as Outlook, is going to represent a major bump to productivity. "I kind of see foldables and dual-screen devices, as opposed to using one app, [using] more than one app," Guenveur says. She also sees creative apps being a place where dual screens can "shine," particularly "anything where you need a large control panel, versus a full screen for what you're controlling."

Is it worth it for developers?

Surface Duo unfolded on display

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)

In 2019, ecosystems of apps are often more important than the OS itself. The story of the failed Windows Phone is a familiar one for Windows Central readers, but the same principles apply to any company trying to make a phone today. When Huawei began discussing shipping a phone without the Google Play Store, analysts and potential buyers immediately started looking for ways that Android apps could run on the device.

In 2019, people want apps and services, and if developers aren't on board, a device may be doomed from the start. Fortunately for Microsoft, the Surface Duo will run Android apps. The only question is if developers will optimize their apps for Android and if that's important to consumers.

Arlo Godfrey, a developer and one of the heads of the Universal Windows Platform (UWP) Community Discord, points to a potential pitfall for Duo's ability to attract developer attention. "Since the Surface Duo is currently one of a kind when it comes to the split in the screen, it's entirely feasible that devs could just ignore the device and bank on something like the Galaxy Fold, which doesn't require extra work to take advantage of the extra real estate."

Developers might not consider it worth the investment to make apps that take advantage of one device.

While the Surface Duo comes with the power of the Surface brand, it is still a unique device. Developers might not consider it worth the investment to make apps that take advantage of one device. Godfrey believes that more devices within the same category might be key to swaying developers. "With Microsoft and Google partnering on this device, and Android 10 and 11 getting native support for these type of devices, I think we might see more like the Duo in the coming years (since it's easier to manufacture than the Fold)," Godfrey says. "If devs haven't made accommodations for the dual-screen format by then, they'll be much more inclined to."

The head developer of myTube at Ryken Studio, Christopher Blackman, points out that different categories of apps benefit from dual screens in different ways. "For consumption apps, I think giving the user one screen to browse and the other to consume would be the best way forward," Blackman says. "For creation apps, having controls on one side and the canvas on the other could work, or stretching the canvas across both screens to give the user a larger area to manipulate. Personally, though, I think 80 percent of apps would benefit more by having a different app run on the other screen."

Convincing developers and companies to optimize their apps for different form factors and shapes can be tricky. Apple excels at this. From little things like supporting a notch to larger things like support for macOS Sidecar, Apple can swing the hammer and get developers to jump on board. Microsoft has had less success in this sphere, and it will have to see if the Surface brand and other manufacturers making dual-screen devices can sway developers.

However, because foldables are such a new category, Microsoft may fare better in this regard than it did with Windows Phone, which was entering a space in which smartphones, and what they do, were already a known quantity.

"It was kind of brilliant on Microsoft's part to not just introduce these two new products on a smaller scale just to developers, but to excite the entire tech community and otherwise anyone who would watch or pay attention to Microsoft," Guenveur said. Being early to foldables and getting the broader tech community excited for them well in advance of their launch could have the net effect of driving developer attention to the new platform.

Taking advantage of the screen real estate

Some apps seem like a natural fit for a dual-screen device. Microsoft's xCloud could have game controls on one display while having gameplay on the other. The LG G8X ThinQ already has a setup like this. Apps like Adobe Photoshop or Affinity Photo could have a panel of tools or features on one display with the image being edited isolated on the other. Other apps will need more thought to take advantage of the extra screen real estate provided by a second display.

Blackman gives some creative examples, such as games like Battleship. A two-player board game like Battleship might not be what the makers of dual-screen devices had in mind, but it's a clever idea that could make such devices stand out. He also points towards ereaders as an optimal app for two screens, offering either a standard book-reading experience or using the second screen as space for notes or related web content.

