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Folding phones: Is this the beginning of the end of slate-shaped smartphones?

Smartphone innovation has plateaued but this isn't news. In 2016 I wrote about both the saturation of the smartphone market and the technological limits slate-shaped smartphones and mobile OSes impose on increasingly demanding mobile computing. Most OEMs pursue mere incremental advances in things like camera tech and screen size.

Smartphones are capable tools for emailing, word processing, media editing and much more. But as the primary and sometimes only computer users have, there's greater demand for smartphones to handle more demanding computing scenarios.

Current smartphone form factors and OSes are not optimized for these beyond-light-mobile-computing demands, however. Thus, there's a push toward more powerful mobile platforms, convergence with desktop platforms (in some cases) and exploration into shape altering hardware to provide broader desktop or tablet-like usage options.

Smartphones are dead

Folding provides more options

Folding phones aren't new. Twenty years ago clamshell phones were popular and in a very rudimentary sense the design represents what's motivating companies to explore folding smartphones. Folding designs provide more device "real estate" and opportunities for practical and creative use of the multiple device configurations folding enables.

For instance, many clamshell phones had small secondary displays that showed the time, notifications and more when closed. When opened the primary display and keypad allowed primary device functionality. This is a rudimentary comparison, but the point is made.

OEMs are exploring foldable hardware because conceivably it maintains the advantages of current smartphone designs when folded, and potentially provides the tablet or mini-laptop form factor required for more demanding computing scenarios when unfolded.

Of course, software is a critical component of this form-shifting hardware.

Microsoft's Core OS is the software side of folding hardware

Folding phones are coming...back

Microsoft, Samsung, LG, Lenovo, Apple and others have either provided prototypes, filed patents or are rumored to be on the verge of releasing foldable devices.

These companies must overcome challenges which include designing a bendable display that can endure the rigors of long-term use, ensuring the display quality we're accustomed to and producing these displays in volume at an affordable price.

Qualcomm manager of display technology Salman Saeed said, "materials science just isn't there yet to create a screen that can withstand repeated bending, but adds, "it's possible for phone companies to bring foldable phones to market".

More than a gimmick

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Folding must be more than a gimmick. If the device folds for folding's sake but doesn't offer value or usage advantages the novelty of folding will quickly wear thin, and the challenges of accommodating more demanding computing on consumer's mobile devices will remain.

This is where the combination of "folding and unfolding" hardware must take advantage of context-sensitive software. Tech companies must keep the purpose of folding devices in view (answering the demands of more desktop- or tablet-like computing) as they apply the combination of hardware and software to its development.

Companies that are hyper-focused on annual incremental changes to slate-style phones may be more susceptible to introducing a folding phone for the sake of differentiation rather than purposeful function.

Microsoft's Andromeda may check the right boxes

Microsoft's rumored Windows Core OS-based Project Andromeda addresses the hardware and software aspects related to a folding device in a way competitors may not. Windows Core OS, based on OneCore, provides a single OS across device types and device configurations. Folded as a handheld, unfolded as a tablet or docked as a desktop PC, the OS and accompanying UWP apps on an Andromeda device would conform accordingly to the context.

Of course, Microsoft is plagued with poor developer support, a history of failure in the mobile space, and the challenge of communicating the position of this telephony-enabled, pen-focused PC to a smartphone-centric market that is cold to Microsoft's mobile efforts. Still, this new device category which Microsoft hopes OEMs will embrace seems to check all the boxes for which folding devices are being pursued.

As a full telephony-enabled PC on the cellular roadmap, with an OS that will presumably accommodate mobile and desktop scenarios it may provide users with the configuration options for more demanding mobile computing beyond smartphones' capabilities.

How Qualcomm and Microsoft are making PCs post-smartphone devices

Bringing other factors into the fold

Potential iOS or Android-based folding devices would have an advantage over Microsoft's option when used as smartphones due to strong mobile ecosystems. Microsoft's Andromeda device category would presumably be stronger in desktop-like computing scenarios. But both would be on the mobile cellular roadmap which provides opportunities for Microsoft.

Microsoft's and Qualcomm's bringing Windows PCs to the cellular roadmap is critical to its Andromeda device category which like Always Connected PCs, is also a cellular PC. Always connected PCs will introduce users to eSIM, buying data from the Windows Store and changing carriers as they please.

This consumer-compelled demand may provoke carriers to offer more competitive data packages and to stock Always Connected PCs to better position their data (potentially voice in future) packages to consumers. Providing data through the Store is, therefore, more about Microsoft strategically gaining leverage with carriers than anything else. This is important to its folding device strategy.

Potential OEM partner devices patterned after Microsoft's Andromeda PC would strategically benefit from the consumer-data-purchasing model, and carrier relationships Always Connected PCs introduce.

Finally, Microsoft's embrace of Progressive Web Apps is in part Microsoft's attempt to compensate for the devices weakness when in "mobile-mode".

PWAs may be the great equalizer for Microsoft, Google and Apple

Watching it all unfold…

Motorola RAZR V4 folding phone concept.

Many companies are exploring folding devices. But do the hardware and software approaches answer the need for which they are being pursued. Microsoft's one OS platform and context conforming Surface hardware suggest it could succeed. Will the challenges facing the company cause it to fold its hand as it did with smartphones, or will it play the hand its dealt? Time will tell.

Even if Windows 10 Mobile succeeded, Microsoft would still be pursuing a post-smartphone strategy

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!

