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Microsoft: Just bite the bullet, release Surface Andromeda

Expectations revolving around Microsoft's unannounced Surface Andromeda are reaching particularly ridiculous levels, I say ridiculous because this thing hasn't even been announced.

Owing to leaks, patent filings, code snippets from the Fast Ring, and other rumors, we have a fairly complete picture of what Andromeda may look like. A folding tablet, with telephony, inking, powered by a new Windows variant OS, running apps from the Microsoft Store. Andromeda would be a versatile powerhouse that, sure, might not replace the average consumer's smartphone, but I've seen enough people carrying iPads around in tandem with their laptops and smartphones, all at once, to know that this thing has a market, albeit niche.

I have zero doubts about the engineering prowess of Panos Panay's Surface team. Like with the Microsoft Courier, what could prevent Andromeda's release is company politics and the cowardice of upper management. I say grow a spine, Microsoft.

Surface Pen

Surface Pen (Image credit: Windows Central)

Rumors of a delay, even cancelation

Andromeda was a featured a bit in the news last week, after The Verge leaked an internal email detailing how they're aiming to build a disruptive product. Soon after, ZDNet reported that Andromeda had been delayed, or even canceled, as Microsoft struggled to find a real reason to release this thing.

The fact ZDNet received negative intel about Andromeda, not even a couple of days after The Verge leaked, what appeared to be, a positive email, seems to point to internal strife surrounding the product. ZDNet's Mary Jo Foley noted that sometimes leaks occur to try to drum up public support for a product facing cancellation. I certainly saw this myself with the Xbox Career system, where a flurry of leaks in a short space of time, along with some continued insistence that it was still on the way, was quickly undermined when Xbox CVP Mike Ybarra said that the system was no longer in development. Could Andromeda face the same fate?

Disruptive products, niche products

Microsoft doubtlessly shelves projects all the time, but Andromeda is something the world has never seen before, at least not from a large mainstream tech company. Sure, there have been tech demos, and hacked-together Android concepts, but there hasn't been a company to come forward yet and say "this" is a new form factor we're going to support within our ecosystem. Windows, and Surface, are uniquely positioned to power a tablet of this type.

Windows Ink, while niche, certainly has its fans and users. If it was a true failure, Microsoft would have stopped releasing countless updates to its Surface Pen line. The Surface Studio, widely rumoured to get a second outing, is the ultimate expression of the inking use-case, with an absolutely stunning screen focused around digital art production. You could say the Surface Studio is a niche within a niche, yet Microsoft still decided to not only release it, but likely support it with a sequel. Why is a truly pocketable mobile sketchbook so taboo for Microsoft?

Unintelligent edge

Concept artist David Breyer's reportedly accurate Andromeda renders.

Concept artist David Breyer's reportedly accurate Andromeda renders.

The tech press is already railing against Andromeda, seeing it as another reboot of Microsoft's doomed mobile aspirations. Windows Phone 7 failed, 8 failed, 10 failed, hard. We all know the story. Rather than soldier on with Windows 10 Mobile and Lumia, Microsoft shelved it, depriving UWP of a small screen endpoint, which I'd argue has killed the entire platform. In response, Microsoft changed the way it's thinking about mobile and devices in general, which they call the "intelligent edge."

The over-reliance on the third-party "intelligent edge" is harming Microsoft's operating systems, and by extension, OEM, app developer, and consumer confidence.

Microsoft is the king of "missing the boat." Rather than invest in some kind of smart speaker, or double down on Kinect for Xbox One, Microsoft allowed Amazon to move in and begin dominating the smart home speaker market, and by extension, IoT devices. Now it has to rely on Amazon playing nice to deliver Cortana to Windows users, which, in turn, allows Amazon's Alexa to encroach on Windows PCs. The over-reliance on the third-party "intelligent edge" is harming Microsoft's operating systems, and by extension, OEM, app developer, and consumer confidence.

Microsoft's "intelligent edge" mantra seems like a bit of an excuse to avoid taking risks on Microsoft's part. Redmond hopes that it can rely on third-party platforms to play nice when it releases its software and services on their mobile platforms, shirking the responsibility of providing UWP devs or Windows users the option of not having to buy into the Apple, Amazon, or Google ecosystem for a pocket computing device.

Intelligent edge excuses.

Intelligent edge excuses.

This reliance on the goodwill of companies and ecosystems that have been openly hostile to Microsoft in the past, I'd argue, is far riskier than simply attempting to provide endpoints for its own ecosystem. Apple recently slapped Valve from the iOS app store, blocking Steam Link from its entire platform. Both companies are currently working to get Steam Link on iOS, but it sounds as though Apple will expect some form of cut for allowing Valve essentially take engagement away from the App Store. This could bode ill for Xbox cloud streaming, or at least its profitability.

That's just one example of a way Microsoft's reliance on external ecosystems can hinder the company's potential. I'm by no means suggesting that Microsoft has any chance of catching up at this point when it comes to mobile ecosystems. That ship has not only sailed, but violently sunk to the bottom of the ocean. I am saying, however, that there should at the very least be an option. A presence. The lack of a small screen endpoint for the Windows ecosystem is a glaring missing link.

Andromeda opportunity

Microsoft's "future productivity" concept vision may be realized by Redmond's competitors first, due to cowardice.

If Microsoft has the opportunity to show it can take risks, and not only build unique devices, but support them, I believe that it would have a cascading effect on Windows and the PC market in general. The dual-screen form factor has all sorts of exciting use cases. Microsoft needs something to showcase Windows' versatility as a platform, as it seeks to embed eSim technology, LTE, progressive web apps, to create more nimble always-connected mobile-like PCs. The rumored smaller Surface device will already begin blurring these lines, the logical next step is something that truly can fit in your pocket.

Release Surface Andromeda, you cowards.

Sure, there are many moving parts that need to align to make this work. If it launched today, a Surface "phone" tablet would have no WhatsApp, essentially killing it as a primary mobile device in Europe. It would have no real high-quality music service, since Spotify isn't UWP-based, and Groove Music was killed.

It requires all new technology to work properly, new Windows features, and a new developer SDK. It needs every department at Microsoft pulling in one direction, backing it, investing in it, and believing in it.

These days, I'm simply not sure Microsoft is capable of taking real risks anymore (I actually have a bet with Senior Editor Zac Bowden that Andromeda will never come out). This aversion to danger is what has led to Microsoft missing the boat on so many damn things it easily had the power to take a leadership role in. If Microsoft doesn't start caring about pocketable small-screen computing soon, not only does Windows itself runs the risk of becoming obsolete, developer and consumer confidence in Microsoft to launch and properly back new products will continue to run on empty.

Jez Corden
Jez Corden

Jez Corden is a Senior Editor for Windows Central, focusing primarily on all things Xbox and gaming. Jez is known for breaking exclusive news and analysis as relates to the Microsoft ecosystem while being powered by caffeine. Follow on Twitter @JezCorden and listen to his Xbox Two podcast, all about, you guessed it, Xbox!

