Report: Microsoft Pushes Andromeda to 2019, May Cancel Project

Posted on July 2, 2018 by Mehedi Hassan in Hardware, Microsoft Surface with 69 Comments

Microsoft has been expected to release its foldable mobile device, codenamed Andromeda, this year. But that may not be the case anymore.

According to a new report from Mary Jo Foley, Microsoft has essentially delayed the software for Andromeda. The company is building a different version of Windows 10 specifically for Andromeda to support the dual-screen nature of the device. Microsoft was originally planning to merge the software work for Andromeda with Windows 10 Redstone 5, but that’s not going to happen anymore.

There isn’t an exact reason behind the delay, however. Microsoft never discussed Andromeda publicly, though it detailed the device in an internal email obtained by Thurrott last week. Of course, the email doesn’t add anything new to what we already know about the device, but it did create a lot of hype around the device — and the latest report is here to destroy that all.

Here is the thing: it’s unlikely we will see Andromeda this year, and there’s a possibility the device could be cancelled. I think it is safe to say that Andromeda has been unnecessarily hyped by Windows Phone fans and Microsoft blogs, and there really isn’t a mass market appeal for a foldable mobile device. Even if Andromeda turned out to be like all the concepts we have seen, would it really be capable of competing with the iPhone? Yes, Microsoft is focusing more on its commercial customers with Andromeda, but even they may not be appealed by a foldable mobile device that will likely lack a lot of the enterprise applications.

And that’s one of the reasons behind Andromeda’s delay, combined with scheduling and quality problems, reports Mary Jo Foley. From what I have seen before, Andromeda’s software is in a rough stage at this point. Microsoft has a ton of work to be done to perfect this device, and even then the project may end up being more of a prototype product than a polished product. Will it get completely cancelled? Who knows.

But yes, even if Microsoft does completely cancel Andromeda, the company could use some of the tech for the product to build a foldable small PC that’s capable of running desktop apps, notes MJF.

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Comments (69)

69 responses to “Report: Microsoft Pushes Andromeda to 2019, May Cancel Project”

  1. Polycrastinator

    I'm intrigued by the device, as I was with Courier, but at the same time it's really hard to figure out who it would be fore. It seems like such a niche, and one that Apple probably already has sewn up with iPad if we're honest.

    • VancouverNinja

      In reply to Polycrastinator:

      This is a convergence device. Our household has iPads and iPhones. The iPads almost never get used. If your phone can open up, when you need it, to a full 10” screen the need for two separate devices is eliminated. Essentially if the form factor takes off tablets are finished for consumer and most business uses with the exception of being used by front line workers e.g cashier tills etc.

      • Awhispersecho

        In reply to VancouverNinja:

        With any other company this thing would be a home run. Something that can be a tablet and a phone and be used for writing and art is a game changer. Apple could see hundreds of millions of these things. With MS it will probably get canceled because they think there is no interest and it's a pointless device. Absolutely pathetic.

  2. Darekmeridian

    I bet if Apple put this thing out and called it an iNote they would sell millions of them.


    Microsoft always seems to be a generation late or strategy deficient in the mobile area. It's starting to just get sad. I am not sure if this Andromeda thing would fly or not, but it could have been a good starting point for something that got better over time. Seems like a confidence problem someplace.



  3. Igor Engelen

    I honestly think there could be a big market for this device. Makes me think of that old high end foldable Nokia in a good way.

    Microsoft could even try to enter the gaming segment that now has the Nintendo ds and psp like devices. Hell, they could even use it as an xbox controller with a small screen for additional information, a small map, plenty of options.

  4. glenn8878

    There's no such thing as a polished product from Microsoft. Everything is rough around the edges and work arounds a plenty.

  5. Mike Widrick

    I assume this information would leak because it was going to be canceled.


    I'm not sure what I think about the device. This is one that can't really be judged without a full, working prototype because the devil is in the details.

  6. MixedFarmer75

    I want to buy one to replace my Surface 3 which is just a little too large for note taking. The note 8 is too small. A Surface Mini, or iPad Mini with pen support would fit the bill nicely.