  • I thought it's a "not a smartphone" device like you always said here on Windows central.
    Samsungs foldable device will have a much bigger impact on the market. But like always the iPhone will define the next trend like the ugly notch.
    But I agree. Foldable devices are the future. But only when hardware and software is good. And this might be a huge problem. I completely agree with you here.
  • You're right, Microsoft's folding device is not a smartphone as I have always said and I continue that same narrative here. Other manufactures, however, seem to be simply trying to differentiate smartphones by making foldable models rather than creating a hardware, software, OS synergy that creates a pocket PC like MS seems to be pursuing.
  • Yes, I agree. A folding device that fits right on your palm(s) that is also as powerful as a laptop hardware needs a powerful OS like Windows 10. MSFT trying to put a PC OS into a device like that for adaptability and productivity is the most interesting thing anyone with an open mind will see. Nor Google's Android/Chrome and neither Apple's MacOS/iOS can deliver something like that anytime soon. All we can do is hope and trust MSFT on this one. Surface division led by Panos Panay can never go wrong. Btw good article Jason, I've always enjoyed your take on Ultramobile PC.
  • Thanks Raytiger. Microsoft definitely has an uphill battle, but it's approach I believe is the most comprehensive. Let's see how things pan out.🙂
  • I hope that it is just that MS is not marketing this as a smartphone, but that it will have the ability to send & receive calls and SMS messages. There are still about 30 million of us who use our Windows phones as our daily lifelines, and Andromeda and the long rumored Surface phone has been our hope for a replacement path that remains with Windows.
  • I agree. They need to get on their horse at Microsoft and get, even if it is just one mobile phone/table/computing product that you can hold in one hand, one of these items for sale. They will set the market on its edge. MS cannot afford all the delays then had with WP7/8. That killed them after the success they had with WM6 and 6.1. True, their app store isn't as grand as the two big ones, but if this device uses UWP apps, same as Win10 desktops, that should help.
  • I would be okay if it wasn't a phone. So long as it has LTE, because that means I can have a smaller phone that fits and can be used with one hand
  • ROFLMAO... Please stop......
  • Isn't it too early to discuss how these will/may affect us until we actually have something in-hand? It's like asking how the flying car will transform the daily commute of everyone...
  • "Isn't it too early to discuss how these will/may affect us until we actually have something in-hand? It's like asking how the flying car will transform the daily commute of everyone..." No, evillama, actually its not. Part of product planning is researching, anticipating and analyzing how a product or product category will affect the market, users, business models, behaviors and economies to determine if the potential rewards are worth the costs of investment and any other risks. These types of discussions have been and are being had in the hallowed halls of the companies investing in this tech. It is therefore relevant for industries such as ours that cover these issues also delve into the potential ramifications of the technology a well and to provide a forum for intelligent discourse. A
  • Please provide a link for these articles with intelligent discourses so we can read them too!
  • See that's your problem Paolo, you're so bent on sarcasm, you miss the finer details.🤨 The statement reads:
    "and to provide a forum for intelligent discourse." Which means the article present content to create a context and a space where commenters can have an intelligent discussion. Unfortunately, you seemed so focused on disparaging the piece that you have in fact become an example of contributing, to this point, commentary that offers no intelligent value to the discourse. 😉 Of course, you're welcome to offer something more constructive to the conversation.😃
  • I can't imagine consumers wanting this.... But how about an XBOX phone which runs all your Xbox stuff?
  • I'm dealing with some big a** ugly folding crap. That's also more wear and tear to deal with.
  • *I'm not dealing with some big ugly a** folding crap
  • Isn't it still a slate folded and unfolded? Microsoft doesn't have slate software and Windows runs terrible on ARM. I notice WC is ignoring WoA now. Still trying to figure how to spin the terrible experience everyone else is having?
  • Windows runs great on ARM. Wtf u talking about?
  • No it doesn't. Someone hasn't read the early reviews.
  • Windows runs great. Edge runs great. UWP apps run great. PWAs (will) run great.
    But x86 runs bad. MS should focus on schools first with Win10ARM.
    Developers won't optimize their software for ARM as long as there are too few to actually use Win10ARM. Btw Andromeda will most likely not run x86 at all.
  • If Andromeda doesn't run x86 then it's dead before it's born. How can a Windows device can claim to replace a PC without that?
  • No reason to prevent not-Phones from running x86. They will be Continuum compatible devices of course. I've seen no reports that this will be cut, and I'm wondering if you're just trying to get a rise out of people be making this up. There is zero reason to add such a restriction.
  • Rumors are saying Andromeda will not have any legacy Windows components. A later update will bring x86 support.
  • blecked is always trolling and trying to get a rise, no one plays with it over on lagdroid central.
  • Hoppman, the over saturated MS fanboy. Woke up in the morning with your nose in Nadella's @$$ again?
  • Yes you are correct. MS says that x86 will work, but I read that there are some x86 software that don't even run. And the ones that do are very sluggish. This is basically another Windows RT if they can't figure out how to run x86 properly.
  • WoA only runs 32-bit x86 apps at the moment. It is rumored that the 64-bit emulation support will be out at the end of the year. Things should get better then. SD845 will also help with performance. 5G/eSIM will definitely make WoA and Andromeda shine. WoA PC may not satisfy power users, but it is a great option for the those who work in the field or students.
  • Also, ARM specific benchmark utilities shall be developed so the Droid and iOS reviewers have something fair to test WoA devices...
  • Who cares about benchmarks when you can't even run the most popular web browser acceptably?
  • You are kidding, right? You mean that webkit browser from Android I guess then? Or Chrome, as the most popular PC browser? Both are made by Google and they will make sure they never run well on mobile devices other than Google OS ones. Google will make sure of it because that's been their demonstrated approach to all their software. It's kinda naïve to think they'll change just for the web browser. Anyway, Apple seem to make devices that people care about and they run really 'unpopular' web browsers. It'll probably run Explorer though, and that's still up there in the league table. 2nd most popular on PC it seems?
  • Apple doesn't have Chrome? I know it is a skin basically, but works just fine.
  • @Andy, weird, Chrome runs great on IOS...get over it, no dev gives a damn about MS pathetic ARM attempt. And yes, it's the most popular browser. LOL, that junk Edge has lower market share than even Opera :)))))
  • Sure let's base all future development on whatever is the browser most pleebs use in March 2018.
  • Exactly. Ideal for the not-Phone, ideal for the smaller tablets. I'm not convinced it sits well with large tablets and laptops though. I still expect to need a desktop and I'll always have a secure work laptop (not my decision of course), but I hope I can drop everything else. I can get a dumb phone and never buy a smart phone again. Goodbye smart phone, tablet, personal laptop, even stick PC.
  • What school is going to pay high end prices for low end performance? You can buy an XPS for the price of these things!