  • Just getting in here before Rodneyej :D
  • Congratulations 🎉
  • Damn! Beat me to the punch 👊🏽💜⛽💜⛽💜⛽
  • At this point, besides hundreds of millions of dollars, and reputation, what do they have to lose?😎😎😎
    Maybe MS is playing us all. Maybe all the secretes, delays, and vagueness, are all tactics to build hype. I mean there has never been so much controversial talk back and fourth over an unreleased MS product. MS could be using us all (trolls, and all) to pre market this device, and if it is infact coming, we are all doing just that. Isn't that what we've all been wanting MS to do? Microsoft knows whether the talk is good, or bad, about Andromeda it still is talk. They also know that if Andromeda comes out, and it is reviewed well by the media, fans, and everyday users, all that talk is only helping to spread the word.... So, say whatever you want about Andromeda; good, or bad. It's only helping to create awareness, wonder, excitement, and news, about the product. All before it is even announced.
  • If Satya keeps this up, he's gotta go. Seems like anything that might be for general consumers he obliterates it. I'm afraid to cast it, but he's a one trick pony, "CLOUD".
  • I don’t think Nadella is intentionally destroying Microsoft’s consumer business, I just believe he is extremely cautious, and probably terrified to make a mistake. His claim to fame is Azure and Office 365 (but those were created under Ballmer), and cutting expenses on other long-term investments. That has been amazing for the stock price. As far as innovation created under his name in 4 years as CEO, you have a laptop, a “me too” OEM speaker, and apparently a Pentium based tablet. For a guy who wrote a book on how amazing he was in creating innovation at Microsoft through empathy, something is definitely wrong and missing.
    I believe he’s indecisive and scared. Putting nice guy (probably empathetic guy) Terry Myerson in charge of Windows was a mistake he was forced to correct. If he releases a something and it fails, he could be exposed again. So instead of making a wrong move, he just doesn’t move. Like a deer in the headlights, frozen.
  • Well said. I've called him the Cowardly Lion more than a few times. Perhaps a little harsh. But seriously, you have to take *some* risks if you want to succeed. Especially if you're going to write a book about yourself! BTW Andromeda is not even that big a risk. I don't think anyone would fault him for trying to have *some* presence in mobile... even if he falls flat on his face. Besides absolutely nobody expects this thing to be a best seller. All we expect is a *presence* in mobile. That's all. Something to build on. Azure and O365 are humming along right now, providing him with pocket loads of cash. There couldn't possibly be a better time to take a risk. If he can't bring himself to do it now, with virtually perfect circumstances, he's even worse than an Oz character... he's just a boob.
  • Who said v1 has to be perfect? The iPhone didn't have third party apps until OS2, Android was a horror show at first, and Alexa was dumb as a rock. The difference is these companies believe in the strategy, and just kept iterating on their v1 products until they became great. Nadella and team are stuck in analysis paralysis, constantly over thinking, changing their mind, and scared to move. Just release what you got and commit to v2, then v3, then v4. If you really believe in the long-term vision, commit. But don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good, and for god sake don't lose because you're scare to compete.
  • It has to be almost perfect due to the fact that the other players in the market, iOS and android, have well established systems that are used daily by millions of people. Unfortunately, MS could never gain traction in the mobile market. I was a MS mobile fan, i had a couple of devices, but in the end it was just not worth me supporting them any longer. A lack of third party party support and developer backed content made my device challenging to use. I am now using an apple phone (that i hate but it was given to me free) and it serves the function of what i need. I can see why this device may never be released. As a CEO i would be seeing massive amounts of risks. Risks which have been proven to occur with other device releases. Saying all that i would like MS to release this device only to see if it would actually be useful or just a gimmick that is more hindrance than useful.
  • There in no market yet for this type of device. There is not yet any competition. There will be competition, but THIS IS NOT A SMARTPHONE!
  • Yes it is. If it fits in your pocket, makes calls natively, and is fully functional, it is a smartphone. Using your logic, a Galaxy Note isn't a smartphone. It is an ultra-mobile PC with journaling and DeX. It isn't a phone.
  • The Galaxy Note is not a phone, it's a phablet. This new Surface will be bigger, so more of a tablet than a phablet. If Lenovo had made it, it would be called a YogaTab. It would clearly not be a YogaPhone.
  • There is a big difference. Back then there was little to none competition. Now, the other platforms are rock solid, so MS, with a half baked product, will not benefit from this excuse...Also, they have a proven history of catastrophic failures and product kill offs, which carry a heavy weight in anyone's decision to ever buy something from them from V1.0. If fanboys agree being guinea pigs on their own $$$ for MS beta products, the rest of the world would not do this again.
  • People would line up around the block for the next iPhone, and Android was total garbage at the time. Yet Google didn't quit. They didn't just commit to v1 and say "if this doesn't become and instant mega hit, we'll just abandon it." Google committed to v1, v2, v3, v4, they knew innovation is really a long and difficult marathon and not spark of ingenious perfection. Alexa was not close to the first voice assistant on the market either, and certainly not the best, but Amazon is 100% committed to making it the best. You can buy an Alexa device knowing that Amazon isn't going to pull support and that the next versions will be even better. If Microsoft is just going to release Andromeda v1 and then wait to see the sales numbers, then they should just quit now. If they can't commit to at least v3 or v4 today, then they will never have long term success. Especially with a category creating Andromeda device, it is going to take until at least v3 to be close to "fully baked". And, they will need consumer feedback on v1 and v2 to get it right. They will never, ever get it "fully baked" in a secret laboratory.
  • Xactly
  • Cowardly Lion? Nah, he's a Tin Man. All axe, no heart, and can't make a move without help.
  • Satya wants to have all of us assassinated😎
  • Yep. If you met Ol' Nads in the street and asked for his autograph telling him you're a Microsoft fan I give you a 50/50 chance he'd shoot you in the face.
  • Their face. Imagine if CoreOS turns out to be just as horrible as Android... Not that it would ever happen since no company would release such a product, but still.
  • A company that wanted to succeed would. Android runs circles around Windows, outselling it 4 to 1! Microsoft is a minority player when you look at all computing platforms in 2018.
  • android runs like crap as compare to windows phone 8.1. so take that bullshit in your ass.
  • The problem is that they are letting it languish. No one knows when or if this thing is coming. We know Microsoft has a habit of not supporting mobile across 5+ years with WP7 and on. So, you say "no bad press," but all this does is make Andromeda sound like the next mobile effort to be canceled. When they're expected to cancel the thing, devs won't come. Consumers won't come. That's where "no such thing as bad press" proves false. I hate Google and Apple as companies, that sells me on Andromeda more than anything Microsoft has done. I expect this thing to launch and fail, but at least it'll keep me away from Android a little longer. That's where MS's best-case is these days.
  • I believe MS is trying to avoid hype. Otherwise it would focus Andromeda on the consumer space. In the enterprise, you don't have much hype. Enterprise does not act like a bunch of hipsters. MS can't even afford to have hype. There is no way they can produce enough of this product to serve hype.
  • It has nothing to do with the enterprise.. Let's be clear; Surface has not really ever been about enterprise. Granted there is the enterprise focused Surface Hub, Surface Pro, Studio, and Book, are are targeted at the "Business Consumer".... We all know what business consumers are. They are regular consumers. So, MS never gave up on the entire consumer market, rather they have set the non professional consumer market aside for now to focus on the productive consumer. Nevertheless, they are all consumers, not enterprise customers.
    Andromeda would litteraly be marketed towards consumers. There's a big difference here.
  • Here's a petition to bring andromeda to the market:
  • Probably you will have a discussion with Dan now....
    Anyways, nice article. I agree.
  • Why will I have a discussion with Dan? haha cheers.
  • thanks for the sentiments exactly!
  • Jez.. This is a serious question. Jez, I would like for MS to read your article. What are the odds that your article may reach MS, and have some amount of impact on their decision making process?
  • Yeah definitely! MS has to hear this.
  • Do you mean "has to hear this" as in they most definitely will hear this, or they should definitely hear this?
  • I would say pretty high since they seem to be buds with Dona.
  • So, are you saying that this article will be forwarded to Dona? Because Dona is a busy lady. I'd you think she's reading WC you're fooling yourself. Lol
  • Dona commission WC for this intense insider feedback... There u go....
  • Microsoft reads Windows Central, but a few dozen/hundred of us alone here wanting Andromeda doesn't make it a viable consumer product. Microsoft has to show some guts of its own here, and I'm not sure they're capable.
  • I don't agree with everything you write, but still a great article, trying to be very neutral! This was a good piece of journalism, keep them coming! When looking at those concept graphics, i just have the "wanna have, NOW!"-Feeling that i last had with the Surface Hub (we have two in the office).
  • it might involve some drinking games.. :D
  • Release it please
  • Release it ? Yes they should, however, they shouldn't turn their backs on what's left of their fans and devs if this sort of device didn't succeed after sometime.
  • I agree that they should release it but I don't think there is such an urgency that it couldn't wait until next year if MS feels the software still needs some fleshing out. That would also increase the number of available PWAs and perhaps the UWP WhatsApp would become available by then. Of course, they shouldn't just keep delaying it forever either but first impressions count and MS needs to get this right or not do it at all. "If Microsoft doesn't start caring about pocketable small-screen computing soon, not only does Windows itself runs the risk of becoming obsolete"
    I keep hearing this argument but I don't think I agree. As long as there is a need for devices bigger than phones that can run software that is more complex than what a phone can run, Windows will not be obsolete. Of course, it's lost a big deal of importance in the past ten years (for "consumers" at least) but I don't really see a) how this device would change or even reverse that and b) how not releasing this device would hurt Windows on laptop/PCs. I also disagree that Windows is going to lose its relevance with consumers, not so much because of Windows itself and its software but because I expect there will always (or at least for a long time to come) be hundreds of millions of consumers wanting or needing a 2-in-1/laptop/PC kind of device, even if they are less than ten years ago.
  • I truly hope it's brought to market. It wouldn't be the end of the world if it's not released till 2019, BUT they need to acknowledge the product & start teasing it now to reinforce that even if other manufacturers deliver first, MS isn't "copying" them.
  • If PWA replaces native apps, why would you need Windows? That would be a perfect world for ChromeOS. There is a reason Google is pushing PWA. It is a ChromeOS Trojan horse.
  • I don't think PWA will or should replace native apps but it can complement them. Many services make sense as a PWA (e.g. social networks) but not all do (e.g. Photoshop or whatever).
    Your point about Chrome OS is still valid, of course. Already today, many more people than do actually use Chrome OS would probably be well served with it, better than with Windows in fact. But the fact remains that outside the US('s education sector), it's almost non-existent, and there is little reason to believe that is going to change anytime soon.
  • Beyond the US, everyone else is just saving resources so we could utilize it for something much more useful, such as watching cat videos on YouTube : D or .. uploading cat videos on YouTube
  • I remember you said this once before.
    This is like saying "if iOS can run apps, why should there be Android?" It's the unique differences that matter, and in the case of Windows, the unique difference is that you won't have PWA Photoshop, or AutoCAD or hundreds of different serious apps that can come to life through Continuum on a pocketable Surface.
    And that is just part of it: Surface would have a unique design hardware-wise. It would have advanced inking and collaboration tools that Windows excels at. So in short there are many reasons why a pocketable Surface could be useful, and any argument against that because "PWAs will do all" will threaten everyone because then PWAs would be an equalizer, eliminating any distinguishing features between iOS and Androud as well. I argue that is not going to happen.
  • Microsoft will have a shrinking niche audience until PWA Photoshop and CAD do exist. That is the risk.
  • in your dream *******.
  • without some sort of embedded remoting software you can't do that in a PWA. sure there are html5 based remote session software (citrix) but there still has to be some sort of back end infrastructure so until photoshop or Autocad becomes SaaS then that won't happen. Even then you would have to pay for compute somewhere so the cost of photoshop and Autocad would skyrocket not to mention you would have to have a constant internet connection which defeats the purpose of those apps. It's not an impossibility but it's not something that is going to happen for awhile so it is irrelevant to the current state of things and has no weigh into this argument if Andromeda should be released or not.
  • Every month that goes by without a pocketable mobile device is another month of consumers fleeing the platform for Android and iOS and developers questioning why the @@@@ they’re still on the MS Store, when their customers are obviously not. No, they definitely need a sense of urgency.
  • Exactly. But I fear most consumers have left already. My main concern is getting Android apps on PC, not the other way aroud.
  • ew pls. .stay off the cancer land m8, didn't you hear ? even google doesn't want their android apps anymore thats why they made PWA apps ... . _ . cause android apps = cancer
  • PWA removes the need to develop for Windows. Now everyone will be developing for Chrome. PWA is a Trojan horse. It doesn't strengthen Windows as much as it strengthens ChromeOS. Microsoft didn't all out their developer conference for a reason, Windows development is becoming obsolete.
  • hahahaha sure... :P
  • 100% agree with everything in this article. Thanks for stating it so well.
  • You're welcome.
  • I hope it is not canceled, but just delayed so that the software is not unbaked like when WM10 came out with Lumia 950. Only die hard fans will put up with that. They only have one shot to make a positive first impression. With so much R&D into this, I doubt they will cancel it. Per Zac, they delayed this already once before. Early 2019 release will be fine, but I hope they give us a sneak preview this fall. Like SH2, they gave businesses a sneak preview with unfinished software, so I don't see why they can't with Andromeda.
