Microsoft’s Andromeda is rumoured to be the first Windows 10 device to feature multiple form factors serving different purposes depending on the position and angle of the displays.
The next trend in the hardware world appears to be the dual-screen, 2-in-1s, ultramobile PC with support for multiple form factors including laptop and mobile.
The report from reliable sources revealed that Microsoft’s Andromeda will feature dual-screen and hinge setup, that doesn’t necessarily combine two similar displays. The two displays connected to each other with a new hinge design would allow the form factor to change on the go.
Many call this project the “Surface Phone,” despite the fact that the device is currently codenamed Andromeda, and the so-called Surface Phone was an ordinary smartphone with Windows 10 Mobile that has already been cancelled. Andromeda is likely to be Microsoft’s next mobile-type device, and it will offer mobility.
Here’s what we know so far about Microsoft Andromeda
Patents have shown that Microsoft wants to build a device featuring two different displays. Microsoft isn’t building a flexible screen, so the company plans to use an innovative hinge design that would allow multiple form factors. For instance, you’ll be able to use Andromeda as a phone, tablet, laptop and in tilt mode as well.
The form factor would depend on the position and the angle of the screens. The patents discovered in the last few months more or less confirmed that the device will have two displays, and another patent revealed that the device might come with not two but three displays.
The designers have already imagined the Andromeda with foldable displays, different form factors and features. It’s a dream that’s yet to come true, and the rumours claim the release of a new mobile device is imminent.
In other words, Microsoft wants to invent a new product category whose main idea could come down to a “HingedDualScreenDevice.”
The new OS
Microsoft is working on Windows Core OS, a new modular version of the operating system that will power the Andromeda. The report suggests that Andromeda will run Windows Core OS, a full version of Windows 10 optimized for all form factors. It’s worth mentioning that the new OS won’t support the old SilverLight apps, and that’s a good thing.
Judging from the tidbits of information, which provides us with a closer look at Windows Core OS. It’s a new modular platform with Windows Composable Shell (CShell), and the mobile shell is codenamed Andromeda, which could bring mobile capabilities to foldable mobile devices, with the focus on portability.
Windows Core OS will also fix the app gap to some extent, as the UWP apps will work on all devices. Very little is known about the Windows Core OS and the features, but the software giant could take the wraps off it later this year.
New camera tech
In a patent filing published earlier this year, Microsoft explained the use of a new camera tech that would allow it to work with dual-screen. The camera module would indeed protrude from the body of the device, the company explains:
“In the embodiment of FIG. 1A illustrated above, the retaining member #18 includes a hinge as noted in purple. Hinged transitioning between folded and unfolded states of the handheld device is further illustrated in the perspective drawings of FIGS. 1B, 1C, and 1D. FIG. 1B shows the handheld device in the unfolded state. FIG. 1D below shows the handheld device in the folded state, where the housings #14a and #14b may lay flat against one another as regions of the camera #12 that extend outside of housing #14a (e.g., past the inner surface of the housing) press retractable cap 16 inward into the recess. FIG. 1C shows the handheld device in a partially folded state.”
The release date
The rumour has it that the foldable Andromeda will be unveiled later this year.
The patents discovered in the last few months more or less confirmed its existence. One of the patents also hinted at builtin projector support, which seems unlikely.
There’s no doubt the Redmond-based firm doesn’t want to be late to the party, and Intel also believes that dual-screen devices would see daylight this year. Several other companies could join the party in 2018 as well.
It remains to be seen if Andromeda will compete against the iPhone and Samsung Galaxy lineup in the smartphone world. And what’s a smartphone?