  • ...this again? Ugh
  • To be fair, at least it's better than the article the other day about a mattress that has nothing to do with Microsoft.
  • Everybody needs a good nights rest to survive the kool aid overdosing hat goes on here...... 😁
  • Come man you should be happy that jason finally moved on from always connected always ........... articles.
  • Let's see whether Microsoft make an actual foldable phone like Samsung demoed in concept of youm flexible or Microsoft makes more refined version of ZTE axon M.
    True foldable phone that when unfolded becomes small tablet will be easily accepted by public as long as it is pocketable and well designed.
  • Nope, MS don't make phones.
  • It would be a pocket cellular foldable PC. We assume it would have some phone features. If not, I won't touch it. I will go with Samsung Galaxy X instead.
  • I'd buy a Nokia dumb phone anyway. No way I want to take a not-Phone out of my pocket to answer a call, I don't want to get mugged by jealous Android owners. In the 80s, our cars could make phone calls. No, really. No Bluetooth or hands free or anything, you had a big ol' handset wired in to the dash. They were definitely still cars though, not phones with wheels.
  • There's a reason they got rid of those. Also, if you really want to carry 2 devices, what's the point of carrying a dumb flip phone as opposed to a current gen smart phone? Like, we get it, you want your folding tablet thing that's gonna be so super awesome, but you don't dare use it because of the shear jealousy factor. Why exactly does that necessitate using 1999 phone technology?
  • You need to move andy, if you get mugged by what device you have. What a shatty place to live.
  • It could be accepted by public as long as it is not MS made. MS proven bad history, their junk windows 10 touch UI/UX, lack of proper mobile apps, no dev support and bad HW auqlity will prevent any sane person to buy anything pocket related device from MS
  • Why do you spend time on this forum? It's clear you do not like MS, so get out here and do not waste your / our time.
  • @Xanc6 If you're a fan of Microsoft you should be CELEBRATING mmgn and LISTENING to what he or she has to say. Presumably a Microsoft FAN wants Microsoft to succeed, right? Microsoft will only succeed if they hear the TRUTH. If all they hear are uncritical thoughts of people personally invested in a company's success they will FAIL. The PAINFUL truth is that Windows 10 is "junk" when it comes to touch UI/UX. Mobile apps (i.e. UWP) are MIA. Dev support IS notoriously fickle with technologies coming and going like trains at New York's famous Grand Central Terminus (I once had the pleasure of visiting and it's a magnificent building). And, Surface devices were recently tagged with "do not buy" by a major and well respected consumers magazine. Microsoft needs to address these shortcomings if it wishes Windows to migrate to new platforms. If WindowsCentral wants to contribute to Windows' success it needs to give voice to CRITICS of Microsoft's way of doing business. If the powers-that-be in Microsoft never hear public criticism of their business model they'll keep doing the same thing, over and over and over. And, given that Microsoft has NO presence in mobile devices doing things over and over and over the same way is obviously not working. Had Microsoft listened to its critics early on when Windows 8 came out they might have avoided being destroyed by iOS in the world of mobile devices.
  • The critics I read here are all criticizing from a consumer perspective. This nextgen device will be geared at corporate. Different approach. Luckily MS is not listening to those critics whilst building for corporate world. Bugatti engineers are not interested in BMW drivers' opinion - different target group. And finally, you might call Windows 10 "junk" when it comes to touch UI. My experience is that is works just fine and it certainly is not junk. But I do not use my Surface Pro (in tablet mode) for "mobile apps" as most mobile apps are written for smartphones and then used on tablets as well. Like iPad pro, it's pathetic waste of screen estate looking at a big iPhone interface - no thank you.
  • "Current smartphone form factors and OSes are not optimized for these beyond-light-mobile-computing demands." These new "foldable devices" are also not going to be powerful enough anyways, unless you consider Microsoft Office as "heavy" which it is not.
  • In theory the high end ARM APUs are quiet powerful. The problem is the software. Emulating x86 works but very slow. Native ARM software would run way better.
  • Yes I agree with that. Native ARM is very powerful. Emulating is just too slow. But I just really don't see developers outside of Microsoft converting their software to ARM.
  • All system calls, .NET, etc., are native code. Only absolute crap software such as chrome is slow.
  • Excel certainly is a 'heavy' package, as is Access. Depends how you use it.
  • Heavy maybe in terms of size. But the resources it uses do not compare to any power user software.
  • One thing to remember, as I've stressed in other pieces, this is the beginning, first-gen of a new device category. Subsequent iterations will be more capable.
  • I would argue the tech for an attractive, easy to carry and POWERFUL device is still 5 years away.
  • As always MS will fail at 1st gen, others will somehow succeed. There will be no subsequent iterations from MS, because they always kiloff products even before they have a slim chance. Their bad history of mistreating users and devs is gonna keep users away from anything MS.
  • yes ps I'm celling this Device TabletPhone.
  • Looking VERY forward to see what Andromeda ends up being. I just hope Microsoft has the patience to stick with it for the long haul. It will take a while for new developers to get on board and for old developers to convert their exiting apps to accommodate all of the possible configurations. PWA's are going to play into this in a very big way.
  • If Microsoft goes ahead with a foldable device they'll manage to screw up in one way or another. They brought the tablet concept to market first but it was only with the iPad that it became popular because, again, Apple nailed the mix of design and software.
    To their credit, Surface devices are really good so there's still hope they'll get it right.
  • Thanks Jason. This is the 2nd article you've recently written on MS strategic plans that puts much of what we've seen "in the field" in an overall perspective that makes sense of the changes. I appreciate your bringing some clarity to what has seemed to be utter capriciousness on the part of MS management business decision. I'm even beginning to think that Satay is finally playing a long game, and isn't just focused on short term profitability. I'm already "in" when it comes to [finally!] replacing my working laptop ...the eSIM, Qualcomm-based laptops meet several items on my travel-tech wish list (in part, of over 1½ decades) ...but a multi-folding (tri-fold? accordion?) "phone device" where the OS recognizes the hardware configuration (i.e., it can function as a slate, but the OS "auto-interprets" the unfolded screens, adding an enhanced UI)? ―Marvelous. The future is arriving somewhat faster than I expected. Kudos for your efforts!
  • I often wonder how soon until we'll have "Global" devices like we saw in "Earth: Final Conflict."
  • See, THAT is the science fiction I'm talking about. If the technology could get closer to that, I'd be onboard. Granted, that device is still a bit too thick, even for me. But the tech behind that would be great. Having two smartphones in a sandwich in no way entices me.
  • I use my 950XL as my smartphone and increasingly use it for the Internet. But at 70 years old/young, I still find the 950XL screen a bit too small, even though I can zoom into 'blurred' areas.
    What I want is a portable device that can function as a mobile phone, but enable the larger area for working and reading, using a Surface Pen for handwritten input.
    The MS Courier was an enticing concept and I was very disappointed when it was shelved - just think where MS could have been if it had pursued the Courier back then.
