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Microsoft's unique vision: Hardware and software should conform to the user, not the other way around

Surface Family
Surface Family (Image credit: Microsoft)

Microsoft, Apple and Google are three of the world's most influential tech companies. Billions of people use personal computing platforms, tools, or devices they supply or inspire.

From cloud, AI, smartphones, PCs, apps and more they've created a multi-ecosystem personal computing world that supports an increasingly-interconnected, and overlapping range of computing scenarios.

Personal computing is no longer restricted to desks as a sedentary experience. Nor are users completely liberated from that setting and capable of existing fully in the mobile space. They regularly transition from desktop to mobile and across ecosystems and devices because no single platform and device moves seamlessly with them across contexts. Microsoft, through Windows 10 and Surface, has embraced a platform and hardware philosophy that drives devices that conform to users' contexts. Despite the smartphones success as mobile computing's focus, Microsoft's rivals may be missing an important industry shift.

What rivals are doing

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Increasingly powerful consumer smartphones mainstreamed mobile computing over the past decade. However, a saturated market and plateauing innovation reveal slate-shaped smartphones are reaching the limits of their ability to accommodate growing mobile computing demands. iOS and Android evolved around supporting light mobile computing on small-screen devices, thus many desktop productivity scenarios remain beyond the reach of these "context-static" slate phones.

Though smartphones are the primary computer for many, users defer to PCs for more intensive desktop computing. Still, Microsoft's rivals seem committed to a decreasingly impactful pattern of yearly improvements to slate-shaped smartphones that don't conform to users across contexts.

It would seem strategically advantageous for these companies to leverage their smartphone dominance by building context-sensitive platforms and hardware to accommodate desktop scenarios from "smartphones" before Microsoft potentially solves the problem by approaching the challenge from the opposite PC angle, which is its forté.

Smartphones are dead: Enter Microsoft's Pocket PC strategy

What Microsoft is doing

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Microsoft's belief that devices should conform to users is manifest in its context-shifting Surface hardware and context-sensitive Windows 10 OS that supports touch, pen, mouse, voice, gaze and more UI interactions regardless of a user's context. Windows CoreOS reportedly takes this context-sensitivity further. Apple's non-touch Macs and touch-strip-equipped MacBooks follow an opposing ideology where a single device serves a single purpose.

Microsoft's OneCore supports universal apps, a single OS for all device types and device states and is the foundation for its hardware vision. The Universal Windows Platform (UWP), though challenged with poor developer support, is Microsoft's most significant asset toward supporting hardware that conforms to users. Conversely, the lack of a universal OS is the most significant barrier to Microsoft's rivals doing the same.

Technically Android allows apps to work on any device. But different screen sizes need different UIs and many Android developers code only for phones (perpetuating poor Android tablet sales because app support is poor). And making Android apps that transition across screen sizes as well as UWP apps do is difficult with current tools. Flutter, Googles mobile UI framework, combined with Google's rumored Fuchsia OS, Google's UWP equivalent, may indicate Google's acknowledgment that Microsoft's single OS and form-shifting hardware strategy is computing's future. Apple's gradual bridging of iOS and macOS apps reflects the same.

Folding phones: The end of slate-shaped smartphones

Purpose-driven folding future

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Reports and rumors of folding phones and PCs from Microsoft, Samsung, Apple and others reflect a quest to differentiate devices from the slate-shaped device masses. If folding doesn't help accommodate broadening mobile computing demands, however, it will be a short-lived novelty.

Without a universal platform that allows OSes and apps to shift with device configurations, as with Windows and soon CoreOS, a folding Android phone or iPhone, would likely offer little advantage over its slate-shaped predecessors. Conversely, Microsoft's form-shifting Surface hardware and rumored CoreOS powered Surface Andromeda complement shifting hardware states with software fluidity. Microsoft's context-sensitive hardware philosophy is deeply rooted in its Universal Windows investments. Achieving OneCore was a tremendous accomplishment for Microsoft that, despite a shortage of developers, is far ahead of the competition who may be beginning to see the wisdom of Microsoft's UWP approach. Still, even if Google's Fuchsia is real, developing a universal OS from the ground up is a massive endeavor.

