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Just how would a folding tablet like the Surface 'Andromeda' even work?

Surface Logo
Surface Logo (Image credit: Daniel Rubino / Windows Central)

After watching the Surface Hub 2 reveal yesterday, I felt like I was peering into the future. Surface reveal ads have become a bit of a phenomenon unto themselves, but for some reason, I think the Hub 2 has been the most captivating for me so far, even though I'm nowhere near the target audience.

The Surface Hub 2 is a boardroom display on steroids. It features rotational capabilities, inking, seamless integration with multiple Hubs and other Surface products, and can offer full-body Skype conversations as if you were in the same room. Smart screens like this aren't exactly new, but most of them frankly suck, with weak capabilities designed to meet education department budgets. Indeed, the Hub 2 is as niche as they come, but clearly, Microsoft sees an opportunity here. Perhaps they also see a similar niche opportunity with Andromeda.

The rumored Surface "Andromeda" is the near-mythical folding phone-tablet-thing that we've been writing about for what feels like forever at this point. Numerous small leaks, hints in OS code, and patent filings seem to point towards a type of tablet, comprised of two displays that connect at the middle. Since the Surface Hub 2 runs on WCOS/CShell, in a sense, it's offering the first glimpse at a Windows built specifically with multi-display use-cases in mind, such as the folding phone. Of course, you can use multi-monitors with Windows 10 today, but it's not always seamless, nor is it designed with apps in mind, to leverage all of those displays simultaneously. Andromeda, presumably, will be.

That creates various compelling compute scenarios that really got me thinking recently, and I did some (bad) doodles on my Surface Book 2 to explore the possibilities.

Productivity

Naturally, any folding device from Microsoft would likely be aimed at prosumers first, who don't rely on all the hip and cool social apps that will likely never hit PWA or UWP. Don't expect your folding Surface to ever get Snapchat, and at this time, it's unlikely classic Windows Phone apps like WhatsApp will arrive either. Andromeda will likely be designed to accompany your phone, much like a smartwatch, iPad, or even laptop, using Microsoft's "Your Phone" app to keep you informed about happenings on your other devices.

I'm by no means suggesting you'll be able to fully replace your laptop with Andromeda, but envision scenarios where you might only need to do some light word processing, such as a university lecture, a press conference, or some kind of meeting where notetaking in OneNote might be more efficient than whipping out a huge laptop, or trying to awkwardly swipe-type on your phone.

Perhaps after the event, you find a desk and want to convert some handwritten notes and add more context in Word. Setting the phone at an angle could produce a laptop-like experience complete with a virtual keyboard, similarly to the dual-display Lenovo Yoga Book. You could even throw in a Bluetooth keyboard and mouse, similarly to how you're able to with Windows 10 Mobile, albeit with a built-in stand to keep it from falling over.

There are even more possibilities when you throw in (likely) Bluetooth capabilities. Perhaps you take those notes and want to do additional research, keep your word document on one side, and open an Edge browser on the next.

This isn't far removed from simply snapping apps on a laptop, of course. The difference being Andromeda could be something small enough to fold and slip into your pocket, while large enough to be truly productive in short bursts. It could theoretically straddle a niche that isn't quite tablet, phone, or laptop.

Leisure and gaming

Sure, it's unlikely we'll ever see Snapchat on this thing (if indeed, this thing exists), but that doesn't mean you wouldn't be able to have fun on it. Any compatible UWP or PWA app will work on it just fine, scaling as necessary, much like they do on Windows 10 today.

Android phones can already pull off the dual-app thing, allowing you to watch a YouTube video while browsing side by side on your phone's display. But, at least theoretically, a dual-display Windows 10 device could take it a little bit further, processor withstanding.

The hinge creates interesting scenarios for gaming, too. Especially in a world where Microsoft's Xbox team is actively exploring streaming full games from the cloud. One of the biggest issues to solve surrounding this will be control schemes. The Xbox controller's Bluetooth stack is not available on Android, but it will be available on any future Windows 10 tablet device, similarly to how it works on PC and Windows 10 Mobile. Fold the display into tent mode, and game on.

If you don't fancy taking your controller with you, however, perhaps Microsoft could leverage the second display to create a type of virtual software gamepad. While this wouldn't work particularly well for shooters (no triggers or bumpers), there are hundreds of slower-paced games that would work just fine using this touch method.

What do you think?

There are probably dozens of other interesting use cases the folding aspect of Andromeda could have to add to its uniqueness. Dual cameras could produce 3D scanning techniques as Microsoft has hinted at in the past, and Microsoft has been experimenting with all sorts of docking peripherals for folding displays.

There's a chance Andromeda will never see the light of day, but after the Surface Hub 2 reveal, I'm more hopeful than ever that Microsoft will take a chance to do something special, even if its potential audience remains niche. We'll just have to wait and see.

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!