    If the Andromeda device does not have a mobile phone embedded, I may still get it and use a small budget smartphone (Android) just to make calls, IF I don't want to use Skype or WhatsApp on th folding Andromeda device.
  • So many articles here talking about the end of smartphones. Well first talk about if this type of device will even be usable for the mainstream and can challenge the smartphones.
    This device will be as limited as the smartphones in terms of hardware so it will not run heavy applications as PCs do. The only difference is it will give you a small tablet form factor and will take away some important smartphone capabilities like high end camera.
  • Andromeda will run Win32 applications, however it'll be virtualized. However there's no stopping an OEM creating a Foldable Mobile device that runs Windows 10 S.
  • This article is just silly. Did the smartphone spell the end of flip phones? No. There are plenty of them out there, and I still see plenty of people using them. Personally, the idea of an "expandable" smartphone is great, but the technology is in no way close to the science fiction. At least, the types of devices that I would put my money behind. I haven't seen any leaked tech that makes the devices attractive or useful in the ways that are important to me. Having a big old fold or seam in the middle of my screen just isn't advantageous. I carry a smartphone because it gives me the light functionality of my tablet but in a one-handed use form factor that's extremely easy to pocket. The types of folding devices leaked or already produced are a go-between--not really as convenient to carry as a smartphone but not as bulky as a tablet. I think it more likely that we'll see all three form factors for some time.
  • The "not a phone" foldable device from Microsoft is "not a phone" for a reason. The reason is Microsoft has abandoned phone. If it called it a phone then it would bring the Windowsphone and Windows 10 Mobile baggage with it. It would be a failed platform rebooting. A difficult sell. However, a foldable pocket pc that can make calls is a whole different thing. Right? Maybe. A modern smartphone with Android or IOS is hardly a phone. Most people rarely make actual calls in the traditional sense. More people regard it as a content consumption device for music, video, social media and occasionally calls. In that context, Microsoft is producing something that they just want to avoid the phone in its description or perception. That's OK. I am sure it will be fine as a device. With no consumer ecosystem, it will be a business device. I personally don't see much of a market for it. Surface itself takes about 2% of the total PC market when compared to all PC brands. If Microsoft sell as well as Windowsphone in 2016 I am sure they will label it as a success.
  • If it is running Windows, fits in the pocket and makes calls, it is a phone in 2018. Microsoft isn't going to be able to convince anyone any different. It will carry the Windows phone baggage.
  • I think MS is missing a big opportunity here by not enabling telephony on ALL Windows devices. Many people carry their laptops with them almost always. I could foresee an opportunity to pair your Always on laptop with a blue-tooth head set and an expanded Cortana phone experience so that you wouldn't need a cell phone at all. Make this experience transition seamlessly to your desktop, xbox and such could really open up some interesting scenarios. Maybe even make the headset both Bluetooth and Wifi so that you don't have to be tied to so close to you mobile device just on the same network.
  • What ever company puts out the first foldable Smart Phone let me know, so I can short their stock.
    No one wants this. It's just another attempt of corporations to sell us crap we don't need...Alexa are you listening. I can't believe how many lemmings have invited these companies into their homes to listen to their private conversations and track their every move. Gimme back my flip phone and stay off my lawn.
  • How would Alexa be listening when you don't have an Echo and you just typed this message out?
  • I like how WC is trying to hype up the few remaining ppl interested in anything Microsoft (myself among them) with articles about foldable devices, eSim and other things MS plans to introduce October when noone on almighty Earth would care for Microsoft once again and people will continue to buy Apple, Google and Amazon and these companies rise in market cap while MS is being left behind and slowly dies into irrelevance as new generation of kids, profesionals and leaders don't even give 2 sh*ts about Microsoft or even know about its existence. Pathetic attempts
  • Hyping reomw? Or just covering and presenting analysis on what's happening in the industry and in Microsoft on a MICROSOFT focused website😃....Windows Central...its in the name😉 Talking about Microsoft is what we do🙂
  • I know that, but you also know that I am right ;)
  • I'm quite skeptical. To me Andromeda is "yet another mobility device", more like a tablet++.
    If we look at history:
    - laptops brought mobility to PC
    - smartphones brought "real" internet / our favorite websites and services in the pocket, touch based experience
    - tablets brought touch based experience on wider screen that may even replace laptops and PC for basic usages.
    - Andromeda? well, what I see so far is some sort of foldable smartphones (or at least some similar even it it's not a "phone") and some sort of non-rigid tablet.
    My though is that can we talk about a new category of devices if they are almost similar to what already exist in terms of usages and functionalities?
    My prognostic is that Andromeda / foldable devices are to the smartphones what 3D is to the movies: a niche technology which doesn't bring much more than the existing technologies and which will live alongside existing devices without replacing them at all.
    All we can expect is that Microsoft won't abandoned again a promising project or they will loose again credibility.
  • Tablet-phone is the device and Andromeda os.
    The Smartphone Name is the Surface note
  • MS: Let's take all of our stuff that failed, package it in one device & call it a day. The perfect combination of Windows phone, windows tablets, continuum, RT, & our failed app store.
    WC: That's destined for greatness.
  • Favorite comment that also makes me sad.
  • Either way it's gonna wind up being the same fate as MS Band, Groove, Windows Mobile, etc. Microsoft brings some really great innovations with things but people don't purchase their products due to lack of advertising, apps, usage, etc. A big problem is MS has a bad rep. Around me at school I'd say a good 80% of students have an IPhone because it's so trendy. It does everything they want. It has the apps. It has a good camera. It has I message games. I went up to a student and proved to them every reason why Android is better in terms of what you can do with it in terms of hardware and software and their response was "Well I just like iPhone it's pretty, easy to use, and does what I want." We live in a society in which users of devices are like cavemen and are foolish in what they like. They just see MS as the company that has BSODs and laggy software and they think of Internet Explorer. What I'm trying to say is that people are dumb so it doesn't matter if you create an amazing product. They will only follow the hype.
  • "I went up to a student and proved to them every reason why Android is better in terms of what you can do with it in terms of hardware and software" Good luck with that. I see no evidence of Android being better at anything. I have 2 Android phones and 2 Apple phones. Having used both, I know which I like better. "What I'm trying to say is that people are dumb so it doesn't matter if you create an amazing product. They will only follow the hype." Keep telling yourself that. Apple makes some amazing products. There are some amazing Android products too. They sell well because they are good products AND they have the apps that people want, not because people are stupid. A "folding-telephony-enabled-always-connected Windows PC" is STILL just a Windows PC. With no consumer software at all, it will not have people dumping their iPhones and Galaxy phones. Why? Because it will not amaze anyone.