Finally, form-static slate-shaped phones may soon be unable to meet mobile users growing demands for more PC power and greater ease of transitioning between computing scenarios. Thus, whereas smartphones were the first step to highly mobile modern computing, small context-conforming telephony-capable PCs on the cellular roadmap may be the next. If so Microsoft's context-conforming philosophy may prove to be a forward-looking perspective of computing's future.

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

  • "Hardware and software should conform to the user, not the other way around" If that's the case every computer and smartphone I use should run just like Windows 8.1. But unfortunately it's the other way around.
  • It makes sense for the users and it sounds to have a strong rationale. The development will strongly enhance the relationship user - IT technology . Good selling of MS innovation approach, Jason
  • "Technically Android allows apps to work on any device. But different screen sizes need different UIs and many Android developers code only for phones (perpetuating poor Android tablet sales because app support is poor)." Android tablet app support might be poor, but the phone app support is very strong. Android itself also scales to screen size, from watch to dekstop to TV. Support for Microsoft is
    non-existent. While UWP might be more elegant for scaling to different screen sizes, that point is moot since it isn't supported by developers at all. They don't have a phone app already written or a user base to leverage. You can actually buy a folding Android phone today and see apps scale depending on the configuration of the screens. It will be much easier to update your Android app to work on a folding device since it already exists and you just need to add a new UI. You also have that huge Android phone user base to target. For Microsoft, you need to actually write an app that will have a very small potential user base. Windows phones do not exist anymore, so they are starting from 0 users if they ever do release Andromeda (won't happen anyways, Samsung will release the Galaxy X and Andromeda will immediately be obsolete as it does not use a folding screen).
  • The loss of the phone form factor is not only a huge loss for Microsoft but for app developers just as you mentioned. Example, Asphalt 9. It's available for Android and Windows (iOS too). I installed it on my Windows gaming laptop, my 2017 Surface Pro with i7 and on my Galaxy S9+. The progress accounts in the game don't sync cross platform so I had to choose which platform to invest my time and possible IAPs in. Well, my phone is with me more often than my computers, is easier to carry and actually plays the game better so all of my Asphalt 9 game time has been spent on my Galaxy S9+ because of the phone form factor. If a consumer has to choose which OS ecosystem to invest their time and money in to, they are most likely going to choose the one that enables them to take their experiences with them. Previously for me, it was all in for Windows. I could play Asphalt 8 on my Windows phone on the go, my Windows tablet at work and my Windows laptop and desktop at home and the progress would seamlessly sync. Without data syncing with my phone, there is nearly zero incentive to play the Windows version as that would mean I would have to wait until I was at a Windows computer to enjoy the game. That feels like a step back to pre-smartphone era behavior. It is a shame for Microsoft in the end and a slap in the face to developers. Since there isn't a Windows powered phone to keep experiences moving, to keep consumers engaged in the Windows platform, those same users have less incentive to visit the Microsoft Store on their computer as they cannot take their entertainment with them. I only have 1 Android phone I use right now but I have dozens of Windows laptops, desktops, tablets and phones and they have become nearly usless from a consumer standpoint (besides dedicated Windows gaming) since Windows has lost the ability to provide entertainment on the go. Sure, Windows is amazingly powerful and has many uses but it has lost the "mobile" ability that it was gaining previously via the phone form factor. Microsoft is stuck in a hard position with trying to make Windows into a platform that can fit into the mobile space. They have championed desktops, tablets and laptops but they need the phone form factor to complete their dominance. Without a Windows device in a phone form factor, even if folded, consumers and developers will continue to invest in Android and iOS. I'm no longer concerned about Microsoft's success in mobile. They gave up the ground they gained, the consumers they earned and the developers that gave them a chance. I'll buy the next Windows device that can fit in my pocket but it won't be to replace my Android and iOS phones as Windows without phone apps yet in a phone form factor is the same consumer disaster that has troubled Microsoft for decades. A pocketable Windows computer that can use Continuum is great for PC users but not great for smartphone users. I wan't my pocket PC but I also want my smartphone apps. Looks like it will be two devices from here on out. Wait, what am I talking about...I've typed so much I have to scroll up to remember!
