Microsoft 'Andromeda' and 'Centaurus:' Does size really matter for a new Surface?

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MS logo (Image credit: Daniel Rubino / Windows Central)

Over the last couple of weeks, talk of a larger "Andromeda" device has been making the rounds on the web. I learned rather quickly that this larger device wasn't actually Andromeda at all, but another device codenamed "Centaurus" that Microsoft is prioritizing over Andromeda for the time being. Centaurus features the same two-screen setup that Microsoft is working on with Andromeda, except it's larger and not a phone. This raises the question, does size really matter for a new Surface?

While many of us want Microsoft to make another phone, perhaps it's not a wise idea for the company to do so before it has an ecosystem in place to support it. Windows Phone failed because of a lack of apps, and that hasn't changed since Microsoft laid it to rest. If Microsoft were to come back with a new phone, regardless of if it introduced a new form factor, it would fail for the same reasons. Nobody wants a device they can't do anything with.

However, people have a different set of expectations when it comes to buying a PC over a phone. With a phone, we rely immensely on app availability, because that's the only real way to do anything on those devices. On a PC, however, app availability is not a primary concern for most people, as a lot of what a user needs to do on a PC can be done through a browser. Sure, some people need specific PC apps, mainly power users, but most people aren't primarily deciding between Windows or Mac based on the apps available.

When I first learned about Centaurus, I wasn't sure how doing a "bigger version" of Andromeda would change anything. A larger dual-screen tablet would suffer from the same problems Andromeda does, but then I remembered, Surface is pretty good with mixing things up, and Centaurus isn't going to just be a tablet. It's very likely going to be a laptop too — a PC.

Thinking about form factors

To many, this new form factor will feel gimmicky and unnecessary, but it's a new way of working. If Centaurus is modular in that it can swap out one of the displays for say a keyboard accessory or an e-ink display, Microsoft could find a unique market for it. Even if that isn't a thing, the idea of dual-screen foldable device something many people have been obsessed with since rumors of the Courier back in 2010. A digital journal that can carry your digital life is still a unique idea, and one that could work.

Since Centaurus will be larger, it can be treated as a PC, meaning people will have different expectations for it. Sure, the OS will likely be very different, but if it's Windows Core OS, it can — in theory — run Win32 programs. That's just there to tie people over until UWP apps become the primary app platform on Windows 10, however.

Here's the thing, Microsoft isn't forcing developers to build UWP apps anymore. It's not offering developers money to do it, and it's not offering to it themselves, because this system doesn't work. Instead, it's playing the long game. In 10 years, will it make sense to build a Win32 program? By then, all the old versions of Windows that don't support UWP won't be in support anymore. Windows 7 will hopefully have little to no market share.

And while in 10 years there will still be legacy apps in use, new app makers will very likely opt to build a UWP app, because that's the app platform on Windows that's still being updated. If the revolution of PWA turns out to be a huge deal, then Windows is already ready for that as well. UWP apps and PWA are one of the same on Windows 10.

So, doing Centaurus first gives Microsoft more time to build out an ecosystem for a phone it desperately wants to build. Size does matter here, and it just means we have to wait longer for Microsoft to do a pocketable version. I'm not saying we'll have to wait ten years, but I am saying we will have to wait a little while longer until Microsoft can figure out whether or not this form factor makes sense.

It tells a good story

Releasing Centaurus first makes for an excellent chronological story too. Let's say this form factor proves popular, other OEMs jump onboard and build their own versions, and app developers start making apps that take advantage of the dual-screen setup. If that happens, Microsoft can in a few years come out with Andromeda and market the shrunken technology, which makes for a more "personal" and connected digital journaling experience.

At that point, people start looking at Andromeda as the first "true PC" that fits in your pocket. It runs Windows, it uses the same form-factor that's found in other devices that are successful, and now it can make calls. It's the full package and makes Andromeda much more appealing. In addition, if PWAs take off like we're hoping they will, it will have a selection of apps from that alone.

This could be enhanced with Android apps too, running in an emulation layer for when a user needs it. At that point, Andromeda is the full package. A Surface Windows PC that fits in your pocket, runs all the same apps as your PC does, and can even run some Android apps when required.

So, yes, I think size does matter, as it changes how we view these devices. Centaurus as a PC launching first makes sense here, as it lays the foundations for Andromeda as a phone. It would be the first phone that looks and behaves like a PC, that can also fit in your pocket. I think there's a market for a device like that.

Zac Bowden
Senior Editor

Zac Bowden is a Senior Editor at Windows Central. Bringing you exclusive coverage into the world of Windows on PCs, tablets, phones, and more. Also an avid collector of rare Microsoft prototype devices! Keep in touch on Twitter: @zacbowden.