  • I have an iPhone and I also have an Android. It's kinda disappointing how you are not able to see how the Androids are better. The reason why I say is because you can change everything. Don't like your lock screen? Download a new one. Don't like your homescreen? Download a new one. Don't like the built in phone app or texting app? Download a new one. You can't do those things on iPhone. Also iPhones don't have heart rate sensors like the Galaxy s8. My s8 has iris recognition as well as fingerprint. IPhone X just has facial recognition and no fingerprint. I also have an LED notification light and optional always on display. I also can download the control center from IPhone. Also I heavily use my phone all day and the phone has a great battery, unlike everyone else with their iPhones who are plugged in all the time. Oh and I have a headphone jack as well as standard-compliant USB C which can easily be used for a variety of devices besides phones. The camera also is very good as well and with the Galaxy s9 it offers a combination of animoji and bitmoji which is a better experience. Some Androids even have IR blasters. Others have Infrared cameras to see heat. Android phones also incorporate more internal sensors. What reasons do you think iPhones are so much better?
  • Pretty much none of what you said makes any sense.
  • Apple products have less features in terms of hardware and software. It's a proven fact. IPhones also are more expensive than usual. The IPhone X is more expensive than the Galaxy s8 yet the Galaxy s8 has more internal components and more complex software. You're literally paying extra just because it's Apple.
  • Apple is a fashion company.
  • Agreed. Beautiful devices.
  • I do agree that people are followers. And they like pretty shiny things. So... Andromeda needs to be a good looking device, in addition to just a productive device. A large part of Lumia phone's failure was 1) a cheap plastic back and 2) the word "Microsoft" plastered on the front of the device. You don't see any iPhones with "Apple" written on the front, that's just hinky! It needs to be a Surface branded device, and the only hint that it is a MS product should be the shiny Windows panels on the back, just like on every other Surface. It also needs to NOT be buggy though. A person's not wanting to deal with bugs is actually a smart thing, not a hype thing. Windows 10 is much more stable than it was a couple of years ago. A couple of years ago it was a cockroach floor full of bugs! And people don't like that. In fact they HATE that! People don't want to have to think about how to fix all the bugs in their device they just want the doggone thing to work so they can get on with their lives! Apple offers a fairly bug free experience to their credit. Now that Windows 10 is fairly stable we can all just hope that whatever version of Win 10 ships with Andromeda will be stable. I think MS's main demographic though is not high-school students (high-school students are already mostly brainwashed/entrenched into either the Apple or Android camps). I think their demographic is "prosumers"... millennials in the workforce who have enough money to purchase their own devices (not their parents buying it for them). They're most likely using Windows products in an office somewhere to some extent. And maybe they just graduated from college where they spent more time or at least just as much time working on their laptops than they did playing on them. And hopefully they're past the point where they choose their devices like they choose their jeans!
  • @RJP1234: "I think MS's main demographic though is not high-school students (high-school students are already mostly brainwashed/entrenched into either the Apple or Android camps)." First, why insult high school students because they use one of the two only mobile operating systems available? Microsoft failed to offer a product that people wanted or needed. Who offered a product that people wanted or needed? Apple! The Android ecosystem! If you're going to blame and insult anyone or anything, do it to MICROSOFT. "I think their demographic is "prosumers"... millennials in the workforce who have enough money to purchase their own devices (not their parents buying it for them)." A dirty little secret long known by marketers: Millennials (i.e. young adults) have less money to spend than teenagers. As for Millennials saving Windows, it ain't gonna happen. Windows is that thing they need to use for work. iOS or Android run the things that allow them to live their life. It makes a lot more sense to expand your use of that thing that you yourself CHOOSE to use rather than that thing you HAVE to use for work or school. "And hopefully they're past the point where they choose their devices like they choose their jeans!" You mean they're six feet under? Seventy year olds are no less concerned about their fashions than are 20 year olds. Granted, the need to replace clothes every few months is a lot less since a 70 year old is much less physically active than a 20 year old but that still doesn't change the fact that we all like to look good. Ultimately I do hope Microsoft succeeds because it would be nice to have a third choice in the world of mobile devices. Apple offers a nice integrated package but it's tied, for better and for worse to a certain way of operating. It works, don't get me wrong. Android offers a different approach with more pitfalls and fewer benefits than Apple. Android devices are just as locked down as Apple devices without the benefit of the accountability of Apple that Apple is forced into to maintain its reputation. With Apple you know you've got at least five years of support when you buy a device. Even flag ship phones from makers like Samsung and Sony, companies with DEEP pockets, are obsolete within two years. My Samsung S5--Samsung's flagship in 2014--received its last OS upgrade in 2016, only two years after it was released. The contemporaneous and equally expensive iPhone 6 is still expected to be running the latest iOS in 2019, FIVE YEARS after release. It would be nice for Windows to offer a third alternative since it would keep Google and Apple honest. HOWEVER, I really don't see that happening. Windows 10 is a piss-poor touch OS on 7" and 10" tablets so I hold out very little hope for Windows succeeding on a "folding" mobile device. To be honest, I couldn't really care that much. If any Android OEMs started to provide OEM camera APIs and APKs for AOSP I'd never look at iOS or Windows again for a mobile device. I really like AOSP (e.g. Lineage OS) since it allows Android to be streamlined so that it's an Android version of iOS. And, because it's open source it's possible to keep an Android device active just as long as an iOS device (and, Android devices depreciate MUCH more rapidly than do iOS devices so you can buy used flagship phones for much less than what you'd pay for a used iPhone :) :) :). Perhaps Windows Phone had a decent touch interface that would translate to such a device? Sadly, I never got to experience it. In December I briefly considered hunting down a cheap Windows Phone with one of the nice cameras when I'd decided to replace my aging iPhone 4s with an Android. Then I thought about it and decided not to bother since Windows Phone is officially dead and everything modern that's out there is written for either Android or iOS.
  • I'm looking forward to seeing one released by Worn-out Boots.
  • The "crease" or the black plastic that form the hinged area is not pretty.
    I was impressed with this possible hardware in the concept Motorola RAZR 4:
