The Andromeda Journey Continues

Posted on July 13, 2018 by Brad Sams in Hardware with 60 Comments

It was a couple years ago that we first heard the words Andromeda and how Microsoft was resurrecting the Courier project to create a bi-fold piece of hardware. Since that announcement, there have been many highs and lows as fans have waited for the device to be released with the latest news saying that the project may be dead.

It was about a month ago that I uncovered a bit of information about Libra (Surface Go), Carmel (Surface Pro 6) and of course Andromeda and since then, I have been digging around to see what else is going on and was able to unearth what is happening with Andromeda.

As of last year, Microsoft planned to ship Andromeda in late 2018 but as recently as a couple weeks ago, the company put the plans on ice.

Mary Jo wrote last week that the bits needed for Andromeda would not make it into RS5 and she is absolutely correct in her assessment but there is more to the story. While some assumed that this means that the project is dead, what Microsoft is actually doing is sending it back to the labs to be significantly reworked.

Multiple sources have told me that Microsoft plans to overhaul the software and hardware before releasing the device. At this time, the software and hardware do not create a compelling solution that would move the needle for Microsoft and more importantly the Surface brand which is why when it came to the ‘go, no go’ decision earlier this year, it was not given the green light.

And this makes sense, seeing as it would use an ARM processor, the best it could use this fall would be the Snapdragon 835, a chip that is from yesterday. We know that Qualcomm is working on new chips designed explicitly for PCs and it could arrive as early as the beginning of next year.

Sources inside Microsoft say that the next possible release of the device would be in 2019 with expectations being later in the year if it were to happen. Seeing as the device is going back into the lab to be overhauled, it will take time for it be re-worked and it will go through the product approval-pipeline all over again but will only ship when it will be a guaranteed success.

The problem that Microsoft has run into is that the Surface brand is now a premium product line and that they can’t risk releasing anything that will tarnish its reputation. If Andromeda were to be released and it was a complete flop, this could reflect negatively on the Surface brand and impact products like the Pro line that sell quite well.

What you need to know about Andromeda is that the project is still alive inside of Microsoft but that it will not be released anytime soon. The company will re-work the hardware and software, see if it will move the needle, and if not, re-work again, until they find the right formula. Microsoft will not ship a project simply because the first phase is done, they are trying to get this right so that they don’t have another Lumia/Surface RT project on their hands.

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