  • I vaguely remember around 2008 to 2010 that some company was trying to sell a dual screen laptop. The second screen could either be a regular screen, or a keyboard. It either never sold much or never actually got released. So hopefully Microsoft can do something right with a dual screen device.
  • How do you market a dual screen device next to a single folding screen device?!
  • Only if the dual screen device works and is durable, and the foldable screen device isn't...
  • People do not care about durability. The Moto Z Force would rule if they did.
  • Depends on the time scale; if the single-screen devices fail after 6 months, they'll care A LOT...
  • @ Manus..What so a foldable laptop isn't? You are not thinking clearly.
  • It is probably both thinner and more durable. Also it would be more fold-able as in 360 degrees. Finally it is probably cheaper to manufacture. There is both ups and downs with both formats and I'm not so sure that anyone of them will be any good.
  • After all this time and all that talk Microsoft is already abandoning Andromeda before even conditions that it actually exists. Shocking. So are Nadella said last year that he regrets abandoning their loyal customers for the new shiny toy, they are "prioritizing" a product nobody asked for over one that we have been beginning them for, for years now.
  • There were a few that have made a duel screen windows device. It didn’t sell well because it was expensive and not produced in large numbers (especially in the US, though I understand Japan had a few more).
  • Ok, I will ask a very simple question anyone who claims to be somehow familiar with the situation at Microsoft internally, watcher, journalist so to say or whoever - are we actually ever going to actually see something real? I'm sick of all these rumors, patents and pointless analysis that honestly got tiresome
  • There is a clear answer to that: Maybe !
  • Lol 😂 good answer
    Boy, I'm glad I already got a new phone. Andromeda won't be here until 2025, that's if it ever happens. How can we hope that MS will magical have a stronger ecosystem in the near future if their ecosystem is currently on the decline? That doesn't make sense. I wish MS would prove me wrong, but have have too many doubts.. My faith, hope, wonder, and excitement, might return IF MS announces at Build 2019 there will be Android emulation in some forms on some type of smaller Surface product, or for Windows in general. I know for a fact that Android apps are the only thing that can save windows outside of enterprise. Don't count on PWAs anytime soon. We need apps now.
  • This device should be a lot easier to make for one reason... it’s already been done. It’s called the Yoga Book. At least this is a much better path for Microsoft to pursue than Andromeda. Foldable phones was just a ridiculous market for them to try and enter.
  • Totally agree, but I think the idea with this is to be able to do more things and do different things with that second screen than what is available with the Yoga Book right now. And to put it in a smaller package. Agree this does make more sense.
  • IDK, if I could have what is basically a Windows 10 tablet that had telephony I might be game for that. I would want the ability to run Android apps though to fill the app gap.
  • Microsoft probably targets on the device that would be the size of Surface Book screen when opened, but it can be closed and then it is more like Surface Go and even a bit smaller. Such a device would make quite a lot of sense - as a tablet it is already proved to be useful and folded it will be much more portable and then there is also a clamshell mode. So much safer bet than Yoga Book that still searches for its reasons to exist.
  • With you on that. Beyond tiresome.
  • Amen. Andromeda blah blah blah
  • I can answer.... Soon™
  • Yip.
    Been said here over and over and over, Andromeda is real, it's coming, 2018, 2019, who knows when, if ever.
    Just another of MSs spectacular failures in the consumer space.
  • There's no Andromeda, there's no ecosystem nor MS is actively doing anything to change that situation, I just see WC writers keeping the myth alive for their readers, especially few writers solely depend on Andromeda articles to keep their kitchens running.
  • The only way to get a phone ecosystem in place is by having a phone. A phone platform that people want to use and manufacturers want to support. Microsoft is always trying different gimmicks to create a phone ecosystem while ignoring the real answer: build a great phone.
  • Exactly. Build a great phone, but don’t call it a phone. Call it a Pocket PC. Andromeda must come out BEFORE Centaurus. Yes, size does matter! (twss). Pocketable is the value proposition for Andromeda. It will lay the groundwork for Centaurus.
  • Yes, a rebrand is the way to go but you need to be more bold. Make it blue and call it ****** for your pocket and it will sell like hotcakes. Then make a red version and call it the Ferrari edition. Finally make one brown to handle the **** storm. Or just call it a phone as that is what a computer with 4G/5G in that size segment is called by everyone (at least by those who is not enthralled by their iphones).
  • And here I would argue the opposite.
    Andromeda has zero bezel between the screens per the relevant patents. Centaurus will pave the way for Andromeda by giving people a more familiar form factor in which to work out the kinks, design wise and software wise.
  • Wayyy too late for MS to try to enter the phone market. iPhone and Android broke through because the existing platforms had weak ecosystems (and few users in the smartphone category), that is no longer the case and I wouldn't expect the smartphone to radically change for the next 15 years.
