Surface Centaurus dual-screen laptop secretly shown off by Microsoft

Image credit: TechRadar

Microsoft has demonstrated a new Surface dual-screen device internally to staff within the company, potentially indicating that the device we previously heard about – codenamed Centaurus – might just be ready for a launch later in 2019.

This is according to The Verge, which claims to have heard from inside sources that Microsoft demonstrated the new Surface machine to its Devices team, showing a sizzle reel and letting them take a close look at a prototype of the PC.

This is a very interesting development, given that it’s unusual for Surface hardware to be shown off inside the company like this before any official announcement. Apparently, though, it’s all part of a drive by Microsoft to move away from the usual secrecy which surrounds pre-launch products.

These days, the company is all about being more open and transparent, as well as getting and considering feedback, so perhaps the latter is part of the aim here, too: to get some wider reaction on the initial incarnation of Centaurus.

Readying for launch?

As The Verge further observes, the fact that this prototype device is being shown off on a broader level indicates that we could now be moving more swiftly towards the release of an actual product, and there’s even the possibility of a launch (we assume that means simply an initial reveal) within the next six months.

That is, of course, pure speculation, so temper your expectations accordingly. We’re not sure that we will see anything quite so quickly, but nonetheless, we’d love for that to be the case. And previous word from the grapevine has contended there will be some kind of a reveal for the hardware before the year is out.

This dual-screen laptop, if realized, will be a big step forward for Microsoft, and yet a step backwards, from another perspective, given that it’s almost a reprise of the old Courier project which was mulled over but canned a decade ago.

Centaurus is being developed in conjunction with Intel, and is expected to be a flagship device to show what can be done in terms of a hybrid which consists of two large screens. It will also theoretically showcase Windows Lite or Lite OS, the lightweight version of Microsoft’s desktop OS which will run with a minimalist interface and be considerably cut-down so it’s easier on system resources.

As a final note, don’t confuse Centaurus with the smaller rumored Andromeda dual-screen ‘pocketable’ (phone-sized) computer, with development on the latter apparently being halted at the moment. We already heard about that, with the more compact device presenting its own problems on the software front, particularly in terms of working with much smaller-sized screens.

Darren is a freelancer writing news and features for TechRadar (and occasionally T3) across a broad range of computing topics including CPUs, GPUs, various other hardware, VPNs, antivirus and more. He has written about tech for the best part of three decades, and writes books in his spare time (his debut novel - 'I Know What You Did Last Supper' - was published by Hachette UK in 2013).