Ultimately, it will depend on whether developers take advantage of the extra space, and how well. Every time a new form factor comes out, there's a learning curve for app and content creators to take advantage of the new space. The benefit of devices like Surface Neo and Surface Duo is that while developers figure things out, many current apps will scale and be useable.

A unique opportunity

Surface Duo gamepad

Source: Microsoft (Image credit: Source: Microsoft)

The Surface line has always been about driving innovation. The Surface Pro pushed the 2-in-1 form factor that has since been copied and built upon, in one form or another, by many Windows device manufacturers and even Apple. Surface Neo and Surface Duo present an opportunity for Microsoft to innovate in the mobile and Android spaces and push a new OS, in the form of Windows 10X.

It could be years before Microsoft sees real success with Surface Neo or Duo.

Dual-screen devices provide additional screen real estate for developers, providing room for expanded interaction and more information. While developing for these devices makes perfect sense for some apps like xCloud and Outlook, the makers of other apps may have to think outside the box to utilize the extra space.

According to Guenveur, it's likely we'll see the professional and prosumer spaces take advantage of these new device types first before they expand to the consumer space. "To start out with, the leading edge is going to be your enterprises, your more creative professionals — your prosumers that are looking for new form factors to become productive, versus your consumer masses," she says.

Like the Surface Pro line, success for devices like Surface Neo and Surface Duo likely will not be immediate. Instead, it might take years for Microsoft to see real success, and if it does, other manufacturers will likely have made similar devices based on the form factor.

As for Microsoft, it's staying tight-lipped on the whole thing for now. "On October 2, we shared just a taste of the innovative app experiences that will be available on Surface Neo and Surface Duo," a Microsoft spokesperson told us. "We look forward to seeing what developers create."

Dan Thorp-Lancaster is the Editor in Chief for Windows Central. He began working with Windows Central as a news writer in 2014 and is obsessed with tech of all sorts. You can follow Dan on Twitter @DthorpL and Instagram @heyitsdtl. Got a hot tip? Send it to daniel.thorp-lancaster@futurenet.com.