  • When Microsoft let down the last loyal Windows 10 mobile users I kind of think the last call had been done. Who will now trust Microsoft will support another smart phone ecosystem? I mean look at all the many millions of users Microsoft let down.
  • Telephony itself should actually be changing. I'm well sick of the low res sound of a regular phone call. Maybe the idea of a phone is the thing that's really on its last legs, what with Skype and Messenger, I can have a better conversation with added video, any time anywhere. What's so good about the' phone'? Just thinking,
  • Surely that size matters and surely that Centaurus has more chance to survive than Andromeda. But then I don't see how it can help Andromeda. Microsoft keeps trying to prove that there is a need to reinvent the wheel and that there is no need to produce the wheel until it is reinvented. And others use the time to flood the market with their wheels making their chances to come back to almost none.
  • I disagree. Andromeda would fill a niche; Centaurus would not.
  • Smartphones are not a niche.
  • It is that Centaurus has a value proposal while Andromeda has not. When you open it it will be a good tablet. When you close it it will be extra portable. Also there is a clam shell mode that will probably be useful sometimes. And probably there will be iPad Pro style dock that will make it kind of laptop. Clearly it will cost few hundred dollars more than Surface Pro, but I can see some people buying it. Andromeda, I am sorry, but who will buy it? It will cost more than iPhone + iPad and it will be the worst phone and the worst tablet on the market by far (simply by the law of physics not because Microsoft makes it).
  • I think the logic (not sure if I agree with it) is: Surface Go and similar systems are selling reasonably well. If we can drop down a little smaller and provide a dual screen device, it doesn't require a huge process change among existing PC users, but it provides additional options for developers to leverage. It creates the system for Andromeda, meaning development of apps that will run well on it, while still working for traditional small laptop/2-in-1 users. That would make it the bridge device that attracts users en masse for all the PC and Windows software while encouraging new apps that will run on a future pocketable device. That's not crazy and it certainly could work. My concerns are: 1. The rest of the market continues to evolve. People use phones for more and more and PC's for less and less. Time is and has been Microsoft's enemy with this. 2. Microsoft's inability to commit and invest to fix problems. They have taught us as customers that if it's not an instant success, they'll cut and run. This makes us less willing to try something that's different than we would be if we knew they would at least fight for market share across a few false starts. 3. Current tablet mode of Windows 10. Microsoft was burned so badly by Windows 8, they seem unwilling to acknowledge that the touch and tablet aspects of that experience were decent. They do not provide a great touch-based or tablet-based UI. This leads me to believe that they have culturally shut the door on building a good touch-oriented device, and I don't believe that a pen-oriented device will have anywhere near the broad appeal. Of course, in spite of those, one could rightly point out: with their apparent priorities, what other path would anyone expect Microsoft to take at this point? They're business focus is on cloud services and software. The OS is secondary. So for MS, their business model appears to be to take a low-risk, long-term plan to slowly get back in front on a cross-form-factor devices, but only to the extent that it won't hurt their existing biggest customers. If this means they end up ceding the OS market to others, as long as people still use Azure, Office, and Xbox Live (their chief profit centers and growth areas), they're apparently OK with that.
  • Nice article Zac, with interesting talking points. I have to say it felt a bit like an article Jason would have written, with the speculative and aspirational tone. I think you are right about the logical and strategic flow of releasing Centaurus before Andromeda. That just makes sense following the Surface story to date. It would be less sensible doing it in reverse. There seems to be a slight feeling of a "me-too" device with Centaurus, like what does it bring uniquely to the table that we haven't seen in some form yet. Size-wise it will be a small tablet like many others before. In terms of the form factor, we've already seen the Lenovo Yoga Book bring the dual screen into mainstream consciousness (though with one being e-ink), and for the OS, the current Windows 10 UI is not optimized for a small screen size. Right now Microsoft's woes are all software-related, which is ironic since that's their forte. They have more or less sealed the hardware game (to rave reviews from traditionally hostile tech press).
  • The two devices do not have much in common. A 6" screen requires much different software than a tablet or laptop. The order they release them does not matter. Centarus will likely be another Windows RT flop if rumors are true and it is locked to the store. In that case, it won't drive it's own ecosystem, let alone a phone ecosystem. It could be a full Windows device, but then it is just another laptop but with crappy input methods. A type cover is bad enough and the touch cover was useless. Imagine how bad a full touch keyboard would be on a laptop. When it comes to touchscreens and small devices, Microsoft is dead in the water. They only have one way out and gimmicks aren't it. They need to make something mind-blowing. Something that you pick up and it instantly makes everything else obsolete. That is the only path they have for the future (other than servers and back-end services, and who cares about those?).
