We haven't been able to get too close to Microsoft's new pair of foldables due to Microsoft's reluctance for journalists to get fully hands on with the prototype devices, but we did get a good look at what they're set to offer when they go on sale in a year's time.

We've seen them both during Microsoft's launch Event in New York and then again at another event with Surface chief Panos Panay at the London Microsoft Store where Panay whipped them out of his pockets several times before quickly replacing them when big cameras were present.

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After all, these are a year out, so they're not yet ready for prime time. Microsoft also knows we will make the inevitable comparison with other Android phones, perhaps like Samsung's Galaxy Fold. And rightly or wrongly, things just aren't ready as yet.

Panay said in our briefing that Microsoft has been working on the devices for some time. "They have been in development for years" before talking about the debate the company had internally about previewing the devices so far in advance. The reason, of course, is to get developers involved and apps designed that will take advantage of the hefty screen real estate. 

Pocket-lintFirst Look Microsoft Surface Neo And Surface Duo image 5

The comparison with Microsoft's decade-old Courier concept is essential - it's fair to say these devices have been in development for a long time and their design has oviously been informed by the decisions of other manufacturers, the demise of Windows Phone and the dominance of Android.

There's an obvious difference between these devices and rivals like the Samsung Galaxy Fold and Huawei Mate X - while those devices are one screen, these are dual-screen devices like LG's recent forays into screen attachments for phones. Can they make a success of the dual-screen concept at long last? 

Roland Moore-ColyerFirst look Microsoft Surface Neo and Surface Duo image 3

Surface Duo - above - is most interesting, born of a partnership between Microsoft and Google. It has a 8.3-inch display when opened - dual 5.6-inch screens - and runs Android. There's a lot we don't know about this device at the moment, but we do now know that it is currently running on the Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 platform, so it'll no doubt be 865 at launch. That most likely means it will be a 5G device. 

Microsoft says the software will be similar to other versions of Android, so it may run Android 11 at launch, although it will be running Android 9 or Android 10 at the moment. 

There's a fingerprint reader, while charging is predictably via USB-C. Like Microsoft's other new Surface devices that have USB-C, this probably won't be a Thunderbolt port. It is possible that it could have the incoming USB 4.0 standard though, and this includes Thunderbolt. 

Roland Moore-ColyerFirst look Microsoft Surface Neo and Surface Duo image 2

The Neo is pictured here with its physical keyboard attachment, meaning the screen above it changes to be the 'Wonder Bar' - here showing emojis. You can move the keyboard onto a different part of the display should you wish to, it seems. We guess this means part of the screen can act as a touchpad. 

These are dual 9-inch screens between a 360-degree hinge. Crucially, this devices runs Windows 10X which Microsoft is hoping to get developers involved with. It will be very interesting to see if it can manage to get developer support together when it hasn't really managed this with the Windows Store. 

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As you can see from this shot of some designs we snapped at Microsoft's London Surface event, the Duo should be available in four different looks, while there are four different covers and Surface Pens to go with them. 

Both devices will launch in time for Christmas 2020 - we can't wait. 

Additional photos: Roland Moore-Colyer