Microsoft says Surface Duo and Neo are only a taste of what's to come

Microsoft Surface 2019
(Image credit: Microsoft)

Microsoft’s product head has admitted it is taking a gamble by focusing on new releases such as the Surface Duo and Surface Neo, but the company is fully ready to commit to a hardware-centered future.

Speaking at an event at London’s Microsoft Store this week, chief product officer Panos Panay highlighted how its recent announcements meant the company was under pressure to deliver.

However Panay added that the company was ready to do just that, with all of Microsoft coming together to support its latest releases.

Come together

When asked if hardware was now becoming a core part of Microsoft, Panay was in full agreement, noting the recent announcements were the broadest range of Surface releases ever.

"That's fair to say,” he responded, “it is the centre of Microsoft in many ways - it’s all the best bits of the company coming together.”

“We have this opportunity now to not only create a great business for the company that's growing and relevant, but we can also then bring together all the best of Microsoft and hopefully enable our OEM to make even better products and create the best experiences.”

“As these (launch) events have evolved, and Surface has become what it is today, it's about bringing every part of the company together on the product,” Panay added.

"We get asked all the time, what does it take to put on an event like that, and it takes months and months of prep, it’s years of developing the product,” he added.

“There’s a lot of pressure in the sense of, you’re representing the whole company...and you feel humbled by the fact that you get to represent your own team.”

(Image credit: Future)

With new additions to the Surface Pro, Surface Book and Surface Laptop ranges on the way, not withstanding the all-new Surface Earbuds, Microsoft seems well-placed to deliver on its company mission statement of enabling people to achieve more.

"We’re pretty proud this year because we have so many options for people,” Panay said, “we have a device for everyone, that's how it feels.”

“Our role is to create these products that disappear into the background...where all of Microsoft can come together and you know, kind of enable and help that empowerment to go out and achieve what you're going out to achieve.”

“The empowerment comes from, let's make these products the best they can, let's help people achieve the most they can.”

(Image credit: Microsoft)

Microsoft’s focus now turns to the holiday 2019 period, where it is hoping the new Surface products will be popular choices, before preparing for the launch of Surface Duo and Neo next year.

After being teased at the company’s Surface launch event earlier this month, interest has been sky-high in Microsoft’s foldable devices, and Panay showed off both Duo and Neo at the London event.

When asked about the role both items will play in Microsoft’s strategy going forward, Panay was unsurprisingly positive about the future.

“They're new products...not replacements,” he declared. “They're a new category of products...the key now is to get them developed and into the market.”

“We have a vision, but we know getting more partners involved is key...with every massive shift in tech, the form factor changes with it, and that's what we're hoping to see here.”

Mike Moore
Deputy Editor, TechRadar Pro

Mike Moore is Deputy Editor at TechRadar Pro. He has worked as a B2B and B2C tech journalist for nearly a decade, including at one of the UK's leading national newspapers and fellow Future title ITProPortal, and when he's not keeping track of all the latest enterprise and workplace trends, can most likely be found watching, following or taking part in some kind of sport.