  • "Centaurus isn't going to just be a tablet. It's very likely going to be a laptop too — a PC." That's the Surface Pro you're describing there. The thing is, to make any sense as a device, the Centaurus, won't be the above; it'll be a standard size tablet that can turn into... an oversized tablet. I personally don't see the point.
  • e-ink and virtual keyboard dude.. just what i want! its gonna be huge! P.S.
    this Centaurus device sounds incredibly stupid to me.. we dont know much about it but so far from what we have heard.. god microsoft, whats wrong with you..
  • Sarcasm, hopefully? E-ink would be awesome for me, personally, but not in this form factor.
    Seriously, the only reason to release another tablet device would be to make one that'll fold into a more pocketable size. Exactly like the originally envisioned Andromeda device.
  • Phone to Tablet would be pocketable.. tablet to PC doesnt sound like that pocketable.. plus this device sounds like a niche product (not the way to get lot of developers to build apps for your platform..) indeed.. was a sarcasm.
  • The thing is that such device already are in the market and is known as Lenovo Yoga Book C930. It is an expremental nisch product. Hard to see what this Centaurus device will add to that and how it will create a new ecosystem.
  • This device may not be for you Manus, but it is certainly for me.
    Oh how I need this device! This is not for typing novels on if you want that, you always can pull out your Bluetooth keyboard and keep the two screens.
    This is for software like editing apps, audio apps, drawing, design photo, animation, storyboarding apps that need a viewport, a timeline and a bunch of palettes.
    This is for touch and pen. You draw, change brush, move up the timeline and write in a layer name.
    If you are already using the stylus then you don't even need a keyboard.
    This is for those who might use a large Cintiq in the office or a bunch of mixing consoles, who now are out on the road and want to do the same tasks without a bunch of peripherals or struggling for screen real estate.
    Hey and you can then take a break and read your emails, a comic or a magazine. I've been talking about this device for years and 2019 is still too far away.
    Many will hate, just like when they didn't think smartphones because you can't use a phone without 'physical' buttons.
    I heard it all and showed them my tablet and smartphone, they whined and scoffed and salivated.... later they bought one.
    'join us'. Mwahahaaaa.
  • I think you meant to write "UWP apps and PWA are one AND the same", not "one OF the same". This reminds me of people who say "sort of speak" instead of "so to speak".
  • Lol.. OK, Mr grammar pants😂😂😂
  • Might be nitpicky but this a "news" site - not my mom's personal blog (which is awesome by the way) - so they should , you know, like proof read and stuff.
  • "Windows Phone failed because of a lack of apps, and that hasn't changed since Microsoft laid it to rest. If Microsoft were to come back with a new phone, regardless of if it introduced a new form factor, it would fail for the same reasons. Nobody wants a device they can't do anything with." Zac, you hit the nail right on the head. It'll be interesting to see how devs take Centaurus and write apps for it. But you're correct: Andromeda doesn't have a chance unless apps are there to use with it.
  • Of course there needs to be specific apps or programs to take advantage of the unique form factor, but as a regular pc, it doesn't need the app ecosystem that Windows Phone needed.
    It'll start out as a special pc aimed at people who will benefit from the form factor, and through these it will slowly gain traction in the general populace... Maybe. But it won't try to be the game changer from the get go.
  • Windows phone failed because of lack of users. Users always come first, not apps. Never has a platform had apps before users, that makes no sense. Apps cannot be the cause, only a symptom.
  • Both really, but WP failed for numerous reasons, and like you said, lack of apps was mostly the result of those reasons.
  • Who says that centaurs will make developers all of the sudden star making apps? Lol
  • Don't marginalize. Centaurs can do anything they put their half-horsy minds to.
  • ...I mean MS can't even get apps written for Windows... Devs will suddenly start with yet another microsoft pipe dream platform? That's just silly.
  • problem is the Windows brand. in the general mindshare it is synonymous with PC. Also with crashes and malware and being hard to use.
    while iOS, even though it's a mess at this point and complicated, still has the brand awareness as easy to use and simple and safe.
    and google is just google, quick, easy no hassle. Microsoft in trying to join Windows mobile and desktop played to their greatest strength in one realm, but also their greatest weakness in another.
