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Microsoft officially delays Surface Neo, dual-screen Windows PCs


Microsoft has officially confirmed that it’s delaying its dual-screen Windows experiences, including the Surface Neo, until “the right moment” arrives. That announcement was part of a Monday blog post in which Panos Panay, the new chief product officer of Windows and Devices, laid out his vision of what he sees for Microsoft’s Windows 10 and related hardware programs.

In some sense, the blog post announcing the changes reads like a recap of what we already know: The Windows 10 May 2020 Update will begin shipping to the general public this month; Microsoft is turning its Build conference into a free, online-only event; and Microsoft is postponing its own dual-screen devices.

Microsoft had only internally communicated the latter choice internally, according to a recent ZDNet report. That report said Panay had indicated that the pandemic had prompted Microsoft to refocus its priorities on single-screen devices. 

On Monday, Panay confirmed this, and offered more insight into Microsoft’s rationale for adjusting its strategy. “The world is a very different place than it was last October when we shared our vision for a new category of dual-screen Windows devices,” he wrote. “As we continue to put customers’ needs at the forefront, we need to focus on meeting customers where they are now.”

That means that Microsoft will “pivot our focus toward single-screen Windows 10X devices that leverage the power of the cloud to help our customers work, learn, and play in new ways,” Panay wrote. “These single-screen devices will be the first expression of Windows 10X that we deliver to our customers, and we will continue to look for the right moment, in conjunction with our OEM partners, to bring dual-screen devices to market.”

Based on his phrasing, that essentially means that Microsoft is delaying the Surface Neo, which was originally scheduled to ship in 2020. Windows 10X, which simplified the Windows experience and stretched the experience across two screens, will now emphasize the “simple” rather than the two screens. (Microsoft’s Windows 10X emulator recently added a single-screen experience.) Focusing the delay on “dual-screen Windows devices” also suggests that Microsoft may still ship the Surface Duo, a dual-screen Android phone, on time. 

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