  • im excited. yea.
  • For?
  • For the dawn of the not-Phones of course. Aren't we all?
  • Kill it now or kill it later. It will still be just as dead.. No heart
  • What a silly article title. One of Microsoft's biggest mistakes that it repeats often is bringing something to market half baked. Andromeda needs to nail it including the software experience. There aren't second chances much for public perception of whether a product is good or not. Microsoft shouldn't release this thing until it works, inside and out.
  • Amen.
  • Yes, but the point is also that they should in fact release it.
  • I somewhat disagree.. Must make sure the product can do what it is marketed to do and never stop improving and supporting it and it will be successful. The iPhone launched without copy and paste or the ability to multi task but never really received backlash after purchase.
  • The iPhone was a revolution. It immediately made every other device at the time obsolete. That is what Microsoft needs to do, otherwise they shouldn't even bother. Another me-too on product will go nowhere.
  • It won't be a me-too product but I don't think it will revolutionize the market. Then again, does it have to? I'd argue it doesn't, it MIGHT be able to find its healthy niche on its own without disrupting the entire market and maybe that's enough.
  • Niche won't keep Microsoft's interest, let alone developers. It needs to be a home run.
  • I guess that depends on how big the niche is. But in principle, I agree.
  • Niche is keeping Surface Studio and Surface Laptop.
    I actually see absolutely no reason to have something like Surface Laptop.
    They could easily kill the laptop and invest in Surface Phone.
    Seriously, what's the point of Surface Laptop compared to Andromeda?
  • Well, it's a much safer bet for MS.
  • It's a laptop. People are gonna buy laptops. That market is already proven. It's not Niche.
  • It's an overpriced laptop with many better alternatives and it is intentionally overpriced.
    The whole point of Microsoft getting into hardware was to set an example of how things should be done and to define the category. People knew how laptops were supposed to be done without Surface Laptop.
    Otherwise it's just Microsoft threatening its partners.
  • So is the MacBook agentthegreat, but they sell and are not considered niche.
  • Exactly. And the software takes no extra effort. It is just regular old Windows.
  • Surface Laptop is a niche product. It has better, cheaper alternatives. It doesn't define a category, and doesn't break any sale records for Microsoft to make actual, noticeable profit from (Surface sales remain flat despite the introduction of Surface Laptop and others. Surface is not about profits.)
    What it does bring is potential manufacturing issues and that's it. Surface Laptop makes much, much less sense to keep than a new, category defining device that can open up the possibility of other OEMs following with a host of new devices if it is successful. Strategically, Andromeda is aligned with what Microsoft had in mind when it got into hardware. The laptop isn't. And the software is at least half done. We know Microsoft has been working on it for a long time now.
    So it just comes down to the cowardice of upper management as Jez pointed out.
  • Surface Laptop and Studio are just regular Windows machines. They might not sell that well, making them niche devices, but they have a wide potential user base. Everyone has a laptop or AIO.
  • Everyone does not have an AIO by any means. In fact, I've yet to see ANYONE with one in the UK. If you exclude company laptops, not that many people seem to have those anymore here either. Android phones, Windows tablets and Windows desktops seem to be the order of the day. Interestingly, Apple are losing fast from what I see day to day.
  • It really didn't make the other devices obsolete. Hence the significant number of dumb phones in use today. Heck, if they'd only release a dumb phone with 4G tethering in the UK I'd even dump my 950XL for it. I envy Japan in this regard.
  • I think this particular device is their last chance at mobile though and thus their last chance at UWP being a success. It’s their last chance of beating their competitors to market on a “new and disruptive” form factor. And I personally think that losing this opportunity will affect the long term success of their other stated goals like Office 365 adoption and Azure sales. So if needs be they need an ALL HANDS ON DECK approach on this. Take those 8K AI employees and make them test Andromeda til they’re blue in the face. But get this thing done.
  • This is not at all true. Microsoft's half-baked issues weren't the same as Andromeda. WP7, they just didn't bother with a core to progress. WP8 was fine and made moves. W10M, they just didn't put anything behind it for hardware (the 830 was a joke). Kinect was fine enough. What the consistent problems has been is that Microsoft doesn't ever commit. They cancel things after a year, sometimes less. Band wasn't hindered by being unpolished. They don't provide a platform people can trust.
  • "They don't provide a platform people can trust." That goes for both consumers and developers. Anyone think Android would have gotten anywhere if they broke API-compatibility every iteration? (ie. if you want to use a new feature, you need to remake your application)
  • This, 100% this. I've spoken to developers who were just plain fed up with constantly having to recreate their apps for the Windows ecosystem on mobile.
  • There were so few in the first place, it didn't matter. Microsoft didn't care if they were left behind. If WP7 or WP8 were even remotely successful, Microsoft wouldn't have been able to leave then behind.
  • They weren't able to leave them behind really. All the other non-MS devs were watching what MS did to the few MS devs, and they made the same judgements about MS in reaction. It's just Ol' Nads was too thick to realise.
  • Most of that happened during the Ballmer-era though.
  • Yep. If it ain't an instant win Ol' Nads gets to axing fast. And it's self feeding. No-one trusts an MS gen1 device these days, so MS will need to go through poor sales with gen1 and perhaps even gen2 devices whilst giving them HUGE and very public support to get people to believe again. That does not sound like Ol' Nads at all.
  • What if they release it and it is half baked? As a result it fails to find any traction at all and the reason would be because of Microsoft rushing things to market. That would break the trust of even the most devoted fans. Microsoft already has an image problem and releasing something just to get a foot in the door won't resolve it. Come to market with a well fleshed out, usable, marketable product.
  • As long as it is not as bad as Android and as long as they can somehow overcome the Google monopoly in internet information they will be fine.
  • Android isn't bad. And overcoming googles monopoly, it's easier said than done.
  • For a desperate fanboy like him, it's bad.He is the typical Nutella fanboy, the type of guinea pig that would sell even his toilet paper to be able to buy any crap from MS
  • While I disagree with the excessive name calling here, I actually really liked that final comment about selling toilet paper to buy crap, that's actually a genius insult.
  • What's your point being here? What MS products are you interested in?
  • I hate Ol' Nads with a passion, and even I can see that Android is appalling. I bought one once (shudder...). Never again. They sell because of momentum. Everyone I've met with an Android moans about them constantly. Apple users used to gush over their devices, but I've noticed they don't anymore. They mostly talk about how they plan to move to Windows PCs soon when I meet one of their dwindling number in the UK. No-one talks about phones much in the UK anyway since Windows Mobiles faded. They just hang on to some old cracked or battered device for messaging and the like and wish for better. Mobile phones are less objects of desire now, and more a universal annoyance.
  • To blind fan babies it is mister wolf.
  • Fan babies hahahaha im gonna use this
  • You must be new, I have been using fanbaby to describe narrow minded crybabies here and elsewhere for some time now. Fan babies here include rodneyej/bonzeUK, giddora, and anyone else who use crapple and lagdroid, in their comments.
  • If Android is that bad, then Windows must be a complete train wreck. It couldn't even begin to compete with Android.
  • It can compete well in most areas, except for consumer sales. More of an issue with Microsoft than Windows though I think.
  • windows is nowhere near bad as android.. android is just really a crappy os. admit it.
  • Nothing stopping them releasing it as an international online-only "prototype" or "developer" device with no marketing (except via normal Insider and developer communications), and low supply-chain cost, hell they wouldn't even need fancy packaging or anything. Low cost, low risk, low volume... iron out all the half-arsedness with the initial release (50,000 units or so, whatever is the breakeven point for manufacturing it), then release a proper consumer and enterprise ready v2 later. Grow a pair Satay you cowardly fool.
  • I'm with you Jez about it. Yes they should release it and grow up, however, they shouldn't turn their backs on what's left of their fans and devs if this sort of device didn't succeed after sometime.
  • Isn't Samsung and someone else looking into something similar? Here's my take MS can release this tomorrow and it could be the best thing ever but if the continue to NOT advertise........ Well we all know
  • Does it matter if they pay millions of dollars to Google while they have their monopolies? They'll just hide the ads, advertise android phones and say they've advertised it.
  • Microsoft does have their own ad service you know. Either way, if success of this device is not dependant on marketing, it will totally be about the user experience and word of mouth gained from it. Marketing doesn't matter if the product is a streaming pile when you get it home.
  • Microsoft's big on this, half-committing, then letting others ride the idea to success.
  • You have to keep in mind, if this product is to be the intended "new iPhone" that shakes the industry, it will take time to perfect. The original iPhone was in development for 5 years before release. Leaks have been for 2-3 years now. We all know the history Microsoft had with gen 1 products...
    Surface... cough...Holo Lense... They are learning, "hopefully", that it takes time to perfect a new device. It would be way more damaging for Microsoft to release, yet again, another broken product and continue to cement the broken image most still uphold of Microsoft today. Samsung, I think, will release their foldeable phone version, albeit running Android, before Microsoft. I don't think Microsoft will be first to market, but they will be first to market, hopefully with a completed vision of all the product can be. Look at smartwatches... The industry is still trying to figure out what the intended vision is for them. Released way too early. Microsoft doesn't want to repeat mistakes... Again, hopefully... I also don't want to spend 2000$ on a new "phone" either... So waiting might not be a bad thing to get the price down and software down as well. Microsoft does not want to miss the next revolution of pocket devices. And they won't. But this "next big thing" hasn't happened yet. There is time, and the rational still outweighs the argument of cowardice, or worse...courage. Patience my friend.
  • Holo lense was never a final product, it was only adeveloper release to some developers. They actually said they delayed releasing the follow-up because of the lack of competition on the market, more time for fine-tuning newer tech.
  • Well said Jonny.
  • This won't shake up anything. Microsoft is no longer a desirable brand. If, IF they release a product that is truly amazing, Samsung, Apple, or Google could do it and have more success. They are far more agile than MS. We have to reign in our expectations about what we expect this product to do.
  • No, there is no time. Microsoft are on the cusp of losing the mobility shift. They MUST focus on UWP, their own ecosystem and release andromeda. If they are to retain any semblence of normality. Otherwise they will become irrelevant in less than a decade. It's not like the 90s where momentum was dependent on a daily newspaper cycle. Momentum is non-stop now, it's 24/7, 365 days / 366 in leap years. A year is a generational shift when it comes technology. Why? Children from a early age are using technology. When i was a toddler, i had rattles not a smartphone to play with. That applies to everyone who are older than 24ish.
  • I disagree. Not every company (even tech) needs to be a leader in the mobile market to survive and remain relevant, that would be ridiculous. They already lost the mobile OS market several years ago but they've managed to keep their most important services relevant by successfully leading them into the mobile present (I'm mostly talking about Office and OneDrive, of course). There is no reason to believe that would change suddenly. Windows (or PCs/laptops in general) won't stop being relevant anytime in the next few years and their cloud business is rapidly growing. I see no danger of Microsoft becoming irrelevant within the next decade. Of course the question is also "relevant to whom?" but I think my point still stands.
  • The students who are using chromebooks and solely using Google's suite of applications disagree with you. Chromebooks are rapidly gaining traction, once Google figures out how to merge the android applications and chrome o/s. That is it. Relevancy is a volatile notion, it has to be nurtured and grown. The reason being Windows is so ubiquitious now it is because most people grew up with it. Now many generations are growing up with ios and android. Not windows.
  • The world is more than the US and Chromebooks basically don't exist in most of the world outside the US, even in schools. So far there is little reason to believe that is going to change significantly, even with Android apps. I've seen many more students using MS Office at my university than Google's suite (though I've seen that one as well, of course). If they have a PC at home that is not a Chromebook or MacBook, they will still grow up with Windows. Which I would say are still the majority of people. Even if to those people a Windows PC would be much less important than to the people who grew up without smartphones, of course.
  • Actually, chromebooks are in play schools in many countries mainly because they are cheaper to replace and they don't need software assurance policies or have to use education license for windows which can be costly when looking at expenditure. I am seeing more and more utilisation of googles suite as opposed to office. As people naturally presume you have to pay for it whereas they can use the apps or A little footnote, I live in the UK not the US.
  • UK is one of the markets besides US where Chromebooks are somewhat represented (in the education) even if still much less than in the US. In most of the world, Chromebooks might as well not exist, most people have never heard of them.
    That could change, of course. Right now I just don't see too many reasons why it would. It's just not on people's radar.
  • The other 6.xx billion people in the world are not interested in the Mickey Mouse Chromebooks. So get your US centric view out of your....(where the sun does not shine).
