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Microsoft patent features 'hinge gestures,' curved-display correction for rumored 'Andromeda' PC

It's an open secret that Microsoft's engineers are obsessed with hinges (so much so those who work in the area are called "hingineers"), which makes these new patent applications unsurprising. Still, the focus on a foldable mobile device that happens to fit in your hands – and the ramifications of this interaction model – does give hints at what is believed to be Project Andromeda.

The patent applications both published on April 26, 2018 (and spotted by @stevenwlack) address two major concerns for a device with a foldable display:

  1. Input based on interactions with a physical hinge
  2. How light and images are corrected where the display curves

The first patent application US 2018/0113520 A1 shows in its accompanying images a now-familiar design: a mobile device that comfortably fits in both hands, but folds in the center of the display.

The question Microsoft is attempting to answer is how holding a device with two hands (both displays) versus closed – and the degree of the angles – affect usage models with the OS. Or, as the application puts it:

Mobile devices provide today's user with a variety of different functionalities, and in many instances allow the user to directly interact with objects displayed via touch-sensitive display devices. Devices having multiple display surfaces connected by a hinge, however, introduce complexities that are typically not resolved using conventional gesture input modalities.

An image from Microsoft's new patent application looks very familiar.

An image from Microsoft's new patent application looks very familiar.

Consequently, a typical gesture language may be inefficient for these devices given the ergonomics of holding and interacting with such a device. This can detract from user enjoyment and lead to user frustration when using these types of devices.

Microsoft then proposes what could be summarized as "hinge gestures" where the hardware and operating system are aware of the hinge, orientation, how the user is holding it and more. Again, from the application of the patent:

In some implementations, interactions with the hinge can be combined with one or more additional input signals to modify an operation associated with the hinge interaction. These additional input signals can include a variety of different input signals, such as an indication of an orientation of the device, a velocity at which the hinge interaction is performed, touch signals indicating how the user is holding the device, and so on. Accordingly, a variety of different input signals can be combined with the hinge interaction to modify the operation associated with the hinge interaction.

The reason Microsoft would want such a system is to make the OS radically smarter: "Use of an approximate hinge angle to switch between two or more discrete views of content or UI on one or more connected display screens, such as switching between different views of a dataset or showing/hiding chrome elements."

That language sounds a lot like Microsoft's Cshell – the adaptable UI that is the extreme version of Continuum where the OS adjusts its content based on the screen size, device, orientation and more.

The second application is a little less exciting, but still very important. US Patent application US 2018/0113241 A1, also published on April 26, 2018, is concerned with how images on a display where it curves are viewed.

More specifically, whereas displays are now very good at presenting accurate information when flat how that content is displayed when it begins to curve can be problematic (think of astigmatism for eyesight and the need for corrective lenses).

The patent application uses a lot of jargon, but the important part is here:

"An electronic display comprises a display matrix, an image-correcting layer, and a luminance-correcting layer. The display matrix includes a flat face portion, a curved corner portion, a light-releasing surface, and a series of pixels extending across the flat face portion and around the curved corner portion. Coupled to the light-releasing surface of the display matrix, the image-correcting layer is configured to transmit light released from the flat face portion of the display matrix and to reorient light released from the curved corner portion of the display matrix such that the transmitted light and the reoriented light exit the image-correcting layer substantially in parallel, forming an apparent plane image of the series of pixels. Arranged between the light-releasing display surface and the image-correcting layer, the luminance-correcting layer is configured to deflect the light released from the curved corner portion into an acceptance profile of the image-correcting layer."

Microsoft here is concerned with making the OS and content look the same as the flat portion of the display compared to where it curves. Again, that may seem trivial, but it is a complicated problem that needs to be solved by an "image-correcting layer" to give the illusion that the image is not curving.

My quick analysis

Image from Microsoft's June 2017 patent application.

Image from Microsoft's June 2017 patent application.

Both patents continue a massive series of applications and attempts by Microsoft to invent new technology around devices that fold in the middle of the display.

Project Andromeda is both a hardware project and software one with the latter focused on Windows Core OS as a stripped down, mobile version of full Windows 10 made for future handheld devices.

Since last year, we have been calling Andromeda the spiritual successor to the fabled Microsoft Courier project from 2010. While not a "Surface phone" the device is meant to kick off another form factor for computers that merge the best of smartphones with the best of tablet PCs for a more modern world. While the device is question can make phone calls it likely won't be positioned as a phone, but rather a digital Moleskin notebook.

It is clear from both patent applications – especially the first one – exactly the type of computer Microsoft has in mind. Think of a small Surface PC that folds in half with a light, modern OS that adjusts content based on its position.

Apps that have dual screen support to simulate a digital notebook are one application, whereas other times the user may want a full screen, e.g., for the OS. How the device handles the OS when going to "one" screen or two is something that needs to be solved if the experience is to be smooth and natural.

Whether or not Project Andromeda sees the light of day remains to be seen, but the sheer amount of research, engineering, and even paperwork around the concept is becoming daunting.

Despite Microsoft having a few Surface devices under its belts Project Andromeda seems the most complicated with more patent applications (e.g. this one, this one, this one, and definitely this one) filed for its underlying technology than any other Surface we have seen to date.

Hopefully, we'll hear more about this device this year. We still hear rumors of a fall release for Andromeda, which coincides with Windows 10 "Redstone 5". That next version of the OS is now focusing on cellular connections and a new radio stack, which is likely not a coincidence.

Surface folding device fan render in lead image by David Breyer.