  • So, we really have to ask this question first: Why does Windows continue to exist? If the Store is a failure, then why does anyone still use Windows? When you can answer that question, you really have the part of the answer for ANY other form factor that can run it. I keep hearing that people just want to be able to run the same things on smaller device that they can on a bigger one. Okay, fair enough. The nut that Microsoft has NOT demonstrated an willingness to tackle, much less the capability, is the issue of user interaction IN those different form factors. As a huge Windows phone fan, THAT user experience is, by FAR, the best experience for me. EASILY. I love it so much that I have configured all our Windows 10 PCs and Surface devices to mimic that experience to the largest extent possible. The problem? You can't get all the way there and WINDOWS 10 SUCKS ON TOUCH DEVICES. I use inking on my Surface Pro 5 and even THAT presents some problems in certain situations. That apps issue probably isn't so much an issue on Windows 10 as far as PCs go, if its continued use is anything to go by. But I think it's clear that customers want to NOT have to compromise that aspect if they are going to get any other form factor that runs Windows. Microsoft MUST figure out--and demonstrate to us sooner rather than later--that Windows TRULY IS universal and innately adjusts it's user experience to best suit the form factor. Tablet Mode on Windows 10 simply doesn't meet this requirement in any way, shape or form.
  • Agree almost 100%! The most important factor is the flexibility of Windows - specifically browsers in Windows - on all screen sizes.
  • But Windows isn't flexible. It isn't flexible at all. It is way too heavy and dependant on legacy software that requires keyboard and mouse.
  • Well said, DRDriver.
  • Zac, you are being very positive about this change in direction regarding Andromeda. I applaud you for writing a piece with a positive take on matters when you know the fans have to be disappointed. I personally am fine with the apps currently available on W10M. But I feel I am in the minority. I really don't like doing most things on the phone. I just feel it is too small. So if something can wait, I just wait till I can get to a PC. Some things can't wait, and that is when you need information or have to create content on the go. I've found over the years, the truly on the go use cases are not that numerous. But, as I said before, I think I am different in that respect. People seem to want to do everything on their phones, even when home. I feel though that Microsoft should release a pocketable form factor PC sooner than later even if there is a perceived "app gap". They should do this even if it fails out the door. That is because it will start to shift peoples thinking about what is a phone, what is a PC, and what is an app. Having such a device out there, though it will probably loose money, will inspire UWP development, and thus accelerate the growth of UWP apps. What interests me most about Andromeda is its ability to dock to a larger form factor. I really don't care that it folds. In fact, I would prefer it didn't. What I care about Andromeda is that it is pocketable, can dock as a workstation, can run Win32 (as a transition), and can make calls. Your second to last paragraph in this article paints a drooling, lustful picture of a future I want. The only thing is I want it now.
  • Great article Zac, there is the crucial point that needs to be made time immemorial - Microsoft put themselves into this position through missteps. The smartphone era should have provided a solid foundation for these dual screen devices. But Microsoft decided to annilihate that advantage, the other problem here is that is would be the 4th or 5th reboot on the mobile side. When people have been let down time and time again, one can only take so much skepticism. Then when you factor in the amount of focus Microsoft is focusing on ios and android along with the lack of focus on Windows. Microsoft may feel differently, but the recent spate of preventable issues and bugs being shipped through Windows Update says that Microsoft has put their own ecosystem on the back burner in the favour of short term profits. Than you have the fact that the edge engine is being replaced by another, all of this does not bode well for their mobility efforts as it can be misconstrued as lack of focus on their own ecosystem. Lets not forget how they let Cortana flounder and yet best features are isolated to the US. Along with Microsoft pay - two key features in the mobile space notably absent worldwide. Actions speak louder than words. As long Microsoft focuses heavily on ios and android - developers will continue to do so in the near future. The other unspoken fact is that this is not the newspaper era - where the news cycle was over a few days and as such as momentum was slow but impactful. Now it's relentless but less impactful as something breaks on the news almost hourly. The tech sphere is similar, when you look at how storage has progressed. Less than two decades ago we were using 1.44 floppy disks and now you can buy a 128 Gig usb for about £15! Sure the 10 year plan would have played out like as specified in the article - when people didn't have computers in their pockets and if neither Google or Apple existed. But they do and no way are they going to rest on their laurels. The smartphones on our pockets are more powerful than the PC's many of us grew up with - I remember using a PC with 1.6 megabytes of ram... 1.6 Megabytes of ram.. that's right and that was less than two decades ago. Now we can have PCs with 64 gigs of ram... Microsoft needs to up their game and focus heavily on UWP yesterday. Otherwise centaurus and Andromeda will not have much apps at all and we would be back to Square 0 not even 1 as we were in the "lack of apps stage" with Wp7, Wp8, WM10 and again with WoA. Win32 applications are absolutely atrocious on a touch screen display - We saw that with XP tablets... Microsoft needs to be put in their place - they need to understand they must make significant investments in UWP. Unless they like seeing chromebooks erode everything Bill Gates, Steve Ballmer