  • I go to two different universities, and I'm working on a B.S. of Computer Science. In all of my classes I've literally never once actually seen a chromebook. I've asked around and it seems most people know of someone who owns one, but I have only talked to two people face to face who have actually used one. That might be because they're pretty much useless for most development, and even worse than that for most gaming so they aren't likely to be used by people in my field. On top of that, even people on Mac books and who use android in my classes usually relied on Office more often than not. There was one group I can think of where we were set up using a Google doc, couldn't get it to work, and we switched as a group to office online. Anecdotal evidence, of course, but this theory that Google somehow dominates classrooms and everyone prefers Apple/Google hardware is pretty much as far from the truth as I've been able to see. Google might have a hold on grade school, but once you get into the 'real world' they can't compete. Even once you get into higher education, the Google offering falls far short of what's required, and every single person in my programming courses who had a Mac also had a cheap Windows laptop, since the Apple product couldn't do most of what they needed it to for development.
  • How many generations?
  • In the TechFreak v Gatanui showdown I’m calling TechFreak the winner! If you watch Jez’s video post even MS is aware that laptops and laptop-like devices won’t reign supreme forever. This is MS last chance to be a leader in a new mobile form factor. And their doing so will do nothing but advance their cloud/Ai goals. In fact their not doing so will in the long term only hurt their cloud/Ai ambitions.
  • "MS is aware that laptops and laptop-like devices won’t reign supreme forever"
    If you think I've said otherwise you misunderstand me. They already stopped reigning supreme years ago. Of course MS is aware of this. That doesn't mean they will disappear, though. "This is MS last chance to be a leader in a new mobile form factor. "
    Personally I don't really think Microsoft has this chance anymore, not in any future I'd dare to predict. However, I'm arguing that this alone does not make them irrelevant or endanger their relevance. As long as they play it right (and right now I think), they can shift the areas they are relevant in.
  • I do suppose the word "relevance" is interpretable. And we will probably need to just agree to disagree on this. Is IBM still "relevant"? I suppose IBM thinks so! But as far as these cutting edge futuristic devices, the MS "Graph", and thus A.I. are concerned, as Jez points out "This reliance on the goodwill of companies and ecosystems that have been openly hostile to Microsoft in the past, I'd argue, is far riskier than simply attempting to provide endpoints for its own ecosystem". If MS wants to succeed in the technologies of the future... like A.I., which I believe will ultimately determine the winner in the "cloud" wars, it needs to have a healthy line up of "endpoint" Windows based devices of ALL form factors... including pocketable devices. Why? Because it's those very devices which will be collecting the data that feeds and improves its AI. How can you have a healthy, intelligent, and yes relevant, A.I. if you can't capture the everyday activities of people (both consumers and professionals) while they're on the go? So yeah, in order to stay relevant Microsoft needs to take some risks in mobile. To have no mobile device in our present day VERY mobile world is inexcusable of a major player in IT, especially from a company that expresses interests in the technologies of the future.
  • IBM is again nr 1 on Super computers damn right they are still relevant....
  • Who the hell cares about super computers. We as consumers want an alternate for Android and iOS.
  • "How can you have a healthy, intelligent, and yes relevant, A.I. if you can't capture the everyday activities of people (both consumers and professionals) while they're on the go?"
    Because not all AIs are trained the same way and used for the same purpose.
    If we're talking about personal assistants, then obviously Microsoft has already lost out. But that's not the only kind of AI there is. "To have no mobile device in our present day VERY mobile world is inexcusable of a major player in IT"
    So Google and Apple are the only major players in IT?
  • So I guess what I hear you saying loud and clear and over the top of everyone else is... MS is doomed in mobile, so why even try! And that "that's okay". That pursuing mobile will only HURT Microsoft somehow, by? Again... not following that logic. And you are convinced that everything that needs to be learned about a person can be learned by laptop based Win 32 software business apps integrating with the "MS Graph" in the enterprise? Apparently you are an upper exec at Microsoft posing as a robot with 1/2 red face and 1/2 blue.
  • Microsoft missed the mobile device boat, it's over. It's not ideal for them by any means, but "it's okay". It's okay for them because a) they've moved on and b) I argue that they don't need a mobile OS to survive and remain relevant (though there is no question that it would help). It's okay for the vast majority of users who never cared about Microsoft's mobile attempts anyway. It's certainly okay for me. And as cool as this Andromeda device may be and I would like to see it released some day, I don't think it has the potential to significantly change anything, neither regarding Microsoft's mobile play nor regarding Microsoft's consumer relevance. Of course, I concede I may be mistaken here but the thing is, in my opinion Andromeda is (probably) not different enough from normal smartphones to supplant them. Consumer inertia is strong and I see no chance of Android and iOS being replaced by anything anytime soon for small handheld devices, similar to how Windows still hasn't been replaced on the PC market to this day. But if Microsoft wants to prove me otherwise about the mobile OS market, by all means they should go ahead and I would wish them the best, but I'm trying to be realistic here. I never said nor implied that pursuing mobile would hurt MS in any way. What I'm saying is that they're not doomed to irrelevance for the mere fact of having lost out on the mobile OS train. If they end up irrelevant, I think it will be for different reasons. We can surely agree that Apple and Google are not the only relevant tech companies (even for consumers) although they are the only ones with mobile OSes. "And you are convinced that everything that needs to be learned about a person can be learned by laptop based Win 32 software business apps integrating with the "MS Graph" in the enterprise?" Absolutely not, I never even implied that either. You're mistaken about me, though I'm not blaming you for it, just stating how it is. Personally, I'm just interested in using the software and hardware that I like best and that suits my needs best. Today that is Windows, Surface, Office (though less), but also Google, Android, Samsung, Spotify, Telegram, WhatsApp etc. Tomorrow, who knows? Maybe it'll still be what I use today, maybe not. Whatever it will be, it will be what suits me best and what I like best, whether it's from Microsoft or not.
    I used Windows Phone for three years, I enjoyed it very much but I switched to Android over two years ago and now it's Android that I enjoy very much (and I don't even need or use Microsoft Launcher or SwiftKey or Skype or Cortana for that [Cortana only for notification sync, so as soon as the Your Phone app is released, it's goodbye to Cortana for me]). I look back fondly to the days of WP but not because I wish I could still use it today but because they were fun times to me. I still enjoy Windows very much and I don't expect that to change anytime soon, but who knows? Maybe one day it will, and that won't be my loss because if I stop using Windows, it will be because I found a better alternative. Just as it happened with Windows Phone. So in conclusion, no, I'm not an upper exec at Microsoft. I may be a robot with a two-colored face, though.
  • MS already missed the next big thing after smartphones. It was smart speakers. Continue to show patience right out of relevancy!
  • Smart speakers might be a "big" thing in the US, in the world outside the US, the other 6.xx billion people you know, the smart speakers are as import as 3D TV. Nil, void importance
  • It's not the smart speakers themselves but then being the introduction to the consumer what iot is!
  • Smarts speakers
  • Yes! The catalyst for iot devices! The consumer would not know what iot devices are if not for smart speakers
  • They are only a big thing for No Such Agency, Clowns In America, and advertising companies.
  • No. Just no.
    They are huge for iot which is every major tech companies next big target; to control the iot market.
    They say a midget standing on a giant's shoulder can't see much further than the giant...
  • The thing is, Microsoft need to be comfortable with releasing a subpar product and focus on IMPROVING it. The problem with the current Microsoft is if something isn't a slam dunk they give up, that isn't how technology works you have to get the concept out into the world and then focus on fine tuning it to make it better. Imagine if the Surface line had only been followed based on iterations 1 and 2, we never would have seen a third which was the point where the product basically changed the game. Under the current MS, I don't think we would have gotten that third Surface release.
  • Surface just became another Intel laptop/ultrabook. Microsoft has taken no risks with Surface the past 5 years. They are low hanging fruit.
  • I'm for just waiting to see what happens with Andromeda. It hasn't had an announced release date so how can it be "delayed"? Surely MSFT can time things freely based on product and ecosystem developments. The concepts's supporters can pressure all they want but I don't want to see a premature or misguided launch. Negative speculation is sickening to watch.
  • I don't agree. I think they're gonna release some kind of mobile product sooner or later.
    Counting on the fact that it will contain new tech, it's understandable that there may be many delays as the tech matures and can be fully integrated.
  • First release it...and then announce it...
    Similar to Windows 10...send 100-200 Surface Andy to some dedicated insiders for software testing and debugging and then make a date to formally announce it, speeding the development and hopefully beat the competition!
  • So, you solution is to do the same crap they are doing with windows 10: guinea pig insider testing, resulting in the same mediocre quality. Good one...
  • Every damn thing in technology is released half baked now. Windows 10 was half baked. Video games are half baked and need day 1 patches, game systems are released only to add the rest of the functionality later. People need to stop with thatine of thinking. That's why MS is always late and continues to lose market and mindshare. So they don't release this, which was the next big thing, because it's not ready. So then they decide once again to wait until the next next big thing. Then they never release that because it's not ready or it's too late. Rinse and repeat. It's a combination of a CEO that doesn't care about this space and a company that's too incompetent to get things done and released while they still matter.
  • The only reason Microsoft was late to the phone market was because Ballmer scoffed at the iPhone, disregarding it completely... That was an intentional move, and really the only market Microsoft has missed out on. Windows 10 was intentionally half baked to allow Insiders to continue the development path.
  • Smart speakers, fitness devices or smart watches, tablets, phones. They miss out on everything that matters.
  • Since when do smart watches "matter"? And why would Microsoft need to dabble in the fitness device market? Also, what about 2-in-1s?
  • Noone cares about these devices.. They are fluff.
  • No one cares about phones. That's news to me.
  • Fitness bands are fantastic, and the Band was easily one of the best (prior to W10M). there are 25 million Fitbits active as at February this year. It's not exactly a small market.
  • That’s 250 times the number of windows phones at last count.
  • The risk aversion is already placing Microsoft at a massive disadvantage. I said it time and time again that Microsoft has to focus on UWP and not just their competitors. I am trying to shift the start up I am working at away from Google. Why am I having to do that? Because all the 20-somethings in the company have never used a microsoft product in their entire life. It's all been ios and android. They are only less than 10 years younger than I am. They already talk about Apple or Google suite of apps as they are only suites of app that exist. Microsoft doesn't even enter the conversation. Think about that. This is because Microsoft killed the mobile division under Satya Nadella without even trying. As result they only grew up with ios and android MOBILE devices. Parents for the past decade or so have been shifting from attentive parenting, to inattentive, smartphone based parenting. Secondly Google's Firebase is extremely costly for it offers compared to other solutions. What happens when that no longer is the case? Microsoft needs to grow a pair and back their products in all regions and their OWN ecosystem 100%. None of this US-only crap. If they are to stay relevant. This wishful thinking that becoming the "worlds computer" is going to keep them relevant is flawed. It presumes both Amazon and Google won't get into the infrastructure market. News flash, they already are in that market and won't be content with just a small slice of it either. Personally I am too exhausted with Microsoft and so are developers. As long Microsoft shuns it's own ecosystem in favour of ios and android, they will never get momentum with PWA let alone UWP.
  • Satya mistake was to pull the plug on Windows 10 Mobile. They should have continues its efforts, and use the little market share they have as beta testers to ensure great experience once Andromeda is released. It would have had a better eco system than now, to start with. Then kill it once Andromeda is out. To add, this action would have pushed to people head that "Hey MS now support their OS for more than 2 years unlike Android manufactures! Perhaps, I should start looking into a MS device in the future". By the way, if you wonder, MS internally, it was revealed, continue to update Windows 10 Mobile.. so why not make it public? Anyway. UWP failed because Windows 10 Mobile is gone. It could have been saved if Windows 7 and 8 had support for it. But the real reason why Microsoft failed with the Windows Phone 7 and 8, is Ballmer, treating the smartphone as nothing more than a fad, with internal struggles with people who had no vision. In addition, it needed to follow a new business model which Ballmer was not ready to do. Releasing a phone OS every 3 years and paying for it, and failed to deliver updates without needing carrier and manufacture approval, and locked CPU support all contributed in teh device failure.
  • The failures between windows phone 7 and 8 was the transitional phase and difference of the actual core of the o/s - 7 ran on Windows CE - to give you some perspective the Sega Dreamcast ran on Windows CE. Where as Wp8 ran on the NT kernal. So to upgrade phones they would have need to plug it into a PC and reflash the phone as well as updating the bios to allow future updates. Secondly Wp7 handsets had at most 512mb ram. Wp8.x needed 1gb of ram. Too many limitations. They could have handled the transition phase better, due to the poor handling they lost fair amount of OEM support. As a clue have a watch of Nokia's the smartphone beta is over campaign for 7.x. The marketing team must have felt like being hit with a planet sized pie in the face. In addition they played too nice, nice with the carriers and they shafted Microsoft and the users. Lets not forget the secure sim and tap to pay debacle. It launched with only ONE partner - orange in france. In the US, the carriers insisted in taking charge and founded a company to handle mobile payments on windows phone - which was later sold to Google. So much mismanagement, it wasn't all ballmer's fault. The Wp8.x to Wm10 phase is all under Satya Nadella and he had opportunity to shift the story, make Microsoft into a forerunner in the mobile space with Cortana but he bungled it big time.
  • Bull. WP7 flopped, that is why it was dropped. If it was successful and there were a sufficient devices in the market, Microsoft wouldn't have left them behind. They stopped WP7 because they could, not because they had to. There were not enough devices sold for Microsoft to care. The kernel thing was just a convenient excuse.
