Microsoft definitely wowed the crowd when it presented its already functional prototypes of its dual-screen devices, the Windows 10X Surface Neo and the Android Surface Duo. It has generated a lot of excitement as well as a lot of speculation given the gap between the announcement and the very late 2020 launch. Microsoft is naturally coy on some matters but Surface head Panos Panay is setting the record straight on at least one feature that won’t be there: 5G.
Given Microsoft’s target launch date for these two devices, it might be natural for some to wonder if it neatly falls into the window for 5G devices. It does, at least as far as scheduled rollouts are concerned but Microsoft isn’t yet convinced. With so many novel and experimental features, Redmond is ironically sticking to good old 4G LTE for both the Surface Duo and the Surface Neo.
At an event in Berlin, the Microsoft head of the Devices group revealed that the company was indeed looking into supporting 5G but, due to the roadmap of the new network technology, that might not yet be viable even when the devices arrive. There could be support for 5G in the future, though the devices will come with 4G LTE only at launch. How Microsoft plans to do that is still a company secret.
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Panay did at least give hope that these dual-screen Surfaces will have good cameras, touching on one of the criticisms of the device. Neither seems to have any outward-facing camera and the only one inside requires the Duo (and the Neo presumably) to be opened up and folded back to use as a regular shooter. Microsoft did mention that design could still change, hopefully for the better.
As it stands, everything about the Surface Duo and Surface Neo hinges on Microsoft’s promises. The prototypes shown at this month’s Surface even were indeed functional but still left many of the important details open for question and speculation. Which is probably why Microsoft is giving it a very wide berth to leave room for such huge changes as needed.