Will Microsoft's Project Andromeda support Windows Mixed Reality? #AskDanWindows 41

This week I answer questions about a HoloLens 2 (and rumors), Windows Mixed Reality and Andromeda, as well as whether or not it's a good idea to use the Lumia 950 mostly as a camera.

Audience questions for Episode 41

  • Do you think Microsoft will have some kind of unique mixed reality capabilities built in Andromeda device so that it can be positioned as a differentiator in the market? - Sneh M
  • Are there any rumors on the next iteration of HoloLens? - Ian B.
  • I use my Lumia 950 primarily as a camera that does social media, texting, web browsing etc. Instead of upgrading the phone is buying a good dedicated camera a better option? - Matthew E
  • Build 2018 is still not sold out ... is it a sign of a lack of interest in Microsoft by developers? - Pankaj_jswl

Thanks to everyone for the questions!

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Daniel Rubino

Daniel Rubino is the Editor-in-chief of Windows Central, head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been covering Microsoft since 2007 when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, laptops, next-gen computing, and for some reason, watches. Before all this tech stuff, he worked on a Ph.D. in linguistics, watched people sleep (for medical purposes!), and ran the projectors at movie theaters because it was fun.

  • I think the Mixed Reality question will partially be answered by trying WMR headsets on the WoA machines here in the next week or two.
  • Totally. And they might work ok for simple applications, which is fine. Imagine having a WMR headset just powered by a pocketable device.
  • Daniel... Your speculation that this first Andromeda device will not have a "state of the art" camera is disappointing... But, the question is why? Why wouldn't MS put a camera at least as good as the one on the 950/XL devices?
    I would think that MS would think some people might be able to use this as their primary mobile device because of it's telephony capabilities. So, wouldn't MS think they would want to have the best camera with them? I understand other Surface products not needing high quality cameras, but this one is different.
  • If this is true, its so disapointing.
  • (1) Just trying not to get hopes up. I'd rather set low expectations and be surprised than the reverse. (2) The camera on this is a tool meant for something a bit different than typical smartphones, which are often built around the camera. This not being a phone does not have that same purpose. (3) None of this precludes people from using it as their primary device. Lots of mid-range Android phones have cameras well below that of Samsung/Pixel and they do just fine. (4) I'll say it again: this is a tablet/PC that fits in your pocket, not a phone. Direct comparisons to a phone in this regard may be missing the point.
  • Grain of salt, I know... I guess my point is that in 2018 the best Lumia cameras are midrange, considering what newer devices can achieve.. It would be sad if the camera wasn't at least midrange.
  • Actually, Lumia 950 IQ is still way above mid-range even in 2018. It's just slow due to the processor/hardware. What I meant specifically is Andromeda is not built around the idea of a modern smartphone, it's a tablet/PC. Its camera could be amazing, I don't really know. I just have not seen anything that suggests this is like a top-tier camera-device. That is the paradigm of smarpthones, not a new category device.
  • Yes. Well, if the first generation doesn't have the best camera, then maybe future models will get better cameras.. After all, these devices evolve according to what the consumers needs are. Maybe if MS gets a lot of "camera usage metrics" that will be their sign to upgrade the next time around.
  • I can't think of a tablet that has a high end camera. If they actually release this thing it's probably not going to be marketed for its photo taking capabilities.
  • Tablet?
    It's a pocketable, high end, mobile device with connectivity.... Nobody is doubting that there's a chance it won't have the highest end camera on the market. The fact is that because of it's mobile nature it's not a wonder that people who have this device on them will want to take pictures. And, in 2018 the expectation for the device you carry with you a large percentage of the time (unlike a traditional tablet, or laptop) is for it to have a very good camera.... That's why I think version 1 might not focus on camera tech, but later versions might.
    On the other side:
    You be quiet. What in the world do you have to say about anything Andromeda related?... You're not even welcome here. It was trolls like you that sad nothing was coming, and that Jason was crazy. Now look at you. Please. You should know better not to reply to my comments.
  • It's a tablet that folds in half... They might release it, they might not, who knows? Consistentcy in approach not something MS is excelling at lately. Anyway, according to Rubino this thing's emphasis is on pen input & journal functions, not sure why that would require a high end camera, but maybe they'd add one if the cost isnt too high, seems unlikely though. Wonder if they still have the Lumia camera patents, or if their license on those has expired yet? Of course that stuff is getting dated & they got rid of all the staff from that dept anyway.
  • You pathetic fanboy again? Like dreaming and eating Nadella's sh**?
  • I've said this before. If the purpose, whatever the new category may be named, is to replace your phone, laptop and tablet into one device, it must be able to do things at an acceptable level in all those categories. The most personal of those devices, phone, is built around camera these days - and so it is absolutely essential that it takes excellent photos. If it does not, it will never replace the smartphone but will just fight of a place as an extra in your pockets.
  • The only people who talk about it replacing all those devices are the commenters on these posts who want the Surface phone. The writers maintain that's it's a device you carry in addition to those devices, & that maybe some people would be able to get by using the device to perhaps replace a laptop or maybe the phone depending on one's usage.
  • How do you even know any of what you are describing in the (2) line?  Microsoft hasn't released anything on this device, that it even exists or remotely stated anything about what it's for or what features it has.  Why even speculate that you know anything?  I don't get it.
  • Nobody is saying they know anything for sure. There are however clues, bits and pieces that fit together drawing a picture that is still to blury to be really sure. But there are a few facts. MS need to be in the mobile sphere, but at this point they need to be separated from Android and iOS devices. MS are developing software fit for these kind of devices, of that we are sure. We see patents suggesting what they are making, AND we see traces of preparation for such a device category in the existing software. We have a rough outline of what the device will look like, and, it should be no more than 10mm folded together or it starts falling out of the usable as a mobile phone category. Thats 5mm available for each half, and even if they've patented a solution with a camera in one half, and a sensor in the other placing them togehter when the phone folds together, I don't see this actually coming to this device, or even working all that great at all. 5mm is enough to place a camera, but good optics and large sensors takes up space. MS also need to save money. The device have two displays, displays are expencive. Same goes for good optics and sensors and so on.
  • Are you nutz... Some of the WC staff have the inside track. They know a little more than they are allowed to tell.
  • Could a lower end camera be used as a cost cutting device allowing MS to offset some of the build costs of a foldable device?
  • I doubt it. Cost cutting isn't entirely a concern for the Surface line. It's more about feasibility, and sensibility. If consumer demand shows it will need a better camera, it will.. Since Daniel is saying the first generation model probably won't have one,,,, it probably won't have one. That's not to say that other models, or even other Surface form factors, won't get a high end camera... Remember, with Andromeda MS could make several Ultramoble concepts, and bring multiple to market. Andromeda isn't just a single device concept, even for the Surface line.
  • Windows is now focusing on Inking, 3D scanning & printing and lots of other stuffs. That's why it's important for them to bring a decent camera to the Andromeda. What's a digital journal without camera advancements?
  • It's not a phone, remember?.... Camera is the foundation of a smart phone as we know it today!
  • Who cares what it's called? That's "slow" thinking... "Anything a smartphone does other devices shouldn't do because they aren't smartphones"... Ummmm, what? 🤔🤔🤔
    Don't be silly.
  • "Who cares what it's called?"
    It actually matters a lot. How many people don't buy PCs, or tablets like the Surface Pro or Surface Book because the camera is not as good as a Galaxy S8? The comparison would seem odd. But why? Same thing applies here. It's like saying the iPad mini's camera should be as good as the iPhone's. Should it? Is it? Why not? Does it matter?
  • If the objective of this device is to replace he phone and the tablet, the camera better be excellent. And on top of it, it must do computing reasonably well so that it can take the place of the laptop too.
  • And, who says the camera is the foundation of a smartphone? Where is that written in stone?
    You guys.
    The camera has been around 130 years before the smartphone. WTF does "smartphone" have to do with anything here?
  • "And, who says the camera is the foundation of a smartphone?"
    It's literally one of the remaining few differentiators between them. Go grab three Android phones with an SD835 in the same price range. They're all very similar. It's why reviews of smartphones put so much pixel-peeping emphasis on cameras, it's the only thing you can really go after anymore e.g. Razer Phone, or Essential.
  • I know it's a feature that's high on the list, and I'm not arguing that. My point is that high end cameras CAN be on other devices besides smartphones. Lol.
    Why are we limiting what a device could be? It's almost like you guys are against "tablets" having great cameras.
  • If the device has a sub-par camera I think it will hurt.  And it should.  This is 2018.  Microsoft should do better because they should know better.  What I'm hearing here is almost criminal if the camera isn't stellar.  They've had 3-4 friggin years to produce this and it sounds to me they might think half baked products can sell because it might have the name "Surface" attached to it.  And I agree with you that just because it's a tablet shouldn't mean that it shouldn't have a top notch camera.  Heck, I still remember seeing people taking photos with their iPads.  That means the camera should be something that's a selling point instead of an after thought.
  • Who says?! Doesn't need to be written in stones....Just look at the high-end smart phones...not only they are going up in quality, number of pixels and focal points they are also going up in quantity in the front and back of devices.
  • So, you're saying you have something against Andromeda having a high end camera?
  • No, why on earth would you think that?!... I welcome a nice camera on Surface Andro... But, if it comes with a generic one that would not be the only factor for me not to purchase the device.....
  • Frankly, I couldn't give a **** about the camera on my phone. I hardly use it. And I don't think this is meant to be a camera first device. I suspect it will mainly be an inking/note taking device with a camera that is good enough. Which I think is the right choice.
  • According to this patent: http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20170353643.pdf Daniel is wrong.
  • I agree with you. In a world of smartphones replacing handheld cameras, Surface Andromeda should try to bring something new or at least comparable to L950 XL.
  • Coz MS use cases dont see it as a primary device 
  • If it doesn't have a good camera I don't want it. The only reason I spend more than 500 euro on a phone is for a good camera.
  • But this isn't a phone. Surface Pro's rear camera is pretty good, but not smartphone level by any means. Do people not buy Surface Pros because of it? Andromeda is a tablet that fits in your pocket, not a phone. I've said this a dozen times already. Either way, the exact specs, capbabilities, and quality of the images from Andromeda are unknowns at this time.
  • "Andromeda is a tablet that fits in your pocket, not a phone. I've said this a dozen times already." I guess it takes time to sink in for some people!
  • New patents document hinges that detach so that one screen can be used independently. It looks very much like Andromeda. Would that make it a phone?
  • I have not heard anything about it detaching. Don't put too much emphasis on patents. The device is likely to have a 360 hinge, so it folds in on itself, or the reverse. The OS, however, can make things "one screen" or two, as can the user.
  • Sure, they try to position it as not being a phone. But it's a small portable design, ergo for mobility. People will use it as a phone. Nobody is going to carry a phone and this thing. People will want to use it to replace their phones regardless of how Microsoft positions it. And they better make sure it has an excellent phone-like experience, otherwise it is dead on arrival. The goal for this device should be to be more than just a phone. But ignoring that it will be a phone is just wrong and it won't succeed. People who want to draw and take notes on this type of device would surely desire a high quality camera. If people spend a lot of money on a portable device they expect it to take excellent photos.
  • People who draw and take notes on this device, expect it to excel at drawing and taking notes. If their primary concern is the camera, this device isn't for them, because it's purpose isn't to be a follow up of the Lumia 1020.
    The camera on this will probably be adequate/good, but likely not on par with the pixel 2.
  • The iPad isn't a phone either.  But tell that to the dozens of people I've seen at graduations, meeting, etc. who use their iPad to take photos.  Having a great camera would be a very good selling point.  For something that is suppose to be the next new category why shouldn't a great camera not be part of the conversation.  Why should this device be limited because it's a tablet/PC or whatever.  And that's what is sounds like to me.  Just because it's "X" it's not expected to have "Y".  Sounds limiting to me.
  • A tablet with a junk tablet UI,UX and no apps...wow!
  • I'll disagree with Dan on the phone vs. camera idea. Particularly on a longer, foreign trip I want a dedicated camera with me. I just bought the Canon SX 730 which is small enough to fit in a jacket pocket yet has the inherent advantage a camera has over a phone in that it has knobs and buttons and levers to make adjustments and change important settings so access to them is not buried in software. That is in addition to bigger sensors and and longer zooms. Phones are great for everyday use and even for some travel, but there are times that I want to be able to make adjustments and compensation without needing to search cascading menus and poorly designed UI. I gave up carrying the "boat anchor" cameras on my travel 10 years ago. A quality, pocketable zoom camera beats any phone camera available today on useability if you want to do more than just take snapshots.  
  • I am using a point and shoot (PAS) as well for business photography, an antique Canon PowerShot SD850 IS. It still works perfectly with good battery life for about 3-4 hours of continuous shootings. I like the fact that I can use the camera lanyard to secure it to my wrist and camera has some mass for gripping. With a smart phones getting thinner and thinner I am always concerned it could slip through my hand(s) or dropping it taking away my focus on taking the photos themselves. And of course the quickness of PAS controls can not be substituted with a smart phone.
    BTW- the optical zoom of SX730 is phenomenal!
  • @5:55 . Boat anchor, lmao!
  • Will we see a bit clearer at the MSBuild 2018 ?
  • why it hasn't sold out?? LOL Because no one gives a damn F anymore about Microshit, their pathetic platform and crap talking.