  • Actually it had lot more traction than you can remember Bleached.
  • He's starving.. Let him be.
  • he is an ***hole leave him..
  • Better a realistic ***** than a delusional, desperate fanboy like you and Rodney. How much *** has Nadella been feeding you lately?
  • not more than sundar or tim cook feeding your ass.
  • As opposed to Nads feeding yours neeraj?
  • No, it had no traction at all, you cannot point to any decent sales numbers, ever. Microsoft abandoned it for a reason.
  • Haven't you seen the market share numbers? Windows phone was doing very well in many European countries, Russia and India, and I'm sure some others. Market share was rising above 10%. If they had kept that pace they could easily have had 20% by now in Europe. Which is enough to gain reaction.
  • WP7 was never anywhere near 10%, in any market. WP8 had bigger numbers in Europe and in some countries in South America, but was dud everywhere else. It might have worked out had MS stuck with it, but frankly they moved way too slow, broke confidence too often and had bad support for industry standards (e.g. OpenGL ES [2.0-3.1]).
  • I disagree. A mobile OS coming from Microsoft is nothing like its Unix-like and Linux-like competitors Apples iOS and Android. Microsoft's innovation and completely unique code base for its Operating system is unlike anything out there, and always will be. It is not a derivative of someone else's hard work laid down years before. I do not think the average person realizes what it takes or has taken for Microsoft to move it's OS and entire ecosystem forward. You say it was just a kernel thing, but I have a feeling that is just sentence for you to put out there because you really have no idea what its OS really is. Try looking real close at how their OS works, the layers and how it is all put together. It is not even a distant cousin to iOS or Android, and for Microsoft to make OS jumps or migrate to a newer better infrastructure does not look the same as if Apple does it or Android. I think Microsoft should be proud of what they have and done in the software world up to this point, but it honestly depends on what its goal is for itself and others. They made mistakes like anyone else, so what. They should get back on the horse anyway. However they will only get back on if that is in plan and goal for where they are headed. I do not think an article or raving fans and petitions can make them sway one way or another. Things happen a certain way for them because they have to.
  • None of that matters.
  • to you but to billions of others it does matter.
  • "Because all the 20-somethings in the company have never used a microsoft product in their entire life. It's all been ios and android. They are only less than 10 years younger than I am."
    Unless they've been living under a rock, I find that very hard to believe. I'm in that age range and I've never met anyone who's never used a laptop or PC. Then again, they could have all been using MacBooks only I guess, but that wouldn't really be the norm very much. If we're talking about anecdotal evidence, then I see 20-somethings using MS Office in my university every day and I've heard young kids talk about gaming PCs in the bug. "This is because Microsoft killed the mobile division under Satya Nadella without even trying."
    You can argue that they gave up too soon, but "without even trying"? They had already poured a lot of money into it. "Parents for the past decade or so have been shifting from attentive parenting, to inattentive, smartphone based parenting. "
    Before smartphones, inattentive parenting was TV and PC based, nothing new here. "News flash, they already are in that market and won't be content with just a small slice of it either."
    This is certainly true but I don't see a reason why their consumer advantage would give them an edge over Microsoft in this field.
  • Yes, they didn't try under Satya Nadella. Remember the Accessory for Lumia moniker? How long did that last? The Lumia 950 and Lumia 950XL launched under flagship status and were riddled with bugs. So no, they really didn't try at all there was no real push after the Mobile division got axed. In the grand scheme of things all we got was lip service whilst they focused on ios and android. "If the oems don't build the phones, we will build them", "we will build for the fans", "we will target three sectors "budget, enthusiast and business". Etc. Over all they really didn't try hard enough, they let themselves get bossed around by the carriers. As a result Microsoft Pay is US only - that's their third iteration of mobile payments. Cortana - isolated to the US. It's risk aversion plain as day, anyone who is risk averse doesn't really "try" it's more or less a half - hearted attempt. Sure in some cases that's fine, say if you're afraid of heights and you back out of a bungee jump. Least getting the courage to go up their is more than enough as an attempt. But in Microsoft's case... no.. half hearted attempts aren't good enough. They need a robust mobile Windows running end point if they are to stay relevant. It's all well and dandy being an infrastructure player but to presume no one else is going to compete the infrastructure market and displace you that's more than just naive. For the best case scenario selling point, you need a mobile endpoint that directly integrates with your infrastructure. The reason Azure took off was because many enterprises companies were already using Exchange. As a result they gave windows phones to their employees but... we all know what happened there.
  • I thought you said they killed it off under Satya without even trying in general, not specifically under him. My mistake.
    There was this push for cheap Lumias under Satya's earlier days (remember the 435?) but it didn't last long. And we all know what became of the x50 series, of course. I also agree that Microsoft's insistence on US-only products is a problem. "They need a robust mobile Windows running end point if they are to stay relevant."
    This I disagree with, though. " It's all well and dandy being an infrastructure player but to presume no one else is going to compete the infrastructure market and displace you that's more than just naive."
    They're facing competition obviously but they'd do that in the mobile market as well, wouldn't they? Even stronger competition perhaps. Nobody is assuming that nobody will compete with Microsoft on infrastructure, that's ridiculous. The assumption is that they can compete successfully.
  • I'm not asking them to compete in mobile, i'm asking for options. Everything is mobile and if you do not have any presence in the mobile space then you are irrelevant. Sure, they can compete in enterprise / infrastructure now. But that won't always be the case and that's my point. All their competitors need to do is under cut them and then it's a race to the bottom. Since Microsoft has no mobile presence they will sink faster.
  • Well, I'd argue they do have a mobile presence, just not with their own OS and devices. Obviously that's a much weaker position than Apple and Google. But you're kind of arguing that if you're not Google or Apple then you're irrelevant, which doesn't really make sense. "Since Microsoft has no mobile presence they will sink faster."
    I don't think the mobile presence is really relevant for competitiveness in the cloud business. Enterprises may be a different story of course, but that depends on how Android and iOS evolve and if they will truly be able to replace PCs at some point. It's certainly possible but right now it doesn't look like Apple and Google are really interested in taking them in that exact direction.
  • To be fair, the 950 and 950 XL, in terms of hardware, were damn near flawless (and with features ahead of their time). All the issues I had stemmed from software.
  • The software issues occurred in my opinion due to firing of programmatic testers and the quality assurance division. Developers don't have the time to design, implement, test, reiterate the entire o/s over and over again.
  • Most of the Nokia / "Nokia" flagships were industry best hardware-wise when they launched, and some for years afterwards. WP8 had some positive things about it, but software was no doubt *the thing* holding back sales.
  • Well written Jez. Let them not cancel it, but also not rush it. Everything needs to be ready at launch. You hit the nail when you said they will fail at everything with their coward attitude. I also agree that Windows and all developer support will die without a mobile presence. I also agree that their presence on other platforms makes them weak, and at the end, lose. You should write more, looks like you are one of the only writers here who doesn't live in fantasyland.
  • They shouldn't rush it, and killing it would kill Microsoft. There have been too many rumors and anticipation for this device. If they cancel it, it will cement Microsoft as stuck in the old computer world. No one including me will ever give them another chance. This chance is already hanging on a ton of skepticism. I don't envy Microsoft. They have a gigantic mountain to overcome with just one device. Get it right perfectly. Get it faster than others. Get it better than others. And they might recover their mobile efforts. This has to be a grand slam. There is no other option if they want to survive. No pressure!
  • The problem is that their idea of survival and ours as fans and consumers is completely different. They want to survive by providing cloud and services and making the board members happy. We want them to survive by having devices and an OS and ecosystem that is relevant to consumers. They have chosen the opposite and while they are getting great short term gains because of it, long term it will be the end of MS as a relevant consumer tech company. Yet there are still those here blindly cheering them on as they move further and further from consumers. When it gets to a point that people are still fan boys for a company that only ends up providing backend enterprise services, people have serious problems. And those of us who have spent tens of thousands of dollars and multiple decades supporting them will be left abandoned.
  • "cloud and services"
    Well, that does include Windows and Office and such. "We want them to survive by having devices and an OS and ecosystem that is relevant to consumers."
    They have devices and an OS and there is no sign they would give up any of those anytime soon.
    As far as the consumer ecosystem is concerned, that depends on what you're looking for. It's definitely not as exhaustive as that of Google or Apple, that is true. It does not include things like a music streaming service, no. That ship has sailed. Then again, I don't see why that matters so much. Is Windows somehow worse to me because I use Spotify instead of a Microsoft music service? I don't see why all my stuff should come from the same company. And from my experience, if you talk to normal people you will find that this is not something most people care about either.
    You're acting like Microsoft is losing so much of its consumer relevance because they gave up their music streaming service and their mobile OS but the thing is, those failed because not enough people cared about them in the first place. Microsoft's consumer relevance was never about that, it was about the PC being the only personal computing platform. There are smartphones now and they are now the main personal computing platform. Therefore, Microsoft's importance for consumers has diminished. But as long as laptops and PCs are being used and Microsoft is still represented there, they will keep being relevant to the users who need and use such a device. Which are fewer than ten years ago, but still hundreds of millions. "When it gets to a point that people are still fan boys for a company that only ends up providing backend enterprise services, people have serious problems."
    Well, we're not at that point, are we?
  • "When it gets to a point that people are still fan boys for a company that only ends up providing backend enterprise services, people have serious problems."
    Well, we're not at that point, are we? Actually we are. Look at Rodney, Gidorra and other delusional fanboys here.
  • We're not at that point because Microsoft today does not only provide backend enterprise services.
  • If you watch the video it clearly shows MIcrosoft is at least aware of the devices role in their future. It would be foolish for them to believe that they can just offer back end services to the world and hope the manufacturers of these futuristic devices will choose the back end services they offer. Agree with Jez, they need to take the lead, using the Surface line, to showcase what the platform as a whole is capable of. Their back end services will only thrive if their Devices and Experiences division thrives.
  • It's not mainly about the manufacturers, it's about the services that run on those devices. Obviously Google is never going to use Microsoft infrastructure. However, many apps and services will/do.
  • I'd argue that the Azure infrastructure is where it's at today... a solid second place to AWS... solely because of its ties to *legacy* enterprise infrastructure. But as new companies emerge will MS attract the companies of tommorrow? Or will they consider other approaches such as what Google offers? On that note I believe Google is uniquely positioned to dominate AI and the cloud in the long term. While Nadella talks a mean game of an "intelligent edge" Google is letting their actions speak louder than words. They have the dominating pocket sized device OS and with it the dominating AI assistant. They're catching up to Alexa in the AI speaker segment. Their AI services hook into just about as many appliances and entertainment devices as Alexa now. They of course have Chromebooks dominating in Education. And I believe it's only a matter of time before we see Google in Enterprise. I work in IT, and I can't tell you the last time we wrote an application specifically targeting Windows. 90% of the applications we write are HTML, JSON, JQuery, REST, CSS based... in other words WEB apps. The other 10% are public facing iOS and Android apps. There's absolutely no reason whatsoever we couldn't switch 95% of our staff over to Chromebooks if we really wanted to. I'd argue that the only reason we haven't is simply because of our TWADI problem (That's the way we've always done it). Should we ever unburden ourselves of our TWADI problem we might actually realize that we could save a ton of money by making the switch. And then whose cloud do we choose? Also the "services" of which you speak have to be written by someone... developers. Whereas developers are loathe to write a UWP app today, Google is actually attracting developers... especially the next generation of developers. Every month that goes by without a mobile device is another month young and innovative developers flee the MS Store, C#, .net, UWP, and just about everything Microsoft. And it's precisely this loss of developer mind share that is the iceberg that will sink the unsinkable Microsoft unless they change their ways and fast. I 100% agree with Jez on this one... Andromeda is more than just a mobile device. It's a line in the sand. Is Microsoft willing or not to embrace today's most beloved forms of technology? Even just by taking a small risk and committing to its own unique innovative take on it. And if the answer is NO then how can developers and customers trust them with the technologies of the future?
  • "But as new companies emerge will MS attract the companies of tommorrow? Or will they consider other approaches such as what Google offers?"
    That's a good point. However, what's new now will be old tomorrow. There's no guarantee that Apple and Google will forever remain top of the game. Which isn't to say at all that it will be Microsoft that supplants them or anything. My point is that the fact that Google is so strong for consumers today is no guarantee that they will be the main company for enterprise services tomorrow and that they will be able to gain an edge over Microsoft there. "They of course have Chromebooks dominating in Education."