  • I think Microsoft has a real shot in this new form factor IF they come out with Andromeda in 2018. Without Jobs I'm not so worried about Apple jumping in with the perfectly implemented version of a foldable. In fact personally I think Apple has been dropping the ball on almost everything lately (i.e. no touch screen Macbook but a weird touch BAR?, schools who have no interest in expensive iPad without keyboards that kids play on more than they learn on, funky notches in their already uber expensive phones, and obsoleting the beloved headphone jack!) Android though will end up being #1 in the foldable market, there's no doubting it. Google's plan is to take over the world... eventually. Let's face it Google is the China of the technology world. But hey, MS stands a good chance of becoming a pretty solid runner up. Especially if they brand Andromeda as a "Surface" device (to wit a Surface "Note"), and include their very good Surface pen in the price of the device. But I really think they need to get off their lazy derrieres and bring one to market in 2018. To be last to the party AGAIN would be a disaster, and a final nail in the coffin for any remaining mobile ambitions, and quite likely Windows as an operating system. At least an operating system in use anywhere but aging government agencies.
  • @RJP1234 "I think Apple has been dropping the ball on almost everything lately (i.e. no touch screen Macbook but a weird touch BAR?, schools who have no interest in expensive iPad without keyboards that kids play on more than they learn on, funky notches in their already uber expensive phones, and obsoleting the beloved headphone jack!)" Apple's profit margin, like Microsoft's suggest otherwise ;). Both Microsoft and Apple make more and more of their money off the cloud and not devices or software. In Apple's case I still think they're wise not to bother with touch. Windows 10 DESKTOP devices (i.e. laptops) simply aren't good on touch. When touch first came out on laptops I saw teenagers rushing to buy them in droves (I work with teens). Now the devices have touch but you never see the touch feature USED, even by teenagers (and, they'd be the most likely to adapt to a new mode of working). On desktops touch really is little more than a distraction. Microsoft has chased touch down a rabbit hole turning Windows 10 native apps into touch nightmares. When I see people using Windows 10 I don't see them using Windows 10 native apps.
  • I don't know. Is taking the risk to find a new category of device going to lead to a bigger payoff than taking a slice of the already established market of mobile devices? I mean, how radical of an idea is a pocket PC with telephony really? To me it feels like a natural progression from the W10M devices themselves if you consider the direction they were going with the CoreOS philosophy. Not to mention that the Samsungs and Apples of the world are already heading there as well. MSFT need their OS on more devices, whether they make it themselves or not. It's as simple as that.
  • @Jason Ward. An interesting piece, as usual. Though, as usual, I must take issue with some of the analysis that misses a key point. "(1) Of course, Microsoft is plagued with poor developer support, (2) a history of failure in the mobile space, and (3) the challenge of communicating the position of this telephony-enabled, pen-focused PC to a smartphone-centric market that is cold to Microsoft's mobile efforts." Apps won't kill Windows 10 on the folding phones. Apple took the mobile world by storm with only one single app of note while Windows Mobile had thousands in 2007. History of failure is predictive but it's absolutely not a REASON for failure. Marketing is not a reason for failure. Microsoft is one of the richest companies on the planet, capable of buying up MULTIPLE small countries. The key reason Microsoft is poised to fail in the folding phones paradigm (if it ever comes to pass) is that Windows 10's USER INTERFACE is not up to the task. On touch devices I use Android 4, 5, and 7 and Windows 10. Occasionally I end up on an iPad or an iPhone. Of all the options, Windows 10 is the LEAST satisfying touch experience by a LONG mile. I really don't like using Windows 10 in touch mode, and, I am not a blind partisan stuck with one company. After having used Macs for many decades I'm now a 100% Windows user on the desktop. I've switched between iOS and Android multiple times over the years depending on my needs and opportunities (a few months ago I nearly bought a cheap Windows Phone but figured that I use my mobile device more as a computing device than a camera that I opted to invest in the Android ecosystem... since Windows Phone has been deprecated I didn't see a future upgrade path for a mobile Windows device). I've got Windows 10 on three touch devices, one a desktop (a Dell convertible laptop) and two on keyboard-less tablets (10" HP G2 and a 7" HP Stream 7). On the two tablets it's an exercise in frustration. Windows 10 is simply not designed to handle touch. On the laptop I still barely ever use touch except for the RARE occasion when I switch it to tablet or tent mode. Switching and closing apps under Windows 10, for example, is an exercise in frustration. Swipe from left and get a crude show of open apps? Try to close one. GOOD LUCK tapping the tiny red x just in the right spot, otherwise you'll switch to it rather than close it. Same applies to closing an app. Swipe from top. You've got to swipe all the way down and, again, good luck getting just far enough. Otherwise you'll end up snapping an application to one of the sides rather than closing it. Swipe from right gives you a poorly designed notifications bar (I'm no fan of the macOS version but its execution is better despite the fact that macOS doesn't even support touch). Windows 10 is a FANTASTIC desktop OS, capable of running "classic" Windows applications as well as, if not better than Windows 7. Windows 10 is a MEDIOCRE, if not downright bad touch OS. That mediocrity is what will prevent Windows 10 from succeeding on the folding phones.
  • Indications it won't have a great camera and most likely limited phone capabilities = Fail. Truly what's the point? A foldable tablet?! Big whoops! Damn I miss Nokia in the Windows sphere!
  • Even if this is the end of the current form factor, MS will not be the ones to succeed. Who on earth will ever buy into this junk company. besides desperate fanbabies? They will fail again and others will succeed.
  • Is this really the only tune you can play - man so boring.
  • @Xanc6 "Is this really the only tune you can play - man so boring." Yes, boring but sadly not far off the mark. I'd love for Microsoft to be a real competitor to Apple and the Android ecosystem but I don't see that happening. Windows 10 is NOT a good touch OS. I've got two tablets and a convertible. On the 7" and 10" tablets Windows 10 is downright annoying. The only thing I use those tablets for is as a half-baked eReader with my kids. The interface is too limited to do anything else. On the convertible touch is somewhat useful at times because it is a 13.3" screen, but, even there it's mostly a gimmick. Windows 10 is a mediocre (as opposed to downright terrible on smaller <13" screens) touch experience on larger screen sizes. I suppose that's what the devs all work on. Large screen laptops. This isn't conducive to making a break-through in the world of foldables :( :( :(. Then, there's Android and iOS. Android OEMs will be the first out of the gate with a foldable device. I even expect the Chinese (like Huawei or Xiaomi) to be first to market with something like that. If the paradigm shows promise Apple will no doubt jump in as well. At that point, where is Microsoft? All they will have to offer is an expensive device running an OBSCURE mobile operating system and they'll be competing with iOS and Android, established mobile ecosystems with BILLIONS of users. This isn't 2007 anymore. Windows Mobile ran on a few million phones. There were a few tens of millions of BlackBerries in the wild. We're talking BILLIONS of Android devices and many hundreds of millions of iOS devices. Ecosystems matter! Mac OS X was a vastly superior operating system to Microsoft's Windows XP and Vista for a LONG time in the early to late 2000's, yet, Microsoft hung on because it dominated the desktop. A foldable is merely an evolution of the current mobile touch paradigm, not a vast shift. Even if Microsoft magically managed to pull a miracle out of a hat and produce an AFFORDABLE device that ran AMAZINGLY well they would be up against hundreds of millions of people deeply invested in iOS and billions invested in the Android way of doing things. Even if they had an amazing product in the foldable coupled with something that IS NOT WINDOWS 10 but can still run Windows 10 UWP programs, they'd be in the position Apple was in the 2000's. A superior product up against "good enough" inertia. Let's just say I'm skeptical given Microsoft's recent failures in the world of touch.