175 Comments
  • Since plenty of people are already using ipads for productivity, the question really is what more can you do with such a device?
  • Convertibility. You can pocket it and use in different use scenarios, more than an iPad, while also running Windows (which is a plus for a lot of us, even outside of corporate scenarios). I can see myself using this exclusively as my smartphone replacement device. Of course it would need to run WhatsApp but I could manage without it.
  • Assuming this is ARM, you aren't really running Windows, just something that might look like Windows Either way, Windows doesn't have software for displays smaller than 10". There has never been demand for Windows on devices smaller than 10". Enterprise or consumer.
  • You're wrong
    My tab is 8" and runs Windows
  • Small Windows devices have never sold well at all. Microsoft has never made a compelling Windows experience for small screens. They have all failed whether you have one or not. If this device is running Windows, it is DOA. If Microsoft has something new and revolutionary, they have a chance.
  • The reason small Windows devices have not sold well is because the they're mainly cheap budget devices that have weak processors giving users a horrible experience.
  • I have one. It sits in a box in the closet. Takes forever to load a program. No memory either, so its pretty useless. The surface line is supposed to be the poster child between hardware and Windows 10 software. I hope they can get andromeda working smooth as butter!
  • I have a Asus VivoTab8 and i very happy with it but im waiting for Windows Lean to see if we have some improvements. I can play emus with the xbox controller and it have more power than the firsts netbooks with atom N270 processors.
  • What other choice does Windows OEMs have? Microsoft hasn't done what they need to do to make sure a processor was available that would work with Windows and fit in a 8" device and not cost more than a base iPad.
  • Microsoft never build a Surface Mini tablet only, perhaps that would have been very popular like the Nexus 7 or the iPad Mini, but that was about 5 years ago, today most people except kids prefer a 2 in 1 of between 11 and 12.5 " due to its portability and productivity features like a full laptop which is much easier to carry than a 15.6 " laptop
  • The Surface Mini was a Windows RT device. Enough said.
  • I think it would sell well if it had detachability and different bases. Modes being: Phone, tablet, physical game controller and/or physical game control with keyboard. Switch is great success, why not encourage Xbox gaming with a handheld. Also virtual gaming controls are subpar. I'd pay $1499.
  • To add to this, there is already a folding android phone that opens into a tablet. Messed around with it and it is nothing special. Microsoft would make a better hinge but I don't think at this point if this device ever comes it will be solely a folding tablet.
  • Quote: There has never been demand for Windows on devices smaller than 10" Well, several million people still use Windows Phones.
  • Android sells several million devices in under a week. No one wanted Windows phones or tablets in relation to the market.
  • Its sad.. people chose the worse operating system.. All for apps like snapchat etc.. which are going down!!..
  • And many others because Microsoft ceases marketing and developing the OS. And that is the worst one, people's chose is one thing but people's options is a completely different one.
  • I chose IOS because of apps. Not snapcrap etc either. Useful apps in my everyday life that were not available on windows mobile. Stop insinuating that EVERYONE who switched platforms was because of snap chat and pokemon go. Smarten up!
  • Exactly, there are so many apps that will never come to Windows. Look at networking products like Ubiquiti, or setting up an Echo device. Can't do that on Windows. Mobile games are important to me too, none of the good ones will ever come to Windows. That brings up a whole new topic of why Microsoft locks out devs from using Xbox Live services on iOS or Android. They missed a huge opportunity with that.
  • @bleached I don't think that's quite right. WP was actually doing okay. It wasn't, maybe, living up to expectations, but it was doing well-enough to survive as an "incubator" of ideas while MS continued to work to get their act together. But then, two things happened. First, the Lumia 950 came out. It was a disaster. It was wretched. It was, I think it is fair to say, the worst smartphone of all time. Like Snow Dogs to Cuba Gooding, Jr., it was so horrible it ruined his whole career. WP deserved to die after that. But it might have gone on, in spite of that, had not a new CEO been instilled. And that was it. The unfortunate fallout is that, by abandoning mobile, MS has also abandoned the consumer OS space, since there are only two important places developers are coding for: the pocket and the cloud, and Windows is neither.
  • I didn't think the Lumia 950 was all bad. The initial release had issues but it got much better with subsequent updates. I think WP was already on it's way down before the L950 was released. I would say the high point for WP was during the Lumia 1020 days. At the time, you had a very stable OS with devices that set itself apart from everything else like a 41 megapixel camera.
  • Exactly. The 950/xl was a fine device. Not as good as the 1020 but gooder than anything from samesong at the time. I told MS how to get windows 10 mobile to gain traction here years ago here. Guess what, they only did what I said to do 3 years ago, like last month. Giving Dev's almost 100 percent royalties on UWP apps. Dummies should have done that when I was screaming about it. Also, they should have included the nokia devices in the 10m upgrade. My 1020 ran 10m fine. A few dummies said it ran slow on 1020s and that got it axed from the official update. what those idiots didn't realize, is, that it was slow on EVERY device starting out. after a couple of months of release, it was fast on my 1020 as 8.1 was on my wifes. But hey? Who am I? How do I know these things better than the almighty satya?
  • Yes, that is what cshell, and UWP are supposed to address. Windows 10 is actually a good experience on my 9.7 inch tablet with the correct scaling, but the issue is twofold - one the UI isn't really great for smaller devices (without a stylus anyway), two legacy apps don't scale correctly. So this is basically MSFTs big long term project. Much like google wants to "scale up slowly", and create a desktop OS, MSFT wants to 'scale down slowly' to create an adaptive OS that works on smaller devices. The first step to that was hybrid tablets with touch screens. The second step to that will be andromeda. You see it's sort of a catch 22- you don't get the app development without the devices, you don't get the users without the app development, and you need the users to sell the devices. Google has the same issue with it's fushia, and also it's VR environment and continuum equivilants - it's apps are too small. Windows apps are too big. So instead of just producing a smartphone, windows slowly slides its way into the market with progressively smaller devices. So basically the point you raise, is exactly why andromeda is the right device for MSFT. There has been just enough app development, and opportunities