  • Totally right. Even i am a developer for a company that uses most stuff from Microsoft and Office365. When i have to choose services or apps I pay for personally I first look what works best on my phone and tablet and choose that solution and try to bolt it onto windows. There were times when it was the other way around.
  • I don't honestly think MS care too much about portable gaming, but surely syncing data across different ecosystems is an issue the developers should be fixing, not MS. I have absolutely no problems syncing most of my work between my Surface Pro and my S8+ (at least MS apps), which shows the world is moving in the write direction. What is more interesting I use my S8+ for almost exclusively VOIP calls, using a system available on Windows - when in the office I use a headset attached to my desktop. Which makes the prospect of Andromeda interesting to me, since telephony would be provided by a windows app, maybe I'd get to ditch the phone altogether. My S8+ is more or less a backup data modem, I rarely use for anything other than VOIP calls and as an MP3 player. Far from going towards mobile computing, my life is moving to portable computing - the surface or other lightweight device currently being the most important piece of kit.
  • That is no where near the norm. Most people are doing much of their computing on the phone. The need for a Windows computer is declining every year. If I wasn't into PC gaming, I would not have a personal Windows machine at all. A MacBook, Chromebook, or tablet would be fine. Might not even need one of those.
  • A brilliant post. Profitless or not, deinvesting from the mobile space will likely serve as Microsoft's biggest strategic blunder and will likely serve to end its relevance in the consumer space. I think it is intentional on Nadella's part and marks a fundmental change in what Microsoft exists for. Welcome to the new IBM.
  • Might have been War & Peace but you are bang on with what you said.
    MS are always going to struggle massively without a phone no matter how much we try and say otherwise.
  • ..."if they ever do release Andromeda (won't happen anyways)"...
    I think you should deactivate your WC account when it gets here, you'd do us a huge favor.
  • Why? Being realistic is wrong?
  • How do you propose Microsoft competes with Galaxy X? Andromeda's dual screens are going to look like a low rent attempt at a folding device, especially if it comes out after. Microsoft will kill Andromeda if Galaxy X happens early next year as rumored. Until they have a folding screen, they cannot make a move.
  • It doesn't have to compete head on with any smartphone...if it's not positioned as a phone...instead positioned as a new category of device that can also do what a smartphone does ( the main use cases of smartphone media, camera, gaming, and phone?) Basically, a forward looking intelligent device... that can show case latest developments in AI and MR using innovative new applications ...instead just focusing on "app gap" - which I think is largely a meaningless argument :) I don't think you can simply can ignore this mobile form factor...hoping the OEMs will come up with something ....they should release it now ...create a buzz and evolve the software quickly and work on make it cheaper...sooner they release it better the chance of success! I think this form factor will remain relevant...
    even when MR glasses become mainstream...
    even when Home PCs become obsolete as the low cost android devices like echo and google home add screens and replace home pc use cases one by one!
  • Please. It is a folding smartphone, the same as the Axon M and the future Galaxy X. It will be seen as inferior because it requires two separate screens instead of a single folding screen.
  • It's literally a pocket PC, by category. It's ad much a phone as a Surface Pro, or Surface Go, with skype is a phone. I know the "pocketability" combined with "telephony" is a difficult barrier for you to see beyond to view this device as not being a smartphone. And that's understandable, it's an unfamiliar category and not the norm , bit share certain attributes with both PCs and smartphones so locking it into a category that you feel that it most closely resembles is reasonable. The reality however, is that it is actually being built by its creators as a PC andpositioned as a PC😉. Again I know the size thing is an issue for you, bit try to look at it from the position of a Surface Pro. That LTE 12.3-inch device with Skype (Skype (or suppose it had telephony) , isn't a smartphone. Shaving off a few inches to get to the 10-inch LTE Surface Go, with Skype (or suppose it had telephony) I'm sure you wouldn't qualify as a smartphone. Now, shave off a few more inches and get down to Surface Andromeda dimensions with LTE and telephony. Its still as much a PC as the Pro and the Go, buy now smaller. And like its larger PC counterparts, its still not a phone.😉
  • The question I ask is, if it's not a phone who is going to use it? If people will still require a telephone, why wouldn't they use a phone with a tablet/laptop instead of a phone with a "pocketable PC". Honestly if this thing isn't a phone I cannot imagine it being picked up by the majority because it literally changes nothing regarding the devices people are using other than replacing a tablet with a tablet that folds.