74 Comments
  • They need to get those developer tools and instructions out now so they can be ready for launch.
  • Not to mention the necessary developer hardware.
  • I'm hoping we may get some more info about it at Ignite. I don't think it will be any hardware info, but maybe some more software development stuff. I think more hardware/software info will come at BUILD 2020
  • We're building a web app that would be perfect for these devices. We started development before the Neo and Duo were announced - but when they were, we knew it straight away.
  • They have to fix the the damn store before developer can tale use of it! (I meant for neo).
  • I still think that the NEO is DOA... At least this iteration of it. Even before the NEO was announced the idea of having a dual screen device that was not "pocketable" was nonsensical to most people. Why would you choose that over a more powerful device with a larger screen? I think the design of the NEO is cool and I've always thought that function keys should have been replaces with a touch display a long time ago. However most of the buzz has been obviously around the DUO, because of Android as well as the fact that it's "pocketable". This creates a scenario of being able to do more with the device you already have (your phone) instead of something that is less powerful that than your laptop. If they manage to come out with a dual screen surface pro with two 12" screens. I would be all on board. However two 9" screens doesn't give me more than what I have.
  • The Neo is probably a niche product (probably not to expensive but expensive enough) but that does not mean it is DOA. You should see it as a digital moleskine that can also double as a tablet / laptop. I think it would also be great for people that need a portable laptop for Office or art kind of work and dock it when they need a big screen.
  • "art kind of work" often requires a powerful laptop or desktop that is able run powerful design programs. People who do that for a living aren't just doodling on low end hardware. If the Neo came out 10 years ago as the "courier" there would have been plenty of use cases. However now laptops, desktops, cloud services, and apps have caught up. You already have digital moleskines with tablets. A DUO or Galaxy Note is also well suited as a digital moleskine. People who have embraced the digital world have gotten rid of their moleskines years ago so this isn't a new problem to solve. The only market I see is for kids or college students if it's cheap.
  • Nah I can see the Neo being useful for some companies too. Unfolded at ~13 inch, the Neo is good to replace 13 inch 2-1 users for light users (which are quite popular) while being vastly more portable at ~9 inch while still having a keyboard. The Duo and other big phones are too small for work and don't have a good keyboard (they are phones + small tablet solutions). Besides you can carry the a Neo in a small shoulder bag or such, almost every worker has 1 bag for stuff which can be smaller now. And with art i was thinking of drawing sketching, cartoons or notes, that usually is not heavy to do.
  • I don't know of any office worker who would want to carry around a laptop that doesn't support a basic flash drives or other ports like HDMI etc. without relying on special dongles... It's still two two 9 inch screens whether it's unfolded or not.... Two screens with a black bar in the middle is not going to look better than a single 13 inch screen or even a single 12.1 inch screen. Almost every office worker has a bag for a 13 inch laptop as well. At 655 grams it's not much lighter than a surface pro. Screen real-estate is everything at the office, you're not going to win people over with a 9 inch screen, sorry.
  • The ports I personally agree with but not everyone because otherwise you would not see ipads being popular in companies.
    About the second screen, I think you are forgetting here that many people multitask on their laptop; eg 1 screen for communication or reference material/literature etc and 1 screen for eg office or whatever makes sense. If we can believe the MS previews we should also be able to use certain apps efficiently and easily over 2 screens.
    Screen estate is not everything because otherwise 17 inch laptops would be vastly more popular (it is not needed because of docking solutions).
    655 grams is light for a 13 inch touchscreen device, even light enough to use as a tablet for most.
  • I doubt Android developers are going to develop specifically for Surface Duo unless more copy-cat device start hitting the market. UWP developers, on the other hand, will take advantage. Since pretty much the dawn of Windows, and any windowing operating system, a process has a main window that bounds input events and rendering. The main window is basically the visual boundary of the app. Windows has supported multiple monitors for many years, so duel screen/monitor devices is not new. When you maximize an app in Windows on a dual monitor desktop, it will fully cover only the monitor it is originally on. I believe Windows 10X is introducing some sort of panel concept within the main window. Maximizing an app with panels can now have a new meaning. It can now span the entire desktop real-estate, and the panels can maximize on individual monitors. This is my best guess as to what will be going on from a Windows window API standpoint. Keep in mind I'm totally guessing. If these guesses are right, then that means UWP developers will have to be aware of maximize behaviors as a basic practice; not just for the Surface Neo. I think that Windows 10 will have the same behavior, which will further entrench this windowing behavior of the main window and interior panels when maximizing on multiple monitors/screens.
