Microsoft Surface event has happened and it seems Microsoft Surface Neo is one of the most discussed topic of the event.
And for all good measures and reasons.
It’s not just your typical portable mobile device but it’s more like a symbol that Microsoft has used to make a very valid point.
Microsoft Surface Neo : Let’s Talk Specs First,
Of course no one knows the entire specifications of Microsoft Surface Neo.
But what we can definitely discuss in this post is what are the various aspects with respect to specs that Microsoft needs to take care of in order to make this device as Holistic as Microsoft wants it to be.
Microsoft Surface new will come with its own version of Windows 10 known as Windows 10X.
It is a specific, modular version of Windows 10 created for fold-able PCs and laptops just like Microsoft Surface Neo.
We have talked about Microsoft Windows 10X in a separate post and video in great details.
I have also talked about Microsoft Windows 10X in the Microsoft Surface event highlight post that you can check out here.
Microsoft Surface Neo will rock two separate 9-inch displays, capable of running independently.
They will be connected to each other with the help of a 360 degree hinge.
There is also a very innovative Bluetooth keyboard that comes with Microsoft Surface Neo that can flip, slide and lock in place with the help of magnets to induce some very interesting characteristics within Windows 10X.
There’s also a very stylish surface slim pen that attaches magnetically to Microsoft Surface Neo and it is the same stylus that is used with Surface Pro X.
Microsoft Surface new can be used as a laptop as a book and in a and as a Tablet in many ways that you in ways users have not expected or seen before
Although not much has been revealed about Microsoft Surface Neo hardware but what is sure is that Surface Neo will be rocking Intel’s Lakefield Processors.
Apart from Microsoft, partners such is Dell, HP, Lenovo and Asus are also working on similar fold-able devices that will run Windows 10X.
The engineer that were working on Microsoft Surface Neo initially had no idea of what kind of hardware they will have to deal with.
So their actions initially were based on an idea of what the device might look like.
Once the hardware design was ready they started to move over the software elements on the new suggested hardware.
Microsoft has highlighted that there have been previous versions of Windows 10 created to power mobile devices and even some dual screen devices.
But it has been, as Microsoft points out a Frankenstein Monster combination of Software and Hardware.
Microsoft feels a modular version of Windows 10 or Windows 10X is absolutely essential for proper functioning of this dual screen devices.
From the first looks it, it seems that two Surface Go displays are slapped together.
The gap between both the screens is very clearly visible. This is intentionally kept so, so that the independent physical existence of the device display’s are clearly visible.
The message that “folding actual screens” is not the only way is pretty clear.
As per Microsoft the dual screen devices with separate screens can help customers bridge the gap between consumption and productivity.
Microsoft Surface Neo Use Cases,
There are number of ways in which you can make use of Microsoft surface neo and Windows 10X.
In the note taking mode you can have a browser open on one in screen.
The other screen can be occupied by a note taking app such as Microsoft’s OneNote, that the student can use in order to make notes.
One can use the surface pen or you can do that with the help of a separate keyboard as well.
All In One Portable PC,
Surface Neo will be very capable of functioning as a laptop, a book or a business accessory.
You can make it stand on a flat surface and use a detachable keyboard to work with it very similar to how you would use a dual monitor setup at home.
Reading the device feels very close to what a book will look and feel like.
You can also use a stylus along with your reading for some light note taking.
Now this is going to be a subjective call for any individual who chooses to get the Microsoft surface neo.
And it will also depend on what you want to subject your device to.
From the keynote it was very clear that these devices were created by Microsoft with productivity in mind primarily.
That is not to say other factors such as power, portability and design (especially design) were excluded from its perception.
But I don’t expect these devices to be power hogs.
They are more like an introduction that appeals to a big domain of people that can use these devices in the way they seem fit.
A student can make use of them in his or her study, someone who loves games can do some light close to console gaming.
An entrepreneur can even use this as a portable laptop to go about his business.
The Challenge With Microsoft Surface Neo
Truth be told it’s not just about Microsoft Surface Neo, its about all the devices introduced by Microsoft.
Whenever you bring in something new. There is always friction. Internal & External too.
And that’s true with everything.
The precise reason why this happens is because human minds are very easily conditioned to routine.
And it’s true with mobile devices as well.
The key aspects that Microsoft will have to deal with is the conditioning that people have that is created with how they have been using their mobile devices till now.
In a traditional mobile and portable devices people are well versed with using various aspects such as on screen keyboard and the general app environment.
So when you introduce a device that has a keyboard spanning all across the screen there is definitely a learning curve that you will get along with it.
Getting over the PC form factor keyboard if you want to use surface neo as a portable device is one of the factors that Microsoft needs to take care of.
Talking about keyboard, Microsoft Surface Neo comes with a sliding hardware keyboard that you can place on top of one of the displays and then it can be used in very clever ways.
Unlike other surface devices, the keyboard attachment that comes with the surface Neo won’t have a track-pad.
That is because when you place the keyboard on one of the displays, the space that remains on the bottom of the display that is not covered by the keyboard acts as a track-pad.
Microsoft says since most modern track pads are made out of glass the custom created track-pad will feel very natural to use.
You will be able to move the keyboard around freely and depending on where you place the keyboard Windows 10X might either display a track-pad as we just discussed or if you slide the keyboard down the the remaining space will be used with what Microsoft calls wonderbar.
The wonder bar is very similar to a touch bar but of course is very big in comparison to the touch bar and can be used in a much more diverse way.
The Wonder bar can be used to keep different apps side by side to increase productivity.
It can be even used to access emoji to reply to messages and emails.
