Should Microsoft just put Android on the Surface Neo?

new surfaceSource: Windows Central

In October 2019, Microsoft dazzled the tech world with two new devices: the Surface Duo and the Surface Neo. They were both similar devices with dual screens, but the Surface Duo was an Android phone while the Surface Neo was supposed to be a new era of Windows 10x PCs — itself a new operating system built for the experience.

A lot has changed since that fall. The Surface Duo came out about a year later, but it’s getting a very rough start (something that was finally improved with the Surface Duo 2). But the Surface Neo, which was also supposed to release “Holiday 2020,” never materialized.

Much of the limbo of the Surface Neo is due to the abandonment of Windows 10X. As the pandemic spread, Microsoft refocused and doubled its focus on its desktop operating system, incorporating the design of Windows 10X into a new operating system called Windows 11. The strategy worked: Windows 11 was a huge success and helped revitalize the PC industry on the right. the time.

But what should happen with Surface Neo devices? Should Microsoft put Android on it and make it a bigger brother to the Surface Duo? There are some excellent reasons to do so. And a few reasons why you shouldn’t.

Foldable computers are much larger

Lenovo X1 Fold

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Fold (2021).Source: Daniel Rubino / Windows Central

Lenovo’s first foldable computer is Lenovo’s ThinkPad X1 Fold. It’s a device I play with occasionally, but I’ve had a hard time getting into my workflow. When opened, the X1 Fold QXGA’s flexible 13.3-inch (2048 x 1536) OLED display is quite impressive, but it’s too small to use as a laptop. While it’s attractive, it’s also not light at 2.2 pounds (999 grams), which makes carrying it as a book inconvenient for long periods of time.

Interestingly enough, the next generation of foldable PCs arriving later this year is even more important. These screens will feature a 16- to 17-inch screen (like the ASUS ZenBook 17 Fold) and, when folded up as laptops, will be closer to a 13-inch screen making it a little more natural. Although you wouldn’t want to hold a 17-inch foldable computer in one hand for long, you can prop the screen up to have a 17-inch laptop with you, which is interesting.

The Surface Neo, on the other hand, features two 9-inch screens that create a 13.1-inch screen when fully extended. It goes against the trend that foldable computers are headed.

And there’s still this lingering problem: Windows 11 isn’t as great as a tablet operating system. So far, there are no features in Windows 11 that take advantage of dual or foldable displays (although Snap Assist helps).

In short, while I find foldable computers NosyHowever, my experience with the X1 Fold has left me skeptical of its usefulness as a laptop replacement. Microsoft will have to do more to convince me otherwise.

Surface Neo with Android might make sense

Surface Duo 2020

Microsoft Surface Duo (2020).Source: Daniel Rubino / Windows Central

With no Windows 10X in sight, it appears that the state of the dual-screen PC is deteriorating because the operating system is not optimized for it. Technically, there’s no Android either, but that changes with Android 12L later this year. Moreover, Microsoft already she has Experience Android optimization for dual screens with Surface Duo and Surface Duo 2. Actually, it’s very good. With Android app development ready to start optimizing for larger screen, dual screen and foldable screens, the ecosystem is ahead of Windows right now.

Now, I’m not a fan of Android on tablets, but throwing this OS on the Surface Neo with a dash of 5G makes the Surface Neo more viable. Microsoft can still preload it with its growing cadre of Android apps and services, and in fact, it’s just going to be a giant Surface Duo for those who want more screen real estate on the go. This is an easier sale, especially for those who want a secondary device and don’t want to trade in their phones.

Regarding this, Microsoft has made some recent moves to unite its efforts in Android. Its latest release places Android development as a core within the larger Microsoft Devices and Experiences suite. It also seems to be hiring several Android developers. In other words, its Android ambitions seem more comprehensive than its current offerings.

Serious game?

new surface

Microsoft Surface Neo with Windows 10x (2020).Source: Microsoft

Of course, I’m not losing out on risk here either, especially for Windows. In a previous 2019 interview with The Verge, Executive Vice President and Chief Product Officer, Panos Panay asks “…what is the right OS for a form factor?” Speaking of Surface Duo. He answers his question with “…in this case, on mobile devices, Android is the obvious choice. But anything above that, Windows is everything.” Later, when asked about putting Android on the Surface Neo, Panay received an interesting response:

Yeah, I don’t see that. I can see my roadmap. I can see that three years later, and I’m not, like, “I had visions.” I can, like, see it physically, the roadmap. We all have iterations of these products out there. I guess what you say is not where I see things.

At the end of the day, Windows does its job well. It’s unbelievable, for literally anything bigger than this device. Now, I think anything bigger between Neo and Duo is stuck. So when I say anything bigger, I don’t see anything smaller than 2.9 inches, and I don’t see anything bigger than this. When we chose this product, we literally researched for years at screen sizes. What is the right thing to do?

Panay on Windows doubles as the right choice for your Surface Neo. But those comments were made before Windows 10X was scrapped, and the decision to push out 17-inch foldable PCs surfaced. How has thinking evolved now that those things have changed? Of course, we may never know unless Microsoft decides to revive the Surface Neo with either Android or some improved version of Windows 11.

But if Microsoft follows Android, the danger is obvious as it begins to bleed into the area where Windows is supposed To be controlling and to undermine previous messages. It also acknowledges what has become more apparent: Android is the superior mobile operating system, while Windows is the best desktop (and laptop-friendly) solution.

This discussion raises the fundamental question: What? he is Surface Neo – tablet or laptop? Because how you answer determines which operating system is best.

So, what do you do about the Surface Neo? I’m not quite sure. Ideally, Microsoft would have a great portable version of Windows optimized for dual monitors ready to go. But they haven’t, and we haven’t heard anything to suggest they do. This is the truth here. While Android is far from my first choice, it makes sense from a development and marketing standpoint, especially if you’re thinking of the Neo as a tablet or just a Surface Duo that’s bigger than a laptop.

On the other hand, the Surface Neo probably shouldn’t be there at all – it’s a device in the middle that can’t be anything.