Surface Mobile: Andromeda tease and leaked email

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Every week seems to bring a new confirmation that a Surface Mobile (or 'Surface Phone', though I really can't see it being called that), a.k.a. Project Andromeda, is coming this Autumn (2018). This week we've had several, which I wanted to mention, including one from Microsoft's hardware chief himself, Panos Panay.

Panos Panay tweeted:

So checking all the boxes then Panos: hinge, dual screen, LG Display. With tongue in cheeek, though it would be too cruel to do this sort of thing and not have something real at the end. So again, think Autumn 2018.

LG has been linked with Microsoft in the past, with the Economic Times of Korea reporting in December 2016 that LG has secured Microsoft as a partner for its new foldable displays.

Then we have The Verge:

According to a Microsoft internal document obtained by The Verge, it’s also going to be a pocketable Surface device.

Microsoft describes its Andromeda project as something the company has quietly incubated internally, and that will create a “new and disruptive” device category to influence the overall Surface roadmap and blur the lines between what’s considered PC and mobile. “It’s a new pocketable Surface device form factor that brings together innovative new hardware and software experiences to create a truly personal and versatile computing experience,” is exactly how Microsoft describes the device internally.

Microsoft originally introduced Surface RT and Surface Pro six years ago as devices that were designed to create a new category to challenge the differences between a tablet and laptop. The Surface Pro has successfully disrupted laptops and tablets, and everyone — including Apple to some extent — is copying the Surface approach now. Microsoft’s Andromeda is the next major bet to challenge what we consider a phone and a PC.

The Andromeda device is still being developed in secrecy inside Microsoft, with a wraparound display that bridges the gap of the hinge when it’s fully opened.

Apparently, current engineering samples of the pocketable Surface look identical to the 3D concept created by David Breyer (of whom his latest render is shown below in 'laptop' mode).

Carrying on from The Verge:

Microsoft has also been experimenting with stylus input for Andromeda, so that the device can fold over like a book and a pen can be used to capture digital ink. Prototype devices include styluses and notepad-like apps to capture notes. Microsoft is also experimenting with ARM processors inside prototype Andromeda devices, but it’s not clear if the company will proceed with Intel or Qualcomm for a final device...

Microsoft views Andromeda as a unique response to its failures with Windows Phone devices. “It will blur the lines between mobile and stationary computing,” reads one internal document describing the device. Microsoft is tentatively planning to release Andromeda in 2018, with similar devices from some of Microsoft’s top OEMs to “follow afterwards.”

Fascinating stuff, though you'd have to hope that Microsoft had actually chosen a chipset at this relatively late stage of proceedings!

One of the biggest mysteries is still the final choice of name. Surface Mobile is still the front runner for me. We shall see.