Surface Neo Prototype Photos Remind Us Of What May Never Come

The launch and reviews of the Surface Duo 2 may have reignited discussions about dual-screen devices as envisioned by Microsoft. The existence of this smaller Android hybrid device would have naturally also raised questions about its larger Windows counterpart. There has been no official word yet on the fate of the Surface Neo, but new photos of what looks like an unfinished device may spark feelings of nostalgia and longing for a device that may have already been silently canceled.

Microsoft revealed both the Surface Duo and the Surface Neo back in 2019, something uncharacteristic for the company. Its early announcement was meant to build interest from developers, but it also ran the risk of generating hype for products that may never hit store shelves. That almost happened to the Surface Duo, which launched later than first intended, but at least the dual-screen phone even got a second generation.

The same thing can't be said of the Surface Neo, which was officially postponed without the promise of a new date. Partly blamed on the COVID-19 pandemic, Microsoft said that it had to re-evaluate its roadmap for Windows 10X and dual-screen Windows devices, preferring to focus on single-screen PCs for the time being. That focus is what Windows 11 turned out to be, but there has been no sighting of Surface Neo or even its shadow so far.

Max Weinbach just surprised tech pundits and Microsoft fans with photos of unexpected photos of the Surface Neo, or at least the makings of one. The device that reportedly came from China didn't come with a screen, which means you can see directly inside it. As far as internal layout goes, it looks like an enlarged Surface Duo, which was what Microsoft aimed for when it conceptualized the two companions.

Its sudden appearance effectively resurrected discussion about the Surface Neo and its uncertain fate. Given the feedback on the Surface Duo 2, however, some might also be questioning whether the idea would have succeeded in the first place. There have been attempts by other PC makers to produce unconventional computing devices in the same vein, but, aside from the ASUS Precog, the likes of Lenovo seem to prefer a single foldable screen over two separate ones.