Microsoft has reportedly been working on a pocket-sized device with a folding display that allows you to use the little computer as a tablet or as a handheld, phone-sized device. Code-named “Andromeda,” Microsoft has yet to officially confirm the device’s existence, but details have been leaking for the past year.

After learning a few weeks ago that Andromeda was (probably) real, we learned that the project had been shelved, at least temporarily.

Now a new report indicates that Andromeda isn’t exactly dead. It’s just getting an overhaul before Microsoft decides whether to release it to market.

Andromeda (constellation) / img credit: Till Credner/ AlltheSky.com

Writing for Thurrott.com, blogger Brad Sams reports that”multiple sources” suggest that Microsoft had planned to ship the Andromeda device in the second half of 2018, but that the company hasn’t included the software necessary to power the device in Windows 10 Redstone 5, the version that will ship this fall.

That doesn’t mean Microsoft has pulled the plug on the project. Instead, Sams says that the company decided there’s no compelling reason for people to buy the device as it currently exists. So rather than releasing it and watching it flop, Microsoft is said to be reworking the hardware and software to ensure that it can make a compelling case for why people should spend money on these things.

The Andromeda device would most likely become part of Microsoft’s Surface Product if and when it launches, and Surface devices tend to be premium computers that offer high-quality hardware optimized for Microsoft’s software. Even the new Surface Go, with its relatively affordable $399 starting price has premium features including a 165-degree hinge, a Windows Hello IR camera, a high-resolution display and the smallest, lightest design of any Surface device to date.

If the Andromeda device were to ship today, it would have an unusual form factor, but it’d likely run Windows on ARM software with all the limitations that currently apply and a relatively slow Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 processor that’s good enough for native apps compiled for ARM, but which can struggle with x86 apps.

So Sams says his sources are telling him that it’s unlikely Andromeda would ship until 2019 when it would be possible to include a Qualcomm Snapdragon 850 processor or another chip that could provide a better experience.

Or maybe Microsoft will never get Andromeda to a point where its ready for release. It’s not dead yet… but it’s not fully alive either.

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2 replies on “Update: Microsoft’s dual-screen “Andromeda” device isn’t (quite) dead”

  1. Yup, it’s nice MS is taking risks to innovate in the smartphone/PC space. It’s too bad other companies have only been making minor changes for several years now. The only big changes I’ve seen are when they remove features for aesthetics (aesthetic in their minds anyway).

  2. Makes sense for MS to better figure out what market to target or, more ambitiously, figure out how to create a whole new market. From what it sounds like, this Andromeda device is highly experimental and very risky to release right now. Although, for a comfortably pocketable device that can run full Windows, I’d buy it even with some trade offs most probably aren’t willing to make.

    Anyway, good luck to MS. I’m glad they’re looking into more innovative designs. The smartphone and PC space has been very stagnant and boring for many years now.

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