et al have built. Because children these days are going up in households with zero windows devices and in 10 years they will be in their teens. These teens will want to use what they are familiar with - ios and android. Then they will take that familiarity into the work place thus eroding any advantage Microsoft will ever have in the enterprise space. This is not hyperbole, it's basic psychology - we are most comfortable in familiar environments. It's already happening with the increasing rate of quality chromebooks from OEMs, who have made Microsoft the juggernaut they are today. They can easily bring Microsoft down and I wouldn't blame them, Microsoft burnt too many bridges with the various smartphone reboots and lack of mobile focused functions or removal of such functions based on telemetry data. Plus Google has been increasingly marketing their chromebooks as laptops that work like smartphones to capitilise on the familiarity. That momentum will continue as more and more oems make quality chromebooks as chromebooks right now are XP netbooks. In regards to infrastructure, Google is already there with Google fibre and their other initiatives. Apple, Google and Amazon aren't going to let Microsoft become the "world's computer" without any competition. So yes, Microsoft is running out of time and no, they can't just go for the 10 year plan that would have worked in the 90s. This is the 21st century, they need to walk the walk and not just talk about it. Microsoft is acting like as if they are just an oem, they are not and they are in the unique position to forge their own pathway. OEMs rely on this pathway and if there is no pathway they will find other paths to follow - that is now highly evident.
  • Totally agree with your points. The movie "Field of Dreams" comes to mind. If you build it, they will come.
  • Outside US, so for the other 7 billion people, Chromebooks are a joke.
  • I guess Microsoft will just rebrand this and call it Centaurus.
  • That's an E-ink screen...the yoga was so far off doing it right.
  • This makes no sense at all and goes against the narrative you guys have been pushing the last 2 years. That being that Andromeda wouldn't be marketed as a phone at all but as a pocketable PC that also makes calls. If that is the case, it doesn't need to worry about the expectations and ecosystem a phone would require and instead would fall under the same scenario and expectations a PC would. So by now saying Andromeda should be delayed even further because it does not have a phone ecosystem and won't meet the expectations people have as a phone, you are walking back your talking points from the last 2 years and completely contradicting yourselves. Either way this absurd. You don't create an ecosystem by being last to a market like they will be here again. Windows Phone should have taught them that lesson. If they aren't releasing Andromeda by the end of next year, they might as well scrap it for good. No one will make apps for it after they've been making apps for all the other Android and maybe even Apple dual screened devices that will pop up over the next 2 years or so.
  • Microsoft really has no business making either Andromeda or Centaurus as far as I’m concerned. Virtual keyboards are terribly unproductive. And Microsoft is an “it’s all about productivity” company. This Centaurus thing is basically a Yoga Book. And while the Yoga Book looks really sexy it’s just not practical because of that darn virtual keyboard. Real keyboards on Surface devices with eSim are the only path forward in “mobile” for Microsoft.
  • THIS! youtube "This Week in Tech 687" and go to 42 minutes. Dan talks about Andromeda and he literally says that dont call this a phone.. its not a phone! Microsoft is not making a phone. Its a 6"/7" inch device that you can fold and put it in your pocket. (I was really interested in that vs this table to PC device).
    I agree with you man. WC is changing the narrative.
  • I have to agree and like to add that creating an ecosystem isn't just about momentum and timing. If Android and Ios are any reference (and they are, let's be honest) it's important to bring something to market, stick to it and make it grow and flourish. Developers were starting to create stuff for Windows Phones. At least in Europe it was clear that after a few years of pretending Windows Phone did not exist, a lot of businesses were creating Windows Phone apps because it didn't go away. Also remember Hololens and UWP, it's incredible how much applications the AR platform of MS actually has. It's the classic example of launching something new, supporting it and taking the time to let it grow "organically". I was kind of on board with the Andromeda thing, this article is just backtracking and finding reasons to justify that Andromeda is delayed and makes it feel like this new mythical device was the missing piece to the Andromeda puzzle all along. I'd be better if Windows Central just reported rumors and don't evangelize them. You've got to hand it to MS, it's a good thing they didn't communicating anything about these rumors. I like the articles on this site, I really do but evangelizing rumors isn't helping MS in the least.
  • If it doesn't fit in my pocket and have phone capability, I don't want it. Otherwise it is just a glorified netbook.
  • Hey Zac, there will be dual display phones on the market in a couple of months. The need for Microsoft to "evaluate" this market space is complete bs. What they are doing is buying time to get android apps running on WCOS, which begs the question, why fiddle with WCOS on a phone in the first place? Microsoft should do what they are doing with Edge. They should realize they lack the ability to do a mobile dual screen OS and launch Andromeda with a Microsoft-modified Android and Microsoft apps.
