Microsoft announces new laptop and tablets, but the real fun comes next year

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Microsoft Corp. provided a glimpse at its holiday slate on Wednesday, but the company’s most exciting announcements won’t come into play for another year.

The technology giant is toying with some new designs as it looks farther into its future, teasing a dual-screen tablet and a dual-screen smartphone, which would mark the company’s latest foray into the phone business after past failed attempts.

Microsoft MSFT, -1.77%  showed off the Surface Neo tablet and Surface Duo phone at its Wednesday launch event in Manhattan, though these devices won’t go on sale until the 2020 holiday season. The foldable Neo has two side-by-side nine-inch screens with the ability to run multiple apps at once. Microsoft tried to play down the Duo’s status as a phone, calling it “the first Surface to fit in your pocket” in a blog post while later noting: “And, yes, it makes phone calls.” The company is working with Alphabet Inc.’s Google GOOGL, -2.33% GOOG, -2.36%  to bring Android software to the Duo.

The company said that consumers tend to use different devices for different purposes and that the dual-screen design is meant to offer an all-in-one alternative to that sort of behavior.

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The product releases for this year were largely as expected, as Microsoft revealed its new Surface Laptop 3, Surface Pro 7, and Surface Pro X, as well as Surface Earbuds. Microsoft called this its largest lineup yet as it heads into the crucial season.

The Surface Laptop 3 is faster than its predecessor and comes in two sizes: 13-inch and 15-inch. The new devices have larger trackpads and fast-charging capabilities, which Microsoft says will help them reach 80% battery levels in less than an hour. The company also touted Advanced Micro Devices Inc.’s Ryzen Surface Edition processor in the 15-inch model.

The 13-inch model will sell for a starting price of $999 while the 15-inch version begins at $1,199. Preorders are currently open, and the devices become officially available on Oct. 22.

Microsoft’s announcements around its detachable tablets brought an upgrade to the existing form factor as well as a device with a new design. The newly unveiled Surface Pro 7 is twice as fast as the prior-generation model, according to Microsoft, with both USB-A and USB-C charging and a battery that lasts all day.

The company also introduced a design change when it rolled out the Surface Pro X, which has a new custom-designed processor brought about in partnership with Qualcomm Inc. Microsoft reduced the bezels on the Pro X, fitting a 13-inch display in the frame of a 12-inch device. The keyboard for the Pro X has a place to dock the pen and charge it.

The Surface Pro 7 begins at $749, while the Surface Pro X starts at $999. The Pro 7 will be available on Oct. 22 and the Nov. 5 comes starting on Nov. 5.

Also coming this holiday season will be the Surface Earbuds, which will let users access their Outlook calendars and email accounts via voice. The earbuds have all-day battery life and will sell for $249.

Microsoft’s stock is off 1.4% in Wednesday afternoon trading, though it’s up 33% on the year. The Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA, -1.86%  is up 12% in that time.