with PWA to create a hype, which can provide the momentum for more development. And enough time has passed than windows core and cshell must be close. Google will have the same hurdles with fushia, and frankly it's well behind. What you will get is a desktop OS, and phone OS, that only has a dozen or two desktop sized apps, and likely a poorly optimised desktop environment. It will also likely come out well after cshell and windows core. I think though the key here for andromeda, is the sort of niche he's talking about. With a refined UI, a bigger app base, and most importantly the increased pen functionality MSFT talked about at last build, as is slowly arriving in current releases, andromeda will offer a different UI experience from existing smaller windows 10 tablets entirely. The other thing I see them working on is scaling legacy software. It is possible to have an enjoyable UI experience, if not optimal, but serviceable on 9.7 inches with legacy software. Some legacy software actually scales too, like fruity loops and photoshop/illustrator. Now having a serviceable adobe illustrator or fruitloops in your pocket is completely next level compared to existing hardware. So is having app multi-tasking that's actually usable in your pocket, or having a seperate screen for input. The question for me, isn't whether this can have a niche, but rather whether it capitalises on all the things mentioned. It should. Netflix on a bigger screen that fits in your pocket is huge. So is a bigger keyboard, fully intergrated pen use, xbox controller, or running a scalable legacy app. These are all things that other devices either can't do, or can't do well. But they are also a collection of small niches. The person who wants to use illustrator on the train, or write with a pen in a meeting, those are all small groups. Collectively, big enough to have a decent market, but individually? Not so much. So it has to be able to do a lot of things pretty well. And of course there's the seem. That might work okay for productivity or gaming, but pen use? I can see wanting to sketch on this thing, and if you are limited by the screen seem, that's sort of an issue. Something that graphene will one day solve, but for now, it might be a downside that limits the device to simple drawings on one panel. I hope they take their time on it, with that in mind. That of course is the other reason for this device - we already have the tech for a flexible, seemless virtually indestructible OLED screen. It's just currently to pricey to manu. When it's cheap enough, whomever has the best OS platform for it, will likely dominate every OS market. MSFT can see that future. In that sense, it may not matter whether andromeda sells or not at all.
  • Well balanced observation. I personally believe if this (potential) device would deliver as shown in the original MS Courier demo : i.e.(jotting notes, simple drawing - sketching, an electronic device to capture ideas, thoughts, reminders in the form factor of a Moleskin... there will be a (niche) but sizeable audience that would be willing to pay 1k$ for such a device. This device will not be in competition with a smartphone it will create an entirely new market segment. My 2 cents.
  • Windows Central, Mail, Xbox, MyTube, OneNote seem to display fine on a 10" in portrait mode. This time, it's a win10pc btw. Win10 on ARM, not WinPhone.
  • Nobody uses ipad for productivity, consumption only.
  • WOW you know how everyone uses their ipad that is awesome. way to go.
    I know people that do.
  • It's their choice. They won't be very productive.
  • Supposedly half of all iPad sales are to enterprise customers.
  • What kinda productive task are they doing? Email? YouTube? FB? Twitter? Pay bill? Msg pdf? Photo decoration? What kinda commercial products can you produce using an iPad?
  • They be producing more productive sheep talk ..pft
  • Point Of Sale - More and more shops I go to are using the iPad for just that.
  • My VP doesn't have a Mac or PC. He only uses an iPad Pro. Has e-mail, Office, Concur and SalesForce. That's all that's needed. I could mostly survive with only an iPad as well with the same apps. I would say most business users could easily not have a traditional computer and still do their job.
  • If your job requires any amount of typing the ipad Pro is a horrible device. The keyboard is unbelievable bad. Most people I know have tried to use the ipad pro but have gone back to a laptop.
  • That being said, the keyboard on the surface 3 I had was not amazing by any means. So, that comparison is a wash Dave.
  • nice drawings :D
  • That last one actually made me drool a bit. The possibilities!!
  • Wow, jez, did u ever draw for comic books? U r good. Ok, just one comment to add, I thought whatsapp recently released an app for windows 10. Granted that d initial setup may require some pairing or confirmation from a mobile phone, but I think u'll be able to receive & send whatsapp messages on the Andromeda
  • This is a great point, I've been thinking about this. In case you have a SIM in your Andromeda, would WhatsApp recognize itself as the "phone" it needs to pair with? Would they release a special version for it or maybe would they or MS implement special UWP functionality to achieve this?
  • the current version does not work without a phone
  • Well, this will be a phone companion unless they add telephony and then it will run like it does on any phone.
  • First I hear of that. I always read it was going to be a "pocket pc with telephony". If Andromeda is not a phone then it is useless. My hope of this was to replace my phone with Andromeda but then if it ain't a phone it ain't for me.
  • Haha I used to make animated cartoons when I was younger. Yeah, there's def a possibility that it could work in tandem with a phone for stuff like Whatsapp, will have to wait and see.
  • Again. What is the point of this device? I mean really. This is what was coming around the bend? This?!!!!
  • Yeah, unless it can replace your phone, i see none. I'm not going to buy an iPhone and this. Rather a full laptop and iphone, or, ideally, only this understanding that Andromeda means a slight computing compromise.
  • I'm going to buy this and keep my S8.
  • I'm going to buy this and trade in my iPhone for a Android.
  • I'm going to wait and see what it's capable of before committing.
  • I own an 8in tablet. I own an SP3. When I'm out and about a don't want some little tablet. I need a phone. And a phone that can find the information a tablet can find. It's not like I'm doing real work on that size device. And yes I have an iPhone for work. It is sometimes used to scan labels on our IT equipment. But an iPhone has every capability I'd need to get around. And the MAIN thing - it's a PHONE! When it's time to do real work I'm at my desk or my desktop at home. For making comments like this I'll just pull out my SP3. I hope this upcoming device is successful and hope someone finds it useful. To me it's just a gadget. And not a very functional one if it doesn't have a phone.
  • I agree I personally can't see an andromeda device being released that isn't able to replace a phone. Microsoft should be trying to get into the enterprise space promoting it as a replacement for a tablet/phone combo. Samsung, Google and Apple designs are focused on consumers with a big emphasis on camera qualify, spec bumps and sleek design. Enterprise seems more like an after thought. Enterprise in most cases I would think only need a basic camera, decent but not extreme spec and really good build quality. Reducing the spec of certain things, especially the camera could make the device comparably priced while providing more appropriate functionality. The whole phone companion thing I think is actually heading somewhere else. I think this could be focused on people pairing their personal device with their business device negating the need to carry both. It sidelines some of the security issues with dual use devices while giving users what they want.
  • Again. The point is that this is being targeted at proconsumer. Not a phone user. Imagine, if you can, the tech/illustration work a PROFESSIONAL could do with this? Awesome. Collaboration? Work groups? Come on....use the imagination and not your bellybutton
  • Except that you can do all those things already, and better, on an iPad, so why would you want this? what good, really, is the second screen?
  • I'd want it so I don't have to carry a phone and a tablet. No delusions of it replacing my laptop or desktop. As long as it can take calls, has a desktop-class browser and desktop-class OS; I'm good.
  • Especially if the second display is just being used as a kickstand like shown here.
  • You can't fit an iPad in your pocket. The second screen is about maintaining tablet like functionality while increasing portability and the flexibility to put the device into multiple orientations, which can improve UX around specific use cases. The exact same sort of comment can be made around 2 in 1s and laptops, and yet there's a clear set of wins around the hybrid devices.
  • No you can't.
  • your comment reminds me of all of those people that said, why do you want to have a phone with a big screen. Once people had a phone with a bigger screen small tablets sales dropped. This is the next jump in the screen. One that is bigger, but still fits in your pocket. And for those of us that like the windows form factor can use this. Apple, ZTE, Samsung and others are going to have theirs too. Just this will be the first OS (windows 10) that covers all screen types and forms.
  • But it's not a phone. People started buying bigger phones because they had a PHONE that could do all the things a little bigger tablet could do. Am I missing something?
  • You know there is a lot of people out there who are not interested in the Apple eco system, it's a jail.
  • Not it’s not. Just to closed minded fan babies.
  • Why not a Galaxy Note then? You can buy that today and it already has a mature touch ecosystem and even a desktop mode. If Andromeda is running WoA, legacy desktop applications are basically off the table. We know how bad that experience is now and it is going to take much more than the SD845 to fix it.
  • Galaxy Note doesn't run Windows. Not that many people actually need to run legacy apps in all use scenarios but this might run them through emulation or something.
  • Galaxy Note runs Android which actually has an ecosystem for small displays. Windows has none. Emulation is basically useless as reviews of WoA have shown. Microsoft is already backtracking on WoA. If Andromeda doesn't get released, it is because WoA isn't viable.
  • Windows on anything is looking less viable by the day. Unless you /need/ legacy applications, why would anyone buy a Windows device for anything? There's many, many more applications available for ChromeOS, and you get a desktop quality browser and real keyboard, to boot. If you want ultraportability, there's a phone for that. I just don't get it. What do people thing is going to happen here? Windows is dead. Ergo, if this device runs Windows, it too is dead. A second screen doesn't make any appreciable difference that I can see.
  • why would anyone buy a Windows device for anything? To stay away from Google's spying and Apple's price gouging.
    I have a zero Alphabet Inc policy in my house. I won't even give you the wifi password.
  • Well Microsoft are hardly that above Google in terms of "spying"
  • Tinfoil hat brigade. Deadonthefloor ms “spies” just as much as google. Love the fanbaby side not giving the password, that’s fine. The google devices have LTE your password is not needed. Waaaahhhhh
  • Since you don't "get it" then just don't buy it.
  • What is there "to get"? It will be a slightly cooler GPD computer for 3 times as much.
  • do you ever read articles?
  • Nothing in the article differentiates Andromeda from Galaxy Note.
  • Except that it runs Windows, which nobody wants anymore.
  • Then, why are you on a site called Windows Central?....
    .....
    You want Windows.
  • Why are you even here? You make the stupidest comments in every article. Not to mention the flat out wrong comments.
  • Why are legacy desktop apps off the table with WoA? It may not run very well but at least it's able to. Nothing else outside of full Windows has that capability.
  • Answer his question.... Why are you here?
  • Are you asking me why I'm here? I was responding to a comment from Bleached.
    "Emulation is basically useless as reviews of WoA have shown. Microsoft is already backtracking on WoA. If Andromeda doesn't get released, it is because WoA isn't viable."
  • No, I'm asking the pathetic trolls why do they complain constantly about what they aren't interested in.
  • Pacifiers isle 3 Rodney. I think your mom is calling you upstairs to give you some milk and cookies to cheer you up?
  • I love your last comment ... "use the imagination and not your bellybutton".
    Can I use it? 😁
  • I am a proconsumer. A device this small without a phone is pointless to me. I am a professional. I'm no 20 year old looking for some gaming machine. In this point in time the item that's in 99% of everybody's hand when they leave home - is a phone. When they are in the office - they have their phone. When they are out and about - they have their phone. It's a PHONE! - That's what people are using and carrying. This madness about a small tablet is what people are clamoring for just seems shortsighted. But hey if there's a market for it go get it. I just don't see it. Unless if Microsoft's plan is to bring it to market see what the reaction is and then add a phone component later then that will certainly get my attention. As for now. It's a device that just doesn't seem promising to me.
  • This device was nvr gng to ve a phone replacement. It will cater to a niche audience with specific use cases just like surface studio. I was always against wcs position of calling it a ultra mobile pc which will replace a phone and laptop which misguided a lot of fans here
  • I am a prosumer too working + 34 years in a corporate environment and I can imagine a zillion potential uses. And phone would be to last that would come across my mind....
  • LOL! This is funny. I tell you what. If you have a cell phone get rid of it. Toss it in the trash. See what happens. Stop lying to yourself.
  • Do not think inside the box. 2 screens is just the beginning, imagine if it has 4 screens (so on all sides a screen) think Westworld and then use your imagination.....
  • Perhaps the gen Z will know.