  • Oh and by the way, two screens is way better than one. If I was to list the Windows innovations that lead to more productivity on Windows, it would be sleep/hibernate, full index searching from Start, and multi-monitor support. Before spending money on a better processor, memory, etc. just get a second monitor to improve your productivity. I believe the same applies to smaller devices like the Surface Neo. My problem though with the Neo is I just can't see holding like a book an using it that way. What do you do if you need a keyboard, but want two screens? Maybe they will make special stands for the Neo to hold while you use a keyboard/mouse.
  • Multi monitor support is a boon because it increases your visual real estate for doing tasks. It's not the fact that you have two screens that is the benefit it's the fact that you have twice as much space to put things. That's not what you are getting from these devices.
  • I have to disagree, I much prefer 2 monitors to one big wider monitor, I can maximise my apps on both separate monitors, with the amount of switching between apps and monitors I do, any other way would be a pain in the backside. This is the exact benefit I see with dual screen phones rather than one big screen, especially if touch is the input method rather than mouse, even more so with the Neo, where the screens are probably just about the minimum size to work on without everything being too small or not enough of your document or whatever visible.
  • A mobile experience isn't really about where to "put" things. You can do a split screen on a surface device, but I often only use it when the keyboard is a attached because it's far easier to do with keyboard shortcuts. However If you have a dual screen mobile experience where the OS automatically splits your tasks so that you don't have to think about "positioning" information, then it becomes far more useful tool on the go.
  • Well you do get it from them if you think of it as a ~9-10 inch tablet that can be unfolded (to a 13 inch screen?) and has a option to have a keyboard docked in it. That is really portable for what you get. I see can that working well with a small shoulder bag or such.
  • Well, I'm sure there will be som third party that will create such cradle, since the keyboard is Bluetooth. However, I don't know if it will work, withough touching the screen. Hopefully, MS will work that out.
  • You are forgetting the W10 OSK swipe functions, than you don't need a keyboard for smaller texts (you aren't going to write whole essays while standing anyway).
  • I agree Android developers will not directly support the Duo, but they don't have to. Their Android apps will work just fine either way. UWP developers are nearly non-existent. Good luck with the Neo. That will be a tough sell to developers as it will be starting with basically no user base.
  • "UWP developers are nearly non-existent."
    That is not true. The question is whether the UWP developers (who do exist, they are just lesser known because so many people are using Android & iPhone rather than Windows devices) will optimize their apps for dual screen with the Neo, or put in the effort of learning a new language and converting their apps to Android. Converting the apps would not only require much more time & effort, but they would most likely be much less efficient. What Microsoft should really do is add a version of the Duo that uses Windows 10X so that the Duo can use the UWP apps, and so that the Android version of the Duo can be used with the existing Android apps until they are updated. This will encourage developers to optimize their apps to work with the Duo AND Neo at the same time. Forcing developers to develop & optimize for 2 platforms will majorly slow down the speed at which apps are optimized for dual screen.
  • Any UWP developers today are just going to be fanboys making 3rd party apps or low quality crap the ecosystem already has. UWP is dead as a development platform. Even Microsoft isn't putting effort into it. A few fanboy developers don't change that.
  • You seem to be saying, because we have Unity or Unreal, dX and openGL are useless / not the focus anymore / not in development anymore?
    ps: WCOS accepts only appx or msix.
  • Why do you keep ignoring facts that have posted here countless times? MS still is giving the UWP sdk updates in VStudio, why would they do that if it would be dead?
  • There's not really such a thing any more. Since PWA's are wrapped in UWP, and the UWP apis are opened up with win32 developers, it's a lot more blurry than that.
  • PWA certainly aren't going to be targeting dual screens, at least until they become mainstream. I don't see that happening. Dual screens will primarily be used for multitasking. A few Microsoft apps might take advantage of have multiple screens, but I wouldn't expect any third party apps from doing the same. Really, I don't know if there really is much opportunity for most apps when it comes to dual screen. Even Microsoft didn't show much during their opportunity. They just showed the simple idea of an messaging app showing the inbox on side and the message on the other. They more than that if they want this to take off.