Daniel Rubino is the Executive Editor of Windows Central, head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been covering Microsoft here since 2007, back when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, Microsoft Surface, laptops, next-gen computing, and arguing with people on the internet.

165 Comments
  • I already own a foldable PC it's called a LAPTOP I see no reason to fold the screen there is just not practical purpose to it that I see. Seems like a cool gimic though but I don't see is getting widespread adoption
  • You can fit your laptop in your pocket?
  • There's pocketability & then there's comfortable pocketability. Just because this thing might physically fit in a pocket doesn't mean it'll be a comfortable fit. Take 2 larger cell phones, tape them together, add 10%-20% more, then slip that into your shorts pocket. It'll be the 2019 version of the Zack Morris cell phone, but maybe the functionality will make it worth it to some.
  • Tell that now to Nintendo Switch owners ;) That thing is HUGE and yet, people take it with them.
  • I take 2 3DS (XL) anywhere (in pockets), but Switch is too large to fit into pocket (with controller), and I mainly use it as console, or portable at home.
    However, if the size of Andromeda is close to or smaller than Switch without controller, that would be good enough.
  • Switch owner here. I take it as Daniel says with me when I travel but not in a pocket, it is in my carrying bag. That said I hope that Andromeda will come out and will be a good device but if it will be large as a switch it will not be pocket-able. Also it has to have some thickness to it as it should be able to hold a pen, otherwise it will in my opinion loss some of its attractiveness as the pen should be at center for this kind of device.
  • Oh, it won't be the size of Switch, that's just an extreme example of something "portable" that doesn't fit in the pocket yet it hasn't stopped it from being popular either (vs original smaller Gameboys).
  • Have you personally viewed a prototype Daniel? I'm thinking this will be the size of the GPD device? No, it won't fit in your pants pocket, but LOTS of Jackets have Nice big pockets to carry it, and an extra battery pack with it.
  • #Sidekick -- for those of you have never owned a CD, that was a popular "collapsible" handheld device that fit in larger pockets.
  • Daniel... I know the smartphone part of this is all wrong, but is there any truth to these findings?
    http://www.patentlyapple.com/patently-apple/2018/04/newly-revealed-phone...
  • I would not say wrong, although MS is not going to pitch this as a smartphone MS does need to have smartphone capabilities in the OS given the one OS all device categories mantra. I'm only assuming now, but I would also expect the Andromeda device to actually be a phone, even if MS marketing is not pitching it as such. It's more than todays phones, but it still need to be a phone as well, or many people simply are not going to buy it.
  • I used to own a Gameboy as a teen. Carried it around in my pocket, It is certainly way thicker than Andromeda is likely to be.
  • The same thing could have been said of the phablet when they started arriving. Interestingly enough, as phablets became more and more popular, clothing companies actually started making adjustments to accommodate them, primarily with larger pockets. If you have an old pair of jeans, you'll notice that in most cases, the pockets are smaller than the pockets of a newer pair of jeans.
  • Try putting 2 Galaxy S8 back to back in a thin case. That's probably how thick it'll be. Yes, it's more than we're used to, but it could be interesting to have a device that works as a phone and small tablet. I like how the crease area looks like it's just 2 screens with 1 curved edge on each to make the seam appear to disappear. If this device comes to market, it won't be for everyone just like an iPhone and Pixel aren't for everyone.
  • The 1520 was huge, and people said it was not pocketable. I could put it in my front pocket just fine. It's really more about how long, and wide, it is, than how thick it is. But, thickness is a concern... Hey, nobody is being asked to replace their smartphone with this. If it doesn't fit you don't buy it, and move along, right?
  • I really miss my 1520. I thought it was the perfect size. My 950XL seems too small after using the 1520.
  • It isn't meant to replace the smartphone, it is a smartphone. Just like the Axon M is still a smartphone.
  • it's more about how many girth units it is
  • Thing is, i really don't care how thick it is. Up to 2cm should be no problem, if the length does not exceed a phone with 4,7" screen (like the SonyXZ1 compact).
  • Your presumption that it would be thicker than two smartphones is odd. They only need the exact same amount of space for the SoC and battery. The only additional size required is for the screen (very thin) and the form factor. They would probably have the battery and radios on one side, and the SoC on the other. It'll certainly be more pocketable than a laptop or a tablet, and I imagine for the gaming, creativity and business space they are aiming for that will be plenty of functionality for the size. As they call it in business "a niche" The main limit I see, for the pro-consumer space, is I doubt it will be cheap. But of course that's not the entire point - graphene technology will eventually become cheap enough to use - and that is not only flexible, but basically indestructible. When that eventually emerges it will seem vastly superior to flat glass screens. And that, is what this OS and hardware prepares for. You see Microsoft learnt it's lesson from smartphones - it's not enough to be ontop of the "current game", you have to also try to be ontop of the next game. The larger displays afforded by flexible screens will make overly simple OS and app platforms seem insufficient - making this a perfect time for MS to jump in with windows. For the same reason that even basic consumers use windows on a laptop, and it's increasingly popular on tablets, when android and ios and shrinking - that's the same reason that windows will have its day when flexible graphene oled emerges - users prefer more power, even when they don't use it. More pixels, more processing power even if they don't use it. If they can have a full desktop OS in their pocket, they'll get it (when eventually the form factor becomes very thin, and the screen seemless). In the meantime, prosumers will pioneer, and act as a testbed, the OS that will eventually run on the graphene platform. The current smartphone space, has only