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Surface head Panos Panay previews the Surface Duo, a PC-phone hybrid due out next year. Screenshot vis Microsoft.com

Microsoft updated its Surface laptops and 2-in-1 tablet/laptop hybrid devices on Wednesday, while also previewing two foldable dual-screen devices due out next year. The larger runs a version of Windows 10 while the smaller combines a phone and PC and runs. a customized version of Android that supports Google's apps.

Why it matters: The Surface line serves two purposes: to present Windows in its best light for consumers and spur PC makers to keep being innovative with their own designs.

  • The Surface Laptop 3 features a new machined aluminum chassis, larger trackpad, and a choice of the latest chips from both Intel and AMD. It's also designed to be more easily serviced and upgraded than other laptops, including an easily removable hard drive. It comes in a 13-inch model starting at $999 and a 15-inch model that starts at $1199. Both models will be available on Oct. 22.
  • Surface Pro 7 is an update to the company's high-end 2-in-1 laptop/tablet hybrid, adding improved performance and USB-C ports. It starts at $749 and is available for preorder.
  • The Surface Pro X is a new addition to the lineup, featuring wireless LTE connectivity, a removable hard drive and a custom Microsoft chipset that includes a Snapdragon mobile processor from Qualcomm along with other hardware acceleration. It will be available in early November.
  • Microsoft is joining Amazon, Google, Apple and Samsung with its own line of wireless earbuds that can pair with a Surface computer as well as smartphones. The $249 Surface Earbuds work with any platform, have touch sensors for navigating calls and music. Wearers can also use their voice to edit Office documents, such as adding captions to a PowerPoint presentation. They will be available later this year.
  • Microsoft also previewed a device that it is working on for next holiday season, the dual-screen Surface Neo.
    • It can be used in a variety of modes, including tablet and book, or laptop and uses a new version of Windows 10, Windows 10 X, designed for dual screen devices.
    • A magnetic keyboard can also be attached with the software transforming the remaining screen into a trackpad or "wonder bar" — which appears to be something of a larger-screen take on the "Touch Bar" Apple included on the MacBook Pro.
    • Neo is powered by an Intel Lakefield chip and each side of Neo is jus 5.4 millimeters thick.
  • The Surface Duo is an even smaller take on the Neo, offering dual 5.6-inch displays in a device that combines a phone and PC, using what the company described as the best of Microsoft along with Google's flavor of Android, including support for all the Android apps on the market. It's also due out next holiday season.

"The last decade of computing was shaped by consumption," CEO Satya Nadella said, kicking off the event. "We believe the next decade will be about creation and amplifying what we can do as humans."

Go deeper

Fringe right plots new attacks out of sight

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Domestic extremists are using obscure and private corners of the internet to plot new attacks ahead of Inauguration Day. Their plans are also hidden in plain sight, buried in podcasts and online video platforms.

Why it matters: Because law enforcement was caught flat-footed during last week's Capitol siege, researchers and intelligence agencies are paying more attention to online threats that could turn into real-world violence.

Kids’ screen time up 50% during pandemic

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

When the coronavirus lockdowns started in March, kidstech firm SuperAwesome found that screen time was up 50%. Nearly a year later, that percentage hasn't budged, according to new figures from the firm.

Why it matters: For most parents, pre-pandemic expectations around screen time are no longer realistic. The concern now has shifted from the number of hours in front of screens to the quality of screen time.

In photos: D.C. and U.S. states on alert for pre-inauguration violence

National Guard troops stand behind security fencing with the dome of the U.S. Capitol Building behind them, on Jan. 16. Photo: Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

Security has been stepped up in Washington, D.C., and state capitols across the U.S. as authorities brace for potential violence this weekend.

Driving the news: Following the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol by some supporters of President Trump, the FBI has said there could be armed protests in D.C. and in all 50 state capitols in the run-up to President-elect Joe Biden's inauguration Wednesday.