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Samsung's Galaxy Fold woes validate Microsoft's Surface Andromeda caution

Galaxy Fold standing on table
Galaxy Fold standing on table (Image credit: Android Central)

Microsoft's rumored Surface Andromeda pocket foldable PC is the dream device of many a Windows phone enthusiast. But the nightmare Samsung is enduring thanks to the early failures of its $2000 Galaxy Fold proves that some dreams are better deferred.

I have been writing about Microsoft's inking focused pocket PC dreams since 2015. Skeptics, wary of Microsoft's commitment to mobile initially dismissed this analysis. Over the years various leaks, Microsoft patents, the canceled Microsoft Courier and a leaked internal Microsoft email last year have confirmed not only Microsoft's interest in pocketable folding mobile technology, but its work toward bringing such an innovative device to market that "blurs the lines between mobile and PC."

Microsoft's Surface Andromeda folding pocket PC was expected to debut last year but, to the dismay of Microsoft enthusiasts, was unceremoniously put on the back burner. Considering the failures Samsung's Galaxy Fold is enduring as the company pioneers folding displays, Microsoft may have dodged a PR bullet related to tech that just may not be ready for prime time.

New folding tech, new challenges

In March of 2018 Qualcomm's Product Manager of Display Technology Salman Saeed, warned in an interview with TechRadar that folding display tech was not ready for market:

[Phone manufacturers] haven't really cracked the material science right now to produce electrodes that can repeatedly withstand bending and folding.

Electrodes power the individual pixels we see on our displays and according to TechRadar Saeed asserted that they "are not flexible enough today." This may or may not be what is contributing to some of the issues early reviewers are experiencing with the Samsung Galaxy Fold.

Samsung Galaxy Fold has issues

To date there seem to be three distinct issues that have been reported:

  • Reviewers like Marques Brownlee and Mark Gurman removed or began removing the thin plastic film they mistook as the removable screen protector found on many electronic devices with screens. This film is actually a necessary part of the Galaxy Fold's technology, removal of which causes the device to malfunction.
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  • In another case, foreign matter or a portion of the hinge mechanism that enables the device to fold began protruding through the screen causing damage.

https://twitter.com/backlon/status/1118573836226658304

  • Finally CNET's tech editor Steve Kovach saw the display begin to malfunction, flickering after one day of use.

https://twitter.com/stevekovach/status/1118571414934753280

Could the third failure be a manifestation of the electrodes susceptibility to damage as a result of folding that Qualcomm's Saeed warned about? We don't know, but Samsung's indefinite hold on shipping the device suggests the company is taking the time to find out what is causing the problems that seem to be inherent to the tech or related to design.

Though the news of the Galaxy Fold's failures is high profile, the impact for this yet-to-be-released-to-market device on consumers is minimal; unlike the "firestorm" caused by the Samsung Galaxy Note7.

Andromeda issues

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Numerous factors contributed to Microsoft's decision not to launch Surface Andromeda. Without developer support, and a relatively paltry app ecosystem practical limitations as a pocketable mobile device was likely the chief motivation. Without the fruits of its Progressive Web App (PWA) investments and a less than optimal tablet UI, like the app-deficient Windows Phone and Windows 10 tablets, it would have had a sub-par mobile experience for most users. Thus, even with a unique inking focus, Microsoft pushed the project back because it had difficulty positioning this unique device for even a niche market.

Windows Core OS and CShell could be an advantage for a 3-in-1 pocket PC.

Furthermore, Windows Core OS, with its context and form conforming CShell was not ready for a 2018 or 2019 Surface Andromeda launch. So, the challenges of Windows, though powerful on a pocketable form factor would have been robust, but the UI across pocketable, tablet and desktop scenarios (think Continuum) may not have been optimal.

The success of Microsoft's folding device, under ideal circumstances would have brought advantages to the table that android- and potentially iOS-based devices couldn't offer. These Windows Core OS and CShell UI advantages, the PC power Windows brings for PC mode and being part of a unified platform were cut short by a weak app ecosystem and late arrival of Core OS which is only just about to debut on HoloLens 2.

Watch, wait and iterate?

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Folding tech has various manifestations such as folding inward like the Samsung Galaxy Fold (protecting the screens) and folding outward (exposing the screens) like the Huawei Mate X. Despite the patents we've seen we don't know for sure what Microsoft's folding device would have looked like and what hardware challenge it would have faced.

Whether Microsoft ultimately goes back to Surface Andromeda remains to be seen, but for now, like Apple's strategy, it has the advantage of watching, waiting and iterating. Microsoft may quietly invest in the tech while rivals make the public mistakes, take the PR heat, and perhaps having dodged the bullet, ultimately release a device that advances the tech and offers a better and unique use case. That's the ideal scenario.

At the very least even if Microsoft had followed the "HoloLens model" and executed a tailored, methodic launch of Surface Andromeda in various enterprise contexts, Samsung's Galaxy Fold's issues suggest it may have dodged a PR nightmare for risky tech that may not be ready for market.

Jason L Ward is a columnist at Windows Central. He provides unique big picture analysis of the complex world of Microsoft. Jason takes the small clues and gives you an insightful big picture perspective through storytelling that you won't find *anywhere* else. Seriously, this dude thinks outside the box. Follow him on Twitter at @JLTechWord. He's doing the "write" thing!

137 Comments
  • Very wise. Oddly, just posted an indirect comment about this in another section.
  • But Andromeda was never supposed to use a folding screen. They had two separate screens and something that looked like third screen on the hinge. You could actually cut the device in two in the middle in patents.
  • Absolutely. The fragile fold was not an issue with Andromeda. (I'm hoping that Microsoft is only putting the finishing touches on CoreOS and CShell -- and perhaps waiting for the latest and greatest Snapdragon SoC.) I want my Windows Phone!
  • "Better to take action, and learn from your mistakes, than to live in fear, and accomplish nothing" Rodney Jones 2019
    .............
    Although, this theory might not apply here, where a billion dollar mishap is at stake. 🤣
    Still though, gotta give it to Samsung for making bold moves, which they will definitely recover from... Better than MS's "TUCK YOUR SCARED A$$ TAIL BETWEEN YOUR HUHA, AND RUN" theory.. 🙄🙄🙄🙄🙄🙄🙄🙄
  • So... Release something that doesn't work. Sounds like the Google ecosystem but it is not for the rest of us.
  • Who says MS's device doesn't work?
  • I don't think so.
  • You don't use them unfolded on the go. Duh. That is what the front screen is for on the Samsung. It would be nice if they could shrink those bezels though.
  • On the go as in walking or taking calls. Times when you would only use one hand. If you are sitting down and need the whole screen, you have it.
  • MS have had so many failures in consumer products these past few years it's understandable they may be a little gun-shy.
    Microsoft Chrome hopefully having success should help to get their mojo back.
  • Skinning Google products will get Microsoft's mojo back? Maybe they will release a skinned version of Android next.
  • I don't think MSFT has lost it's mojo at all, they are doing very well. But stealing a competitions 'point of difference' is standard tactics. Really MSFT, should acquire duckduckgo and use that to replace bing as well. Then there would literally be no point in google on a PC.
  • Oh hell no. I don't want Microsoft to buy DuckDuckGo and mess it up.
  • If Microsoft doesn’t want to release Surface Scribe yet, fine! But at least announce it at BUILD. They should have announced it two years ago, even if there was nothing to release. Follow the HoloLens model. Bring fans into the development process. Microsoft’s adversarial relationship with consumers is not a good look.
  • Build is not for announcing new products fool.
  • Unlike Samsung and even Huawei Microsoft is not known for making popular phones. If they had announced a device that failed like the Fold they would have killed their mobile efforts before they even really started. Samsung certainly didn't want this to happen, but their mobile ecosystem can handle the hit.
  • I agree with the idea of "watch, wait and iterate". Samsung worked on their device for many years, yet they were faced with many issues. Huawei's device is not 100% solid either, and I'm sure that once review units are put for a period of time, issues will arise. Microsoft's image is already tarnished with consumers. They cannot risk that any further. Then must be absolute sure that that they have the hardware and software ready from almost day one on release. I just can't wait for a hand-held Windows device. Nearly one year on with Nokia Android phones and I still miss Windows Mobile. With that said, the freedom on Android is amazing.
  • Yeah, but MS will wait, and do nothing.
  • Yeah that's the truth... That's that stagnation that allowed them to publish record results this week and break the trillion in market cap value.... But yeah MS suck.... And you don't know schit... You might not like the way they do things... But one thing for sure MS knows how to do business you obviously don't...
  • They are making tons of money, but so they have ANY exciting products? I don't see any.
  • I love my Xbox, Azure is amazing, I work every day on my surface, I conduct 90% of meetings in teams, I have an Elite controller, I barely buy games anymore thanks to Game Pass and XBL, Both the wife and I share office 365 (we also both own xboxes, she has an S, I have an X) I can't wait till my office picks up the new Surface Hub 2. I'm excited about the upcoming HP WMR headset, Im also looking forward to figuring out business uses for the Azure Connect and we have projects for the Halolens 2.
  • Everything you mention are business services, except XBox. They aren't exciting.
  • Um isn't that a jet-ski?
  • From watching initial reviews, folding phones will not be a fad when they get the hardware right. The Galaxy Fold looks awesome. In a few iterations, it will be a great product.
  • Everyone here, including the editors, hates you. Why do you keep coming back?
  • Why would I care about that?
  • "Why would a troll care about being a pest?"" I think that's what you're asking. Get a life.
  • I am not trolling. Sorry if you see being realistic as trolling.
  • I would never say the Galaxy Fold looks awesome, Huawei's folding phone looks awesome, and has usable screen sizes, the Fold does not. But I do agree that after a few revisions it will be greatly improved. Although I don't see the point in spending more on a phone than I would on a 2 in 1 convertible tablet.
  • We had the squishy plastic top digitizers in the winmo days. They were terrible compared to current glass tops. Now take that and make it even worse by expecting it to survive a end user folding/unfolding living is a dusty linty pocket duty cycle. Even if you don't have it delaminate and fail its still going to be a micro and macro scratched mess in no time flat.
  • Yes, I can't imagine going back from glass to plastic. For good or ill, I don't think Andromeda was anything like this though. I think it was a dual screen glass system. If so, then on the upside, none of these problems could have affected it. On the other hand, it also wouldn't have opened to a single large screen, which was touted by most as the best feature of the Galaxy Fold.
  • Moto Z Force isn't bad, especially when you put a glass screen protector on it. I wish they made more unbreakable screens. If there was a choice of a plastic screen for my OP6T, I would certainly take it.
  • Of course, once samsung and other companies do figure out how to do the folding device right, Microsoft will come along a year later and try to do it, not execute well, and cancel the product within 2 years.
  • Something like that
  • If Microsoft wanted to go into that market, they need a single screen phone and small tablet yesterday. The ecosystem for these devices does not change just because they fold. Microsoft doesn't have any small touch screen ecosystem, they have no way to compete. You will see nothing smaller than 10" from them.