    Only in a minority of the world, though. "I'd argue that the only reason we haven't is simply because of our TWADI problem (That's the way we've always done it). "
    This is actually something that I agree with, in particular with consumers. There's a lot of inertia with consumers once something has been established. That is why Chromebooks fail to gain traction in most of the world, not because they wouldn't work really well for many people (which they would) but because Windows laptops is what people have always used and they see no reason to change that. Your point about developer mind share is not bad but at the same time, Microsoft is investing with WSL, Visual Studio Code, GitHub and so on. On mobile, everyone develops for Android and iOS. Nobody develops on Chrome OS, though, developers work on Linux, macOS and Windows. Desktop applications may not be written exclusively for Windows anymore but they're cross-platform (web or Electron mostly). Which isn't to say things are fine and dandy for MS here, not at all, but people here have this perception that Apple and Google are winning at everything and Microsoft is losing at everything, which is false. Google faces an uphill battle if it ever wants to replace Windows. Azure is second place and growing fast, VS Code is a big success. Both are technologies developers get in contact with, old and young. Google and Apple have taken a big slice out of MS's cake but the perception that they're taking 100% of people's attention leaving nothing for Microsoft is not true either. Whether this is enough for them to persevere remains to be seen, of course.
  • "They shouldn't rush it, and killing it would kill Microsoft."
    Certainly not, most people aren't aware of any of this. And by most people I don't just mean consumers but more importantly people who deploys technologies like Azure or Microsoft 365 in companies.
  • Cowards! ROFL!! Agree with that description. We want andromeda damnit ...the concept is great and I have a lot of faith in the Surface team to come out with something that makes sense. Take more time if you need it Microsoft but don't bloody cancel it...!
  • Perhaps it shouldn't be introduced as a phone but a gaming device.
  • That makes way too much sense though. Microsoft shouldn't have released Windows phones in the first place. They should have been XBox Phones or XPhone with gaming as the central marketing campaign.
  • "company politics and the cowardice of upper management" You're an idiot. If it's cancelled, it will be because it won't make money. Probably for the same reasons Windows phones failed.
  • Well, the best way to know if something would make money is releasing it, isn't it?
  • If your product is too expensive, you know if your product will fail or not.
  • You assume the upper management is the gods who are absolutely, 100% sure what does and does not make money.
    Should I remind you the CEO of this company once ridiculed Apple's iPhone while everyone else was amazed at how they pulled everything together?
    Stop raising the actual idiots at Microsoft - who got to the mobile market THREE AND A HALF YEARS TOO LATE - to status of some market gods. They are f***ng idiots.
  • Assume management knows... Who else would be responsible? What kind of company would just release products without expectations? Do you realize how ridiculous that sounds? BTW, Steve Ballmer is no longer the CEO. Steve Jobs is no longer the CEO of Apple either.
  • Wow, you miss the point easily. "Responsible" is one thing: the management is responsible. But being absolutely certain they know what they are doing? That's basically what you said, and I gave you an example of how those who are supposed to know what they were doing didn't see something as clear as those who weren't "responsible", therefore questioning your claim "If it's cancelled, it will be because it won't make money". NO. It can be cancelled because they are idiots. Idiots who are responsible for what the company does, but idiots nonetheless.
  • All this is nice, but the big question is, how many people here, would actually buy it? What if it cost 1500$ US? Would you get it? Would carriers even be interested in having it part of a plan that you need to spend 500$ for and still pay a premium plan of the high-end phones? And you can bet that the camera wont' be as good as Google Pixel 2 phone and Samsung Galaxy S9. So, again, would you get it? I don't think so.
  • Probably depends. It will marketed within the Surface range, not in the smartphone section. So if people are looking at buying a laptop or 2 in 1 for work and the salesman says look at this shiny new Andromeda device, people might bite. It's not like people will be actively going out and getting it because it's a new thing, like an iphone or Samsung phone, it'll be mainly because they find a use for it. This is how I found out about W10M in the first place, I saw it in store and played around with it and discovered it far more usuable than my iPhone, so I switched.
  • If they have something solid to release, both in hardware and software, I agree. A 1st Gen device can underwhelm on features or bells and whistles - the original surface pro wasn't anything spectacular, but Windows 8 was a solid convertible OS and the hardware delivered on premise. All it needed to do was provide a solid baseline for the possible in that form factor, and subsequent releases have built the line into something excellent with better specs, slimmer form factor, added features, etc. If they're really talking delays or cancelling at this point I imagine they feel what they have is truly not consumer-ready, as in the hardware is deeply flawed or something. Something of this nature--a device which they likely intend to at least approach the level of use our phones gets daily--has a much higher bar for what's acceptably lacking even for a 1st Gen device. I'm ok with the fact that (IMO) my 2017 surface pro still is a bit clunky to use as a tablet (mostly software issues). Most of the time it's beside me on the couch with the keyboard attached. I can live with it. The same kind of issues on a device I'm using more or less to replace my phone? Not acceptable.
  • I thought Andromeda was not about the device itself, but the OS?
  • Andromeda HW showcased the AndromedaOS was is the dual screen os variant for coreOS
  • Price it between 700 and 1000 bucks and get it out there.
    When I got the envy x2 WoA I had a use case in mind for it and after using it, this use case changed.
    You need to get tech into people's hands, listen to them and continue to improve.
    I for once would use this device if it only ran office well with a focus on one note and all day battery life.
    If it can connect to my phone to relay SMS and place and answer calls, I'd use the heck out of it.
  • Every major new version of windows since surface was created had a hero device that showcased the best of the platform. every facet of coreOS needs a hero. A dual screen ios and android device has less of a reason to exist then a coreOS dual screen device but everyone will still buying the iPhone and Samsung that features it. Why? Because its cool. MS "clearly" made this device with a particular use case and people who are into digital notes will buy this. MS, instead will piss this opportunity away too. MS doesn't need to grow a spine. They need to grow some balls. They're still scared of a lawsuit that happened 20 years ago when the tech landscape was completely different when other companies have took MS's strategies and dominance in the mobile market and ran with it.
  • Good analogy... Windows CoreOS is revolution and is born out of decades of evolution in OS excellence.. CoreOS is future proof - a soar eye for competitors like Apple and Google... Excellent engineering with deep insight into future needs in Engineering Aspect of user facing computing device. With such a Marvel, unique in its class, Microsoft has No clue how to market it and turns it into un-match treasure of unimaginable potential and power... This is what disappoints me and makes me embarrassed as a Microsoft diehard... Andromeda delay and lack of assertive management decision to strike with precision market timing... is just the manifestation of symptoms of consistent spineless indecision. We are now close to semi final of World Cup. Any team that lacks the strikers with will to take risk to score, has already left Moscow - pondering good old time and gathering excuses for lack of success....
  • Unfortunately, Microsoft have shown that they are not prepared to invest in consumer devices anymore. Not in the development and certainly not in the marketing. To be honest, they might be right. I would love one of these, but would any of my Apple/Android loving friends or colleagues? Hell no! Sadly the only way it could be a commercial success is if it was running Android and Google Play, but we all know that isn't going to happen. Most likely LG, Samsung or Huawei will have a similar device running Android available soon, there are prototype videos around. It would've been buggy as hell anyway. Just file it under 'Surface Phone'.
  • Why do we refer only to smartphones as consumer devices? Surface certainly is for consumers as well.
  • Why? Because you can't stick a Surface Pro in your pocket and bring it with you EVERYWHERE you go. Pocketability is the holy grail of computing. And it will remain so for some time.
  • By your logic, TVs are the worst consumer devices because they don't fit in pockets at all, which is nonsense. Phones may be the most important consumer device for that reason - that does not mean they are the only important consumer device. Different devices fulfill different needs. The needs fulfilled by a laptop may be less important than those by a phone - that doesn't mean they stop being important on their own. It's not always about being able to carry a device in my pocket, sometimes you want other things out of a device. Things that a phone can't provide but a laptop can. Yes, even for consumers.
  • Look... we live in a MOBILE world... there's no going back... no changing that. Microsoft made its mark on history as a "personal computing" device, and for it to stay COMPLETELY out of the most used personal computing device of our time... the mobile device segment... is crazy! It does nothing to set them up for the future in AI, IOT, or even the cloud. And it drives developers away with a pitchfork. Do they need this device to be the best selling mobile device of all time? Hardly. They just need a presence. Something to re-energize developers... OEMs... fans... and customers both consumer focused and enterprise focused.
  • The question is, would anyone but the die hard fans ever buy thins thing, after MS's proven history of failures, bad behavior and product killoffs? Look at the recent topic: Windows 10 mobile that was launched to the public along with the X50 phones in a simply mediocre state, buggy as hell. That kind of behavior will not work again.
  • Amazon's success with Alexa proves that you don't need a mobile presence to succeed in new fields of computing. Microsoft's failure here was not because of their lack of a mobile OS, it was because they mishandled Cortana.
    Another thing that proves that you don't need a mobile presence to succeed in new fields is precisely Azure. Obviously, their lack of a mobile OS doesn't help them in any way but I'm arguing that their lack of a mobile OS does not imply on its own that they will fail or become irrelevant. Again, what you say implies that only Apple or Google can succeed at anything from now on, which is completely nonsensical.
    As far as AI goes, whether an AI needs mobile users to be trained depends entirely on what that AI is supposed to do. We're not talking about general purpose AIs here, at least not yet. Of course Google has an edge over Microsoft for personal assistants, no doubt here. However, that's by far not the only AI product there is.
  • I'd argue that Amazon is less in need of a mobile presence because of Alexa. In any case... I don't believe Amazon is the best positioned in AI either, I think it's Google. Amazon has Alexa. Google has an army of phones, tablets, chromebooks, AND an worthy assistant. Microsoft on the other hand is hamstrung in BOTH Cortana support and pocketable mobile device support. To wit... Alexa has a "leg to stand on" (albeit one), Google has two solid "legs to stand on", and Microsoft? Apparently it's relying on the fact that everything we need to know about people is learned in the workplace through developers voluntarily making their apps integrate with Office 365 and the "MS Graph". I am a developer and I have ZERO interest in MS Graph.
  • MS graph needs diehard developers to nurture it from caoccon into beautiful flowers... Only through Andromeda that I will be inspired to pursue this vision...
  • "I don't believe Amazon is the best positioned in AI either, I think it's Google."
    I agree with you on this. I also agree with your entire second paragraph. I even agree with most of your third paragraph. Except for one thing: The scope of AI uses that you lay out seems too narrow, you seem focused on AI systems that are based on knowing their users (or people in general) as well as possible but there are many more uses for AI beyond that. IBM is a very active player in AI, even though it has no mobile presence, no desktop presence, no consumer presence at all and it's what people constantly compare Microsoft against. Now, if we're talking about personal assistants, then yes, Microsoft has lost out on that and at the moment, Alexa and Google are winning. So I agree on that one, but I already said that.
  • @OnTheSurface Well said...... I really hate this app for offering primitive comment support
  • BTW apparently TV is desired in your pocket...
  • Thx for sharing...
  • @OnTheSurface... Imagine 10 years from now, according to most Sci TV/movies... The definition of personal computing is e.g. Tricorder... Thing u put in pocket or having it around small...
  • "You could say the Surface Studio is a niche within a niche, yet Microsoft still decided to not only release it, but likely support it with a sequel. Why is a truly pocketable mobile sketchbook so taboo for Microsoft?" You answered your own question: "Sure, there are many moving parts that need to align to make this work. If it launched today, a Surface "phone" tablet would have no WhatsApp, essentially killing it as a primary mobile device in Europe. It would have no real high-quality music service, since Spotify isn't UWP-based, and Groove Music was killed. It requires all new technology to work properly, new Windows features, and a new developer SDK. It needs every department at Microsoft pulling in one direction, backing it, investing in it, and believing in it." While the Surface Studio's a niche product, it's still just another Windows PC. There was less to sort out and even if the Studio experiment failed, everyone that bought one would still have a perfectly good PC. Andromeda has a number of viability issues from the first (that would take no small amount of time, effort and money on Microsoft's part) and if it fails, that could put both Microsoft and owners in a bad situation.
  • You've still got to try new things. No one has a crystal ball about the future. Sometimes you have to take risks. This is how progress is made. You know, for all his faults, I have a lot of respect for Elon Musk and Tesla - he's a solid example of having a spine in this tech game.
  • It’s easier to respect a guy for trying, even when he fails. But cowardice is never respected. Elon is a great example of what commitment and sticking with something until you FIND a way to succeed can do.
  • I thought Andromeda was just an extension of One Core.
  • Thank you for this well said and forward looking article.
    Sums up my feelings exactly, except, I don't think Windows Phone, W10M failed.
    Marketing failed, but I absolutely love my Windows Phones.
    They could have kept a downsized Nokia alive & continued to build & develop a phone.