  • The long play for Microsoft is getting developers excited about this device (and consequently, Windows 10). The uniqueness of the possible display configurations and the opportunities it creates will do some of this - but for the most part developers will only get excited if they see a large market potential to target. This is where I think portable / Switch-like gaming will need to come into play. I truly believe Microsoft has a substantial opportunity here if they can manage to market this device as ALSO a gaming device from day one. Offer a unique dual controller type of pad that this thing can snap into and enable Xbox cloud streaming of games. Combine this with the cool Windows 10 Andromeda productivity stuff, ability to run Windows 10 apps / PWA's / UWP's and add in telephony to boot and WOW. Now that would be a device that truly advances a new category. Microsoft PLEASE MAKE THIS HAPPEN.
  • I don't know, I think the long play for MS is actually convincing everyone to use their Azure services and tie their products into the Microsoft Graph, with devices and Windows just being a way to showcase use cases around their cloud technologies. I don't think they should care if a dev is building apps for Android or iOS if those apps hook into cross platform apis and services that work with the Microsoft ecosystem. MS is leaning into a future where the concept of OS is more about a service fabric that permeates a multi-device multi-platform ecosystem than it is about what bits are running a particular device. The individual components don't really matter as much as that things are built in such a way that there's this coherency to the user around the actions they're taking and the experiences they're having. And that's all about the cloud services, not the device OSes. So once you've got that, device and OS features are more about enabling experiences that you otherwise wouldn't be able to do, and catering to specific niches that need those experiences rather than trying to win some numbers game in consumer electronics. People will make apps for Andromeda even if sales aren't great (as long as it sells *enough*) in those areas in which Andromeda represents the only way to accomplish something. Just like HoloLens has fairly low absolute sales, but has a lot of developer interest in a number of industries. It won't get a bunch of consumer app devs that currently target phones to switch over, but it doesn't need to.
  • A MS with balls would announce this at e3 and make it compatible with xbox 360 games along with it's own branded games.
  • A MS with balls would still be pushing windows 10 mobile. There, Fixed that for you!
  • Just make it already.
  • First, I think the drawings are solid. The communicate what you're thinking. I definitely think there's a use case/market for this sort of thing, although it would be niche for sure to start. I know a lot of people who don't like to go into a meeting with their laptop turned on as it serves as a distraction. But if they have a small task they need to accomplish, that means they have to boot up their computer, log-in, etc. It takes time and could disrupt the flow of the meeting. Windows on ARM can provide that quick, instant on experience, but it doesn't meet the needs of all, let alone most, business users. Then having a Windows on ARM laptop/tablet along an x86 laptop/tablet feels redundant. I don't think many are running both devices. But a pocketable device that could take notes quickly and then send those out to the team or look up a piece of information quickly, there's potential there. Then there's the gaming aspect. Leverage Xbox Anywhere and there's significant potential. I was seeing that with Windows 10 Mobile. Had the investment been there, W10M could have been a competitor to the Switch in a sense. Minecraft can be played on the go or you could run it in Continuum and connect an Xbox controller and you have the home console feel. If I could take something like Cuphead on the go, that'd be great. If it leverages Xbox Anywhere, users might have some games right off the bat. I also like the idea of 3D captures with this device. Imagine having more than boring 2D photos from your vacation and then being able to experience those in WMR. Engineers could carry a 3D scanner with them. Realtors could create 3D models of a property in minutes and without expensive equipment. The possibilities there are significant. I sort of see this device taking a journey similar to the iPad. When it first came out, people bought it as a supplementary product. It filled the gap between the phone and desktop. But now some people only run an iPad and phone. It's replaced the desktop/laptop. It took a while for the features and performance to be there, but it made that journey. This could do something similar.
  • love the 3d scanner idea.
  • Sometimes I wonder how the future will be, will the social world change, is it to much of it, can we have the combination of business and private, I already have a time problem, when will companies ban all social things on work. I don't want another things like Snapchat into my world
  • I'm not too sure about it. If productivity were the main point, I don't think it'd be big enough for me to want to use as a mini laptop. Current tablets are about as small as I'd go for that. If gaming were the main point, it just wouldn't be the right thing for me. I don't game that much on my phone, just some brainteasers and puzzles once in a while. If entertainment were the main point, I could see its benefits. Larger display is better for media consumption, reading, web browsing, etc. I would definitely enjoy it for media and might choose to actually use my phone more because of it. I guess the bottom line for me is that the possible functions of a dual screen are still FAR less important than its primary functions as a phone, personal device, and accessible camera. THOSE would be the selling points to somebody like me, followed by its content consumption benefits.
  • It's likely not going to be targeting you; the most obvious target is people who have
    a need to carry around Moleskine notebooks. Note taking, art, and then because it's digital, quick collaboration tasks, etc. Think students, artists, designers and front line workers.
  • I get it. I guess I just believe that people will first want it to do the things they currently do with their smartphones well, THEN they will be open to any added functionality.
  • Voila, that's exactly the target group and that target group couldn't care less whether this device would be suitable to make phone calls. A Moleskin cannot make phone calls....
  • That's not true. I would much rather carry one do-it-all than a phone, moleskin and often a laptop too.
  • That will be for release III
  • Has anyone watched WestWorld? The folding tablets they use for almost everything from changing settings on devices (In their case androids) to communicating, and in some instances flopping them down on a desk to interact with large consoles. The screenshots showed multicolumn data displays that were rich and potentially useful. (I know, they were no doubt simulated) Point is, it showed a use case for a folding tablet that was really imaginative, and I kept thinking "Andromeda?"
  • Bingo, that's exactly the kind of imaginative thinking this device will need, but screens on all sides, not just the interior sides...
  • I suppose ppl on westworld dont drop their devices ? ;)
  • no. btw I am using phones and smartphones since the previous century (mobile phones) and I never dropped one.
  • I suppose this is an article for unimaginative idiots? :P
  • Some of the replies come from that group.
  • The Surface Andromeda must be a mini Yoga Book with the ability to make real phone calls and texts without Your Phone integration, and also must have a GPS, or there’s simply no point.
  • It won't be.
  • Nope.
    I keep telling people the only way future Windows releases will support telephony is via VOIP providers and possibly VoLTE. Microsoft are out of the gsm/cdma/umts space.
  • Why are you so convinced it won't be capable of making phone calls?
  • Microsoft already tried this idea with the windows phone dock. It didn't go well, maybe they could open up the ecosystem hardware to a m3 cpu and compatible chipset, so that it could run actual windows. Windows is the only mature ecosystem that would help adopt this type of device.
  • True, but if the thing has enough power it's not unusual for people to have a laptop or tablet as a work device connected to a dock. So
  • The sections under Productivity spell out the uses and productivity. I agree that this device will be snapped by the prosumers. My Surface Book will be left at home/office, yet I will be able to get work done.
  • Exactly! I would be all over this.
  • can't wait, I'm in no matter what.
  • Give me a break. This is simply speculation. Get back to us when Nadella sells the first copies.
  • Oh look, the usual lagdroid/fandroid trolls are here posting instead of having a circle jerk over at lagdroid central.
  • Exactly... Broke Trolls that own low end Android devices, and can't even get on Android central because they can't relate to Android fans that have the cool devices, nice jobs, and a life.
    They need to put their 4" "Galaxy Express" phones down, and get back to work flipping those burgers.... And, I'm sure these trolls are missing front teeth to. 😂😂😂
  • I've been using an Android phone for the past 4 months with minimal issues. I didn't have a choice but to go with "lagdroid", Microsoft saw to that.
  • Stop talking about yourself Rodney.....You do own a Harley afterall...speaking of missing teeth and being a dirtbag.
  • Maate, we have no choice now. MS has told us to go somewhere else for our mobile work. I was an MS fanboy but Nadella has told me go elsewhere.
  • Me too long. I was all in with ms right down to using windows phone, zune, groove music etc. Microsoft under Nadella’s lead told me to move on. I did for the post part.
  • Oh look, a bait!
  • This is gonna be a really stupid and redundant device.
  • Why?
  • Why isn't it?
  • When Windows 10 ARM version 2 or 3 is released it will become more obvious as to how this will work. Here's a couple of videoes that explains it all - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pb5a_BhFg-g
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vXAXqgNh8tM Yes the Motorola Razr V4 or Samsung Galaxy Wing, the latest in flip phone technology. Hence my comment to wait for Windows 10 ARM next version (2 or 3), that includes a phone app. As soon as basic phone capability comes back into the OS then you won't need to be asking these questions.
  • What happened to Windows 10 HDMI Sticks, wasn't this a full desktop OS as tiny as a USB drive? IMO the folding surface could be a killer device if it provides enough features to convert into a full desktop productivity environment like a Samusng Dex Station, but please put Windows ARM on it, not the garbage of Windows 10S
  • I don't think Microsoft will sell phones again.
  • The way this is going one will need to have a smartphone, laptop, PC and also an Andromeda device just to get through the day. They're really making our lives easier with this Core OS aren't they?
  • No. My plan is to go back to feature phone when my Lumia 950XL kicks the bucket. With my carrier launching eSIM support this year, I expect I'll just be able to add this device to my existing data plan.
  • Nice article with drawings and imaginative content.
    Well done Jez.
    Now, let's start an era of news/ blog with pen created content.
    That's making the most of current Windows 10 device, and will be one of the use cases for Andromeda as well.
  • Def gonna use my pen more often... !
  • Busy Talk!
  • If this device can't replace any other devices then it's pointless. If it makes calls then it needs to be able to replace a phone, if it doesn't make calls then it needs to be able to replace a laptop much like a Surface Pro does. It can't simply exist to be an additional item people need to carry around, prosumer or not. And just to add that having 60+ million Windows Phones being used at 1 point wasn't worth it to MS. But somehow refreshing the Surface 3, a product that sold maybe a million units and releasing an extremely niche product that can't take the place of any other device and might sell as many units as the Surface Studio is worth it. I just don't get it. I loved my Surface 3, I love my Surface Pro 4 and I have been excited about Andromeda but man, they are absolutely clueless. Abandoning the phone market for these types of things is just asinine and we are now seeing the effects of these bad calls as Windows has become so irrelevant that MS is itself changing direction away from it to other services. We sure have fallen from where we were just 4 or 5 years ago.
  • No worries, its just Busy Talk, the art of talking about something just for the sake of talking about it with no real intent or timeline on bringing said subject matter to fruition.. Busy Talk! Another way to say it is, You can believe it when you see it. Even if some photos were leaked of said subject matter, its still just Busy Talk.
  • Yeah you're right. And it works. It gets me all fired up so they got the clicks they needed. I will say that I know for a fact that the item that took the pic tweeted by Panos a couple weeks ago was Andromeda. If you blow that reflection up correctly, you can easily see it's a woman taking the pic. You can see her hair laying on her shoulders. You can also see she is using both hands holding a device that has 2 vertical screens with a center or separation (hinge) between them. Look I'm still excited to see what this becomes but I have zero faith in MS and releasing a product that replaces nothing and is only targeted at less than 1% of the population while abandoning something that targeted 100% of the population is exactly the kind of stupid, out of touch thing they would do. It's exactly the type of thing that put them in the position they're in now.
  • Haha, I like your doodles! 😄 But what if... The projected low price Surface IS the Andromeda device?
  • How big are we expecting this device to be? Because that is going to be a major factor in it's "pocketability" in terms of replacing a phone, which it kind of needs to do if it wants to gain any kind of serious traction.
  • It can't replace your phone. Because it's a PC/tablet/2in1, whatever you want to call it.
  • This could be fantastic. The best success this could have is by giving the option to use this as a phone replacement too. Ensure it has call and messaging capabilities. Get the important apps to work on this, otherwise develop PWA's. It doesn't have to be all apps, just the important ones. If you have the most used apps covered then all Windows fans will buy one, and if the PWA's are done well it could bring on new customers. I don't see the attraction of carrying this around if I have to carry my phone as well. The option of watching a TV show on one screen and using the other to look at Instagram, facebook, messages, or whatsapp is a fantastic option! That kind of multitasking has never been available for Windows Phone Users.
