Rumors of a dual screen Surface device just refuse to die. We have been hearing about such a thing for the past couple of years in some form or another, and according to the latest chatter, Microsoft has been showing off a prototype internally, which hints that an actual release might finally be imminent. If nothing else, the timing is certainly interesting.
Last week at Computex, Intel trotted out its dual-screen Honeycomb Glacier gaming PC concept. It does not appear that Intel will assemble and sell a first-party dual-screen system, and instead considers it a blueprint for its hardware partners to follow. It's already started to happen—ASUS is the first out of the gate with its ZenBook Pro Duo UX581.
According to The Verge, Microsoft showed the company's devices team a sizzle reel of its dual-screen Surface, which is said to be two years in the making. Codenamed Centaurus, this is different from the dual-screen Andromeda device that has also been the subject of leaks and rumors. Andromeda is smaller, more akin to a large smartphone or small tablet, whereas Centaurus is a bigger system—a hybrid laptop/tablet device.
We know that the technology for something like this already exists. Samsung demonstrated this by launching the Galaxy Fold, a folding smartphone. It's true the Galaxy Fold stumbled out of the gate, but the issues appear to be a poor implementation of the foldable screen (there are gaps that allow dust and debris inside), rather than the display itself.
It's also public knowledge that Microsoft has an interest in reviving its Courier concept from many moons ago. There are patent filings on record that detail a dual-screen design (multiple patents, actually), and Twitter user David Breyer (@D_Breyer) put together some fantastic looking renders of what an actual product might look like, based on those patents.
Microsoft's Panos Panay has hinted at something like this.
"We will invent and we will create when products are right," Panay told The Verge last year. "We can't bring new categories into the world and not be a place where customers need it."
Interestingly, the dual-screen device that Microsoft is said to be showing off is also said to be running a stripped down version of Windows. This speaks to the Windows Lite rumors, which itself is said to be geared towards dual-screen devices like Centaurus.
We doubt anything will emerge or ship by the end of the year, though early 2020 seems at least plausible, if not somewhat likely.
Thumbnail Image Source: David Breyer (@D_Breyer) via Twitter