    The R&D would have been important enough to continue to lose a little money if necessary to grow the long term company vision. Someone needs to do some soul searching and admit they've made a mistake. I get the point that they don't want to simply copy someone else's phones....but, who was in the game first?
    Whoever said the smartphone is dead needs to stick around a little longer.
    From what I've read about Andromeda, it would have been great.
  • Windows 10 mobile was a failure from the start because of several reasons:
    it was launched buggy, tons of problems while MS was lying that it was ready for prime time in hope users will buy the new phones.
    compared to WP8.1 in terms of speed, reliability and stability it was a joke.
    The insider program, using average Joes for QA is simply a pathetic cost cutting method in total disregard of the outcome quality.
    Many WP8.1 users found their existing phones being slow and buggy on win10mo.
  • Microsoft needs balls of steel
  • Thanks Jez! Best article on Andromeda to date! Microsoft needs to lead by example if it stands any chance in the Intelligent Edge. To borrow an old Nike slogan... just do it! Improve it later. But do it! Leading by example is what the Surface line is all about.
  • Everything you say is correct and this is why Andromeda will be / is killed. It should be obvious to everybody that Nadella is a spineless worm who will never risk doing anything the tech press will not immediately praise. Ballmer was not a fan favorite but the guy had balls of steel.
  • You are comparing a proud ex-CEO that loved the company first, with a cost $$ obsessed imbecile CEO.
  • Isn't the desktop Spotify a win32 app packaged into UWP? Anyway, even they will release a new app. Look how just now Uber returned with a PWA. They will come, one way or another.
  • Agreed. They need need to release Andromeda. Evangelize the shorts off PWA. And advertise the ability to pin and run websites like banking, credit cards, airlines, on a screen twice the size as your average smart phone while waiting for a PWA or even UWP version.
  • Everybody is going to get something in their mind about what it will be. Without culling of expectations, it will only disappoint once it is released. I think it will do everything from running Photoshop to making tortillas, but you will have to lug around the Surface's USB-C adapter to power it.
  • Amen! Great editorial with spot-on analysis! I hope MS takes notice.
  • The better they make the product, the better the chances of success.
  • Yeah maybe be they're being a little cowardly. Folks say all the time well they cant release a half baked product. Look a half baked product with mind share is better than No mind share at all. Mind share effects everything and frankly no one launches a flawless product. If you keep waiting and waiting the ship eventually sails into the sunset. If I used a ps4 instead of an xbox the only time id think Microsoft is when Im on my computer. Do people who use their phones as their computers thing Microsoft at all? Release something worthwhile even if it isn't perfect. You keep quiting products and skipping markets and everyone else has an ecosystem but Microsoft now.
  • We are in this weird transition between 4G and 5G. Does anyone think 5G will be widely available in 1 year? I am thinking 2020 at the earliest. What does that imply for a "connected" device? Let's say they release the small Surface (powered by Snapdragon 1000 or 850 or whatever). Do they also release an Intel-powered small Surface? Why ship two separate designs that are focused on PWA, UWP, etc. At some point, you give up on the old WinTel applications. Maybe the small Surface is released with good inking, touch, always connected, eSIM, keyboard, mouse. And we find out that the software, hardware have good integration? Let's assume Windows Store starts to function better and better with more and more apps that improve the overall utility of the Windows/Surface/OEN ecosystem (which could include Qualcomm)? You keep building out software/hardware integration. You keep linking office into iOS and Android? Then in 12 months, you introduce Andromeda. My 950 works fine. Seems like it keeps working better and better. Not sure why. Battery lasting longer. Maybe I am not spending so much time using the device because my Surface Pro is so much more portable and functional than my old 5 lb laptop. If I have to use the 950 as a mobile hotspot, simple to do. Do I really talk on the phone as much as in the past? I find talking on the phone less productive than using cloud-based systems to streamline business processes. I would assume that MSFT receiving telemetry from its entire ecosystem gives them a good idea of how the ecosystem is evolving. Finally, I don't trust these "leaks" or the political infighting theory of big Tech. Google still does Search with a bit of other stuff on the side. Apple still sells iPhones with a big lump of stuff on the side. MSFT is a software company that makes money from cloud and Windows and some other stuff. Surface is nice and helps build out the Ecosystem, but it is not critical. So, the leadership of MSFT is focused on the cloud. How they pull in users from various hardware endpoints is what they are focused on. MSFT is correct that it is easier to pull in iOS and Android users into its cloud than a surface mobile device.
  • Agreed! Although there is a good chance they will back out later in the game, MS has indeed become a visionless gutless organization that is playing safe. They have given the competition all the means to kill them overnight, just throw all their products out of the iOS and google play store and be done with it. They hardly do any business on their own platform any more.
  • We need a few more such articles to trigger an official response from Microsoft... Good job!
  • Yes we do.
    A lot of us were very vocal when we realized the CEO of Microsoft didn't want to offer smart phones any longer.
    Whatever happened to "Cloud First, Mobile First"?
    They have shown a complete lack of respect for their fans, in regards to mobile.
    If they've got something half baked, certainly, fix it before release. But, let's see some momentum. Let's see a news release that says something other than "we want you to buy the competition's product, because they're nice enough to let us have watered down versions of our software on their phones". Turn up the heat again and keep it at the forefront until a ridiculous decision is reversed.
    Everyone can make a mistake.
    But not everyone can admit it.
  • It's kind of a silly product idea. An expensive foldable tablet meant to take notes on with a pen. That takes niche to another level. If the UI doesn't look like Windows & it can't run win32, wtf is the point of not running Android on it? Amazon seems to do just fine without Google play services on it's Fire tabs, I mean what the literal eff?
  • First thing first : Jez, congratulations ! Honestly, that must be the best article I read about a MS product in a looong time. That thing comes from the heart, and it is SO good to read it when you feel the same way. Second : The more and more I think about Andromeda, the more I feel we only need the hardware part... I speak for me, but the SW can wait ! Get the Andromeda we know from David's work, stick a W10 on ARM in it, add just the telephony stack (phone calls+SMS), and that'll do it ! Release new features during the life of the product, that'll entice even more people !
    BTW, a foldable tablet, always connected, which can make phone calls+SMS, and can run all software (even if slower than a regular PC) seems a winner to me !
  • For those who'll say that running full Photoshop on a so small device is dumb (which I can understand), that's how I see how Andromeda could work with WoA+tel stack :
    - folded (1 screen exposed) : Tablet mode is mandatory, using apps in full screen, only from the store (UWP)
    - unfolded : Tablet mode by default with a way to disable it. Using the stylus, you should be able to use some Win32 apps
    - docked/connected to a bigger screen (hdmi, usb-c, miracast...) : Full windows, tablet mode disabled, with the full operation and interface of a W10 on ARM PC... And all this tech already exists... So no big revolution softwarewise...
  • Absolutely agree, WoA is stable and full featured. No need to strip it down or whatever plans Microsoft has. Just put it on the device with the telephony stack and be done!
  • Who said Mobile First Cloud First.... The bitter truth is that many people at Microsoft are very arrogant and we are seeing the result of this.
  • Sadly have to disagree on this one, Jez. Well, partially. MS really needs to introduce something with some coherence this time. Even if it means taking crazy time to get to market. Two points.
    1. Tech media loves to brand a thing and repeat that forever. Like "everyone knows Vista was terrible" or "The ending of Mass Effect 3 ruined the trilogy." Both of which I think are rediculous notions. But then people who want people to know that they are well informed will echo stuff like that with such volume you'll never convince a critical mass otherwise. A new device this different to the average consumer needs to be an instant object of desire, or it will be an instant object of ridicule.
    2. MS has released too many things lately that are just klunky, kludgy, feel like they're waiting for some other component to catch up. (Eg, killing Groove while Invoke was still in development, Microsoft Wallet on Mobile didn't work for like over a year after they demo'd at Build, and then never supported the hardware they demo'd it on, if I recall), so it's not even about this one device, for me, so much as an opportunity for MS to prove they've got their **** together enough to do a properly timed and supported product launch.
  • If Microsoft cancels this, it will be the last straw for me with them. I check for release info on this product dail, hoping I get to switch back from android. I am holding off ripping with att in case it only has a Verizon radio. I was planning ok n buying one as soon as it was released. Omg, I am gonna be pissed if they dont release it. And I mean this year too. Dont burn me this time Microsoft.
  • I think this is a whole lotta nothing. If MS cancels or further postpones this one project, that's just one element of the "future productivity" video. Boo hoo. The rest of the vision still looks on track. Microsoft is raking in the cash and they don't care about die-hard fans. They care about their future as a business services provider and they do that better than anyone, except maybe Amazon.
  • Also, I think people need to remember that Apple makes huge profits on the iPhone because it's a luxury product, not because it uniquely does great things. It's a phone like any other, but is a status symbol for millions. Not having a big play in the consumer mobile phone space (or related) is probably not a big deal for a company like Microsoft.
  • Think about this, if this device cannot replace your smartphone/tablet/laptop then it essentially a tag along device. You arenot going to carry around a tag-along device everywhere u go. Let Microsoft take time to develop a disruptive device, not a side piece.
  • I want an Andromeda... That is all
  • Brave article Jez. I would love it to come out as well. Limited edition, developer edition, etc, bring it on.
  • OK, so I seen MJF's article on this horrible rumor the other day and it literally turned my stomach... Canceling would absolutely blow my mind, and delaying shouldn't be an option. "OneCore", "Cloud first, Mobile first". I certainly hope they see this as THE priority NOW. This device is the thread to weave their ecosystem together across consumer, prosumer, & enterprise (even though personally, I feel market segmentation is dissolving). Please tell me someone with a clue @MSFT is paying attention. If you let one of the heavy hitters come to market w/a droid device first, you're going to be playing catch up again simply because they have clout, regardless of how much better Andromeda most likely is. COME TO MARKET WITH ANDROMEDA. LAUNCH A CAMPAIGN THAT WILL SPEAK TO CONSUMERS AND DEVELOPERS ALIKE. Hell, hire the cast of SNL and recreate the Crapple comm "What's a computer", except you know, "What's a phone"?'re welcome. ;)
  • Sorry but nothing MS does now will make that device successful. Their bad history is too big, and their tendency to failure is all times high. As long as they keep the same CEO, nothing will change. There is nothing to speak to the customers and devs other that "we have another device, with another half baked OS, with no ecosystem and no apps to support its primary pocket functionality. But hey, you can be our guinea pig for $1000."
  • Busy talk..... Sigh
  • the essential part is BACKING & PUSHING THE HELL OUT OF IT, not just releasing it, just like they are doing now with their amazing cloud, they should put that same focus and weight on AR-VR and andromeda, if they miss those 2 things they might as well close up shop on the consumer market
  • Boom, mic drop...….
  • I hate to say this but Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella appears to have broken his word.
    He said that Microsoft would make phone but they wont look like any out there
    today. Since the API's for Telephony wont come out in the MAJOR Fall updates
    of Windows 10 that means no new Andromeda device or any Microsoft device
    that will have phone in it will be made. MS CEO Nadella cannot keep hi word
    Also Microsoft has execs who are too scared to make new products and lack
    imagination. Hmm that is what Apple dead CEO Steve Jobs said about Microsoft
    I have given up on Microsoft ever making the Andromeda or Courier type folding
    2 screen Tablets. They will improve what they sell now but it appears we wont
    see any really NEW Product from them. it looks like Android and Apple for now
    hold the Future. this is sad
    for a Microsoft Fan to Say
  • Again. He’s made many “promises”. If oems don’t make windows phones, we will, we will not leave the mobile space, your jobs are safe, etc etc etc.
  • :))) As much as I despise Nadella, he is not to blame that you guys actually bought every lie he spilled out in public :)))
  • I wonder why Microsoft should do anything for anyone that is constantly ******** on them, sure a few of us may want to back them up but faced with such opposition MAINLY from developers and tech press, DESPITE whatever slights in the past, take a good look in the mirror folks and see that you are all arbiters of doom and failure, then eat your own crap... 😒
  • I just don't see what is exciting or "disruptive" about this. It would be expensive, thick and heavy AND it runs only MS store apps ala Win 10S. It is basically a tiny Windows 10S laptop. I realize the remaining Windows phone holdouts are dying for a new Windows phone. But this was not it. The last thing MS needs to do at this point is to release another junk mobile product. The 950 and 950XL should have been released running 8.1. Win 10 mobile at the time was horrible and not ready. Unfinished software on new hardware - what could possibly go wrong? Yes, the 950s are fine NOW. Two and a half years later. I know because I had a 950XL. I sold it on eBay (along with a 1520 and an Icon) when I gave up on Windows phones. MS does NOT need to repeat the unfinished software on new hardware mistake. "Just release it already" is stupid.
  • In my mind, Microsoft's failures tend to come from not being committed. Hardly anyone knew what the Band or Zune really were. Even the ton of marketing they are doing for Surface Laptop tends to get lost because they run the same spots so many times. It's like, they only want to win with home runs. I agree with Jez. It would be better to release it with some sort of "preview" moniker for the press and the fans. Do a very limited run, make it available for purchase in select stores on every continent... But do it to push the market forward. I think there is a lot of gloom and doom in these comments. Personally, I think between LinkedIn, Github, Office, Azure and Xbox there is a lot of room for Microsoft to run. Windows just is not going to be for Microsoft what it once was and I think trying to meld form factor to operating system is just being trapped in the old paradigm.