    • crmguru

      Interesting is that most posts are about how a 2 screen phone is not what the market needs. But this seems to be more of a folding 10" ARM device running windows 10 apps . So Microsoft Office and the Productivity Stack like OneNote, on a device that can also take a skype call, or phone call. So I tried for quite some time taking notes on my Galaxy note 8+... Too small. I love taking notes on my surface 13", but If I could have something a bit smaller that I could take notes on, read a PDF manual, Take some photos on to attach to documents or cases I am working on, and fit in my pocket.... that could be a winner. This could be a great device for mobile workers that are running Teams, or Microsoft centric apps like Dynamics, Teams, Skype for Business, One Note, and or the power apps platform. The Market make hate it... but you kinda have to build something and try it out before you would really know. In reply to MixedFarmer75:


  7. bbold

    Yikes. Well, at least we know now and won't keep getting our hopes up. I'm taking this as a "No way" from MS, otherwise, and I suggest everyone else do the same. Don't - get - hopes - up. As someone who bought into the MS ecosystem with Windows Phone, Band and other tech that they dropped the ball on, sadly, I'm not surprised. However, I'm still a big fan and enjoy my Surface devices daily.

  8. mocavo67

    As soon as Apple builds a foldable device it will be the next greatest thing. If Microsoft does it nobody will care. I guess its just the way things are


  9. donaldhall3

    From all of us who purchased a MS Band (1 and 2), used MSN Music, then Zune, and Groove, who spent the unnecessary extra $100 on a Kinect (for both XBOXs), Surface RT (1 and yes there was a 2), Games for Windows (remember that one?), and countless other wasted consumer efforts (here's looking at you WebTV) why on earth would anyone spend a single dollar on another DOA Microsoft consumer device??? It's wasted effort. I worked there for 13 years and have literally thousands of dollars worth of movies, tv shows, and games that I know will no longer work sooner rather than later because Microsoft will lose interest. Don't believe me? Ask the kid with the Kin.

    • DocPaul

      In reply to donaldhall3:

      I liked my zune and my surface rt. I don't regret buying either. I still use my rt as a Netflix/Hulu device. An ipod or a gen 1 iPad is just as obsolete. All tech will end up obsolete. I'm pretty interested in buying an Andromeda device, if it ever comes out, knowing I might not have a ton of use for it, and it might not be supported for long. Nothing is supported for long anymore. And as has been discussed here a lot, platform hardly matters anymore either. Tech has become so transient and obsolete so quickly it's just expected now, and not worth complaining about. If you can anticipate a year's worth of fun /use from a piece of tech before it seems obsolete compared to what's new, that's about as much as you can hope for. From any company.


      The existence of iPad pro doesn't make you iPad 1 any less obsolete, and if Apple had discontinue the iPad after gen 2 that wouldn't make it any more obsolete.


      Laser disc, vhs, DVD. Plenty of warnings already out there that no matter what format you buy your media in, eventually it will be useless garbage.

  10. Riopato

    Once again Microsoft is going to be late to the mobile computing product market. I guess competing companies can swoop in and fill in the gap that this product fills. At least they're canceling it before it can fail this time around and only disappointing their would be fans instead of depreciating it, leaving users in a lurch.

  11. Jim-Wilson

    I have been thinking/hoping that they not bring one to market this year due to the immature nature of Qualcomm's offerings and the limitations at present.  Perhaps with the Snapdragon 1000 and a more mature approach to a new device, they will pull the trigger and bring something to market.  I'm not holding my breath for one but I would not have been interested in one with a Snapdragon 850 and lack of Win32 apps.  Still not sure the whole ARM approach is going to be viable for me.  Time will tell and I'm willing to wait - or learn later that I should give up waiting and move on.

  12. Mark from CO

    Mehedi:


    Paul and Mary Jo also thought that touchable laptop or desktop screens didn't have a market either.


    The broader issue is how Microsoft gets all of their supposed great back-office plumbing into the hands of people. Google, Apple, Amazon, et.al., are also doing the back-office plumbing. What Google, Apple, Amazon, and even Samsung have are devices that people want. Devices they can leverage to get people to use their back-office plumbing. So, still don't see how Microsoft does this, as they have no devices - even if they have better plumbing. Seems to me, Andromeda was one way of doing it. Would it be easy to get customers - no. Would it take time (lots of it) and money (even more) - absolutely. But it appears harder (impossible?) for Microsoft to do it without something like Andromeda.

  13. montyfowler

    5G will change the game for device form factors. When compute power no longer has to be onboard but can live at the edge of the network and we have network speeds that rival bus speeds in silicon, radical design becomes possible. Imagine your smart phone as your compute core that intermediates WiDi connectivity to screens (large and small), input devices, content, and compute power in excess of what is available onboard your computer core device. Instead of having "smart" tablets, laptops, desktop, and TVs, imagine a world where you can "toss" images & video to any "dumb" screen device, take input from any keyboard, mouse, or pen, and have virtually unlimited compute power on demand via 5G and edge computing resources. It would be a world where we need one smart device to rule them all, and one set of software, gestures, and commands to master. Within five years, the idea of buying a dedicated laptop or tablet will seem quaint, like our friends who still rock a Blackberry.

