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Surface Centaurus: Microsoft’s dual-screen devices weren’t what we expected

Editor’s note: Microsoft confirmed the existence of its Surface Centaurus device, revealing it as the Surface Neo: a new dual-screen laptop/tablet hybrid device set to arrive in 2020. Microsoft also revealed the Surface Duo, which looks to be a smaller version of the Neo in a foldable smartphone form. 

Check out out everything that was confirmed at the Surface Event here:

Curious about the hotly rumoured Microsoft Surface Centaurus folding screen laptop? Then you’re in the right place as we’ve collated all the latest industry rumours about the fabled Microsoft dual-screen laptop.

2019’s been all about folding devices thanks to the arrival of key products like the Galaxy Fold, Huawei Mate X and fabled Motorola Razr 2019 – which are all focused on offering users a phone that can fold out into tablets. But alongside this sea of folding phone-come-tablets, Microsoft’s rumoured to have been working on an even more interesting concept with its fabled Centaurus project: a folding screen laptop.

Details about the Microsoft Surface Centaurus have been doing the rounds for quite some time, but concrete details about the device, including if this is its actual name, are few and far between. The only constant is that it’s a dual-screen, folding laptop similar to the one Lenovo confirmed it’s working on earlier this year. What shape it’ll take and if it’ll actually get a consumer release remain unknown.

Read on for a breakdown of the latest, semi-legitimate, leaks about the Microsoft Surface Centaurus including the latest information on on its fabled release date, price and specs.

Related: Surface Pro 7

Microsoft Surface Centaurus – When will the Centaurus be announced?

The Microsoft Surface Centaurus is expected to make an appearance at the company’s Surface Event later today. The livestream will kick off at 10am Eastern Time, or 3pm BST if you’re planning on watching it in the UK. The Surface Pro 7, Surface Laptop 3 and Surface Go 2 are also expected to make their debut at the event.

Microsoft Surface Centaurus release date – When is it coming out?

With Microsoft yet to even officially confirm the existence of the Surface Centaurus, there is of course no concrete release date just yet.

This hasn’t stopped the rumour mill though, with Forbes reporting that IHS Markit analysts suggest Microsoft’s dual-screen Surface will launch sometime in the first half of 2020. This means it’s unlikely we’ll see the Centaurus before Christmas.

Related: Surface Go 2

Microsoft Surface Centaurus price – How much will the Centaurus cost?

It’s too early for any reliable information on price, with no leak or rumour indicating any figures just yet. It’s safe to assume it will be expensive though, and significantly more pricey than the current £979 entry-model Surface Laptop 2. We’re expecting models to range anywhere between £1000 and £2000.

Related: Surface Laptop 3

Microsoft Surface Centaurus – What to expect?

Microsoft’s Surface Centaurus is widely expected to be a foldable dual-screen laptop/tablet hybrid – think of a super-sized version of the Samsung Galaxy Fold smartphone, but in tablet/laptop form. Most recently it’s existence got all but confirmed by renowned leaker  Evan Blass.Blass published a number of renders for various Surface products including the Surface Pro 7 and Surface Laptop 3 ahead of the 2 October Surface Event. While Evan Blass didn’t provide any renders for the Surface Centaurus, he did post a tweet saying, “Not pictured here: dual-screen Surface” which seems to be confirmation that the product does indeed exist.

Prior to this an IHS Market analyst, as reported by Forbes, suggests the Centaurus will have two 9-inch screens featuring a 4:3 aspect ratio, as well as Intel’s new Lakefield hybrid processor, which uses a combination of a performance-focused undisclosed 10nm Sunny Cove CPU (sharing the same architecture of Ice Lake and Comet Lake chips) and multiple smaller and more power-efficient 10-nanometer Tremont cores.

Don’t worry if the specs go over your head. The Lakefield hybrid processor essentially enables any devices (be it a 2-in-1 notebook or tablet) housing the chip will have an improved balance between battery life and performance power. The video below offers some useful information on Intel Lakefield.

Centaurus is also expected to run Windows Lite (aka Windows Core OS) which is a simplified version of Windows 10 optimised to run on more tablet and touchscreen-orientated devices opposed to traditional clamshell laptops. On the software note, it’s also reported the Centaurus will be able to run Android apps, which marks a major shift for Microsoft in a bid to make its portables more competitive with the likes of Chromebooks.

Finally, Surface Centaurus looks to potentially feature an optional 4G LTE or 5G modem, allowing you to hook up the internet without the need for a Wi-Fi network connection. This could well make it a decent option for streaming games with the likes of Google Stadia, Nvidia GeForce Now or Microsoft’s very own Project xCloud. The latter is expected to play a massive part in the Surface Event, with an additional Xbox tablet reported to be shown off optimised for gaming via the cloud.

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