  • I stopped reading after you stated "The interface is too limited to do anything else." PS: They will not go in competition with smartphones and or touch devices with a mickey mouse stripped-down OS. They'll go for the full OS and the target market will be corporate.
  • That actually is exactly what the rumors are saying. Windows Core on Andromeda will be stripped down and contain no legacy Windows components. It will not run x86 at launch. A later update in 2019 will bring that compatibility.
  • Lol Andromeda is the os lol it not the device. Microsoft is working on something I'm calling a tabletphone. I have to tell you guys something three devices.
    1 is a foldable tablet
    The second one is a smartphone device that Will have two screens one on the back one on the front that will be 5.7 inches Long and smartwatch. It's logical for them to do this is to show off the new windows. why everybody is so boring to this I have no idea. By the way the names of the devices all
    Surface tablet surface note Surface band or watch.
  • I wandered through the comments and found nothing about battery life.
    It's electronic device which need energy storage, how exactly are they going to fit it in?
    Samsung got herself in problem with battery problem, the infamous 7 note.
    For "always connected" you need a device capable of large capacity battery, or one that has wireless charging. The best for low energy consumption is eInk and guess what,
    MSFT research is on to that.
    in this vid there's the prototype of the idea of foldable device, including eInk display. The problem is that color eInk displays are just coming out, so there is no solid knowledge about their performance.
    I'll be better off knowing about MSFT reader OS, before jumping to the conclusion the Windows is capable of powering foldable device. Only time will tell if MSFT will run against the Kindle, challenging both Amazon and Google, before jumping into the hype of foldable devices.
  • The more I read about and into this product. It's not intended to be a phone, compete against phones or replace your phone. It's meant to be another deivce. Phones as we know them are going NOWHERE. They will keep the same basic design since they are the best design to be used as an all round personal computing device. Hate to say it, but it's TRUE. That being said, MS has seen this, and have created the MS launcher to combat NOT having a phone. Launcher is MS all the way, turning your android phone into A MS powered device. I am soon going to have my Essential phone with MS launcher to integrate even more with my w10 computer.
    This device is just another device.
  • @Steve Adams: I'm a 100% Windows 10 invested user. I only use Windows and Android as my operating systems yet I use NOT ONE Microsoft app on my Android phone. Why? Not because of spite. But because the software just isn't that good. The launcher was interesting but it was also quite unattractive. It also wasn't particularly functional and had too much bloat. It also wasn't particularly capable of integrating with Google's services. Other Microsoft Android software is disappointing. For example, the document recording app, Office Lens, proved to be remarkably incapable of capturing documents. Integration was only possible with OneDrive. Huh? If Microsoft wants its software to be everywhere it needs to be where its USERS want to be. I don't WANT to use OneDrive. I need to use Google Drive because that's what my work uses. As for Word, Excel or PowerPoint on Android... I've never found a reason to open them and Files To Go keeps offering to remove them since they take up a lot of space and I've never even opened them. One of these days I'm tempted to let Files To Go remove them ;). Microsoft is playing from a position of weakness. They failed in the mobile space and the only place where they stand a chance of making inroads is in Android. Unfortunately, for Microsoft to succeed there they need to be BETTER than Google, and, right now they're not as good as Google in most cases. Google's launcher in Android 8 is hands down a smoother Android launcher than Microsoft's. If Microsoft were to copy the behaviors of the latest launcher while allowing the user to CHOOSE whether to use Google search, Microsoft search or NO SEARCH AT ALL, then I would say Microsoft had the better choice. I don't like that you can't turn off Google search in Android 8's launcher. That's a deal breaker for me. I may use Google search all the time but that doesn't mean I want to SEE it on my launcher. I want ONLY the apps that I WANT to see appear on my launcher appear there. Microsoft's launcher fails that sniff test as well which is why I promptly deleted it after getting fed up with its instability. Please, don't get me wrong. I REALLY want Microsoft to succeed. But, it's not because I'm a moronic fan(boi) of Microsoft. It's because I want to see Microsoft hold Apple's and Google's feet to the fire and force them to improve iOS and Android. Without Microsoft both Apple and Google have less incentive to work on iOS and Android respectively.
  • Too many words. You have not understood the gist. They will not compete in the smartphone space, they couldn't care less about smartphones - same for tablet devices with a half-baked OS that is incapable of running real/full software. You are not interested in Office, OneNote, OneDrive. So you are just here to troll and promote Android and Apple disguised in some "I want MS to be better - bla bla" Just move on and forget MS. The rest of us will continue to enjoy their nextgen developments @ MS.
  • Ed, I am using iphone now, with dell notebooks. I use all MS apps on my iphone when possible. My dell has mobile connect which lets me make and receive calls right on my computer, send texts (via Imessage), and more. Move to android and you have launcher. I think launcher is really good for the MS user. Also, with android, Mobile connect becomes even more powerful. You can access ANYTHING on your phone, even mirror the phone screen. It's a really good peice of software dell has there. I was a WinMo fan as well, owning most every phone that was on the platform from the HTC 640 (blackberryish) device, to the Samsung ativ s, to the 950 and xl. As soon as they dropped support for my beloved 1020, I dropped support of windows 10 mobile. Moved to Iphone and love it. Now that I see what dell has cooking I want an android device to try. My android history is most Samsung crap, and An og HTC hero with the chin and track ball (i loved that phone). I mopped up early iphones. in function and style.
  • no, it not phone this a Tablet-phone work on. there is work on a smartphone called it the Surface note
  • I suspect the first iteration of this new form factor is 100% geared at corporate use, creative professionals and pro-sumers. I can see advantages in a dual screen device for use in plants / factories / warehouses where a tablet / PC / surface is too big and a smartphone has not enough screen estate. I personally would welcome a "MS Courier" kind of device with dual screens. This would bring an entirely new dimension to "creative" use of OneNote or dedicated software where light jotting / drawing, idea-generation, mind mapping, scenario drafting or any other creative process is facilitated by a pocketable device, connected through bt with a headset so you could even make a phone call if you wanted. Most presumably the "MS intended user for this device" would not "use" it to open garage doors, play candy crush, switch on an amplifier or check a bank account. So the software needed (apart from OS) would be either tailor-made (like for handheld devices for TMS, pharma use etc.) or iterations on software like OneNote drawing software etc. If the above would materialize, I would not be surprised that this device would equally attract un-intended X-Box gamers (to continue playing whilst on the road and not sitting next to the Xbox) and then this device really could act like a sort of Trojan Horse and indirectly eat-in on the smartphones market share. This would be a welcomed side-effect but I guess nor originally intended. In addition I suspect 99% of the "haters" here above are not the target audience anyhow for MS so they couldn't care less what the average consumer thinks. Similar to Bugatti, they absolutely do not care what the Vauxhall, Dacia, BMW driver thinks about their product as they will never (be able to) buy anyhow.....
