Microsoft has been working on a secret new dual-screen Surface device for months now. While the company has experimenting with smaller pocketable devices, it looks like Microsoft is settling on a slightly larger Surface device that could debut early next year. IHS Markit, a market research firm, now claims that Microsoft’s foldable dual-screen Surface will have two 9-inch displays with a 4:3 aspect ratio. Citing supply chain info, IHS Markit told Forbes that the device could be due in the first quarter or first half of 2020.
The device, codenamed Centaurus, will also reportedly run Android apps as part of Microsoft’s new Windows Core OS (WCOS) operating system. Microsoft has been developing WCOS as the underpinnings for a more lightweight version of Windows. This new OS will power dual-screen devices and Chromebook competitors. “Windows Lite,” as it’s codenamed internally, is a more stripped-down version of Windows that is initially being prioritized for dual-screen devices like Centaurus.
An Android apps addition would be a surprise move from Microsoft, especially if it further undermines the company’s Universal Windows Platform. Microsoft will need to create its own Android app store, and convince developers to modify their apps to work without Google Play Services access. Huawei is in a similar position, and creating an alternative Android app store hasn’t been successful for phone makers let alone laptop makers.
IHS Markit also believes Microsoft’s dual-screen Surface device will use Intel’s latest 10nm processors, with LTE or 5G connectivity. We understand Microsoft has been working closely with Intel on its Surface Centaurus device. Intel has been pushing OEMs to create dual-screen hardware, and devices could appear much like Microsoft’s Courier concept, dual-screen laptops, or even foldable displays in the future.
Microsoft recently teased this dual-screen Surface device during an internal employee-only event, indicating that work has progressed to the stage it could be shown publicly soon. Microsoft likes to hold Surface events in New York City in October, and it’s feasible that if this dual-screen Surface device is going ahead then that will be the venue where we might get our first look at this new hardware.