  14. djross95

    Fool me once, shame on you...

  15. Jorge Garcia

    Too bad, but in reality it was probably going to be an ergonomic mess anyway. I do think that they are/were barking up the right tree in a way as, IMO, there will always be a NICHE demand for a "pocketable laptop". I can envision a certain type of executive who would like to have a "full featured" laptop in his jacket pocket, but not desire to lug around a silly messenger bag for an iPad Pro or similarly unwieldy device. As for the possible uses case, well here is one example: I can't imagine doing very much of anything in Excel on a smartphone, but if it had say a 6.5" 3:2 landscape screen and a passable keyboard with some kind of trackpad...I might in fact be able to sit down and create (or at least edit) some complex things in a pinch. My favorite take on the "pocket laptop" will always be the Samsung SPH-P9000 line...those amazing machines recognized that the "minimum acceptable screen size" and the "minimum acceptable keyboard size" of a truly pocketable laptop will never match up (the keyboard will always have to be bigger). In my opinion, those devices desperately need a modern update, probably running desktop Android, and possibly the DeX GUI. And yes, I am aware of the Gemini project, but that thing has a too-small keyboard, and a too squished display compared to Samsung's much more ergonomic design. (I can't wait for skane2600 to tell me why my personal opinion on this matter is worthless, and that I am nothing but a Samsung shill).

  16. Waethorn

    Wow. Paul railed against stories that claimed that Courier was "cancelled". And this is written in the exact same way as the stories he derided.

  17. roastedwookie

    :))) It would have been DOA! No mobile apps, mediocre quality OS and MS's proven history of bad support and product abandonment. Besides a few fanboys, no one would have even bothered with this thing...been enough a guinea pig for MS and their half baked products.

  18. Spoonman

    Goddammit Microsoft! I was really looking forward to this :(

  19. Geoff

    I think that an easier development for Microsoft would simply be a Windows-on-Arm device in the body of a *conventional* 6 inch screen mobile phone. Just make a phone app for that, and you ready to go. Other apps will be whatever Windows-on-Arm can run, which is plenty. This device could be released right now, with solutions that already exist.


    My observation is that most of the hype for andromeda was actually pent-up demand for the next Lumia phone. Nothing more than that. Microsoft got carried away with hinges and dual screens and all of the rest, and it became too complicated.

    That other stuff can happen too, of course, but it looks like it isn't easy to do in the short term.

    • skane2600

      In reply to Geoff:

      IMO, there's a kind of interesting symmetry between a 6 inch phone with the wrong ergonomics to run productivity programs and an emulation system that runs those productivity programs inefficiently.


      There's no compelling reason to run Windows on a phone and there's no compelling reason to run Windows on ARM. The optimal device to run productivity programs on the go already exists and it's called a laptop. The other approaches are essentially plans B, C, and D.

  20. Geoff

    It's disappointing that Microsoft has become a timid company that's too scarred to take a risk on something new. There isn't much genuinely new coming out in IT at the moment, and it's up to the big companies with deep pockets to try out new ideas and find out what works and what doesn't.


    Personally, I'm not sure I actually wanted one of these for my own use, but I was certainly interested in seeing how it played out.


    Microsoft's vision is so much smaller these days.

  21. SYNERDATA

    I just want to be able to make phone calls from Windows. What does MS have against delivering this capability to the desktop? Microsoft Phone should just be an app.

    • skane2600

      In reply to SYNERDATA:

      Every desktop with an Internet connection and sound capabilities can make Voice over IP calls (pretty much every PC). I think most people wouldn't want to pay extra for cell hardware on their PCs that they'll never use.

      • glenn8878

        In reply to skane2600:

        It’s never the capability with the PC, but the execution and marketing. You would think Microsoft could extend Skype to become a mobile platform. It will never happen. They botched the Skype app and application. I used to use it before it malfunctioned and started having serious reliability and technical issues. Never going back.


        They also messed up their messaging application when making the conversion to Skype. This is all too common.

