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Microsoft Surface Neo could be severely delayed: Here's what we know

(Image credit: Microsoft/YouTube)

We've heard a lot about Microsoft's Surface Duo in recent months but let's not forget about the Surface Neo, a dual-screen device unveiled alongside the Duo last year. 

The new Surface devices were both set for a Holiday 2020 release, and while the Surface Duo appears to be on track, or even ahead of schedule, the Surface Neo has fallen behind.

It's not an official confirmation of the Surface Neo being delayed but Microsoft has removed the "Coming Holiday 2020” timeline from the device's website, as Neowin spotted. It would come as no surprise if this indicated a postponement. The Surface Neo will run on Windows 10X, which Microsoft repurposed for single-screen devices to start before delaying the OS indefinitely. 

The last we heard, Windows 10X was being pushed back to 2022 with a limited launch in 2021. The earliest rollout will reportedly focus on business and education with frontline workers being the primary target audience. If ZDNet's sources inside Microsoft are correct, then Windows 10X will launch on dual-screen devices in spring 2022, approximately 18 months late.

The Surface Neo was designed to run Windows 10X, so it could face a similarly lengthy delay. Unless Microsoft can pick up the pace, we might not see the dual-screen tablet for another year (and that's if we're lucky).

What we'd be missing out on is a device with two 9-inch displays separated only by a thin 360-degree hinge. The Duo contorts in every direction so you can use it as a tablet, a laptop (with an external keyboard), a monitor, or as a drawing canvas with the Surface Pen stylus. 

The hardware can be airtight but the Surface Neo won't succeed if the software isn't fully developed. We hope Microsoft takes all the time it needs to get the Surface Neo off the ground. After all, the Neo is one of the first dual-screen devices of its kind, so failure could stunt the progress of an entire product category. 

If you can't wait for the Surface Neo, be on the lookout for Lenovo's ThinkPad Fold, a similar device running Windows 10 Pro that is scheduled to launch later this year. And if that isn't your cup of tea, well, you can rewatch this awesome Surface Neo hype video as you wait for Microsoft to provide a more realistic release date.