  • People bitched about the iPhone before it was first shown too. Where's the keyboard? Who'll pay $500 for a phone. Just release it and convince people to want it because it looks freakin cool.
  • This looks impressive and I don't think your doodles are bad. They convey the message.
  • If it's not a phone, you can forget about it. Nobody will carry two separate devices that overlap in features. And no, almost nobody needs a digital note-taker or something to that effect. A phone can do that more than fine. PS. Also, seriously, what is wrong with your site's log-in. I've been trying for tens of minutes to recover my old account. Your site keeps telling me they don't have an account with that email or name when I actually have both in an email you sent to me when you confirmed my account was created. Pls, fix your stuff.. I get like 50 seconds cooldown after one erroneous password entry. Are.. you.. serious. I might not have this patience again.
  • The second sketch really wouldn't be a viable usage scenario for this device. One of the supposed appeals for Andromedia is that it would be pocketable, which means a max size of about 6.3 inches for each screen. There is no way such a small device would be usable in a "laptop" mode where you would sit it on a tabletop surface and bang out text on one of the virtual keyboard screens. You'd be better off just holding it like a smartphone. Even with a Bluetooth keyboard, it would still be a pain in the butt trying to be productive looking at a 6.3 inch screen. There's a reason why you've probably never seen anyone using a Galaxy Note with a Bluetooth keyboard. It's just too small to do any real work on.
  • This will not be a phone replacement or laptop replacement as ppl imagine it here, it will be a niche and the reason we dont hear abt it yet is because MS needs to create softwares and applications first to cater the specific use case it has in mind.
  • I love the Surface Hub 2. It is incredibly beautiful. The Surface team is doing fantastic job. I hope Andromeda will be superb also.
  • Considering that the first telephones were designed for business use. we know how that turned out, then computers were primarily targeted at businesses but as time passed and those people who used them in their work bought them when they developed the home pcs, so this multipurpose device will make it's mark first in the business world and then morph into home/private use.
    Consumers like new gadgets just like the tablets that came out but as someone said when the phones got bigger they started buying them up. Now that the market is saturated with smartphones and it is beginning to drop off some the time is right for a new device that has the advantages of the phone with the abilities of the pc and the connectivity of the operating system with the power of the cloud that connects them all together.
    The world is getting smaller in terms of people being connected as never before. Having one device that will fill the need that consumers have will take something like this Andromeda device to top. The first to effectively produce this device will rule the market like Apple has with the smartphone. It may possible be Apple that does this but it will be Microsoft that opens that door.
  • Well yes, business can afford expensive devices, whereas consumers wait till manufacturing makes the devices cheap. Smartphones wouldn't exist if millionaires in the 80s didn't buy brick cellphones. Same with pretty much everything. When the technology is new - business will fund it's advancement. When it's mature, consumers will buy it. It's looking more and more like apple and microsoft will exist in this flexible device space that graphene will create, and that google will be left behind. iOS is more tablet freindly, although the desktop side is still totally unoptimized for touch, the ipad almost exists in a middle space already. MSFT will get there with this type of development, and hopefully eventually move over all the power user software. Google only a handful of tablet optimised apps, and very few that work well on a desktop environment (or VR for that matter). They are focused on android and chrome, and fushia is still nowhere to be seen. They are behind in meeting the horizon.
  • "Andromeda: A Galaxy Beyond " If it ever comes out, here's a Microsoft tagline that could be a nice, subtle play at Samsung. :)
  • Too little too late. The world has moved on to chromebooks, imacs and android and apple phones. And so has MS. MS has pretty much killed the infrastructure this device needs to become successful, unless they use android or ios to run it. And MS has alienated developers and customers too much. Just give it up, MS should focus on services which can be accessed through a browser and abandon everything else. I can't help feeling they themselves have decided that windows no longer has a future in the long run. Thank you Nadella!
  • Chromebooks, you mean the US school kids use? the other 6.8 billion people are NOT interested in chromebooks. It's pathetic.
  • It would have been if Windows central had reviewed zte axon m and analyze what Microsoft could do better and what are positive things about dual screen formfactor.
    What I observed from reviews dual screen phones excells at
    1)Reading apps that offers dual screen interface
    2)Full screen web Browsing where app stretches to both screen.
    3)Gaming where one screen only display game content without any controls and other screen offers controls and settings.
    Lots of other scenarios involving multiple instances apps,new dual screen focused apps designs
  • With this prep work for graphene flexible OLED (whether andromeda itself sells well or not), it's looking like eventually google might be out of the OS game. MSFT will have cshell/windows core. Apple's iOS has more tablet scaling apps than android, so when apple creates it's hybrid OS, it might have a good shot. Same with MFST with the angle it's taking. Google is still stuck with primarily phone sized apps that don't work well on desktop, VR or on a tablet. It's making MSFTs historical mistake and assuming the tech market is static.
    As for andromeda, well it's going to be great for prosumers - only issue I see is the screen crease is going to inhibit the use of say, adobe illustrator (which does have a touch mode), that would otherwise be amazing on a pocketable device. Guess artists will have to make do with one screen until flexible screens come. One use that isn't mentioned - using Netflix on both screens, full sized! The screen crease is supposed to be nearly invisible, and having a pocketable device that folds out to a tablet will be amazing for travellers and on the go people who want to Netflix or youtube on the go....
  • Just curios, since when doesn't the Xbox one controller pair with android? I use my controller with my S8+ and my Nexus all the time?
  • Image of smart device in past was a device capable of doing anything. Basically thats whats smartphone and connected smart devices about, with smart glasses being the ultimate evolved form. Saying it wont replace this or that is wrong thinking. It may also not bring back apps, but why, just having best AI is enough, like you may say/write/choose from menu to post a pic on that network(facebook, instagram) and AI will do that. Best, I mean The Best AI is more important than some apps.