There is also news that Microsoft is working with partners like Netflix and Spotify to optimize apps that can be used in this area.
The whole point being this new tech can act as a catalyst that can help people get over that conditioning to try something new.
The Apps Conundrum
It is very clear that Microsoft wants Windows 10X to have virtually no learning curve to people who are coming from traditional Windows 10 Desktop Environment.
One essential aspect that Microsoft will have to pay a lot of attention to are the apps side of things.
What makes android and iOS mobile devices appealing to a large mass of people is the availability of apps.
The app market for better use of the word have spoiled people in terms of the diversity and usability of apps available in the respective marketplaces.
Microsoft now needs to tackle the problem in two ways.
One of the first ways and it is also one of the reasons why Microsoft introduced surface Neo much before its official release date is because it wants developers to create experiences and apps very specific to fold-able devices such as this.
And the other way that Microsoft will look into is upgrading the existing applications such as mail, calendar, PowerPoint etc., to an extent where they can work with dual screen devices in a way that enhances users productivity when they use the same app with these portable devices.
So in that direction Microsoft may need to update the majority of its apps on Windows store to work with Windows 10X as well.
Microsoft Surface Neo : The Adoption Part
There is news that Microsoft is using a container technology to not only allow legacy apps to run on fold-able devices but also not hit the battery massively.
There is no news which point out precisely how this container technology will work but it sounds like the traditional apps of Windows 10 will run in an isolated container rather than being fully virtualized.
Apart from the traditional Windows apps it seems Windows 10X will also heavily rely on progressive web apps, Universal Windows apps and apps that combined local and web code to take advantage of the dual screen these devices are offering.
So the whole point being Microsoft has to create a scenario where in the already available apps and the newly created apps merge in gracefully with the new Windows 10X.
Introducing innovation is a kickstarter, not an end in itself and the combination of innovation and usability or productivity is what Microsoft will be aiming at.
Microsoft has to answer this very crucial question as to, why should I switch from my traditional Android device or an Apple device to a device with an unfamiliar terrain.
The Graceful Switch,
Creating apps for a dual screen environment can be one of the good reasons but it has to be coupled with enhancement in productivity.
As far as apps are concerned yes we do have news and rumors about activities that are happening on the software side of things.
But as far as productivity is concerned that is precisely what Microsoft via its Microsoft Surface event has highlighted again and again, that these devices are going to combine productivity, power and portability in one device.
So a Holistic comprehension of the device is what is needed to be done by Microsoft in order to make the acceptance of dual screen devices from your traditional devices as graceful as possible and that is where in a success of a device resides.
Microsoft as per what we know about the surface neo, is promising to touch on all of these aspects if not completely but to a great extent before the device goes live in the fall of 2020.
The next year is going to be spent on refining these aspects of the software and other dimensions of the hardware making the merging between both of these dimensions as fruitful and as possible.
The Intelligent Exposure,
No this is not a feature in Microsoft Surface Neo.
But it is something that Microsoft did.
When Panos Panay introduced the surface neo and told everybody that it will only be available by the fall of 2020.
But Microsoft answered that question too.
Another intelligent move that as a company you can do is expose your creation to feedbacks.
But, but, but.
Not in an unintelligent way.
What I mean by that is.
If you just give dough to people and ask what should I make of it ?.
The shear number of options that you will get will confuse the hell out of you.
But if you say, I am willing to make a bread out of it.
There will be constructive feedback telling you to put in some honey in it or some other ingredient in it to make a better bread.
I am not a cook so please pardon my combination but please get the point here.
The early release of Microsoft Surface neo is happening in lines to what I just said.
I don’t know whether this was a conscious decision but if it was. Kudos.
Once you have put forth the idea of what you wan’t to do with the dough (Microsoft Surface Neo).
Microsoft is now inviting developers to create, I don’t like to use the word “experience” but Microsoft is using it.
Anyways, developers are invited to create “experiences” associated with dual screen devices to lure people in.
Experience Is A Limited & Dead Thing,
I don’t like the word experience, because it’s just a fancy way to lure you in with the help of honey or some temptation.
When you have something so creative in your hands, forget about creating experiences and create the product so unique and beautiful that people would genuinely wanna buy it.
Instead of trying to lure them with “good experience“. Because news flash, experiences are dead things. They feel good when they are new, and you get bored eventually.
I want a tech that enhances my life from action and productivity side not just because it’s tempting.
If something is tempting and is not as good as what temptation promised you will have angry customers with pitchforks in their hands.
I am not saying good experience shouldn’t be a part of the system. But if you build a great product that is a given.
So Microsoft has put up half-cooked yet a mature idea in front of people and now it’s inviting feedbacks.
That’s very very good.
This is all not to say that Microsoft Surface Neo will not have any kinds of competition.
Google is striving to provide latest support for fold-able devices working on Android.
Samsung has already shipped the second iteration of Samsung Galaxy fold.
It seems even LG is creating a dual screen Android phone.
And as I mentioned this in a previous video the evolution into folding devices is just a step when the complete mobile device industry is kept in perspective.
So it’s not a bad thing.
What will make your device is stand out is your capacity to include the dimension in your device that the traditional devices may not be offering.
To give a constructive incentive to the users to shift from their daily drivers to this new driver that are evenly making their steps into the smartphone industry.
So as I mentioned this in the heading of this post Microsoft Surface Neo is a new chapter in the fold of folding devices.
And let’s see how industries as far as folding devices are concerned is going to evolve over the next decade following this event.
I will see you in the next one :).
Namaskaram _/\_ 🙂 .