Surface Phone concept

Microsoft’s Surface Andromeda is a long rumoured device that made the rounds several times in the past but the company hasn’t confirmed its existence yet.

According to reports, Microsoft is still interested in pocketable Surface devices and the company was planning to introduce a Surface Mini tablet alongside its Surface Pro 2-in-1 device in 2014 but Microsoft’s executives cancelled the Surface Mini project just weeks before its launch as it wasn’t a unique device.

By the looks of things, Microsoft is still working on Surface Andromeda, the highly-anticipated foldable mobile device. In an interview, Microsoft’s Panos Panay admitted that a pocketable Surface is “absolutely my baby.”

Microsoft is planning to create new form factors in the future but the company only wants to launch the form factors in the market that excite customers.

Microsoft foldable device concept
Image Courtesy: Harry Dohyun Kim

“We will invent and we will create when products are right. We can’t bring new categories into the world and not be a place where customers need it,” Panos Panay said in an interview. “Right now we see people use these products in ways that are blowing my mind, it’s inspiring” explains Panay.

“I think there’s a lot of new form factors that are coming in the future,” says Panay when asked about pocketable Surface devices.

Microsoft’s Andromeda ‘Surface Phone’ rumours

Microsoft’s Andromeda (originally referred to as Surface Phone) is said to arrive next year. Andromeda will feature two displays and a hinge holding the screens together to enable support for different form factors (such as tablet mode, tent mode and laptop mode).

According to the most recent rumours, the interesting tidbits of AndromedaOS (the software powering the dual-screen device) were discovered in language packs published on the Microsoft Store. The leak suggests that the Andromeda might come with call recording features and the indications of a dual-screen concept were also spotted.

Andromeda evidence

It’s important to note that Andromeda will be able to run all Windows 10 UWP apps published on the Microsoft Store but it appears that the software maker is also developing apps that are designed to run on Andromeda exclusively.

There were some rumours claiming that Microsoft is looking to fill the controversial app gap with an unknown strategy and this leak suggests that the third-party developers will also be allowed to develop apps with a focus on Andromeda features.

There are no specifics as to when Andromeda could see daylight but it’s likely that Microsoft will unveil the device when the hardware and software are ready. We may have to wait up to 6 months to learn more about such a product.

  • WPJ

    And suddenly when the whole mobile industry doesn’t know how to surprise anymore they announce not _one_ but “_a lot_ of new form factors that are coming in the future”. I mean, that does sound exciting if they truly mean it.

    • satyan

      but its always for “Future”. “Now” has no relevance for Microsoft

      • Khalid Yassa Shlomo

        why the sarcasm? OF COURSE its for the future. Microsoft has made it abundantly clear that they dont want to fuck with the current smartphone market anymore, and that seems the right choice.

  • Geoff

    Meanwhile . . .
    Microsoft has an ARM version of Windows 10 already on sale.
    Microsoft has had a phone ‘app’ for ARM for the last decade or so, or longer.
    Microsoft has a lot of experience with phone apps, for iOS, for Android and of course for Windows Mobile 10, 8 and 7.

    I actually don’t want a dual screen device. A conventional single screen device will do me fine. At least in the short term, while a dual screen device is developed.
    Perhaps it’s time Microsoft simply released a Lumia 960, because my 950 is getting a bit old now.

    JUST. RELEASE. A. PRODUCT.

    • Khalid Yassa Shlomo

      Meanwhile:
      Because you KNOW Microsoft aint releasing SHIT, just get an HP Elite X3 or Alcatel Idol 4s. I have both. The Idol makes better still photos but the HP has a more manually adjustable camera and better video stabilisation. The video recording on the Idol is lackluster. Both with 4 gigs of RAM, the Elite still serves as my main fone – and I have a Note9.

    • Daniel Stevenson Sutton

      So if the Andromeda is released it will likely be running Core OS not Windows On ARM. Core OS is designed to strip away the bloat to create new device experiences, its the OS you may have seen on the Surface Hub 2. Many renders I have seen present the Andromeda as a windows tablet, I would actually expect the experience to be somewhere between the Android Microsoft Launcher and the Courier concept. One thing that is likely is that the Core OS version used on Andromeda is likely to be task driven rather than App driven. This would have two advantages for Microsoft: One it would offer a differentiating experience from Android folding devices which we expect soon and two it would reduce the impact of the app gap.

      This doesn’t mean apps wont matter, they will have to do more to secure developers, however I would expect the experience to be more along the lines of: “I want to send a message”>What is the message>How would you like to send the message?>”WhatsApp.” Than the conventional open an app send a message, this would give a more unified experience on the communication side.