  • It still has telephony capabilities, as I shared in the comment you responded to, and throughout my work.😉 And the target market, like the Surface Studio, isn't the majority of people, but a particular audience, lateral thinkers, creatives.
  • Another low popularity device will go nowhere. Microsoft needs a big hit that will bring an ecosystem with it. Surface Studio works as a niche because it is just another Windows PC, there is nothing really different about it. Andromeda isn't just another Windows PC, it is a smartphone that would require smartphone software and experiences.
  • A Surface Go shaved down to fit in your pocket with a small screen UI is a modern smartphone. Are you arguing that my Galaxy S8 is a pocket PC because it has DeX? Running Windows isn't a prerequisite. Andromeda is dead, we can stop talking about it now. With Galaxy X coming early next year, Microsoft will be leapfrogged before they even launch. No way they continue that device in Galaxy X's shadow. Microsoft has already shown they are not dedicated to Andromeda, otherwise it wouldn't have been delayed to launch with Samsung's offering. This article is rediculous because you almost completely ignore that Google had been working on this vision since 2011 or earlier. Android was designed with a UI and apps that scale to the screen. Android and it's apps conform from watches all the way to TVs. You ignore this point because it doesn't fit your narrative and it is the only thing you can point to when it comes to Windows. The problem is, universal doesn't work. It didn't work with Android and it hasn't worked with Windows. Nobody cares if their phone can turn into a PC or they can run the same apps on their watch or TV. What matters is having a great experience on each form. It is much, much harder to do that when you confine yourself to keeping it universal. You have to water everything down to meet that goal. Maybe someday someone will get it right, but so far a universal operating system hasn't been successful.
  • "Are you are you arguing my Galaxy S8 is a PC because it has Dex." No, but it does reflect a beginning of a strategy that I stated in the article Microsoft's rivals should employ: "It would seem strategically advantageous for these companies to leverage their smartphone dominance by building context-sensitive platforms and hardware to accommodate desktop scenarios from "smartphones" before Microsoft potentially solves the problem by approaching the challenge from the opposite PC angle, which is its forté." "This article is ridiculous because you almost completely ignore this that Google has been working in this since 2011....You ignore this point because it doesn't fit your narrative." Except it does fit my narrative, that's why I deliberately brought Fuchsia, Google's unified platform, into the narrative and linked Android Central's article that goes in depth about what it is and what we know about it so far. Within the context of the article I also acknowledged valid points about Fuchsia in relation to Microsoft's UWP that are relevant and undeniable. For instance you echoed my statement that Android works on multiple form factors, and I had rebuttals such as yours in mind when I wrote that. But I added, which you did not echo, that it is difficult with current tools for developers to build apps that scale naturally and smoothly as UWP apps do. I pointed out that Flutter, should help with that, but currently the challenge exists and developers focus apps on the phone UI which contributed to poor tablet apps and less than optimal Android tablet experiences. (You can read more about that in the Android Central piece, it's quite candid about the limits of Android and the potential of Fuchsia within the context of this narrative.) I also added that despite the current developer challenges facing Microsoft (and they are real) no company but Microsoft has succeeded in building a universal platform, Apple hasn't done it, that's why you have MacOS, watchOS, iOS and tvOS. And Google hasn't done it, that's why you have ChromeOS for desktop and Android for everything else. Microsoft with OneCore is the only company with a unified developer platform with Windows 10 as a unified OS experience despite your inferences that Google with Android has provided one. Again, no company, but Microsoft has done this so far. Google of course is rumored to be taking on the monumental task by creating a unified OS, Fuchsia, from the ground up, which is both a testimony that Google has not achieved a unified platform yet and that it is a monumental task. So, again comparing various efforts by various companies fits my narrative nicely because it allow me to shows the strengths and weakness of various approaches. By leveraging thier smartphone dominance unified platform from Google or Apple that makes context sensitive mobile devices fit desktop scenarios could be a powerful and logical approach. They have mobile hardware in user's hands and developers support. Desktop power, however is what they lack. But they seem content, somewhat, following a decade old pattern of iterating on slate-shaped devices despite a saturated and plateued market. Conversely, MS has the unified platform, desktop prowess and has now brought the desktop to the cellular roadmap. So its approaching the scenario from other angle. If it can make the PC small enough, retain its strengths with the OS and Contiuum, and shape it around how we do and may communicate it answers computing and communication demands. What MS lacks as I acknowledge is mobile apps and general developer support. So no company has strengths with all of the necessary ingredients. So I would say a universal approach hasn't worked quite yet because there are shortcomings to what MS has brought to the table and that no other company has yet brought a unified platform to thr table.