  • It will never come out. Having pulled some APIs from the latest Windows 10 release tells me they are not interested. What Microsoft lacks in the consumer space is "mind share". Nobody thinks Microsoft and Innovation in the same sentence except for fanboys. Wall Street sees Microsoft as a Cloud Play and not really a consumer company. When they failed to take advantage of Cortona and then relied on 3rd parties to do the hardware, it was game over before they even started. They are willing to spend billions on Git which will never return any investment that they put into it but have no desire to invest in Andromeda -- this should tell you all you need to know. They are out of the consumer space except for Xbox and Surface could be better but they are relying once again to much on 3rd parties to innovate. They still have not figured out that they need to be like Apple and own the ecosystem, the OS and the hardware to make things work well together. In the consumer space they continue to lead from behind. They have real potential with the Surface Computers but they are lack luster with updates. A single device Andromeda that acts as a phone and mobile computing device sounds great, but here again, Microsoft has missed the boat by not attracting developers to UWP. They need to change perception but are doing a poor job capturing hearts and minds.
  • namespace Windows.Devices.Sensors {
    public sealed class HingeAngleReading
    public sealed class HingeAngleSensor
    public sealed class HingeAngleSensorReadingChangedEventArgs
    public sealed class SimpleOrientationSensor {
    public static IAsyncOperation<SimpleOrientationSensor> FromIdAsync(string deviceId);
    public static string GetDeviceSelector();
    } public class TwoPaneView : Control
    public enum TwoPaneViewMode
    public enum TwoPaneViewPriority
    public enum TwoPaneViewTallModeConfiguration
    public enum TwoPaneViewWideModeConfiguration
  • Exactly...
  • If we're reading this news channel, it means that one way or another we are (were?) all Microsoft fans.
    Unfortunately, for the very same reasons explained in this to-the-point paper, Microsoft is becoming less and less relevant and it is losing everyday a little bit more of its relevance.
    Chrome Os is still in its infancy, and despite what some say it cannot yet be your everyday platform.
    Trust Google to be what Microsoft used to be and is not anymore.
    Give 5 maybe 10 years and you will see which will be the dominant OS then.
    Unless Microsoft wakes up and does what needs to be done to get back is leadership position.
    I don't see that under current management based on recent decisions: great at capitalizing on the past, less at thinking forward.
    Crossing fingers for Andromeda to be launched, and more importantly, supported - remember that Windows Mobile was launched but never found the internal and marketing support necessary to succeed, despite being the best mobile OS ever.
  • I agree that I would like to see "Surface Andromeda" released just for being sort of unique. That is not a very good basis for making business decisions however.
  • If you think this device would replace an ipad you are clearly mistaking. The ipad has the same great app store like the iphone. MS has nothing, their store is a junk yard. Spare with the inking stuff, if one's gonna pay $$ for this thing just for inking then I seriously question his mental state.
    This device needs mobile touch optimized APPS! and a proper touch UI,UX FIRST! because you know... MOBILE, but you can continue to dream on that one would give a damn about this and dump his ipad, his smartphone, to carry an app-less, ecosystem-less $1000+ device.
  • Hey everybody... Zach Hinski started a petition today on to garner support for Surface Andromeda. I signed it. And hope you will too.
  • What a great idea!!! Thx for sharing.!!!
  • Microsoft are pathetic company with pathetic people working for them. Top engineers and sharp minds are down in the Silicon Valley. Only mediocre old settled/family guys with no strife work for irrelevant companies like MS. That's the truth and that's why young and innovative devs work for Google, Facebook even Apple and others in the Valley. That's just the right place for incubation of ideas and cutting edge tech that reaches people and kids AND BUSINESSES. Say what you want, but the startup culture in the Valley is a powerhouse for innovation and attracting sharp minded people, developers and creators. That's the place the iPhone was born and it really did disrupted the world we live in today, admit it or not.
  • I'm confident they will release it, maybe they are only changing their product announcement strategy to make it more like Apple: everything is secret until is announced and ready to buy.
    Announcing it at an (beginning of) October event and release it immediately would be good.
    I agree with the article, MS is famously slow to release products, is always behind the competition. But on the other side I think that releasing an unfinished product earlier is a shot in the foot.
  • Don't worry. what to October.
  • 1) No business case can be made for this device. It simply has no reason to exist (at the moment)
    2) To state that: " If Microsoft doesn't start caring about pocketable small-screen computing soon, not only does Windows itself runs the risk of becoming obsolete......" is simply laughable.
  • You're not thinking clearly enough to say devices like this has no use case lol, there many use cases for a device like this. I took down a thread listing examples but it read more like a rant. So I shelved it, until I have sometime to outline it in a clear and concise manner. Never the less let me ask you, have you ever drawn floorplans?
  • At this point, we all need to have a cup of tea, wait and see.
  • Great article, pulls no punches. Bottom line, Microsoft has to take ownership of the inherent risks that come with trying to get Windows 10 on as many devices as possible. They are the long-term benefactors of a Billion+ Windows 10 ecosystem. They are the ones who will find it easier to push Azure and Office 365 subscriptions in a world that is Windows 10 centric. They are ones who will find monetizing Windows-as-a-Service much more profitable when Windows exceeds the billion user figure. So it's up to them to push the hardware that will enable the software. Stop dikking about. Build it, launch it, sell it. Not friggin rocket science.
  • I really want this to come to market ASAP, and yes I will misuse this to save me from iPhone and Android, however I want this to be right at time of release. I don't want to see a repeat of the MS band (that thing had so much potential which purely down to a bad strap and an ideal of shrinking the OS is no more).
    As far as mobile is concerned MS need dust themselves off and get back into the mobile market, the amount of buzz surrounding Andromeda proves there is an appetite for this device. Mary Jane Fowley asked "But who would this be for?" Answer: Me and judging by the hype and comments here, many others.
  • So we have been looking for a mobile Windows device for over 10 years. I remember buying the first Microsoft mobile device. I think we went from 6.5 to 6.7 to 7.0 to 8.0 to 8.1 to WM10 to the next great try. How many times does MSFT have to fail at selling a mobile device before everyone throws up their hands and says forget it? At one time, MSFT had 40% of the mobile phone market.
  • I'm usually a MS jump on it as soon as it comes out guy. But that has changed and they have burned me a little too much. WP6.5, 7, 8, 8.5, etc and Microsoft Band 1 and 2... I have switched to Samsung and I feel it is not as good as my MS products (950xl, 1520 and Band 2) but I get supported products. If they really want to hit the market they need to make this a longterm solution device. Meaning they announce from Day 1 atleast 3-5 years support that will get businesses and consumers onboard.
  • All these discussions drive up my interest to want this device soon so I could write some UWP apps to share with others how special Andromeda is!!! Release sesame....
  • I turn on WC UWP app notification if someone replies, nothing happens after 5 people replied. WC Android app has no such notification for comments. These features are dummy to look good.. Is that only happening to me?
  • This community is really fired up with this topics with many very insightful views... I could not find space to add additional view... Everyone.. Keep it up...
  • Dona, pls figure out a smart way without compromising your position that whatever this community is doing.. Is not futile... Give us a glimpse of hope.....
  • I like a lot of People world wide wanted a really good mini tablet that ran
    Full Windows 10 since the Andromeda OS could run on an Intel CPU such a device
    could have been built that use's one. The current test Andromeda device was to use
    ARMS CPU's which hurts the performance of the device due to having to use
    X86/Win32 Emulation Software. Intel CPU's do not have that problem therefore
    Andromeda devices can be built that run very well. As For an Software Eco system is concerned any current Windows 10 Tablet uses the Windows Desktop PC programs
    which number in the Millions and the apps in the Windows 10 store. Most people are
    alright with this despite the foolish execs at Microsoft who do not know this.
    I think that Microsoft should regroup and make the a foldable 2 - 8 inch screen
    "Courier" Type Tablet Running full Windows 10 using a Intel Core M3 fan less CPU
    used in the Surface Pro Tablets. The tech and the software are already available
    at Microsoft to build this device. Microsoft needs a new group of Execs to use
    what they already have. what a shame on Microsoft
  • Why the title of this article is timely??? .... Windows CoreOS is revolution and is born out of decades of evolution in OS excellence.. CoreOS is future proof - a soar eye for competitors like Apple and Google... Excellent engineering with deep insight into future needs in Engineering Aspect of user facing computing device. With such a Marvel, unique in its class, Microsoft has No clue how to market it and turns it into un-match treasure of unimaginable potential and power... This is what disappoints me and makes me embarrassed as a Microsoft diehard... Andromeda delay and lack of assertive management decision to strike with precision market timing... is just the manifestation of symptoms of consistent spineless indecision. We are now close to semi final of World Cup. Any team that lacks the strikers with will to take risk to score, has already left Moscow - pondering good old time and gathering excuses for lack of success.... If Microsoft is a startup... I can accept. If otherwise... I could only foresee - disrupted, waves after waves, until the inevitable doom faith like Kodak and the likes...
  • I fully agree Daniel. As a former Windows Phone developer evangelist I'd love to participate.
  • Steve Jobs was told "there is no market yet for what u want to create" .... He went ahead nevertheless to create Apple and became the legend... I hate to say this.. It takes strong leadership to drive Andromeda through the tipping point of success History will not remind us who are the indecisive Lob managers but the whole responsibility could only attributed to the CEO..
  • Now is not the time for Empathy consensus leadership.. Every single Microsoft users in this planet - who truly care.. are shouting out loud... Give us the damp f¥¥$¢©® Andromeda... Now...
  • Thank you Jez - one of the best articles ever written on Windows Central. If Microsoft fumbles this opportunity to one-up Samsung and Apple, they will be doomed to be the IBM of the twenty-first century.
  • I don’t see why they can’t release this with a surface pen and access to Xbox 360 games from the cloud (via WiFi) and a sketch app suite and call it a day. Even if this is all it could do it’ll be a success
  • They could even create an android flagship phone without any trouble, if just to fill the void by missing w10 devices.
    Be it music or wearables also, they could continue without problems, would they consider fan's feelings.
    Doesn't matter what shtdevice it is, if you can bring somethin and then next gen.
    Andromeda is the beginning for Microsoft, Foldable androids frim samsung,... that are coming are next gen. Customers then follow.
  • I agree they should release it already, but no need for an insider preview. When it's ready, just put it out there. Rumor is that lots of manufacturers are working on dual-screen mobile devices for Android and even an Apple version. MS is at risk of being last to the table once again, which dooms the product before it even gets out. The need to get something out this fall or I think they miss the boat.
  • MSFT simply needs to personally invest in the ecosystem. The boost from PWA and windows on arm isn't far off, so all it needs is enough boost to last till developers jump on board.
  • Paradigm shift..........missed. MS once again missed the boat on this magical new device category they were crowing about for a while now. ZTE beat them to the punch, now others will be releasing theirs very soon, and ms will come up with excuses for nads and his total lack of testicular fortitude.
  • Paradigm shift........missed.....again. Once again ms failed to deliver on their promises of amazing products. Once again they kept teasing these silly Patents and making the fan babies go NUTS here. Once again, Ole Nads shows he has the testicular fortitude of a slug.
  • The next Paradigm Shift...….MISSED! MS is the king of over promise and under deliver. Here is just another example. They have canned this project (not publically because Nads don't have the testicular fortitude to), because of NO APP ECOSYSTEM. Again, the other companies will have their foldable phones but not a phone but really is a phone devices released soon and MS and their spineless CEO will watch as they take off while their device just rots in the minds of fanbabies everywhere.
  • Bring Andromeda to market - petition:
  • I don't mind it coming a bit later. app support could be an issue, as reception for pwa is lukewarm on windows 10. I trust microsoft will make great hardware. I'm less enthousiastic about andriomeda OS. I think it's too conservative and does not have enough focus on OS and UI design with mobility and tablet design in mind. I think a desktop experience on a smaller screen form factor is not the way to go with windows 10 andromeda OS. It's should be a much deeper focus of a mobile OS with the power of the pc in your pocket matra, not a desktop pc in your pocket mantra. I'm not sure microsoft can pull this off. I think there are still looming issues with windows 10 mobile and windows 10 today that need adressing. I 've seen no significant movement in that space.
    I don't see much value in this device for real world use and value if this issue is not adressed. It is what I'm running in to with daily use of my windows 10 mobile and surface pro device for business and personal use….pc.
    If microsft can not adress them today with windows 10 after a more than 4 year wait, I have a hard time seeing them pull it off for andromeda, even if it were released today.It would only be a device for coolness factor, forgetting practicality with design.
    For me the value of this desing would be the stylus and inking technolgy. being able to write and convert handwriting with 99,9% accuracy on the go (AND language support!!!) , could greatly improve productivity on the go. This device would be disruptive.
  • Probably the device is good to go from a hardware perspective but the software and services aren't ready. A pocketable device has to have a minimum set of core native services that shouldn't be farmed out to third parties, otherwise you lose control of your platform. For many people this includes voice assistant. So rumors of cancellation make me really sad because it means MS doesn't want to invest sufficiently to make Cortana/Bing both feature-competitive and fully internationalized. To me this practically signals the end of MS's ambitions in the pocketable space.
  • Market conditioning for the launch of the Andromeda device: