Microsoft sure avoided disaster with the Surface Neo

Using Surface Neo

Remember the Surface Neo? Sure, you do! The device has been in the news lately, after hitting the wretched milestone of 1000 days since unveil without a launch. Or talk, even.

Luckily, there are some new details on the now postponed — read dead — device that reveal how Microsoft avoided what would truly have been a disaster.

The Surface Neo was to usher in a future where everyone would be using dual-screen PCs. Powering this vision was the Windows 10X operating system that was in development parallel to the Neo. Also in the mix were the hybrid Intel Lakefield processors that promised the world.

As things went, all three of the products got canned, one way or another, one shape or another.

Windows 10X evolved to Windows 11, Intel gave up on its mobile processors to bring the hybrid technology to its mainline chips, while the Surface Neo went missing altogether. We did, however, get a dual-screen device from Microsoft in the form of the Surface Duo, now in its second-generation.

But while we did not get an official word from Redmond on why this happened, some juicy tidbits have, well, surfaced, that show that it was for the better that the device got the boot.

Apparently, there were more problems than one with the prototype versions of the hardware.

Three core issues were of note.

First being the fact that the device overheated quickly. Second, its size was too small. And thirdly, the Windows 10X operating system was both buggy and unpolished. All this is according to sources who managed to play with the early versions of the Neo.

As for overheating, it is believed that the Surface Neo had to be kept under a fan during demos at the last in-person event Microsoft held all the way back in 2019. This had got to do as much with the thin form factor of the Neo at just 5.6mm, as it did with drivers not being finished for the Lakefield chips.

The 9-inch screen size also felt cramped, not to mention the fact that Windows 10X was still a work in progress at that time and needed a lot of polishing.

All in all, it is clear that Microsoft dodged a bullet by not releasing the Surface Neo — at least in the state that it was in. The device was clearly not ready for prime time, and sane thoughts prevailed to help Microsoft avoid another Windows 8 and Windows RT type undercooked disaster.

But hey, at least, the Surface Neo showed up in movies.

Which is likely the only place where we will see it.