  • Except android will do it on more form factors and carry over the apps. MS screwed their ecosystem. It's gg
  • Android is doing nothing substantial for the corporate world apart from offering a mobile OS (smartphones), In the corporate world the MS eco system for professional OS's is +95% so your observation is unfortunately missing the point as you are confusing a smartphone use with a corporate portable device use.
  • Folding is great, but does it blend?
  • What happened to Intel's threat to sue anyone taking Windows to non-Intel chips? I thought this put the kibosh to Msoft's port to Qualcomm.
  • As there is really little known about this device it is hard to judge. Based on what is known, I think it could be quite successful in the Prosumer market.
    It will all depend on the software, I guess. There are small, but important things I miss on a smartphone.
    Skype for business for instance is heavily used for conference calls in my company. It is a common scenario to share your screen or an app during one of those calls and this is where the phones fall flat. I could see myself using it with one screen showing the shared content while I take notes on the other screen.
    I believe it is use cases like this that will make or break it in the professional space.
  • Andromeda is dead. Nobody is going to trust ms anymore or their ecosystem. People stick with win32 because it is established. Nobody uses the store, and the disastrous handling of windows mobile repeatedly has made even the most loyal users jump ship.
  • "the disastrous handling of windows mobile repeatedly has made even the most loyal users jump ship" And, Microsoft's inconsistent behavior vis-a-vis Windows. First came Windows 8, successor to the successful Windows 7. Users HATED it because it took a familiar and FUNCTIONAL user interface and replaced it with a touch-based OS in a world without touch. Then came Windows 8.1. Pointless stop-gap, but, it did keep me using Windows 8 on one device (all other devices had been switched back to 7). Then Windows 10. Windows 7 but more stable and with a slicker look. Only thing is the user interface for "native" UWP apps is poor. Touch works less well on Windows 10 than it did Windows 8.1 Then Microsoft killed Windows 10 Phone. And, most recently came Windows 10 S, the perfect example of marketing fail: On the one hand Microsoft was saying "Windows 10 S is the future of Windows. It's fast. It's stable. It's secure." Their messaging, however, told a different story. "Windows 10 S is meant for schools and low cost laptops" The read-between-the-lines message was that it wasn't for premium devices. Or. "UPGRADE to the PROFESSIONAL Windows 10 Pro for $50." And UPGRADE means there's something better. Windows 10 Pro is better than Windows 10 S, especially if you have to PAY for it. Money means something is better. Had Microsoft not asked for money to enable Windows 10 Pro Windows 10 S may have survived. But, in their quest for extra cash and/or to encourage people to try Windows 10S (by making it slightly hard to upgrade to Windows 10 Pro) they sent the message that Windows 10 Pro was SUPERIOR to Windows 10 S. Microsoft itself doesn't know what it wants Windows to be and that means that it likely won't have enough vision to pull of a foldable device either. It's sad in a way because Apple and Google need Microsoft to keep them honest. Without a strong Microsoft Apple has less incentive to innovate :(.
  • Another 354 words, let me help you, you just want to say "I hate MS" that's only 3 words.
  • You don't hate Microsoft for their decisions over the past decade?
  • Nope. They made the right decisions most of the time. WP was not making money and would not have made money another decade so why wasting money? They lost a few battles, even wars, so they will re-define the battlefield, that's what they are doing right now. Yes their consumer footprint is smaller but there's not a lot of exiting developments in the consumer space right now neither or do you get excited about yet another iteration on a 10 year old smartphone interface?
    I did not like MS abandoning the Expression suite (Blend, Encoder, Design and Web).
  • Smaller, thinner flip phones were the epitome of cellular phones, until they weren't. The PDA was the epitome of a pocketable computer, until it wasn't. Thinking the slab cannot be improved on is dangerous thinking.
  • I don't think folding phones will be end of slate shaped smartphones. If not I think it makes me yearn to have a bar shaped phone over a folding one. There are so many challenges with a folding phone. I don't think the folding screen phone will pass the longevity test in the longrun. The UI design is up in the air with what it can be. It should be different than the current desktop model on all phones these days. I still find microsoft's live tile start menu refreshing compared to android and iOS. An evolution of microsoft's windows phone I think is the smart way to go, but microsoft should let go of the traditional mouse and keyboard interaction for such a mobile device, unless users tap into a continuum type mode for mintors to which the device can connect. I think that is the way to go. I don't think project andromeda OS or any UX design is close to where it should be to what a folding sreen mobile computing device should be. Time will tell if microsoft can see the light and cut their cord in current traditional design.
  • Really? The end of slate-shaped smartphones? What a circlejerk... it’s not a “foldable pocket pc” or an “x86 mobile device” or whatever words the fandom wants to use to brush the failure that is Windows Phone under the rug. This is another Windows Phone, just by another name, and in a better time thanks to PWAs. It’s the same thing as any Android or iPhone, just with a form factor that may be more useful to some, and totally unnecessary to others. Foldable phones have been done and done and done again and they don’t catch on because the slate form factor is fine for the purpose of a pocketable computer. Sorry, I mean a SMARTPHONE. And Windows will not be the differentiating factor that makes this the one successful example of the foldable smartphone. No one’s clamoring for x86 applications in their pockets except for a small subset of people who are already Windows fans. If you actually think that the slate-shaped form factor is doomed because of a rumored device that MAY BE coming from a company whose mobile track record is nothing but failure after failure after failure, you’re a delusional fanboy. This device has the best chance at succeeding that MS has ever had in the mobile space with PWAs being on the horizon, and I hope it succeeds, but don’t convince yourself that this is going to be an iPhone killer or Galaxy killer. It’ll be a niche device most likely, or as successful as the Surface line. That’s still a good thing, but stop holding your breath waiting for the day that Microsoft finally lands a smash hit in the mobile space that makes the iPhone yesterday’s news.
  • PWA won't help. There will still be a gap because Android and iOS will have actual native apps. PWA will only help with some of the simpler services and even they won't be as functional as the native apps. It will be at least a few years before PWA starts replacing native apps.