  • I am fairly certain this will be easy for developers to add in uwp apps once MS has released their stuff. Also what did you expect MS to show than? These devices are not workstations so obviously they will focus not to complex computing which often is stuff like communication and office work. And some art that adobe showed iirc.
  • make office work on UWP before theorizing on any third party app support
  • oh yeah... exactly.... as an independent developer.. that's what I'm going to do... expend time and effort to follow Microsoft down another rabbit hole....
  • Dual screen devices are the future. Ignore it at your peril.
  • No their are not. One foldable display devices are the future. As bleached said, dual screen devices are just a stop gap
  • On laptop form factor they are as good as foldable screen. Dual screen laptops will definitely give tough competition to foldable screen laptops.
    On smartphone form factor foldable screen will be mainstream & dual screen will be niche.
  • For the six months before the screen cracks or you scratch it and realise that 2 high quality gorilla glass screens are better than one soft plastic one ;-)
  • That is a short term issue that will be solved.
  • According to what science bleached? Where is your evidence that this problem is a 'short term issue? Name a single proto, that can viably go into production soon, where this problem is solved.
  • Science solves issues. That is what it does. Eventually they will solve that one too. Personally, I prefer the plastic screens. I miss the Moto Force phones. You could just put a glass screen protector on it and never know the difference while having an unbreakable phone. They could probably figure out something similar with folding phones. Maybe glass on both sides with a flexible "hinge" connecting them.
  • We can bank on corning to deliver foldable gorilla glass in near future which will solve majority of galaxy fold's problems.
  • Um, yeah, not sure you understand how glass works. Bendable glass is not really a thing, nor is bendable crystal on a macro scale. Plastics may get more resilient, but I wouldn't bet on a Gorilla glass savior to the folding screen. MS was prescient in their Future videos years ago when they envision wide arc foldables.
  • I said it based on some youtube videos. Corning is working on it extensively & in one of the videos their senior officials said it will take 2 years to deliver foldable gorilla glass.
  • That's true, but durable foldable displays are a long way off. Durable screens require graphene, and we are a long time off getting the production cost low enough for consumers. There are no other solutions that have even been prototyped. In the meantime, dual screen is the closest thing that's actually practical. Don't hold your breath for folding screens to be truely viable. You'll be waiting awhile, trust me I've been following the material science for quite some time.
  • The Galaxy Fold is probably more durable when it comes to shattering, it just scratches easily, which isn't as much of an issue since it is folded closed when in your pocket. I would be more afraid of drop damage than scratches, which are easier to avoid.
  • You are not supposed to keep the Galaxy Fold in your pockets jeans which makes it a lot less practical for many consumers.
  • Depends, if the bezels can be made small enough or can be hidden, that this has only has advantages to foldable tech.
  • I am an independent developer as well, and this has nothing to do with Microsoft. It is a question of whether we focus on optimizing our UWP apps for Neo, or learning Xamarin to convert our apps for Android. Until Apple, Google, and Microsoft decide to use the same platform (which is not something I see happening in the next 1000 years), independent developer will have a tough time optimizing their apps for all 3, even most commercial companies still have different developers to focus on the different platforms.
  • With Xamarin you can still use UWP specific code though right? I think this will depend on how easy MS will make it for developers to add it to their apps, perhaps even make it standard behaviour for some ui/xaml elements.
  • I think it is necessary Microsoft gets the general outline and design out now to developers. I shiver at the thought all apps will have different UIs. I think it is good to set some ground rules what good design is for the apps and work from there. If scaling is and issue I think Microsoft should proactively provide the framework and tooling to autoconvert the apps to fit the screen and UI compatibility for the duo and neo devices. This would require little effort for the developer and lower the bar to support apps to the devices. Otherwise I fear we will get Samsung DeX like issiies with Apo scaling and compatibility. It might steer developers a bit, but I think otherwise it's going to be a messy experience for the end user, and put them off the formfactor for lack of a comprehensive consistent experience. There's room for creative freedom, but I think developers could use some guiding in how to make very good apps for end users they will love.
  • Hints of the rules are there. They where introduced at Build 2019. Look at the sessions dealing with WinUi, Fluent Design, mobile, React, and .Net.
