Microsoft has unveiled two folding devices, with dual touch screens, which it says will create a new category in mobile computing. But, unlike attempts from its rivals, the firm has not adopted a bendable screen – nor has it decided to include a high-end camera system on the products.
Panos Panay, Microsoft’s chief product officer, gave the BBC a demonstration of the devices ahead of their public unveiling in New York on Wednesday. “We want people to see the direction we’re taking with productivity,” he said, adding that the products will be released in a year’s time. “This is the earliest we’ve ever shown [a prototype] Surface. We’re going to get developer units out pretty soon.”
One industry watcher said it was no surprise that Microsoft had shied away from trying to incorporate an all-in-one foldable screen, despite the fact that products using the technology had already gone on sale. “Given the issues Samsung had with the initial version of the Galaxy Fold and the wider challenges around the fragility of flexible displays, it makes sense that device makers are experimenting with alternative designs,” commented Ben Wood from the consultancy CCS Insight. As part of Wednesday’s launch, Microsoft also announced several updates to the Surface laptop range due to be released later this year, and open to pre-orders today.