  • Saying Android isnt a unified platform because of ChromeOS is like saying Windows 10 isn't unified platform because of Band. There is a desktop interface in Android even if it hasn't caught on. It might be harder to create scaling apps for Android, but the tools are there and it was designed that way. Android is a unified platform. Much, much more than Windows. It isn't even close. Android can be AND IS used on watches, phones, tablets, smart displays, computers, refrigerators, exercise equipment, TV, auto, and just about anything you can think of. That is unified. Windows is computer only. You cannot make a Windows watch, phone, or even a real tablet. There is no TV interface, no auto interface, and the requirements are way too high to use it in anything small. Windows isn't unified. Microsoft made UWP so it would scale, but it didn't matter since Windows was never fit for anything but legacy computer useage.
  • If MS can bake Android runtime into CoreOS, there won't be a need to rely on developers re-coding their apps. MS should have done this years ago (they tried with Project Astoria on Windows Phone), which proves its feasibility. If an Andromeda phone can run full software when docked, or plugged into a monitor, and a skinned version of Android when in phone mode, that is all anyone would ever need. They can allow apk files to be uploaded to the Windows Store, with a section for Android apps........another option would be to partner with Amazon, and get access to their store..........either way, if apps from outside sources can be installed, anyone can install Google play services, Google apps, and have the best of both worlds.
  • The comment from deaconclgi is exactly my own thoughts on this. Quite spooky. But, there is no reason to play or use the Windows version of any app that you can get on Android or iOS. Windows Phone 8 was great how everything synced between Windows devices with different form factors. MS will never be able to do that again because they don't have the phone apps to start with. I used to be all in for MS technology. But I just got burnt so much. Now I am on Android whilst still using MS services. But little by little I see how Google just does it all better. That's sad, MS can do it too. They just don't want to.
  • The problem with this is that Google can and will most likely make it very difficult to let this work; e.g. by either blocking some of their essential apps / api's or slowing stuff down like they do with their Chrome browser. A partnering with Amazon would be better I think, but this would compete with their fire os tablets so it would probably be only for more expensive devices.
  • M8. U cant say a "huge user base" since most of all the android phones are running on a 5 year old android version becuase of poor support.
  • Doesn't matter. Google updates APIs on every device through Play Services. Even if your phone is 5 years old, you are still getting regular updates so you can run new apps.
  • Ha, just bring Astoria back to life and all will be good.
  • I'm just happy my SP4 got finally an updated iGPU driver.
  • If Microsoft really does believe that hardware and software should conform to the user, why is Android much more customizable? I'd like to see the start menu fully customizable by the user with skins, etc, and have that also translate to a windows mobile device that runs Xbox live arcade games. To me, that would be compelling.
  • If you wish to conform to the user then stop forcing us to upgrade. Give us a choice. That is what we want !
  • Weird comment.
    On Android a lot of people are frustrated by fragmentation and lack of updates. And people choose iOS because of hardware and 5 year feature and security updates. Or are you one of those ‘windows 8 forever’ die hards?
  • Great article to you get to the Comment section lol Same old weirdos say Windows suck Blah blah blah. andromeda os is for Tablet-phones and Smartphones Smartwatches.
  • Well .... duh! dumb comment.
  • This article is more like a Warditorial, Jason. Keep it coming.