  • Literally nothing you have listed there requires two screens. I'll just pull out one example, Reddit. You are quite right having one screen for say, thread navigation and another for reading the selected thread is quite handy. But you don't need two screens to do that. A perfect example is this is OneNote. The page navigation pane is on the left while what you are working on is on the right (this is on my tablet) the left pane doesn't take up half the screen real estate though because it doesn't need to. This is a feature that is actually more beneficial on a single screen because you can have control over the sizing of each individual panel. The Neo and Duo take away this functionality. The Battleship idea is cool though, but I can't see it really going anywhere when it would be far more convenient to just use seperate mobile phones.
  • I disagree. I would much rather have the option of doing that on 2 screens designed for that use case rather than a single screen where I would then have to fiddle with the sizing. If it was already compelling on one screen then more Reddit apps would support that. It would also be killer for youtube where you play video on one screen and see comments on the other as well as the game example of controls on one screen and game on the other. Hell the possibility on games would be limitless.
  • So you would rather only have half the screen for using OneNote than three quarters? That's insane.
  • It wouldn't be optimal for all use cases but it would be a good number of them.
  • They might not absolutely require two screens but some things are a lot easier with two. A game pad for xCloud is better than an overlay in many situations. I think reddit can be finicky when it comes to jumping in and out of some things so a dedicated second screen could help. I also said that developers will have to think outside the box to take advantage of it.
  • I can think of a lot of apps where I would prefer 2 screens, but the reality, where it's the killer is running multiple apps, on a phone where productivity isn't a big issue, on the bus/train/plane you'll not be doing much more than working on one document at a time, but introduce a word document, perhaps a spreadsheet and a few other apps, used simultaneously, then there's a huge productivity gain, if you need to move data from one to the other. I think this is where the Neo especially is going to go, to do my job it would be a huge benefit when travelling and the Duo would perhaps offer some benefit too, but both are much more likely to benefit in the corporate world.
  • The most obvious example I can think of, for a phone anyway, is following links. If you have two pages, you don't have to back button. Same with writing using something else as a reference.
  • I pretty much see this mainly being used as a double-monitor sort of thing... For example, instead of an app like Netflix making specific use of it, you have Netflix on top, while in a chat room on the bottom, or something like that. Or maybe, you have a kindle app open on the right with word open on the left for taking notes while you read a particular book. Personally, I feel like if Microsoft really wants to make a "DS", they should be getting Nintendo on the phone yesterday...
  • Why would Nintendo do that and eat their own market. Now if they buy Nintendo, then that would be something special.
  • Not every app apps need to be adapted to dual screen design. But Some app categories like reading apps , photo & video editors , web browser , note taking apps , remote desktop apps , file managers etc makes most sense and those apps should be on board at launch
    Imo main advert for dual screen device is running 2 apps at a time rather than running 1 app at a time.
    Compared to galaxy fold which will be used mostly for one app at a time a dual screen devices influences even average joe's to multitask side by side. We should not forget that despite that seam bazel in the middle many apps will work fine in extended mode (tablet mode in landscape orientation) specially content which is scrollable such as webpage, social media apps etc.
  • Good article. I'm very excited about Neo, it looks more promising and practical. But I'm concerned about Windows 10X in general. How serious is Microsoft with Windows 10x when they openly admit Operating systems are no longer a priority for them? Why would developers put in a lot of effort to create apps for Neo when Duo has a similar form factor and has a proven eco system? Because, Windows is no more a priority for Microsoft what is the guarantee that they won't throw the towel on Neo running Windows 10X and change to Android? We all know android 11 is going to support dual screens and folded screen devices. Sadly Microsoft has a habit of quitting easily. I'm not being skeptical but they don't have a good track record in supporting their mobile platform. Duo on the other hand atleast has a chance to survive because it runs Android, all the existing apps are readily available. Microsoft is sending mixed signals to the developers. They expect them to build apps for 2 different operating systems, which is a tough call. I hope we will get more information during build 2020. It is very important they don't confuse the developers. It is also important that they release a developer device (very affordable) to start working on the apps.
  • The "Neo" cold be a great device for Students if it's affordable for Students