  22. Bdsrev

    Paul, smartphones have become so boring that it's depressing. Apple is a conservative company and Google is no Nintendo either. There has to be new ideas and possibilities for pocket computers, we should be encouraging Microsoft here. I can think of lots of good uses for 2 phone screens and I'm positive there are even more that I haven't thought of, and just wait until creative developers get their hands on it. You should wait until you try Andromeda before you dismiss it as a waste of time or whatever. Do you really just want to cover another indistinguishable iPhone? I certainly don't care about the iPhone 8s

  23. moogleassassin

    honestly, I really want this to come out as for me I think it would be really useful. But I've always been happy to buy into new tech early and my needs have rarely aligned to the general tech. I had "massive" smartphones phones as soon as they were available (Sony P800 running Symbian if memory serves might have been my first around year 2000), had people laughing at me with my phablet before they were a thing, wanted a 2in1 before SurfacePro and jumped all over that - I just see this as the next step - and genuinely think even if its a bit rough around the edges it will still be great. However I'm not the normal... they will follow in 3-5 years.


    Regards to concerns around apps, I'm not sure I share the concerns in the same way as others. Assuming its running ARM (which I think it needs to be) it should have standard UWP store apps which covers a certain amount of things with x86 possible (but slow) for legacy and non-UWP support, supplemented with PWA support starting to rise and things like WhatsApp UWP being noted. Its not perfect, but its not terrible...


    I'm fine with it being pushed to 1903 tbh as rather they get it right, especially after the pile of excrement that its 1803, or was it 1804, or 1805. fail. I've actually considered going to RS5 fast ring because 1803 is so bad on a SB2 15".



  24. legend

    I looks like this could be the reason why Microsoft postponed Sets to a later build.

    • jean

      In reply to legend:

      early bug bash - removing unstable (unsatisfactory) components at this point in time - points to a: we need more time to be (really) ready for this holiday season for a wealth of new devices


      I have no ideas how you'd link Andromeda to sets : sets is certainly not anything you'd use on a small form factor device

      • legend

        In reply to jean:

        Yeah, this is the official reason. And as we all know, this must not necessarily be the (whole) truth. ?


        It seems plausible to me that Sets are part of a bigger UI overhaul and Windows Core OS/Andromeda/NinjaUnicornWhatever looks like it may be that significant UI/UX change.

  25. dcdevito

    Andromeda: the hardware equivalent of Longhorn?

    Just kidding. This device never seemed to make any sense from the get-go. Okay so it's a "mobile" computer. What apps will it run? At right there the conversation stops.

  26. davidblouin

    The guys over at Windows Central must be feelling pretty down at the moment...

  27. webdev511

    If they can't run it off of a single code base, it won't happen. There are already some builds done off of the main trunk like Xbox One, HoloLens, and Windows on ARM so four is too many or the device needs a lot more customization at the OS level than what the other three need?

  28. HellcatM

    If they do cancel Andromeda then they did it again. I said with Windows Phone if they had the business services it would have done better. I think its the same with Andromeda. Market it as a business device and you get the businesses to buy it, as it gains traction and apps are being made for it then consumers will buy it. It worked for Blackberry (but then they screwed it up in other ways later on).

    • bbold

      In reply to HellcatM:

      I agree with you that MS has not been fan-centric as of late. They're more about cloud and making money these days. If something doesn't make sense in the planning stages, they probably should cancel, to save time, money and resources that could be used elsewhere. As it is, I would disagree with the statement "MS did it again!" Windows Phone, Kinect and Band were released.. THEN they dropped the ball on us, Andromeda was never released (so far, anyways.) Different situation. Everything you've read has been pure speculation driven by patents and leaked info. So I would put this in the "Surface Mini" category, if any category at all. I actually respect MS for not releasing it if the software and/or hardware are crappy, we don't need another failure. This thing needs to be foolproof if it ships, along with the moniker that the "telephony" bit of it is just an add-on since most people won't use this as their telephone anyways. My only complaint: What's going on up there? How many MS employees does it take to push out a new product? Every single employee and 5+ years, apparently.

  29. rameshthanikodi

    So it won't be running Windows but instead will be doing its own thing. That's quite a big bet, hopefully it's a well-calculated one.


    I sort of still don't get it, why is Microsoft so bullish on this? Why are they putting so much resources into it? Surely it must be because they are seeing something that we aren't.

  30. skane2600

    I guess the one great thing about these speculative products is that people can enjoy pretending that they will solve all of Microsoft's problems. It's only when products are actually released that reality sets in. I believe Windows will survive for a long time unless Microsoft foolishly kills it, but the mobile market is dead to them (not counting 2-in-1s here).

  31. Chris Payne

    Hahahahahahahahhaahhahahahaah.

