Surface fans this week have spotted a new Surface Neo cameo in Netflix’s just released “Red Notice” movie starring The Rock, Gal Gadot, and Ryan Reynolds. The movie, which has been in development since 2019, is the second piece of entertainment media to feature the now “postponed indefinitely” Surface Neo, after WandaVision featured the product earlier this year.
Now, before you get your hopes up, the appearance of Surface Neo in a newly released movie does not mean that Microsoft is ready to release Surface Neo again. Microsoft’s official stance on the Surface Neo is that it will arrive when the time is right, but Windows Central understands that nothing has changed internally, and that there are still no plans to release Surface Neo anytime soon.
So, why has Surface Neo appeared in a new movie if it’s not something Microsoft intends to ship? Simply put, the movie has been in development since 2019. Principle photography (the part where most of the movie is filmed) began in January 2020, during a time where the Surface Neo was “on track” to ship in the fall of that year. Microsoft had likely already made product placement deals with movie studios, which included the Neo at this time.
This means that the scenes where the Surface Neo are featured were filmed before COVID-19 hit, and before Microsoft ultimately decided to cancel the Surface Neo indefinitely. So that’s why the Surface Neo is showing up in a new movie released this year; because the movie was filmed back when the Surface Neo was a real product that Microsoft intended to ship.
Unfortunately, there appears to be no sign of Surface Neo showing up any time soon. Surface Neo was hit with a one-two punch quite early on after it was announced, with the cancelation of Windows 10X not long followed by the cancelation of Intel’s Lakefield chipset, which powered Surface Neo. So not only was Surface Neo left without an OS, but it was also left without a SoC to power everything. So it was back to the drawing board for Microsoft.
If Surface Neo ever does ship, I very much doubt it’ll be the same product that was announced in 2019. I would suspect Microsoft will give it a new chipset and update the design to match the latest Surface Duo at least, and that assumes Microsoft still deems there to be a market for very pricey dual-screen PCs. People have scoffed at the pricing of Surface Duo, and the Surface Neo was only going to be even more expensive.