    & their Parents or Institutions to purchase. One screen would display the Text book's
    Page and the other screen could be used to take notes or draw on or do both on.
    The "Surface "Duo" is light enough and a good size for a book bag and
    Students can use it's unique magnetic "Typing keyboard" to type home work
  • bigger laptop types we are used to needing to open.
    phones we are used to using one handed and not needing to "turn it on" for notifications or to see the time...
  • Surface Neo support surface Dial
  • Maybe 10X will support the Surface Dial, but with the Neo, the screen might be too small to really be practical.
  • 'However, because foldables are such a new category, Microsoft may fare better in this regard than it did with Windows Phone, which was entering a space in which smartphones, and what they do, were already a known quantity.' What new category? They're releasing an Android smartphone with two displays; this has been done before. And they're releasing a small pc with two displays. This doesn't really solve anything, since it's still too big to bring to field work...
  • I really really liked Duo. I recently got iphone pro max so if the price is somewhat close i would love to try it. The only thing concern me is, will there be a duo case to protect it? It is very important for me to have a case on a phone. I cant can figure out how case will work when duo is at 360 hinge, the only way to take calls?
  • I think you are correct. I don't see how a case could be engineered to fit the Duo. Even a bumper case would not allow it to open or close flush.
  • There will probably be a little sleeve you can put it in to protect it
  • The killer is that they are not identical app platforms. I don't see why devs would code for the neo - the duo people have other laptops, and multi-monitor setups - an actual user base. The fragile plastic folding screens would have to be a major market trainwreck for the neo to take off enough. I mean I can see a use case, but I just can't see a big enough user base to justify dev. Windows itself, whole different deal. Unless the duo can run UWP, or devs can compile for both with no code changes, I don't think it'll go far.
  • People on the run needs the one handed devices. They are practical and handy. Can be used in a crowded bus or metro. Not a dual screen. So far no dual screen device has taken over the smart phone market. Sorry to bust the hype here....
  • Thanks to 360 degree hinge Duo can be used just like any other phone.
  • Simple, dual screen will dominate for productivity and reliability. Single foldable screens are consumption and consumer flash.
  • To be honest I actually think it's the opposite (regarding productivity/consumption). A single foldable screen isn't great for consumer tasks, it's more useful for productivity. The reason being is the aspect ratio of the screen when unfolded is practically a square so if you chuck a game, or video on that (generally designed for a much wider aspect ratio) then all you're getting is a marginally larger visual area than a normal phone screen. Where a single display is a boon is that you have your day to day on whatever smaller screen is available, then you fold it out to a much larger workspace for notes, spreadsheets, photoshop, etc. Without making sacrifices for where things need to be positioned which would be the case for a dual screen display. Dual screen devices work the opposite, they have benefits for gaming and media consumption but (in theory) are less useful for productivity, especially in regards to touch bases interfaces (with a keyboard/mouse there is less issues there, apart from the line between the screens).
  • Nintendo DS anyone. You could have a whole bunch of games right off the bat if Microsoft went and talked to these publishers that made games for the DS.
  • I like these in principle. But given the market of today, and certainly the market of next year, I think they would resonate better with the interior of the screen was bezel-less. That way it would unfold with no seam.
  • only if Microsoft leadership hated Windows Mobile a bit less, everything would eventually be okay. The thought of "challenge for developers" is no different this time around compared to Windows RT and Windows Mobile, minus the head start. This is yet another u-turn and nothing more, due to internal politics, rather than thinking like a technocrat. Existing android apps experience will be worse than on Amazon Fire, no developer is going to take the "challenge ". Microsoft should just stay away from end users and concentrate on Cloud, because you need common sense working with consumers and copy-cat technology cannot solve the problem of lack of common sense. Short sighted bottom line focus will not work here. Google is successful just because they trashed technology and focused on the user. Android is the biggest piece of s*** ever architected in software and Microsoft Software Architects cannot hold a candle to them when it comes to strategy, gone are the days of Bill Gates and "refuse to lose" As for me, I'll go for the more common-sense folding screens when they reach maturity, simply because it is more natural and common sense. Even on the desktop, I prefer the Ultrawide 2K quad any day, to dual-screen, and anxiously await the extra snap options in Windows. I feel a bit sad because WCOS could have been a success if they were not to ruin it like this. And I also feel sad for the demise of Continuum.