  • I wanna play God of War 4, Shadow of the Tomb Raider on this.
  • A foldable devise would make me stay faaaaar away since it would be unconvenient for me to bring it to work (work in construction).
  • It has so many hinges you can articulate whatever you wish.
  • I absolutely LOVE these drawings. They make me happy! ;)
  • Well first you unfold it, then you fold it again, then unfold it and it's now broken. You send it back for a replacement. Repeat 7 times. Satay discontinues a loss making product due to Microsoft firing all their QA staff. They couldn't get a 0.5mm charging wire right in the Band 2, you think they will get a flexible display right? The geniuses in Microsoft are in research and engineering/programming... The retards are the bean counters and the hazelnut bbq chicken fart itself...
  • Andromeda or Surface Phone needs to be a Windows 10 mobile when folded, and Windows 10 on Arm when opened. How this can work from a software engineering standpoint is rather simple actually. You need hardware that supports SecureBoot and Cellular telephony like a phone. However, the base OS is Windows 10 Arm. However, this W10A also includes HyperV, which emulates Windows 10 mobile environment to fool apps like WhatsApp into thinking it's running in native WinMo. Using HyperV also allow multiple WinMo apps to be snapped to different parts of the screen. Apps that are UWP or bridged apps that are recompiled for ARM will run at native speed, so most Windows Store apps will be available. Andromeda will only run in S mode so no x86 emulated programs are allowed for now since the SD835/84x is not powerful enough to run emulated programs in those thermal envelope. If this becomes a reality, I will be first in line to buy one!
  • watch 20sec in https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=19&v=lNhCZMxla00
    Imagine joining two Suface Hub 2 but the size of a phone
    with Windows Core OS, C-shell that responds to a whole different arrays of sensors on the phone to understand which sides are facing and away from the users. The sky is the limit...
  • Actually those are pretty good doodles.
  • Remember Folks Satya Nadella said we will make phones but they wont be like any out there now.
    Windows 10 is now a modular OS with a Core that you can add to and take away
    functions to create Computers of various types. The Andromeda version of Windows 10 is the only one that is lated to have voice Telephony components so this dual screen Tablet will have a built in Cell Phone I fully expect Microsoft to debut Andromeda Tablets Later This this year with a model that does have a built in 4G Cell Phone. it will be the closest thing to a smart phone Microsoft
    will make. this 2 screen Andromeda device needs a blue tooth headset to help it's owner use the built in Cell Phone it would very Awkward to send and receive voice phone calls on unless you like speaker phone.
  • Remember Gregory, Satya is a pathological liar when it comes to devices etc. So...take his words with a grain of salt. He said if the OEMS won't make phones, WE WILL. He also said that MS will support windows 10 mobile LONG TERM, he also said, …….well you get the point there !
  • we'll just have to wait and see.
    I think the dual screen, touch and pen input based use will be the best value and experience on the mythical andromeda device. For other productivity, within the hardware constraints of the device I would use and external keyboard. I would see andromeda as the follow-up to continuum on phone yet fit the profile of the courier device potential. I think the virtual keyboard will be a poor experience and selling point. It's cool and futuristic but not practical. I can use swipe just fine, but I can't even use the virtual keyboard on my surface pro properly today. For true productivity and for blind typing and need that physical keypress. It's just too mentally frustating having to look at my fingers on the screen all the time to see what I'm typing. But I've learned to be productive with swiping on a smaller screen. For me that's a better visual way to use the virtual keyboard, together with predictive text, not having to worry about pressing the wrong keys all the time. I think that will fit the profile of the andromeda better.
  • This is will be greate but MS has afraid to Inovate they tried with Kinect, HoloLens, and with continuum, without sucess, and im believe they didtn try inovate anymore.
  • This article mentions folding devices made by Samsung, Motorola, Lg, Apple,, and Huawei.
    No mention of any Microsoft product....
    https://www.msn.com/en-ca/news/techandscience/top-5-foldable-phones-to-e...
  • The idea that this phablet will have unique capabilities is awesome. Imagine sharing video, pix, data, with a friend. you sit opposite, fold it in a 🗻
    and everything you see, they see on the other side, suitably oriented. if u r writing a paper together your docs are simulatqneously edited and revised for each other . have you Ever tried that? sounds like fun.
  • I am sorry but for me if the Andromeda phone doesn't support Whatsapp and at least all apps on my L950 , am not interested . Am still good with my L950 , once it wears off , my next phone is an iPhone .
  • The Surface line will be gone in 2019. As with all of their hardware, these are just reference point tech demos for OEM's, that's all. Satan Nutella only wants software, and only wants Windows Enterprise, Office 365 and Azure, and that's what he is going to get. The market share for Surface is at the same percentage that Windows Phone was. Wall Street won't put with that kind of market share and neither will Nutella.
  • I don't think so, Surface is what Windows PCs made relevant again. This can also happen with mobile devices ;) Why did they launch the Surface Book 2 this year, and more recently the Surface Hub then? Don't cry about your losses [Windows Phone], look at the future. Don't be pessimistic! ;)
  • I think the folding screen form is long over due. I'd actually like to see the option to ditch the regular surface keyboard and use a 'screen bridge' if you get my meaning and stitch two surface pro screens together. BOOM!
    Maybe this bridge could be the 'surface spine'?
  • What is Snapchat then? Is that a thing? No ****, I used that crap on my Android phone and deleted it after some months, it's a complete waste of time, whereas things like Instagram are actually useful, to keep a kind of line with your memories [in picture] like I do. I loved my 920 and LOVED the camera and microphones of my 950! Now I'm stuck with slowing down Android having a Snapdragon 820 and 4GB of ram. It still sucks! Updates are terribly slow (or never arrive?) and the microphones it has? HORRIBLE! I think there is some serious place for Microsoft, especially this year, with each copycat getting on the notch-game! I love my Surface Pro and I've been touching my phone screen an endless amount of times with my Surface Pen, wishing I could write on it! [the notepad Surface Pro is amazing :)] And guess what? I dont like the curved edge screen [Samsung] and neither do I like Android, or the S Pen! COME ON MICROSOFT, LEAP AHEAD!