  • Don't forget that Windows Core will bring the CShell (or whatever it's called) that at its core is to put one Windows in different kind of devices so we should expect a smaller device (like an 8" tablet) with Windows on it. Heck people were saying that Microsoft wouldn't come back with a device smaller than twelve inches (Surface 3 was negatively received) yet they released the Surface Go so I wouldn't put it beside them.
  • I am not surprised folding screens are failing. There is simply no way that flexing the screen through multiple cycles will not eventually damage the screen. Plus, going back to plastic after years of enjoying glass? I had those back in the day and they were garbage. The solution is not a folding screen. The solution is creating a glass bezel-less display on one side that will allow the two screens to sit side by side with minor separation. Something like flat screen TVs are configured in a grid to make one big screen. Sure the seams are noticeable but after a while you just get used to them. Glass screens are superior. Don't take us back to plastic just for the shear novelty of a folding screen.
  • I agree, I would totally be ok with 2 screens with a minor seam just to have a foldable inkable Windows device
  • I'm not even sure there needs to be separation. The unit can be engineered to put those 2 bezel less screens together by slightly moving together when unfolded.
  • Agreed.. The edges that meet need to be totally exposed, bezel less, finished edges of glass that meet up perfectly tight to where the seam is a minimal issue.. I'd rather this than foldable plastic.. The only issue here would be the pen tip slightly griping the seam, but I bet that can be solved with some very very fine finishing techniques. Cool stuff.
  • As I recall the issue was not a hardware one, but a user experience one (software?). That was the rumor anyway
  • The issue would be the total lack of ecosystem, unless Microsoft just used Android. Today, in 2019, Microsoft has no small touchscreen ecosystem to speak of, unless you are talking about their Android or iOS offerings.
  • Why do they "need" an ecosystem? Do you not believe using office in Android, IOS, Mac OS, Windows, Linux and Web is an ecosystem? If MS is offering all their products and services on all platforms... How does MS not benefit? If I have Apple and I pay for O365 to use on my ipad.. how is MS losing? If I'm using Teams, Outlook, Skype.. etc through my Android phone.. how is MS losing? If I have my business infrastructure on premise running on linux servers but I'm using Azure Active Directory and Domain Services for authentication when people log in, and Exchange Online for Email... How is MS losing?
    If I have a Nintendo Switch and I'm using xbox live to access my Minecraft worlds, play online and chat, which requires me paying for a sub... How is MS losing?
  • Microsoft is no longer controlling the platform. They aren't getting the money from device sales and have to overcome not being the default. They already struggle to get users for their services beyond Office. It will be even harder when they have no platform of their own.
  • See, that's what I don't understand about foldable displays. We are already approaching no bezels. Why not just put two displays side to side when unfolded?
  • I would say a very slight lip around the screen would do the trick. Anyway, I have to say everything adds up here... The fact that the vast majority of rumors and leaks surrounding the andromeda are all about hinges and the fact that Samsung's attempt fell on its face, it all makes perfect sense. Cramming a desktop computer into a phone form factor is not exactly an easy feat, and there's this huge sense of them being forced to get it right the first time. But this really isn't the first time. This is what Microsoft has been attempting to do since those little foldable palmtops with keyboards, and I have this bizarre sense they're trying to return to that. Also, I think that "leak" we saw last year was closer to what they should aim for. Instead of one big screen, two separate screens. A seam (which they could distort with software if they had to) may be preferable to trying to bend an OLED over and over again. Heck, strike a deal with Nintendo and make it able to download and run DS/3DS software (obviously not in 3D... that'd be asking too much at this point) as a way to bait potential new users who want to ditch one of the devices they carry around. The form factor would be perfect for it.
  • I always put a plastic cover for the screen so I wouldn't really care about it being plastic or not as long as it doesn't get scratched like those screens from the yesteryear.
  • This is the future but I dont think the future is now for this type of product. I'm excited to see how this evolves. Good for Samsung to try something new but shame on them for pushing this out probably a year too soon.
  • I think we are far more than a year away from a mass market product... The smartphone is at stand still right now and slapping a foldable screen that has not been proven yet is not enough... Other tech improvements are necessary to make it market ready... Batteries, cooling systems, miniaturization etc.. Need to improve too... To be honest right now I think the tech would be more appropriate for portable consoles... Samsung or any of the companies working on a foldable device should approach Nintendo to work on a foldable 3DS replacement... That would be perfect to test the tech without needing as much improvement and more time to perfect it... You could even slap regular phone capabilities on it... But market it as a portable console first...
  • Now MS just need to finish Chromium Edge, to easily install PWA's, finish WCOS, and they are ready for Andromeda. And by their patents, Andromeda is not folding device, with folding screen. Now we see that two normal screens would be better, and cheaper. So if they release Andromeda next year, for 1000$, it would be more attractive than this Samsung's device. And it should have less problems with two normal screens...
  • Good theory and would love it to happen. Also when folding screens do work properly MS would be positioned to take advantage
  • Easily install? In Chrome is as easy as just clicking "Create a Shortcut" under "More Tools" on the three dots menu. Is it different under Edge? If anything the best think they can do is just make it easily accesible through a button.
  • I don't believe Microsoft's eventual Surface Fold will use this type of flimsy folding plastic solution. I believe the two screens will be a high quality glass like surface with some sort of magnet mechanism which will help create an extremely tight fit with hardly a noticeable seperation.
  • that's the way to do it!
  • Magnets close to a screen I'm not sure that would work... Or close to a Sim card or anything with current in the device
  • Works fine on a Surface.
  • The device would need some seriously good shielding for that. Also, there could literally be NO notice of a gap between the screens for inking purposes, if there is a slight gap, bump, skew, whatever, then suddenly it doesn't work as an inking/artist device.
  • Not sure this is relevant to Andromeda. But I agree it is new tech and Samsung is not doing this well. First, the Andromeda hardware rumored from several tech sources said it has two screen, not foldable one screen. Second, the new software is what kept Andromeda from launching, not the hardware. Brad Sams said the hardware was ready. However, having these foldable devices in the market will help popularizing it. If single foldable screen becomes the standard, then a two screen Andromeda may look old tech when it does launch. From a WM fan perspective, a pocketable surface that can also make calls/txt msg will be a dream device.
  • In my dream world, Microsoft will launch multiple devices, both large & pocketable, with dual screens, so as not to encounter these problems.
  • Dual screens have been done. It is pointless. Microsoft cancelled that device for a reason. The advantage from having two separate screens is not worth the trade offs. You notice ZTE never came out with an update to theirs.
  • I still hope they come out with a single screen phone.
  • Because they always want to position it as a phone/pc replacement. There is a niche market for a Moleskine alike electronic form factor. people will tend to adhere to a proven form factor that is there since several hundred years - a book form factor. The Ms Studio was a MS attack at the Intuos market. An MS courier like device would be fishing in the Moleskine market and creative / artist / writer target audience. I suspect the only reason why Courier was not launched was the lack of processing power. That's no longer an issue with today's technology, chipsets and enforced glass. Why do you think so many people liked Lotus Agenda? because the interface was iterating on a familiar "paper" two page agenda layout. As I wrote here below this device should not be intended as a smartphone or PC / tablet replacement.
  • That "niche market" has already been filled by the Galaxy Note. How could Microsoft ever compete with that device with no ecosystem behind them?
  • I disagree that a courier type device is replaced by the Samsung Note. The screen on the Note is not big enough to do real work, and the writing experience is less than ideal. Frankly, I can't work out why anyone would buy a Note.
  • If it doesn't fit in your pocket, it isn't a phone. Microsoft already has the Surface Go that would fit this useage. I don't think you get anything out of connecting two of them together. You certainly aren't going to be productive with Windows without a keyboard.
  • Portability obviously. Something like the surface go, that can fit in your pocket would be quite useful specifically to artists, creatives, journalists, writers and the types mentioned, in a way that the note isn't really (because it's small). Also, obviously power users. The issue is, can it launch with a 'stable' of core apps, and enough mobile apps to be 'something to build on'. Really IMO, they need adobe. If adobe had scaling apps (plus MSFTs productivity and pen based apps), it'd have it's built in consumer base
  • But ZTE was notorious for not supporting their software for their devices which was why this device was abandoned. With LineageOS and Android supporting foldable devices who knows if this device could see a revival from the rooting scene.
  • I honestly can't see how this would be useful, or improve on what exists now, which is the important thing.
  • The way I see it, Andromeda doesn't exist until it is in stores for the public to buy. Even things that are announced get cancelled nowadays (ex. Sets)
  • +1 MS is sluggish company that balanced on old technologies and "financial reports".
  • Sure. Old technologies like HoloLens.
  • I don't agree... They have been increasing their revenue through new tech... But even if I did it's working and there is absolutely no signs that it's about to fail... Like you said their financial reports are here to prove it... MS is a company with a way stronger basis than most their competitors with thousands of patent their competitors have to use to make their own products... They have decades in front of them with not much to worry and they'll keep pumping out patents that other will use while developing their own products and solutions... And that seems to be working pretty well for them...
  • Google search is a pretty old technology really. Even the iphone isn't exactly new. Online shopping ain't all that new either. Who's, amonst industry leaders, has core business is based on brand new stuff? I mean computer games ain't new, but they aren't exactly ancient either. They tend to follow a bleeding edge. And cloud computing? That isn't all that old. What core business does MSFT get major profit from that is 'old'?
  • Wait, the inner screen is actually TWO screens side by side? 0_0
  • They should just take the same approach they took with HoloLens.
  • Andromeda has no single foldable screen but Two!!
  • Hololens 2 emulator is an available option to get feedback to optimize WCOS for Surface Hub 2X and Andromeda.
  • Why you still mention this MS foldabke device?.. I think it will NEVER done!
  • It will never done, your right.. But, the problem is it will never out. 😉
  • What else will he write about
  • @techiez What else will he write about? Answer: The wide range of things I've been writing about from: AI, facial recognition and bias Microsoft and autism Microsoft and people with Parkinson's Microsoft and the hearing impaired Microsoft and ALS Microsoft, the tech I industry and the legacy of racism Microsoft and black history Month Microsoft and the cloud Microsoft and edge computing Microsoft and ubiquitous computing Microsoft and IoT Microsoft and AI, Machine learning Microsoft and HoloLens Microsoft and smartglasses Microsoft's partnership Steelcase Microsoft and consumers Microsoft and the NFL And much more....😉 Here you go: www.windowscentral.com/author/jason-ward
  • everytime u do try to branch out n eventually come to this unicorn device n weave stories around it to keep ur readership going, thats dishonest as per me. yes u wrote on all those topics and what has been engagement levels on those? but instead of more reach n enriching those topics u keep coming back to this device which is ok, but then u make ridiculous assertions. the fact is u guys(not just u but entire editorial team of wc) are stuck with MS due to android central n imore being separate websites and to keep the interest going on, time and again some very extremely ridiculous theories are propagated like Bots, cortana, pwa, smartphones being dead, apps being dead, etc
    I wish u guys STOP being MS apologists. it getting tiring to read the analysis section of ur website
  • Hi @techiez you asked what else will he write about insinuating that this is the only topic I write about. I supplied irrefutable evidence accessible to anyone who follows the included URL to my work, that the breadth of my editorial subject matter is extensive, perhaps more extensive than many, covering a range of areas from tech in society, tech and disabilities, tech and morality, MS and consumers, cutting edge tech, current tech implementations, actual products on the market, and much more. Most writers write within certain bounds, my work (not trying to toot my own horn, just stated a fact regarding the subject matter I cover) is a bit broader. Follow the link. In an attempt to dismiss that truth because you want to be right about your claim that my content is only about Surface Andromeda, you toss out what was the engagement on those pieces. Well, even if the engagement was low that doesn't support your claim that I don't write about anything else. That's a digression from the original point. I do write about many other topics. Now if the readership is low on those pieces that's more of an assessment of the core readership's interests not the breadth of my portfolio of work. Also, you state that instead of enriching those topics you keep coming back to this. Please revisit the link to my work, www.windowscentral.com/author/jason-ward and you will see my work, including my most recent pieces, continue to expand across a range of topics😉. To your point of my coming back to this topic. Well, the topic is relavant. Foldable tech is hitting the market. Microsoft invested in a project, Surface Andromeda, which uses foldable tech. For a Microsoft-focused site, with a core readership interested in this topic, this was a relavant, and timely piece to write. To your point of being tired of reading these type of pieces, my logical response to that is simply, don't read them. 😉
  • "Microsoft invested in a project, Surface Andromeda, which uses foldable tech" No proof of that, for all we know it may have been shelved long back, now it may be in works or may have been shelved, in either case there is no "PROOF" that validates your assertion that foldable tech woes are what caused MS andromeda to be delayed or kept under wraps, now if you come back with their patents to prove that Andromeda was/is in works then the same patents also mention 2 screens and not foldable screens, which means either way the assertion made and attributed to MS is plain ridiculous.
  • Hi @techiez You are likely in a very small minority who believes that Microsoft has not invested in recent foldable tech, via Project Andromeda despite multiple Microsoft patents, sourced insider information about project Andromeda from other writers on this and other sites, a leaked Microsoft email reported by the Verge in June of last year, and project Courier (referencing folding tech investments) that everyone knows about. The preponderance of evidence suggests that, yes, Microsoft has invested in Project Andromeda. On the flipside, and you must be Humbly honest, you have no proof that they have not invested in this internal project that they would not have told you about😉. Also you said: either case there is no "PROOF" that validates your assertion that foldable tech woes are what caused MS andromeda to be delayed or kept under wraps Please reread the article, I never said foldable tech woes are what caused Microsoft to delay Andromeda. As a matter of fact I suggested developer support, poor app ecosystem, poor tablet UI etc that would have contributed to a poor mobile experience. Here is that excerpt again: Numerous factors contributed to Microsoft's decision not to launch Surface Andromeda. Without developer support, and a relatively paltry app ecosystem practical limitations as a pocketable mobile device was likely the chief motivation. Without the fruits of its Progressive Web App (PWA) investments and a less than optimal tablet UI, like the app-deficient Windows Phone and Windows 10 tablets, it would have had a sub-par mobile experience for most users. Thus, even with a unique inking focus, Microsoft pushed the project back because it had difficulty positioning this unique device for even a niche market. Windows Core OS and CShell could be an advantage for a 3-in-1 pocket PC. Furthermore, Windows Core OS, with its context and form conforming CShell was not ready for a 2018 or 2019 Surface Andromeda launch. So, the challenges of Windows, though powerful on a pocketable form factor would have been robust, but the UI across pocketable, tablet and desktop scenarios (think Continuum) may not have been optimal. You say: the same patents also mention 2 screens and not foldable screens, which means either way the assertion made and attributed to MS is plain ridiculous. Also, I never said that Andromeda used a foldable screen, I said foldable tech, which can be a single screen that folds or two displays that fold. The assertion in this piece is that *regardless of Microsoft's motives for delaying Andromeda is that the considering what Samsung is enduring, the delay was likely beneficial for Microsoft. Particularly since we don't know ultimately what I t s folding tech would have been as I also said in the piece: Folding tech has various manifestations such as folding inward like the Samsung Galaxy Fold (protecting the screens) and folding outward (exposing the screens) like the Huawei Mate X. Despite the patents we've seen we don't know for sure what Microsoft's folding device would have looked like and what hardware challenge it would have faced. Whether Microsoft ultimately goes back to Surface Andromeda remains to be seen, but for now, like Apple's strategy, it has the advantage of watching, waiting and iterating. Microsoft may quietly invest in the tech while rivals make the public mistakes, take the PR heat, and perhaps having dodged the bullet, ultimately release a device that advances the tech and offers a better and unique use case. That's the ideal scenario.
  • "I never said foldable tech woes are what caused Microsoft to delay Andromeda" Well i have read the article but your title says "Samsung's Galaxy Fold woes validate Microsoft's Surface Andromeda caution", so is the title click bait?
  • Well i have read the article but your title says "Samsung's Galaxy Fold woes validate Microsoft's Surface Andromeda caution", so is the title click bait? One, I didn't create the title. Two I can't speak pleanarily on the intent of the motives of the one who did create the title. Three it is my belief, however, that "no", it is not clickbait, just a logical statement. Samsung Galaxy Fold woes: FACT - Samsung Galaxy Fold is experiencing some high profile problems associated with this early iteration of folding tech. Microsoft's Surface Andromeda caution: FACT-Microsoft has been cautious about launching Surface Andromeda and the reason they give is associated with market positioning and use case. I also point out in the piece as I stressed to you in comments, the negative impacts of a limited app ecosystem, a poor tablet mode, limited developer support, slow take off of PWAs as a potential app-gap solution. Now, those are the causes of Microsoft's caution with Andromeda. We do however know that the devices uses some type of folding tech. Though, based on patents, it's different than t Samsung's, but still new and first-gen. Thus, though not an expressly direct reason given for Andromeda's delay, the stated causes for the delay, may have had the derivative benefit of helping Microsoft avoid potential PR issues with possible problems with its version of first-gen foldable tech. Microsoft was cautious with bringing Andromeda to market. So my statement that you focused on here: "I never said foldable tech woes are what caused Microsoft to delay Andromeda" It is true that I never said there was a causal relationship between foldable tech and Microsoft’s delaying Andromeda. The title, again I didn't create it, doesn't either though I can understand your seeing that it may. My veiw of the title is aligned with what I wrote and what readers read. Microsoft's delaying Andromeda was expressly related to positioning and use case challenges, but used folding tech; so the derivative benefit to delaying for primarily one reason, had a potential positive outcome of avoiding first-gen folding tech PR issues as well. Analogy: In recent news a man was sitting outside I believe a Dunkin Donuts or McDonald's. He went in for a coffee. Moment later a car crashed into the spot he was previously sitting. The man moved to get a coffee, not to avoid the car. But his motive and decision to get a coffee had the derivative benefit of helping him avoid being hit by the car.
  • Yup. The way I use this site now, is by looking at the number of comments. If an article has at least several comments, it might be worth reading the title. Otherwise, it is probaby an ad or uninteresting.
  • Just like a pathetic troll to do that so he can troll🙄
  • I don't troll and I do the same thing LOL
  • Microsoft just skipped Andromeda to focus on the future of mobile phones, Holocontacts. I still think they are making the right choices with HoloLens. If they can make the tech affordable and easy to mass produce. They could easily control the rights to tech that forces Apple and Google to pay for intellectual property. Sort of what Qualacom did to Apple with the rights to 5G.
  • Lol.. No, they are working on "HoloAids". Why waste your time staring at some dumb screen when you can have "Narrator" read the whole damnb page to you? 🤔🤔🤔🤔
  • Dude... Really? UWP and it's failure is the only reason Andromeda will never happen.
  • I wouldn't call it a failure. MSFTs inroads into UWP have been more successful than Samsungs into larger feature rich apps, or android in general. At least in terms of the volume of apps that can scale between desktop and mobile. It's far easier ground to build from, should the opportunity present and the window of opportunity not be lost. There's also PWA obviously. I'd say though, they probably shouldn't wait half a decade. That pie will go cold (unless PWA really does take off as well as many hope, in which case it doesn't matter, because only intensive apps will have to be local, and windows has that over any other platform, albiet mostly nonscaling ATM). If they can get windows core out in the next two years, on multiple sized devices (more than just hub 2, and hololens), UWP has some ground. They really do need something smaller though for devs to work with, even if it's an smaller/thinner ultramobile surface go 2 running windows lite on arm. Because otherwise devs will have no motive to scale.
  • Actually it doesn't. Andromeda was going to be a dual screen device which would not have the same issues the folding screen Samsung device has. You can try to spin this and make MS look good but the reality is MS's caution is caused be their inability to ever pull the trigger on anything until it's too late. In fact the only thing the Fold has proven is how excited people are for a device like this. A similar device running Windows which would allow people to do everything the Fold can do plus so much more because of Windows would be huge. And of course, because of MS, it is MIA.
  • Windows is almost useless on a 7.2" screen? Microsoft has no ecosystem for small touch devices. Without a 10" or bigger screen and a keyboard, Windows is terrible.
  • You may be right. I can say I would love a device that I could use as a phone, handwrite note on when a larger screen and that also can dock and be a full PC. Not sure that will all work together though.
  • Samsung will have that experience in the not too distance future. Galaxy Note Fold is only a matter of time.
  • You say that but Windows 10 in tablet mode should work decent on a 7" device if apps (UWP)can mold to that screen size (they should). Actually I will show you my Windows for ARM on my Raspberry Pi attempt and order a 7" inch screen and post a link after uploading proof on YouTube and show Windows Central members how it looks on a 7" screen.
  • They were wise not to release it. Not because of the issues with Samsung's folding phone, but because the software and ecosystem are not ready. I think Microsoft is very smart in delaying it until WCOS and the Chromium version of Edge are ready.
  • I have a different view. I couldn't care less if there is 2 visible screens separated by a solid metal frame. I still like the MS Courier concept and imho MS should stick to the initial idea: a digital Moleskine to jot idea's, do creative stuff in an electronic form factor, incl. draw, OneNote idea gathering, sketching etc. like showed in the initial MS Courier demo. This device should NOT be a phone or Pc replacement. I am confident there is a profitable niche market for this kind of device. One would need maybe 10-15 apps to achieve this goal (OneNote, Scrivener, Paint 3D, a calculator, a world clock, some basic XLS, a calendar, outlook,word, a sketch tool...) Oh and by the way I want 4 screens not 2 so you do not need to open the device to see notification on front or back of the device.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UmIgNfp-MdI
  • the problem is trying to make it one big screen. you can have a fold and two screens that fit closely together. one big virtual screen, two physical displays.
    just look at how the Nintendo ds worked. just do that way better
  • But why would that be a useful device? I don't understand a use case for two separate screens, yeah you could multitask with separate displays, but that's no different to just running a large screen split in two. I can get a small screen folded, large screen unfolded, but not split screen.
  • THERE are more ways to skin a cat than one the ZTE Axon M Z999 is a 2 separate screen
    folding Smartphone you can buy today. I donot know how well they sold in the Market place
    but it's design works and for now is the best way to make folding 2 screen smart phones
    although there is a black band seen between the 2 screens. in fact some of Microsoft's
    patents are about 2 separate touch screen folding Tablets. The Microsoft non Pocket-able
    "Centaurus" folding 2 screen tablet rumored to debut later this year no doubt will be a
    2 separate touch screen Folding Tablet with two 7 or 8 inch touch screens. Centaurus
    devices are rumored to run the Windows "Lite" OS which is not a Full Windows 10 OS.
    there are no indications it will have a built-in 4/5 G cell phone but one model of the
    Centaurus folding 2 touch screen tablet should have a built 4/5 G feature phone to
    make the Centaurus folding Tablets innovative & more useful and sell better in the
    Market place
  • My understanding of the Andromeda is that it was two screens, with the bezel-less inner edge using curved glass to bend the light to make the image appear seamless when it's open. This would nicely sidestep the folding screen problems.
  • And potentially come with its own set of issues, such as what happens when some dirt finds its way between the screens, or in the hinge. And that will certainly happen, carrying it around in your pocket.
  • Waiting for Build 2019. I think there will be more news on CoreOS and Cshell 😊
  • Watch, wait and iterate . . . . Yeah, that strategy has always worked well for MS. Like how they sat back and watched Apple deliver the iPod, and watched Apple bobble around with that before MS took over the market with the Zune. Or how MS watched carefully as Apple and Google mucked up the cell phone OS market before taking over with the Windows Phone. Or how they let Fitbit take the PR nightmares over the initial struggle with fitness watches before flexing its muscle with the Band.
    There isn't any MBA program in the country where they teach you NOT to come out with groundbreaking products because it's better to learn from other people's missteps as they are taking the lead. That's just dumb business.
    No one has suggested that MS should bring a product to market before it's ready. But the way you win in the marketplace is by beating your competitors to the market with a product that works well. MS has failed at that time and time again.
  • MS market cap checked recently? Makes your entire post void.
  • Only if you know nothing about how to evaluate stocks. Microsoft's stock has been climbing over the past few years is almost entirely due to their success with cloud services. It has been in spite of, not because of, any "watch, wait, and iterate" path they have followed on their numerous failed consumer product lines.
  • I am evaluating stock since I started to work back in 1982 and so far I am doing well thank you. BTW, if you would dive in the recent announcements on their Q3 earnings you would learn cloud is only 1 pillar of their cash generating juggernaut. The Q3 FY 2019 on "More Personal Computing," (Windows, Xbox, gaming and Surface) accounted for 35% of the quarterly revenue.
  • You are attributing cause. 1/3 of MSFT profits are in game development, and their software studio acquistions have been climbing rapidly recently. I think about a dozen new studios in the last year.
  • I think Andromeda was delayed because Windows Core OS was not ready. Andromeda was suppose to use two screens with a patented screen wrapping technology at the joint to make distortions disappear. This sounds cool, but dragging over the seem would be troublesome. Or even tapping things right in the seam. The other route would be to go with a single screen, but as can been seen by Samsung's woes, that tech has issues.
  • Seems smart to me. Let samsung and others work out the kinks. Get Core OS ready. Develop a few in house apps. Consider maybe a temporary android bridge. Proposition some industries like publishing and scientific research that might have a good use for it.
  • With all the trouble thus far for Samsung's Galaxy Fold I would expect the shortcomings will be addressed sooner than later, but certainly in a second generation. BUT, ANY device like this is much more welcomed to me, because it is actually a PHONE!!!!! Not some pseudo computer the size of the Fold masquerading to be a phone.
  • We already have phones.
  • amazed by the extreme lengths these wc writers are going just to justify MS's non existent mobile position.
  • After years unsuccessfully trying to justify why Microsoft's Mobile playground was great, now they are trying to justify why not having a mobile platform is great. How about they start getting real and hold Microsoft's feet to the fire. Without a platform for the future, their consumer and possibly even enterprise solutions will fade. I am sure they will make plenty of money in the meantime, but IBM did great for a while too. Look at them now.
  • Certainly hasn't hurt MSFT. Between gaming software, xbox, and the cloud they recently ranked the most valuable company in the world, ahead of google and amazon. Hard to argue mobile is really THAT important postpeak. A trillion dollars says otherwise. Whatever the next, probably smaller wave, is, that's more important. The age of the premium candybar smartphone has passed. You'd be better to ask why apple doesn't seem to be investing in anything else, but a market with shrinking profits...At least google knows better.
  • Justify. Are you kidding.😄 I'd love for them to release something today. And would prefer, even if they want to do it cautiously, release it methodically as they did Hololens in specific industries tailored to thier needs with tailored software. Here's the thing. Few things are strictly black and white. I, and others, could desire such a device, and want MS to bring it to market (even cautiously) but that doesn't preclude me (or others) from seeing and expounding on the possible benefit, giving Samsung's high profile folding display problems, of MS putting things on the back burner. The two are not mutually exclusive. And if you read the entire piece you will see that I do hold MS to the fire because I clearly state in an entire section titled Andromeda issues Microsoft's primary motivations for pushing Surface Andromeda back likely had to do with its own developer support, software, tablet UI and slow release of CoreOS failings which would have impacted the experience: Numerous factors contributed to Microsoft's decision not to launch Surface Andromeda. Without developer support, and a relatively paltry app ecosystem practical limitations as a pocketable mobile device was likely the chief motivation. Without the fruits of its Progressive Web App (PWA) investments and a less than optimal tablet UI, like the app-deficient Windows Phone and Windows 10 tablets, it would have had a sub-par mobile experience for most users. Thus, even with a unique inking focus, Microsoft pushed the project back because it had difficulty positioning this unique device for even a niche market. Windows Core OS and CShell could be an advantage for a 3-in-1 pocket PC. Furthermore, Windows Core OS, with its context and form conforming CShell was not ready for a 2018 or 2019 Surface Andromeda launch. So, the challenges of Windows, though powerful on a pocketable form factor would have been robust, but the UI across pocketable, tablet and desktop scenarios (think Continuum) may not have been optimal. Now if MS had done a better job in those areas, the story would have been different of course. But they failed to put the full weight of thier abilities behind mobile, though they conceived and invested in innovative mobile platforms, hardware and software. Thanks for being part of the discussion.
  • This is a sad angry child, Jason.
  • Says the man who invests major time in lurking these forums JUST to complain.
  • They thought they can get away with it, do they released it already
  • But it isn't out yet.
  • This folding screen thing is a fad. It will be gone next year. Why? Because people will finally realize that a 5" screen unfolds into a 7" screen. NOT a 10" screen. Plus, Android? Who is begging for an Android tablet? Android tablets are already available, but they don't sell because the apps are all designed for phone screens. Then we have Windows. Windows needs a large screen to be useable. A Windows "phone" would need to be 7.5" folded, to open up to a useable 11" tablet size. That means it's not pocketable. Not to mention a mouse and keyboard.
  • Agreed, unfolded the Galaxy Fold is a fraction larger than a Note 9. and in the wrong direction, so things like movies and games (unless these are optimised for the aspect ratio) won't actually provide a larger image size.
  • That just isn't true. Due to the 3:2 aspect ratio, the fold is much bigger than a Galaxy Note. Maybe it isn't ideal for movies, but most everything else will be much better.
  • That is not true as proven by Android tablets usability. It has 0. Which is why the tablets don't sell. At all
  • Yeah, but it's stupid to suggest that a foldable device can only come in one size, or aspect ratio. What are yall talking about?
  • Aspect Ratio is significantly hampered due to the very nature of a folding device. As is size for that matter, unless the fold is on the vertical the difference between the two screens is between 1 and 2 inches. and due to the aspect ratio issue, things like videos will not look significantly larger on the unfolded screen. It's basically a device that has no use case for general consumers, only for work, but then it's severely limited compared to just using a laptop for that instead, as a keyboard is damn near required.
  • A windows phone is perfectly useable, and so are all the apps. So I disagree. The trouble with scalability isn't a platform based one, it's an app based one; small for android apks, big for windows win32s. It is an issue, but it's not inherent to the shell/core. They just need 'enough' scalable apps to encourage development for a dedicated niche market. That market IMO, is more likely to be found with windows, where productivity and creative efforts actually benefit from a niche, expensive device. For example, a pocketable device that can run a professional illustration app, offers a real benefit. The question is, how to get that 'basic suite', working. They could certainly use UWP, and PWA, and perhaps even some android apps. Some win32's scale well for smaller devices, like illustrator, and fruity loops. You certainly don't need a mouse and keyboard to use windows. If you did need a keyboard, the second screen could act as a touch keyboard. A good pen makes a fine mouse. Not exactly a laptop, but the point in this product is easy portability, and that always involves sacrifice (the smartphone itself is a sea of compromise, bigger than a phone needs to be, smaller than a screen wants to be, painful to type on next to a keyboard, squint inducing even with a bigger screen) Regarding video, perhaps the aspect ratio is an issue, but basically all TV before widescreen uses zoom, and most TVs still do. People generally don't do those black bars. Also the 'phone' sized version could be wide and passport sized, making the unfolded version the right dimensions, and still be pocketable, just. Obviously, a narrow folded display, that folds out won't add as much, whereas a broader folded display will. The 'squarer' the smaller screen, the closer to 'double' the expanded one will be. Making the smaller screen something like 3:2, and genuinely passport sized (like the BB of the same name) might be the best idea, as it would create a genuine workspace unfolded.
  • …...still want the Andromeda.....or even an official confirmation that it'll soon be released
  • Here is recent interview with Panos where he discuss when they decide to ship a product. https://m.soundcloud.com/sunday-scaries-podcast/a-sunday-conversation-wi...
  • Microsoft need to release any new device to the tech community first, ultimately that's the story of how android came into the mainstream market anyway. I'm so bored with Android and Apple with a sub-standard interface.........I miss my windows tiles :-( There isn't that many Microsoft consumer products around these days, the main ones Surface Pro/Laptop/Hub, Xbox and the various Keyboards/Mice. Microsoft have shifted focus more on the cloud offerings than R&D into consumer products over the last few years and its paid off, more business use office 365, Azure with a steady recurring revenue stream.
  • *Consumer HARDWARE. MSFT have plenty of consumer products, they have a huge set of gaming houses under their now, xbox branded software studios. And it's a significant proportion of their income.
  • For once, I definitely salute Microsoft for playing it safe. I myself is also eager with Andromeda, but for once that it would be right to wait for a fully competent device rather than rushing to the market with half-baked result.
  • The could easily close that app gap, by using their Android bridge, and their partnerships with Amazon, as well as work on Samsungs continuum like apps. The trouble would be multiple app stores, but I think with the slow growth in UWPs and PWAs, it might not be a bad idea to actually just use android apps for this one, if only 'for now', and specifically for this device. Why just this device? Well, as you say, it's a niche device, more of a 'beta product' ala hololens. Having some extra apps won't really hurt UWP development, and if people want to write code specifically for the device, they'll still use UWP (because it'll be able to detect hinge state and orientation, use the pen etc). With a small suite of in house apps, refinement on the hardware and UI/windows core, it would certainly stand out in the foldable arena as a solid option for some folks FUNCTIONALLY (whereas foldable smartphones, don't offer much to consumers other than screens for watching movies etc, and a little 'wow look what I have')