worked well OS wise, because the size suits the UI, and the app platform. Which is also the same reason, no-one runs android or ios on a desktop. A) it's not the best experience with a mouse and keyboard b) it's capable of less. Eventually that will cease to be the case - whether by AR, VR or graphene, eventually everything will have a bigger screen, and thus the capability for more powerful and complex applications. So instead of scaling back windows on pocketable devices to ultra-simple - they simply need to make it a tad simpler in the folded form, a little more touch friendly (and flexible so that it can run on everything), in time for the screens to get bigger. By bringing all that extra power, from the existing desktop app platform, by merging desktop and smartphone and tablet into one, they make something is "more capable" whilst still "easy and a nice experience". And despite insistence otherwise, this will eventually sell - because the average user doesn't need 4gb. They don't need retina displays. They don't need hexacore processors. They don't need thousands of apps. They need 4-6. But they get them anyway, in case they ever do, and because numbers and capabilities sell. For that exact same reason, the average user will eventually want something that can run photoshop, and doom, even if they never run either. People are largely, NOT minimalists. The average consumer doesn't think "Do I really need this"? They don't have five pairs of pants and shirts, and a home with only the appliances and furniture they really need. They have homes with rooms they basically never enter. So the argument that "users only need x" is wrong - they aren't using ios or android because 'it's all they need', they are using it because it's the nicest experience, with loads of things they probably never need. If windows can one day call itself a comparably, or even better "nice experience", then all those extra things people will mostly never do, will be as attractive to the average consumer as honey is to bees.
  • Yeah, as noted...how big are your pockets that this thing fits into them? That's insane. What's the make and model of this "laptop" you speak of. I mean, clearly, your laptop is exactly like a digital Moleskin. I'm not sure why I didn't point that out, my bad. /s
  • I hope they're going to design a nice belt clip for it as I always have my phone in a belt clip, never could understand people putting their phones in their pockets, I'd be so scared to damage it by sitting on it by accident.
  • nah, no belt clip...I want a Han Solo leg holster! I'm not joking. I've been thinking about this lol.
  • I'm in! Let's make this a thing!
  • I can make that for you Dan!
  • Has everyone forgotten cargo pants? Side pocket...
  • I have a few pairs. While efficient, they are no where as cool as the leg holster. I have the cricut make for a business we have, I am working on cutting leather to make it and I will add the surface phone pocket once the device comes out.
  • Don't put in your back pocket, put in in your front pocket. If you overbend there, you might have bigger problems than a damaged phone ,-)
  • Heh heh... People so adamantly against sensible forward thinking tech usually end up eating their words...
  • Wow it's almost like you didn't read the article and just posted a comment
  • I also have one of these, but I call mine a 3DS, and I gave it to my kid.
  • I love laptops too, I have a 11.6" 2 in 1 , but what you said is nonsense, this is what the Surface Phone should have been years ago, and is much more revolutionary than iPhone X or Galaxy S9 which look boring and expensive to me.
  • 50 thousand Years ago. I already own a home, it's called a Cave. I see no reason to build walls and a roof, it's just not practical. Seems like a cool gimmick though, but I don't see it getting widespread adoption.
  • How the hell do you know what a caveman would have wanted
  • Having camped in a cave for ten days I've got a pretty good understanding of what a caveman would have wanted, he just did not know it at the time. Same goes for future tech as well.
  • cause the caveman didn't know what he wanted cause he had never experienced it nor had the broad imagination to see it..
  • Lincoln Allen.... You were, or still are, that kid trying to put the triangle in the circle spot, and still to this day is confused about why it won't "go". SMDH 🙄
  • This device idea is just beyond stupid. Incredibly so.
  • Why is it beyond stupid? All the arguments against it seem to be based around the same idea as how the iPhone was stupid because we had a stylus. Now, I personally prefer a stylus, but I think the last 10 years have proven that touch screens are pretty darn popular. I don't think it's that far off to assume certain people would prefer a single, pocket-able laptop. I personally hate my Android, and use my surface for far more than my phone. If I could have my surface as my primary mobile, I'd do it in a heartbeat. I'm thrilled at all the concepts coming out about this rumored device. Maybe I just misunderstood, and it's something else that makes this such a stupid idea, but please elaborate so we all know for sure.
  • With you all the way, I can't wait to get an Andromeda device or Surface Pocket or whatever they call it.
  • Using a Surface 3 everyday,,, I can say that it would be awesome to be able to fit it in my pocket.
  • I've been wanting this since the Courier designs. If your one of the people that says this is stupid, its just not for you. You're stupid if you think your personal tastes in hardware should determine what the rest of us have access to. Try being a lil open minded.
  • Because it does not offer anything that we do not already have today, and already have it better. What does it offer?? A worthless junk platform with no apps? A company that kills their products often? what does it have better than any other android or ios device?? Nothing but a delusional fanboy's hope.
  • People said the exact same thing of Surface Pro ("it has a floppy keyboard!"), iPhone ("it has no apps!"), and laptops with touch displays ("who touches their laptops' screen?!"). I also remember many consumers saying they'd never pay for cellular data, or $1,000 phones. Yet, here we are. Things change. Don't be that guy that declares something stupid early on. Ask Ballmer and his comments on the iPhone ("it doesn't have a physical keyboard!"). Either way, Samsung, LG, and even Apple are all rumored to have similar device ideas in the works. Clearly, they know something you don't. At the very least, let's wait to see how this thing is presented, what it can actually do, what its specs are, pricing, and how it is marketed before jumping to conclusions. Judging a final product on patent drawings is, well, silly.
  • “…and how it is marketed” That is a big concern.
  • They will tell us how much we can use Excel, Word, and PowerPoint. Big whoops! :) Oh yeah, the magic of PWAs I almost forgot. LOL! Now, I'm not saying I won't get one, BUT it depends on the camera and phone capabilities. If those items aren't stellar or non-existent. Then more power to those who want one. I'll leave it on the shelf for them.
  • Do you have a problem with Surface ads? Which ones.
  • I have zero problems with the Surface adds. I'm actually typing this using my Surface Pro. At home my SP3 is my go to computer/laptop/tablet. This is one of the best devices created. But honestly the commercials didn't sway me. I played with the product at the store and I was sold. Plus I was in the business of buying everything Microsoft. 5 Phones, two Bands, 1 SP3, and countless of other accessories. Again, I currently have an 8 inch tablet that runs Windows 10 (which I got from Microsoft free when I purchased a computer from Microsoft a year and a half ago) I only use it to read books and to watch movies when I travel. A foldable device the size of a phone that doesn't have a great phone or camera is not for me. But for those who it is - Great! So, my remarks about Excel, Word, etc was well placed because when they advertised the phones in that was one of their selling points. Yes, I know this is not a phone, but it's phone size (I think that's a pretense). But as a person that invest his hard earned money in all things Microsoft this device doesn't (at this time) impress me. I'll have to wait and see the actual device until I make a full judgment. Oh, yeah let me not forget to mention the 4 Xbox's that litter my house!
  • I have no use for a pocket size device that has no voice or camera capability. My life would have to change significantly to make such a device useful.
  • 100% Agree! I'm like what's the point. This is Microsoft selling fake hype. I mean that's what it really feels like. But if it doesn't have a phone built in then I'm good to leave it for others.
  • I dont think Ms is selling fake hype, rather it is WC which is hyping it
  • This! Especially the camera bit; the camera needs to be top notch!
  • Is it? You think those Surface ads, commercial,s, and reveal trailers were poor? Because that is what this is. It's Surface.
  • Never seen a single live Surface commercial; the world is bigger than the US...
  • Dan, Marketing is more than just Surface ads, commercials, and reveal trailers. It’s about messaging, communicating, naming, trust, commitment – all of which fall under the umbrella of marketing, or more broadly, the Microsoft brand. Even you have to admit, this has historically never been Microsoft’s strong suit relative to Apple (even with superior technology).
  • Actually I've been getting some really good surface adds on TV. Looks like theyve improved their advertising situation lately.
  • who touches their laptops' screens? and I actually ask this
  • I do. For certain tasks, it's way quicker to touch the screen then use the mouse.
  • I do. All the time.
    Sometimes I dont, but every once in a while its just more natural and easier to reach up and touch my surface book screen than to use the trackpad.
  • I do all the time, I can’t use a computer now that’s not touch enabled. It’s like using a typewriter. This just in however, Report on mspoweruser states ms concedes to google and Apple in the platform wars. Meaning there’s less of a chance this sees the light of day.
  • I do all the time. Very natural interaction.
  • Usually Apple users that have a hard time grasping the interactive touch display. They are used to mouse and finger gymnastics.
  • Place a non touch screen device in front of someone younger than 20 and watch them continue touching the screen even after realizing more than once that it is not a touchscreen device. It's instinctive.
  • Im 41 and I do it all the time. Down in my mechanic shop, I have an older windows 10 computer, and I am punching the screen constantly...Even my dell monitor in my office in my house is touchscreen and I use it ALOT!
  • iPad Pro user being of course Surface copiers! Notice in both I mentioned 'Pro' as both seem to try to cover laptop aspects!
  • Using non-touch laptops is a nightmare. I keep touching the display and nothing happens, and I do it like five times before I understand why, and then I'm like "who buys none touch laptops in 2018?!!!"
  • mac users. They think macs are the "future". ha ha ha.
  • Using a laptop without a touch screen is just weird these days. Some interaction just work.better on a touch screen. Much more high end feel.
  • Yeah, but but but....touchbar! ha ha ha...
  • I do all the time.
    Occasionally I borrow my daughters Mac and it frustrates the #$!@ out of me that the screen doesn't respond to my touch. Over priced piece of #$@!
  • Actually the Surface pro is the device that people were ways asking for.... Remember that Microsoft came out with Surface with Windows RT and people were like "WTF? why can't I run full apps?" People were asking for a iPad like tablet with full windows for a long time. I know because I was one of them. A better argument would be the iPad release, because it was a brand new category that people weren't expecting. If this device is nothing but a tablet that folds, then it's going to fail. However if it is a phone with an excellent camera and creative software (ie Courier)... Then they'll actually have something. A blank slate with windows is not offering anything. A portable device for video/photo editing, or gaming, would be a welcome niche.
  • "Actually the Surface pro is the device that people were ways asking for."
    No, they weren't. Go read the original reviews, shade, and general "this is going to fail" attitude towards the Pro. Apple ripped on the "toaster/fridge" idea, Verge harped on "lapability" and people joked about the floppy keyboard.
  • Ummm.... It was pretty common knowledge that the Verge were all Apple Fanboys.. They all used Apple products and that culture didn't change much after they hired Tom Warren to cover Microsoft. However if you looked at the Microsoft fans in their Microsoft Forum (Which is no different than here), we were *all* looking forward to full windows hybrid tablet. It was the focus of almost every conversation leading up to the release. Also the Surface Pro wasn't actually a fully realized product until the Surface Pro 3. That's when they finally had a device whose form factor wasn't vastly different than an iPad and they worked out all the issues with the hinge. It took a lot of engineering to get it to that point. That's when the sales actually took off. Using the Surface Pro 1 as a guideline is not quite accurate.
  • This device idea is just beyond DRDiver
  • Some have a use for it, others don't. I haven't used a laptop in 4 years, don't think I'll need a device like this, but as technology evolves the concepts & functionality might evolve to be incorporated into a device I might use someday. Until then, meh.
  • "Some have a use for it, others don't."
    This is literally true for ALL TECHNOLOGY. Everyone has a smartphone now; they didn't in 2007 (nor did they feel they wanted one, either). Saying "this isn't for me" is not the same as saying "this concept could solve a problem for many". Mass adoption is not the only way to gauge how successful a product is. Niche technology is a thing, and it's OK.
  • The 2007 version of the smartphone wasn't for me either. It took advances in the tech, functionality, usefulness, etc. before adoption spiked. Also, this new device isn't being released in a vacuum. The device I'm typing this on can do a great deal of what the folding tab is capable of, the same can't be said comparing 2007 flip phone to smart phone. Though perhaps a better example would be comparing flip phone to mature smartphone (app store, improved camera, etc. the iPhone couldn't even do picture messenging back in the day). There's nothing that's been reported about the new device that makes it compelling enough for me to consider- the increase in functionally is incremental, not revolutionary for what I need out of a mobile device.
  • There were lots of cool phones in 2007. Nokia and hot Chad really awesome devices then.
  • There's quite some way from saying "I don't need this" to it being "beyond stupid"... You don't use a laptop; do you find laptops beyond stupid just because you have no use for them?
  • Yes, obviously that was the inference to make.
  • Look he doesn't need it therefore you don't ok? Just like you don't need garbage collecting gloves therefore neither does he.
  • Not really sir, smartphone market has shrunk in 2018, causing some chineese companies in the Limbo since they don't have a bright future.
    What Microsoft is doing, is to bring fresh new ideas for mediocrity of smartphone market where nobody is innovating anymore.
  • No...it's actually not beyond stupid. All that is needed to make this device AWESOME is apps and software!
  • I simply can't wait. The only issue is that my expectations are really high. It's a bit like waiting for Christmas when you're about seven years old. Cmon MS, you can do it!
  • The difference is that you don't have to wait 4 years for Christmas and you know the date before.
  • So true! :) That's what makes this so hard. This and the consumer hololens.
  • I can't wait either. Of course, my computers are more than social media gaming devices. People like that don't see a use for this device because THEY don't have a use for it. Multiple input modalities is a strength of Windows, and getting things done, in the future, will be a seamless combination of input and device types. We're breaking down the walls between us, our data, and how we access it. It's the future. It's about choice. It's about time.
  • The only way this device makes sense for me (as a business user) is if it allows x86 execution (albeit slow on Snapdragon) for use in a pinch. I don't use a ton of apps on my smartphone, so decent office 365/Exchange/SharePoint integration, mail, SMS, voice, etc. support will cover it from a smartphone perspective for me. But, from there, I need a REAL continuum desktop computing experience when splashing this thing on a big screen via wireless display adapter. I totally get it that the x86 emulation on ARM is very slow, but in a pinch (i.e. on the road, away from my desk) this stop gap x86 option appeals to me. Beyond that, I do regularly use my Surface Pro as a tablet for light web browsing, Netflix, etc. on the go or when relaxing. Something lighter, like this dual screen device in tablet mode would likely be more convenient for that sort of tablet use.
  • I too really want it to run x86 and maybe x64 with the next Snapdragon coming.
  • I'd be ok if it had some method to let me run applications from my desktop or server, but would expect yet another push towards cloud. I have no intention of paying monthly for it, but some sort of remote azure applications, packaged with skype calling, onedrive, o365, etc....it would have my interest. I might be willing to do $99 a year or something.
  • Applications from desktop is a no brainer. You allready have the Citrix UWP app for Windows 10, and this device are going to run Windows 10.
  • I'd like to see a clear plastic or glass strip that pops out from the side of the phone like the pen in the galaxy note, which can be placed on the gap between the screens and so, provide a seamless inking experience when the device is unfolded.
  • just give it surface pen support. That is the best of the "pens" anyways. I will try it out and see what happens, if it ever comes to market.
  • I actually meant something like this to fit in the gap so you can use the surface pen on both screens without the gap causing problems:
    https://imgur.com/a/bgy5QVJ
  • Gotcha. I mis understood. Daniel explained it great and I’m actually ok with the gap now.
  • He's talking about the single most critical aspect of two screens folding next to each other versus a single bendable screen... For pen input (or indeed any input along the seam between the two screens) there can be NO gap; it simply won't do to have your pen slide into the crease between the two screens, or to not be able to access a part of the screen that is on the curve. I hope they have a solution for this!
  • "For pen input (or indeed any input along the seam between the two screens) there can be NO gap"
    But for centuries this is how notebooks worked?
  • The UI will definitely not be designed to make it appear like one big screen for the most part. The device will probably be about doing two things simultaneously instead of doing one thing on a larger screen. The large screen will be used for watching videos and viewing photos and stuff which uses the patented stuff to correct the angle.
  • Can't wait! Of course this idea might fall flat or not sell - but at least Microsoft is innovating. I for one have been waiting for a device like this for a very long time, so yeah, it's a day one purchase for me. I also understand I'm probably in the minority. Don't get me wrong, I do have my reservations. But not because I think the device is a bad idea - my reservations concern Microsoft's willingness to stick with this for the long term and not abandon the idea suddenly as we've seen so often (Band, etc.)
  • I used to Work at NASA. In 1991, we started the redesign of the Shuttle. The first attempt called ALS (Advanced Launch System) was canceled. In 2001, NASA pursued the Constellation system. Canceled but morphed into SLS (Space Launch System). The point is that you can take existing technologies and incorporate new technologies (specifically manufacturing capabilities) to build a better system. Competition comes along and changes a paradigm. Musk shows you can recover a Rocket Stage and reuse, which should save significant costs. For the SLS, the use of "friction Welding" is the biggest hurdle for making the system feasible. Technology keeps moving and those that say, this device makes no sense fail to appreciate the challenges of bringing something into a useable format. MSFT has the resources to pursue many things. If this works, they sell millions of copies. If they fail they no why and try again. This is a perfect example of American Exceptionalism.
  • Well said. It's the same with software as well. There can be no v2.0 without a v1.0. The important thing is to keep moving and making progress.
  • In 1991 I used to go to school, from time to time...
  • Me too but some snitchy kids put an end to that :(
  • "Coupled to the light-releasing surface of the display matrix, the image-correcting layer is configured to transmit light released from the flat face portion of the display matrix and to reorient light released from the curved corner portion of the display matrix such that the transmitted light and the reoriented light exit the image-correcting layer substantially in parallel, forming an apparent plane image of the series of pixels." Whoa. Seriously? This sounds super interesting to me. I am pumped up to see the demo of this thing. This is ground breaking. Well yeah sure not ground breaking but still, if this thing comes out to be the way its explained here, it sure will be an engineering marvel. Problem is, how the ecosystem around it evolves but to hell with problems, I just wanna see the demo of this tech.
  • Jokes on everyone who thinks this 'andromeda' device will arrive by end of this year. I bet nothing like that is coming until late 2019. (Although it was supposed to arrive in first quarter of 2017)
  • Who cares when it comes? Technology is fun.
  • You got that right. But soon, please (:
  • Wow.. Seems like you got a ton of insider information :-)
  • You know he does but probably agreed not to share yet.
  • There are several "things like that" coming this year.
  • I just think MS should wait until the technology is ready to make this device with a truly bendable 1-piece screen. Otherwise the hinge/seam in the middle will force this into a folding 2-page notebook form factor, which will be frustrating to use with screens this small. At my workplace, most people carry notebooks for meetings and such, but they all appear to be at least 8-9 inches diagonally because that is generally the minimum size that allows for comfortable writing. Instead, this Andromeda device will be limited to a maximum of 6.5 inches (per screen) since they want to make it pocketable. This is about the same size as the Samsung Note (single screen) and although that phone can be ok for taking short, quick notes, it’s not something I consider large enough to be my main note-taking tool. Generally, I think the folding device concept is fine and will be the form factor of most (high-end) phones at some point in the future (because why not?), but I don’t see MS being successful at carving out its own niche for their specific note-taking “not a phone” device. There is just too much overlap with smartphones, especially with smartphones picking up the very same form factor in the near future. Andromeda may not end up being a failure per se, but I predict it will be more along the lines of Surface Studio where it will be expensive, low volume, and cater to a small group of folks.
  • If you're waiting for a one piece bendable screen in a mass consumer product (high yield, durable, reasonably priced) you are going to be waiting a long, long, long, lonnngggggg time.
  • I don't see an issue with the seam. If in fact is does have a seam, when you're writing and you get to the seam you either write your word before the seam or on the other side; it's just a space. Just liked you spaced each word that you just typed. I don't get it.
  • Thus his point about regular notebooks being much larger... The seam will be a major issue.
  • People also have small pocketable paper journals/notebooks too. Yes it's not as comfortable, but it's not like it doesn't exist out there already so if/when this device comes it's not going to be a huge surprise.
  • "The seam will be a major issue.
    The seam may be a major issue (for some). FTFY Let's not act like the company hasn't spent years on this product and they never tried to use it for its primary purpose.
  • Daniel, what do you make of that article on MSpoweruser regarding Microsoft waving the white flag in the platform race?
  • U should probably read some Jason ward's articles...
  • I do. They usually state the exact opposite of what the reality is. However, I did more investigating into what they meant. Microsoft has stopped the platform "fighting"...the My way or the highway style of computers since way back when. Hopfully this will bring more software etc to windows, and vice versa.
  • This is not about inking capabilities. This is about the production of the image. If you are looking at a schematic you don't want to see distortion. If you just leave a gap, then the image has a gap. I think all they are trying to do is minimize this gap/distortion in the image. Inking will always be a bit of a pain if you are always dealing with the skip, which is kind of like writing on a piece of paper that has other sheets of paper underneath. If there are too many sheets, you punch a hole in the paper as you write across the paper from where there are sheets underneath to where there are no sheets underneath. If there is just one, your writing gets distorted. I think MSFT is trying to minimize these usability constraints as much as possible. Laptop designers are moving to bezelless displays. Then they stick the front-facing camera at the bottom which shows your picture in a video chat looking up your nose. For most this specific compromise is ok for the smaller footprint of a bezelless screen. But I think for a folding tablet, this gap is a significant issue that will prevent mass adoption if the gap is a significant distortion to the unfolded screen. We know inking is easy. We know touch is easy. What we don't know is a folded screen and the technologies to make the gap seem to disappear.
  • I did some math a while back on this because I wondered how large the screen would be when unfolded. Assuming 6" screens and 16:9 aspect ratio, the screen comes in at around 9" with a 8:9 aspect ratio. For reference, the Surface 3 is a 10.8" display, or roughly 16% larger than what Andromeda would be unfolded.
  • It would actually be quite a bit smaller than that. The dimensions of a 6” screen in 16:9 aspect is 5.23” x 2.94”. If two of these screens were side-by-side, the overall dimensions would be 5.23” x 5.88” (8:9 aspect ratio) with a diagonal of 7.87”. The total area of the two screens is ~31 sq in. In contrast, the 10.8 in Surface 3 has a screen area of ~54 sq in. That means this Andromeda device would have (at most) about 57% of the screen real estate of the Surface 3. That’s definitely too small for most people to want to attach a keyboard or attempt to do any “real” work on (unless it was docked of course).
  • You can't compare screen sizes by diagonal alone, if the aspect ratios differ. You also did your math wrong: a 16:9 aspect ratio 6 inch screen, when unfolded, only gives you a bit less than 8 inch diagonal, and roughly 30 square inches of surface area. Factoring the Surface 3's 3:2 aspect ratio, you have about 50 square inches, and the difference is more like 40%, rather than 16. That being said, I think assuming a 16:9 aspect ratio is maybe the wrong way to look at it. This is, going by reporting, meant to be a digital notebook first and foremost; a moleskine notebook is 5.5"x3.5", and I suspect Andromeda will fall closer to those numbers than existing phablets. You have about a 9 inch diagonal unfolded and the aspect ratio is considerably different. A 5.5x3.5 device with minimal bezel would be close to 38 square inches, or 24% smaller. You'd be looking at something fairly close to the size of an iPad mini.
  • Waiting is not their way to do it...they will throw anything on the market, no matter how junk it is, hoping someone will take the bait and buy it...
  • This is a device type that is only for a certain type of people. I think I need it. When I'm on the go, like shopping with my girlfriend and some other things like this, I often feel like playing with my phone is not enough. I often want to do more with my device, but I don't carry a laptop everyday and it's impossible too use on the move. I often dream to have something like this that is between phone and tablet.
  • What it this going to do that any current tablet/phone cannot?
  • Nothing, it will do even less, but fanbabies here are delusional..and then, after 6 months or so, when that bald idiot decides to kill this too, they will come here and bark like rabid dogs that they've spent sooo much money on a DOA product.
  • Ugh, quit being so negative. I think it looks like an awesome device. I work in digital advertising and web design, and I often wish I had a device which was more nimble than my Surface Pro 4 and bigger than my Samsung Galaxy S8+, for showing off designs and so on. It also kind of seems like a dream to be able to read e-books more properly while on the couch or in bed than you can on a regular smartphone, without having to use a big tablet (which would entail two devices, btw). I don't know. I think that with the rise of PWAs, this device could do really well for users like me. And that's exactly what Microsoft's goal seems to be.
  • yes it is called the tablet-phone
  • Excited for this product... Especially because its a Surface... 🙂
  • Sign me up, take my money. ANYTHING to avoid iOS and Android.
  • Honestly I’d be perfectly happy with a Surface phone in slate form factor. I know that’s not happening. But I really think they should have at least tried it. Felt like MS really wimped out on that one. But Andromeda works for me too. More screen is always appreciated. And I can see advantages in the form factor for avid readers, Twitch/Mixer streamers, point of sale devices for contractors, small business owners, salesmen, road warriors, field techs, any professional on the go a lot. And plus websites that are garbage to use on a slate phone might actually work with a little more screen. I’ll just be happy to see any MS presence in mobile again. Just can’t see any OS staying relevant in consumer or enterprise spaces without a real mobile presence. And also don’t see any cloud platform staying relevant long term without mobile devices and a strong developer community backing those devices. I think Andromeda has to happen this year.
  • yes but so one can Make Smartphone Run new Windows operating system
  • This looks good! Now if we could just see a patent for a Microsoft Band successor😜. MS please make it happen!
  • Just search for Fitbit and you'll find several. And they don't break apparently. But interesting you mention Band, with the amount of money Microsoft lost with the Band 2 (heard it was in excess of 3 figures), there's no way Satay will allow a folding device unless the risk from breakage under warranty has been proven to be mitigated.
  • www.patentlymobile.com/2017/09/a-microsoft-patent-shows-that-a-smartwatc...
  • cool more Gorilla marketing Campaign for the Surface journal. There Surprise everybody Smartwatch and Smartphone.
  • It's early...The hingineers should make the hing motorized and more patents needed so we can see this device in 2020!
  • Please say this thing isn't as tiny as that image suggests...
  • I use paper notebooks all the time to take notes. If it's a book style (not flip) then you write on one page at a time. I don't write across the seam unless I'm sketching something. Sketching, not creating works of art. My sketches look like crap when they cross a seam on paper I expect they'll look the same or better here. At least with the whiteboard app my lines can snap to shapes.
  • Agree!
  • I'm glad MSFT is putting a lot of research into this. Not just looking at putting out a trend setting product, but one that people will embrace at release. While the first Surface was innovative, it wasn't until the Surface Pro 3 was released that MSFT really got it right. They put a ton of money into the Surface line and it eventually paid off. I think MSFT is counting on not having to put as much money into this to get the same response. If MSFT can capture the full OS experience with a W10M flavor, I think it could rejuvenate peoples interest in having a portable Windows OS. I know I can't wait!!
  • Everything in life is cumulative. The lessons learnt and experience gained from Surface will naturally trickle into this device as well. Therefore, they don't have to go through exactly the same amount of learning as when Surface started..
  • This looks amazing, to be honest smartphones are boring in 2018, my 2015 Sony Xperia has great design and I don't see a reason to change my phone in 2018.
    But with Microsoft's foldable device, I might take my retirement savings and give away my money on this amazing idea of a foldable device.
  • regardless of what anyone has to say about Microsoft as a business, there's one absolute fact that cannot be denied: they employ some seriously clever folk :)
  • Why would anyone want a device that effectively has a line down the middle of the screen. I just don't get it.
  • So you do not buy books neither for that reason I suspect....
  • I dunno, I thought the notch on my Essential phone would drive me nuts but I don't even notice it. Good engineering could overcome something like that, maybe.
  • I don't know about the rest of you pessimists but it will be nice to go without a screen protector or a case for a change. I mean if you're over 40 you probably had a flip phone anyway. Really don't see what the luddites are on about this time around. Think about it; the FULL Windows 10 we were promised that Windows 10 Mobile was supposed to be, no apps necessary and something that should have a battery that lasts more than a day. Should be a win win situation.
  • You are again dreaming like the most fanboys here...no apps needed :))) good luck with that. No sane man would ever replace his already working smartphone and tablet with such a useless device...running a mediocre OS tested by insiders.
  • Except this isn't full Windows 10. It is running Windows "Core" with the legacy bits stripped out. It is rumoured to not run legacy apps at launch. They will not come until a later update. I doubt it will have the classic Windows desktop unless hooked to an external display. It will probably look like Android or iOS when hand held.
  • Watching these articles is better than Dorothy and the wizard of Oz :))) who on earth would ever trust Microsoon again to buy such a device that has no use, no proper touch UI and UX and NO MOBILE APPS...besides some fanboys.
  • It will have a proper touch UI, I bet it will look like Android so it will be familiar for people. What it won't have is a desktop UI unless docked. It won't be "full Windows".
  • 2 screens in a Courier form factor.. bring it on! Next iteration 3 foldable screens - Westworld style. Count me in :-)
  • Three foldable is the absolute minimum... Imagine whipping out a two-folder, so embarrassing.
  • I do hope they make the gap in the middle bunch less noticeable than they look in those renders. It needs to be as close to seamless as possible. You can bet the likes of Huawei will be with their versions
  • Bring it on. I'm anxiously awaiting this device. Well, anxiously awaiting this project, and the OEM devices to follow.
  • If that device comes to life, which I hope, Half-Life 3 will be confirmed as well. #hopes&dreams
  • Give it a unfolded screen roughly the size of my surface, make it lighter, longer battery life, and perhaps some kind of e-paper on the back that's removable to use when the main screens are in use, and I'll be all over the device. My job involves carrying way too much equipment. I could put up with a hinge line, if it was smaller and lighter, especially if I could ditch the notepad. Then my laptop bag would have space for my Switch.
  • hopefully will come also camera and ar centric.
  • Patents Patents . it's nice to see Microsoft doing all this work on an Andromeda 2 screen Pocket PC Tablet that will hopefully come with a built in Cell phone. Frankly I am getting tired
    of seeing Microsoft Andromeda device patents. Microsoft it's time to bring it to the market Place. I think this wont occur unfortunately untill Restone 5's Update comes this fall and the Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 ARM CPU is available in enough quantities to be installed on Andromeda devices. I sure hope it's worth the wait. I would like to work with a device that's bigger than a smart phone but not as big as a 10 inch or larger Tablet.
  • The adaptive input based on the hinge bending reminds me a lot of how auto-desktop/tablet mode works with a surface pro, depending on the amount the type cover is bent. I turn this off immediately on my surface pro's. The UI is much more "peaceful" with windows on full screen tablet mode by default, which is configurable in the settings. I think that auto input-hinge patent is going to be a jarring software experience with abrupt and slow response times. I hope mirosoft will get the smoothness of that hinge-software transition right smoothly and consistenly across the whole lifetime and life cycle of windows for surface phone, better than windows 10 for surface pro today.
  • I only have space in my pockets for one phone-ish / like device. So, right from the start it would need to give me something much more than one can get from other similarly sized devices to convince me to abandon an Android or iOS ecosystem. And, as we all have our own "must-have" apps that we are using on our existing phones and tablets, it will need to launch with a LOT of immediately available apps to help bridge the app-gap.
  • Microsoft making a foldable device im not so sure about it consumers wants a smartphone "The Surface Phone" Microsoft doesn't have to proof anything to beat Apple & Google they are the biggest software giant in the world. What Microsoft needs is a better operating system Windows Phone was not that bad it was only the lack of apps that lead to their demise. Suddenly Nadella decides to call it quits and instead of coming back with a vengeance and take the lead in the smartphone business, Nadella is a businessman why is he letting consumers down, he talks about a ultimate device, but it takes so long to see the light of day. Windows 10 mobile can be ten times better than Android and IOS why do Microsoft struggle to keep up with his compatiters, Microsoft must listen to the consumers for what they want Windows Phone to be like.
  • Hmmm interesting device.
    The extra screen size will give the WOW factor and hopefully the power to run an emulator to support Android apps if required by the user.
    It may morph into some mobile xbox handheld device plus business filofax type of thing that runs X86 apps.