This is what the Surface Neo would have looked like in real life

This is what the Surface Neo would have looked like in real life

Microsoft has released many hardware products over the past few years, from the massive Surface Studio to the dual-display Surface Duo. However, one device that didn’t quite make it to the finish line was the Surface Neo, a laptop-sized version of the Duo that would have used Windows 10X. Both the Neo and Windows 10X were shelved, but now photos of a Neo prototype have been published.

The Surface Neo was first announced in October 2019 as a large tablet with two displays. Similar to the Duo, which was eventually released (as well as this month’s second generation model), the Neo was designed for running one application on each screen or stretching a single application to both monitors. Microsoft also showed off a keyboard attachment, which would have covered part of the bottom section (when the Duo was on its side) and turned it into a laptop-like device.

Max Weinbach, a reporter for Android Police and noted tech leaker, posted photos today of a Surface Neo prototype “straight […] from China.” The actual displays are missing (with cracked remnants visible on the top and bottom), but the rest of the unit looks close to what Microsoft teased in the above video from 2019. The outside looks like a large Surface Duo, while the inside reveals the battery cells and some other components.

The Surface Neo was being designed for Windows 10X, which was intended as a streamlined version of Windows for ultrabooks and dual-screen devices. Microsoft ended development of Windows 10X sometime in early 2021, but some of its design elements and other ideas were integrated into Windows 11, which was finally released on October 5 of this year.

Microsoft has never officially said that Neo was cancelled, but we haven’t heard a peep about it since 2019, and Microsoft confirmed the death of Windows 10X in May. There’s a chance Microsoft might revisit the idea in the future with Windows 11, but given the continued lackluster reception to the Surface Duo series, killing off the Neo might have been a good idea.

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Corbin Davenport
Corbin Davenport

Corbin is a tech journalist and software developer based in Raleigh, North Carolina. He's also the host of the Tech Tales podcast, which explores the history of the technology industry. Follow him on Twitter at @corbindavenport.