  32. gregsedwards

    So, they've moved from disappointing their fans by cancelling beloved products to disappointing their fans by cancelling never-even-announced products. #efficiency

  33. PeterC

    Seems to me “everyone’s playing for 2019/20”. No one wants to shoot too soon ( and visibly fail aka win rt) and apple/google/ MS are all waiting on the chips, screens, cameras, software. Whoever gets it right controls a big influence on the direction of what the industry feels is the future of computing. I’m not sure there’s and our views concur.


    Someones going to have to invest hugely here to win, but MS can choose to dev for the other competing platforms, but in doing so can only be an also ran in terms of hardware sales unless they’re going to invest “ all in” and go for everything. I reckon there’s 18 months of waiting around yet at least. In my opinion.


    maybe I need to go install win 10 ARM onto my old 950 to while away the time ?


  34. MikeGalos

    So an unsubstantiated rumor says another unsubstantiated rumor of about an unannounced ship date of an unacknowledged device may not be true.


    And a tech site that has been averaging one feature article published per month complete with a dedicated article keyword tag on the rumored yet unacknowledged and unannounced and unconfirmed device mocks other sites that have "unnecessarily hyped" the unacknowledged device.


    Got it.

    • F4IL

      In reply to MikeGalos:

      MJF is not the average tech reporter that tries to circulate unsubstantiated rumors.

      • MikeGalos

        In reply to F4IL:

        I have great respect for MJ and, in fact, we have known each other for many years but this IS an unsubstantiated rumor about an unannounced rumored device. Even if Walter "the most trusted man in America" Cronkite had said it that wouldn't change that fact.


        Nor would it change the ironically amusing complaint about sites hyping "Andromeda" in a feature story that is tagged with the site's long-running "Andromeda" tag.

        • F4IL

          In reply to MikeGalos:

          I completely agree with you on your second point but have to disagree on the 1st. There is no evidence to support that the rumored device isn't in the works either.

          I guess we'll have to wait and see.

          • MikeGalos

            In reply to F4IL:

            You've got your requirement of proof backwards.


            If Microsoft didn't announce it then it's unannounced. They didn't.

            If the rumor doesn't include documentation it's unsubstantiated. It didn't.


            Yes, there's no evidence to support that a rumor is false. There's equally no evidence to support that the rumor that Microsoft has "Windows for Time Travel" in alpha testing is false. That doesn't make it any more true.

  35. chrisrut

    Not really a surprise: as an old product manager, I've been having a bit of a hard time seeing what this folded screen form factor brings to the table. If it is only a folding tablet - then, ok, well sure... but that's unlikely to be a game changer, so meh. If on the other hand, it is conceived as part of a novel, non-obvious device interaction model, then, maybe meh. Depends. But the delay can have two possibly correct interpretation; first, that getting it to work right is taking more time than expected (correct: response, slow down), or, their own product marketing people are standing at their Rubicon, pondering the old "The question is not can we, but should we" rubric; i.e. is it worth doing?

    Perhaps this is the new "focused on genuine productivity" Microsoft evidencing itself.

  36. GT Tecolotecreek

    Or maybe someone in MS marketing said "We are going to have a really hard time convincing potential buyers we are really committed to this marketplace/device long term." With their past record I don't understand why anyone would trust MS an buy in on this except the forever hopeful early adopters. And as noted the app gap just grows every day, unless it ends up being an Android device.

  37. BrianEricFord

    I’d root for this if I had confidence that it could be delivered but if MS can’t bridge the app gap on a standard form factor what makes anyone think they can get developers on board for an entirely new form factor that would require specialized attention?

  38. rmlounsbury

    I do find it ironic that this past week we got articles from the Verge and other sources hyping Andromeda as Microsoft's big aspirational device. Then after everyone gets worked up here come Paul & MJF with their baseball bats and legitimate sources to pummel the dream.


    It'll be interesting to see if Andromeda or any sort of Andromeda based device sees the day of light. Someone on Twitter that is a MS blogger kept talking about it is way more than the leaks are saying. To which I commented "If the device ever gets released." Sad enough, it seems my doubt was legitimate.

  39. Ron F

    If the software is not ready, then a delay is absolutely necessary. Andromeda should be the debut product in a novel category and, therefore, it should be a very polished product from the start. That said, I expect Microsoft to cancel it, as it seems not to be very found of taking risks. I recall when the iPad was released, Jobs preached a new form of computing, with mobile taking the primacy from PCs. When asked if the iPad would be replacing computers, he answered "Who knows?" Yet he thought it would be worth of trying out. I don't see Microsoft trying to go after anything they don't think as they current core competencies. As such, I guess we will not see much more novelty outside cloud related products or services (including the upcoming Xbox).

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