  • I say Microsoft should go for this and release Centaurus. Sometimes, it is not easy to predict how useful or relevant a device would be until it is released into the wild and you have it in your hands. A classic case of this is the Nintendo Switch. I recall very clearly so many naysayers when the Switch was announced.. Many were like why bother when I have my 3DS and Xbox/PS4? They were like it is not powerful enough to be a home console, and portable gaming is casual gaming anyways which the 3DS does pretty well from its very huge success, so what exactly does the Switch bring to the table?? Yet it is safe to say the Switch has been successful, and even surpassed Nintendo's expectations. So yes, release Centaurus, nothing to lose. Go for it!
  • I just want it to be pocketable, I want Andromeda.
  • So, more vaporware?
  • If you are going to use acronyms in articles, it would be nice if you expanded them the first time you use them. "That's just there to tie people over until Universal Windows Platform (UWP) apps become the primary app platform on Windows 10, however." "If the revolution of Perjong Wenis Analers (PWA) turns out to be a huge deal, then Windows is already ready for that as well." Or is PWA Windows Phone App? You never clarify.
  • Progressive Web App
  • Maybe I'm the only one, but an on screen keyboard on anything other than a phone sounds just horrible.
    To be productive, I need real keys.
    This is why I would probably pass on a dual screen tablet, unless there is a radical change in the method of input.
  • How about rethinking the need for a 'phone'? I can imagine a device as large as possible, but still pocketing conveniently that has all the communication stuf, a wearable for notifications and simple, quick control and an ear piece with optional glasses for voice and video communication. What is the need for a phone slab in that scenario? They better come up with a package like that.
  • But...but... I'm ready now :(
  • Windows phone 7 and even 8 had some good marketing gimics. Do you remember the guy that would go around and show how easy it was to use a Windows Phone? Problem was Microsoft kept changing the development platform from version to version. By the time we got Windows Phone 10 that was buggy, no marketing, and no creativity in hardware it died. I hate to say it but Microsoft can be its own worse enemy. I really wish they would make a phone of some sort. We need some fresh ideas.
  • Yet again Microsoft is going to be late to the party, Samsung is also filing patents on dual screen devices if Microsoft slows on Andromeda it will loose advantage it could gain by being first to market.
  • Microsoft has filed 30+ patents on dual screen and folding devices the last 5 years
  • Centaurus will fail don't hold your breath over it, people who pay thousands for a new computer they want applications, no matter the device. The only reason they build a bigger device is that user experience of a Windows 10 device, with smaller than 11" 12" screen is just horrible. But who knows maybe time will prove me wrong.
  • Jez did u just say Andromeda in a few years....
  • Folding a Surface Pro or Surface Go could be interesting. Yes, it would be a different form factor, with a different Shell (Andromeda/Journal), but the larger size would allow it to be thicker (say moleskin in folded form) since people would see it as a journal/tablet rather than a phone. Integrate Whiteboard, Teams, Skype, and OneNote well and it could be an Enterprise hit with an Always On setup. Maybe the premiere of WoA in Surface line since the different form would allow people to cognitively distance Win32 from it.
  • My brother purchased a Yoga Book (same form factor) and kept it about one week. Sure it’s a super sexy device. But there’s just no beating a real keyboard for serious work. He somehow thought he was going to be able to get real work done on it... he takes continuing education classes at night... and during the day he’s often out and about negotiating with major chains. But writing more than about one paragraph on that keyboard just is a so non pleasurable experience, even with haptic feedback turned on. And “inking” as a primary input method just isn’t there. Keyboard is still a major factor in productivity. And I think that’s where this thing will suffer. But hey... at least this Centaurus foldable PC makes more sense for Microsoft to pursue than that ridiculous Andromeda foldable phone.
  • Windows 8 PTSD... I think they should just make a phone and Andromeda. I keep wondering if Andromeda would be a small dual screen version of the Surface Book? If the dimensions were just right on that, I think could it being very appealing.
  • Wow, more excuses and apologies for MS not delivering....... AGAIN
  • 10 years? OK, it's over. Officially over. Can we please stop holding out any hope of a pocketable windows 10 ultra mobile solution now?
  • Dear Sir, it's never over. MS thinks decades ahead rather then years. Consumers don't get it, the stock market does.
  • Folks the YouTube video showing how the Original "courier" software worked showed
    me that a folding 2 screen 7 or 8 inch tablet can work. One screen displays the
    applications and the other screen controls or modify's the applications be they
    a document, Machine controller, Game, Music or Video editor ect. Smart
    developers could really make some very interesting apps for a 2 screen Windows
    10 core OS mini Tablet. the original Courier was dropped because it lacked
    certain software and did not use the Windows OS that Microsoft was developing
