Microsoft’s Surface Neo redefines “smartphone”!

“Surface Neo” announced by Microsoft is an ambitious product that the company, which has repeatedly failed to enter the mobile field, has taken on the PC side. With Surface Neo, iPads and Android tablets are no longer necessary, and the ultra-compact PC “UMPC” developed by several Chinese manufacturers has also lost its significance. Furthermore, if a user who enjoys work or video on a large-screen smartphone gets Surface Neo, the use of the smartphone may become as much as SNS. 

The structure of Surface Neo is actually simple. Simply connect two 9-inch displays with hinges. But to make full use of this simple mechanism, Microsoft has also announced Windows 10X with a new UI (user interface). By installing an optimized OS / UI on products that are an extension of existing hardware, innovative devices were born.

 Surface Neo will be a product that is packed with all the know-how that has been struggling to develop “true mobile PCs” since Microsoft introduced the first Surface. The surface was a product that overturned the old concept of a tablet PC from PC makers. With a light UI that can be operated with the touch of a finger, a pen with excellent writing, and a keyboard that is easy to type while being thin and removable, Surface has greatly changed the concept of a PC to carry. 

Surface Neo opens to 13 inches. This is a typical laptop size. The closed 9-inch size is an exquisite size that is neither too small nor too large. In other words, you can use it with one hand when you close it, and you can get a laptop experience when you open it. There has never been a PC that plays two roles in one.  Moreover, the two open screens can launch two apps on the left and right, or can be used as one large screen. You only need to connect the two displays together, but the center seam is worrisome. Rather, the convenience of turning a small tablet into a normal PC screen is not available elsewhere.

One unit can play 5 or 6 roles

Surface Neo is a hot topic only for folding gimmicks, but it also has a keyboard that can be attached to a magnet. This keyboard is the “thin”, “easy to type”, and “detachable” keyboard that has been developed for the Surface series. I used to use the Surface 3 in the past, but the keyboard that can be easily pressed on the knees was comfortable despite being thin. If you’ve used the Surface Neo keyboard in the past, you can imagine the result without touching it.

This keyboard is also exquisitely sized, about 2/3 the size of a 9-inch display. If you open the Surface Neo screen vertically and place the keyboard on the lower display, you can use it in a laptop-style. The 1/3 area of ​​the display that is not hidden by the keyboard can be used as a second display if the keyboard is placed on the front side of the display.  In other words, “Simple”, “Double-sided fullscreen”, “Two apps on both sides”, “Keyboard with touchpad”, “Keyboard and second monitor”, Surface Neo transforms into many forms. If you play 5 or 6 roles on a single device, all other devices with functions and sizes may be destroyed.

The two-screen terminal has been released by NEC and ZTE as smartphones equipped with Android OS, and in recent years Samsung has sold foldable smartphones that can fold one display. However, none of the products was equipped with a UI that could take advantage of the foldable screen. Even Google, which already has the world of smartphone OS, lacks the know-how to use “two screens” and “large screen”. You can see that from the Android OS tablet UI.

Do you need a collapsible screen?

 Samsung’s Galaxy Fold has improved operability when opened, such as being able to display three applications at the same time, but compared to displaying two applications on a large screen when viewed from Surface Neo’s 13-inch smartphone, it is absolutely It looks inferior. Of course, both are products with different personalities, “smartphones” and “PCs”. But Surface Neo is a “mobile” device that you can easily fold to carry. It could be enough to be a rival of big-screen smartphones and foldable smartphones. 

In the future, this two-screen PC will also appear from outside of Microsoft. Lenovo and others are said to be developing products with flexible displays, and there is a high possibility that a PC that can fold a single display like the Galaxy Fold will be introduced.  Although the number of foldable products is increasing little by little in the smartphone industry, the “folding” style may become a big trend in the future if it spreads to the PC world. Not only the performance of “camera is nice” and “battery has”, but “folding the screen” will become an indispensable function for mobile devices in the future. (TEXT: Yasuhiro Yamane)

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