(Pocket-lint) - Surface head of devices Panos Panay says the development of the Surface Duo phone and Surface Neo dual-screen tablet has been a long journey. 

We went along to Microsoft’s recently-opened flagship store in Oxford Circus, London to hear Panos introduce the company's new Surface Pro X, Pro 7 and Surface Laptop 3. But predictably he whipped the Neo and Duo out of his pocket for a quick preview. 

On the early reveal of Neo and Duo - which won't hit stores for another year - Panay said: "The conversation ‘how do we announce a new product that’s not available for another year’ was a big debate for us.

"I’d never launched a product early before - although we didn’t launch it, we announced it. That was emotional. Sharing what we were working on early…was challenging. Having those conversations."


Panay was crystal clear in talking about the Surface Neo and Duo as a new category. "We think we have something here that’s the start of new category…they have been in development for years and [we want to] get them in developers' hands.

"I think they’re new products, I don’t think they’re replacement products. Some people will move from laptops for sure. The key thing now is to [get them out there]."

On the spread of Surface devices, Panay added: "We’re pretty proud this year because we have options for everyone, we have a device for everyone. That is part of empowerment, choose what you want – take it and go.

Best laptop 2021: Top general and premium notebooks for working from home and more

"Our job is to make products that fade into the background…to help you achieve what you want to achieve."

Writing by Dan Grabham.