  • “Finally, form-static slate-shaped phones may soon be unable to meet mobile users growing demands for more PC power and greater ease of transitioning between computing scenarios.” What do you base this claim on? The vast majority of phone users aren’t demanding ANY “PC power”. They use phones, period. They have exactly one “computing scenario”. The phone in their pocket/purse. It IS their “always connected personal computer”. 1.5 billion phones were sold last year. 240 million Windows PCs were sold, with a large percentage of those going to businesses. PC sales have been in decline for 7 years. That tells you all you need to know about “computing scenarios”. “Thus, whereas smartphones were the first step to highly mobile modern computing, small context-conforming telephony-capable PCs on the cellular roadmap may be the next. If so Microsoft's context-conforming philosophy may prove to be a forward-looking perspective of computing's future.” Phones ARE “small telephony-capable PCs”. There is no context to conform to, since there is only one use scenario. A tiny windows laptop brings nothing to the scenario that the vast majority of people have. Finally, it continues to amaze me how you seem to think that phones are just some passing fad. That soon everyone will suddenly decide “what I really need is a Windows laptop”. A laptop that will not run any of the software that people currently run on their existing small, telephony-enabled personal computers (AKA phones). As everyone says, nothing lasts forever. Yet phones as we know them are less than 10 years old. Windows is going on 30 years old. Why would Windows have more of a future than phones?
  • I think your kind of missing the point of the article. You can take the most powerful phone with the best app eco system, running super feature rich apps, but you still have a problem with a phone. And this problem is a reality of ergonomics. Phones are too small! The limitation of phones is its physical size. This physical size limits what kinds of task will work on it. Certain types of tasks work better with certain form factors. Mobile, tablet, and desktop all have pros for certain tasks. And this is not because of what apps are on these platforms; this is a reality of ergonomics. Try editing and mastering a 32 track song on your phone. But then if you just want to listen to music, the PC is too clucky and large. The phone is perfect for listening to music. Try pumping out code on a project with thousands of source code files on a little phone. Forget it. But if you just want to check the weather, that is perfect on a phone. Phones are at a state of evolution where they have an app eco system geared toward little screen sizes and touch interface, but they are approaching the power of platforms typically of larger form factors. This is the opportunity that Microsoft is trying to jump on. A phone app eco system doesn't make sense anymore. Why have a completely different app system just for tiny screens? Why not make your phone capable of switching form factors if it needs to?
  • But the problem is that MS has NO phone app ecosystem. All they are doing is making a tiny laptop. The apps that MS has make no sense on such a tiny screen. A phone app ecosystem makes as much sense as a desktop app ecosystem. One size never fits all. Phones are not going to go away. They are now the primary computers for the vast majority of the population. A tiny Windows - of all things - laptop is not going to change that. There is no reason to “converge” desktops and phones. You might as well “converge” 18 wheel trucks and roller skates. Why don’t we “converge” a 900 degree brick pizza oven and a microwave? Why don’t we bring jackhammer functionality to a screwdriver? Right tool for the job, that’s why. Combining such different things means it will do neither as well as separate tools.
  • Read “Hit Refresh”, Satya Nadella’s book about his rise to CEO at MS. It gives a great perspective of why MS is where they are today. Tops points to consider from the book...not in any order and certainly not all. Ballmer lost the mobile race but Nadella will not let them lose the cloud computing race. 1. He voted against the Nokia aquisition
    2. He felt there was not room/need for a 3 mobile OS
    3. Focused on cloud computing - Azure & O365 (now M365)
    4. AI/ML are major initiatives
  • Well thought out article, all of which should have been going on (probably was to an extent) in their think tank.
    However, for Microsoft to pull out of smartphones and to ignore the posts on here and other blogs pleading for them to continue with a phone OS was a mistake. Many of their strongest supporters (too many to ignore) made it clear that they wanted a Windows Phone, but the company ignored them.
    The stick smartphone will be around for a long time, plateau or not.
    Android and Apple aren't just sitting on their butts waiting for their market share to decline.
    They will dominate the mobile and desktop arena, while Microsoft continues to dream 25 years ahead, ignoring present needs.
    They should have kept W10M alive until they had something better.
    Or just say, hey, we're a software & innovative company and that's all we're going to do.
    Could it be?
    Their pushing of products to droid & iOS might pay off, but why would someone who is really into either world want to buy MS products, especially with the free stuff available?
    Microsoft should swallow hard and admit it made a mistake.
    Really, how much would it have cost them to outsource mobile phone production and kept their customers?
