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After Samsung, Microsoft planning a foldable Surface phone soon

The device, called Andromeda, is speculated to be a big smartphone transforming into a tablet when unfolded.

HIGHLIGHTS

  • The device is internally known as Andromeda and will join Microsoft’s existing lineup of Surface branded devices.
  • The book says that Andromeda will be a smartphone first, which means that we can expect some kind of an optimised version of the Windows 10 OS.
  • Microsoft is presently treating the device as a visionary product instead of looking at it as a commercial mainstream offering.

Samsung has been teasing us with the idea of a foldable smartphone for a considerable long time and eventually gave us a demo of what the final product could end up looking when released next year. The Royole FlexPai beat Samsung to a commercial launch with a device that can literally be folded out into a tablet. Therefore, it would be justifiable if other players in the industry also jump on the bandwagon. Huawei has confirmed an official unveil in 2019 and Microsoft is the latest one to join the list, although not officially.

Brad Sams, a journalist and collaborator for tech blog Thurrot.com, has published his book by the name of ‘Beneath a Surface.’ In the book, Sams writes that Microsoft is indeed developing a foldable smartphone. The device is internally known as Andromeda and will join Microsoft’s existing lineup of Surface branded devices. Sams even goes on to give a speculative launch date sometime in 2019.

The book says that Andromeda will be a smartphone first, which means that we can expect some kind of an optimised version of the Windows 10 Operating System. This lines up with the previous leaks that spoke about the underdevelopment CShell UI that could adapt to a smaller display when required and offer the full-blown version of Windows 10 UI when unfolded.

However, Sams mentions that the foldable Andromeda phone won’t be a pocketable device. Whatever we had seen previously in the leaked patent filings related to a compact Surface phone would not necessarily become a reality if we are to believe what the book says. We could, therefore, expect a device sporting dimension of a 7-inch phablet that could unfold into an even bigger canvas.

Microsoft is presently treating the device as a visionary product instead of looking at it as a commercial mainstream offering. The Andromeda will define the path Microsoft would take in the smartphone segment over the next couple of years and similar to Samsung, they too want to play it safe by categorising it as a niche device. Sams says that Microsoft would roll it out in the last quarter of 2019 as soon as the device is ready for production.

Additionally, Sams also says that Microsoft will overhaul the Surface Pro completely in 2019. Similar to Apple iPad Pro, Microsoft will give the Pro a bigger screen with thinner bezels, a USB-C port, a host of new colour options and several other new additions. However, none of this is confirmed for now.

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2019 will be a year of foldable devices and with Samsung leading the charge, we could expect it to become the industry norm as soon as possible. Given Microsoft’s expertise in the field of tablets and laptops, we could expect the Redmond giant to modernise personal computing on the move with the Andromeda device and re-establish Windows in the mobile industry.

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