    at the time Windows 8. The Centaurus will be an exotic PC however Microsoft
    should get over the idea all phones should be smart phones and and put a
    feature phone in the case on an Centaurus. People buy feature phones
    instead of smart phones because they are cheaper and get the job done &
    service plans are cheaper too. such a phone inside a Centaurus would merge the
    PC & phone as one device in the cheapest best way
  • "Releasing Centaurus first makes for an excellent chronological story too" I agree - first Centaurus can fail and then Andromeda will fail in chronological order.
  • Well the only real potential is some sort of tablet with multitasking on two screens with fullsize apps? I could see some sort of purpose if developers did something like on the 3DS with dual screen for games? Or maybe using an emulator that plays 3DS games?
  • Looks interesting, but they have a bad track record for the devices other than pc's that run something something Windows. As a C# developer I sill miss my Lumia 950XL, where I could push c# code directly via Visual Studio without any hassle at all....
  • "Size does matter here, and it just means we have to wait longer for Microsoft to do a pocketable version" Zac, if you don't mind, can we completely stop talking about Microsoft doing a pocketable device ever in the future? It pains you and it pains me... Let us be clear that it is never going to happen... They missed the bus, and they missed it for good. Do you think they will ever have a device where all banks pile on to provide NFC credit card payment support all over the world? You know that the answer is no. Serious companies don't do a reset every two years and just back out due to internal politics. It is all over and the new Microsoft is not that company with the perseverance from the days of Bill Gates who replaced IBM office software with MS Office and MS Windows. An unbelievable feat. That was then and now is now. They don't have any good developers anymore and all they can do is leverage code from the open source community... Look at the demise of EdgeHtml. Do you , in your heart, believe that they will ever be able to compete with Google? Even close? Like you, I too am wishful... But it ain't going to happen. For now, my family (of four) are sticking on to our Windows 10 phones... But Microsoft is already after us... Now they have blocked access to Skype for Business on Windows 10 Mobile. And let us keep in mind that Windows 10 Mobile was released by the new management, not the old management. Even on Azure, all they are doing is providing solutions from open source on their hardware rather than building their own solutions... Lot of money to make there, but then, Walmart also makes a lot of money selling Chinese goods.
  • I'm not one for queues or getting too excited about new computer tech, but for this type of device I would line up around the block for a week. Project precog is exactly what I've been yearning for, for years... I always hope MS would go this way, so I'd been hoping that Andromeda went into production... Centaurus though is better by far, as a first off the mark in a new line of products. I am glad I didn't buy a new portable this year, and I will wait till these twin screen machines hit. Now the painful eve extending wait is on.
  • Once again I wanna tell you this. I am looking at my Lumia 950 XL and I love that phone but Microsoft does not love the Windows phones or the Windows 10 mobiles anymore so they only barely support them with some security updates until December, 2019. In the meantime Microsoft has jumped into the Android world with their Microsoft Launcher and my phone apps. Do Microsoft really expect us to spend another $600-$1000 on some device that will not be fully supported again? I need more than just security updates for my Lumia 950 XL in order to be convinced that betting on a Microsoft Mobile system is a valid choice. Nadella did a major mistake when he failed to support his loyal fans that had put their trust in the Windows phone platform for years and years. When Windows 10 Mobile came out and Microsoft said it was fully committed to their windows 10 mobile platform in 2016 and then in 2017 dropped the bomb that the system would go on life support all kind of mutual trust kind of went down the toilet. Sorry to say this but Andromeda will not be a part of many former Windows phone users options when they are looking for a mobile platform in the future. Apple and Android are gonna be the choice.
  • Who is going to use this device and why?
  • Folks the Centuarus device needs a plan jane Cellphone in it's case. This might
    sound strange but there are people who buy simple cell phones that are not Smart
    phones with "FEW APPs". Microsoft and others have to get over this idea that a device
    with a phone in it has to have a smart phone with tons of Apps. All the Centaurus
    device needs is a Cell phone with the same Apps an Executive has on his wall
    wired phone that is on his office Desk. This will make the Centaurus a
    TRUE BUSINESS NO NONSENSE BUSINESS Tablet. This is what the Centaurus Needs
    to sell better in the Market place. A foldable single or 2 screen tablet is cool but if
    it has a business phone in it. Folks can get more use out of it PERIOD ps
  • Andromeda? Centaurus? Why not Unicornus? I reckon it has as much chance of becoming a reality. MS takes out patents that rarely see the light of day in its own products. MS is such BS these days.
  • I suggest Alpha Centauri or how about The Milky way?
  • Smoking too much again Zac?
  • Andromeda absolutely must have at photo processing software (hardware ?) directly integrated with the device