  • To me it seems like you are assuming the vast majority want something they actually don't. If people wanted one device to rule them all the likes of Continuum and Dex would have changed the game. They didn't. Not in any way shape or form. Even Samsung, which is a giant in mobile, has not been able to get Dex to really take off because the majority don't actually want a single computing device they are happy to keep their devices segregated. I think Andromeda is going to come across the same issues, it's Microsoft trying to "fix" a problem the majority don't think exists.
  • "To me it seems like you are assuming the vast majority want something they actually don't. If people wanted one device to rule them all the likes of Continuum and Dex would have changed the game." There are more factors to the lack of adoption of Continuum on Windows Phone and Dex than "people didn't want them. Without giving a comprehensive response which could be an article intself is that: Windows phones with Continuum were a VERY late entry intom the market, on a tiny platfrom, with little app support, pitted against entrenched platforms and locked in users. Even if those barriers we not enough, very very few people outside of the techies and tech press, because Microsoft did not market these Continuum-enabled devices, even knew about Continuum. Furthermore, very few regular consumers know about Dex. And even if the majority of consumers knew about Dex it is not a platform-wide solutionl for Android. It works with select Samsung phones. These are just a few quick, things to consider beyond, people just didn't want a device that could do it all.
  • Dex initially was marketed like crazy, at least here, during the time of the S8's release, now, similar in a way to Continuum and Microsoft, it took a backseat to the rest of what Samsung has to offer. If the issue is whether people know about it, then there will be even bigger problems for this device because let's face it, Microsoft won't win any marketing awards, ever. I also brought it up above but I'll mention it here as well just to have a single conversation going, if the upcoming foldable device isn't going to be used as a telephone, why will people adopt it? If it isn't actually going to replace al a person's devices, why would a person choose a phone with a folding tablet over a phone with a tablet/laptop? Where is the benefit? I should point out, I am 100% in favour of a pocket PC that can replace all devices, but I want it to be my phone, I want the idea of Continuum/Dex to actually be meaningful whereby I can come home, slot my phone into a dock and immediately have a full desktop workstation that can actually power what I need it to (and no, that's not Office and emails). I actually thought Continuum was going to change the game (I personally loved the concept), but it just wasn't adopted by developers. And that effectively just made it a glorified charging station for me.
  • As noted above in my comments and in my work, this device will have telephony. I've always,asserted that it would. Perhaps you're confusing my statement that it's not a phone 📞, with an assertion that it won't be capable of doing what a phone does. Those are two different statements. When I said that it was not a phone above, and repeatedly throughout my work, I explained that categorically, as a device, it is a Windows PC, not a smartphone, but has telephony capabilities. 🙂 Also, in regards to the marketing of Dex, the core of my statement regarding its lack of adoption didn't rest only on marketing, but that it wasn't a platform-wide solution for all Android users and OEMs. Dex is proprietary like Atrix and worked for a particular device for a particular brand which cut out a LOT of Android users. Continuum is an attribute of the OS, able to be implemented by any OEM partner easily, there's a difference there. But of course the barriers I mentioned to the success of Microsoft's solution, poor marketing, also poor support by MS, very late to the game with Continuum with entrenched users and OEMs on other platforms etc, existed. No one knew about, Microsoft didn't push it, OEMs were all in with Android, so partnerships were weak. So, the idea had little public play. So again, there were a lot more forces working against its adoption than "people didn't want it."😉
  • The problem is Microsoft lost the developers. It is hard to turn things when you do not have them and not much chance to get back when you do not have mobile. But also new things like smart speakers.
  • This is all well and good for the mobile users. I spend 55 hours a week in front of a PC or laptop doing work, you know, to make a living. I use a lot of the Microsoft Office products. If they really want software to conform to the user, where is my option to use menus? The Javascript "help" modules that let you pick a menu item and find the ribbon icon that does the same thing hasn't worked for three years. I do a lot of work where net connections are not available, so a self-contained system is always going to be a necessity, but the constant push to do it all online is relentless and irritating. When I work at home, I still use Windows 2000 because it does everything I need, I can find every function without fuss, and I can write my own software to improve productivity... which is triple what I can do on Windows 10. Oh, and "help" works on that system without a net connection. Quit shoving things I don't need and cutting the things I do. THAT conforms to a user, it just isn't the user to want to make me into.