After a few stumbles out of the gate, Microsoft’s Surface brand has become a staple of the industry and has quickly grown into a billion-dollar brand for the company. To help grow to the footprint of the brand, Microsoft is working on updates to its existing products as well as a couple new offerings as well.
I was able to view a few pieces of internal documents that outlined some of the future plans of the Surface brand that identify previously unknown codenames for upcoming products. As with all information of this variety, details could change before the products are released or they could possibly be canceled.
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The Surface Pro 6 is internally known as Carmel, the upcoming low-cost Surface Tablet is going by the name of Libra, and then, of course, there is the Andromeda device that we have been talking about for many months.
The Libra tablet is likely the device that Bloomberg reported about earlier this year; a low-cost Surface tablet slated for 2018. The documentation I was able to view aligns with this report and I expect that we will see this device announced before the end of the year.
The Surface Pro 6 (Carmel) does not list a shipping date and considering that Microsoft only recently released the LTE variant of the Surface Pro 5, this product may not arrive as soon as many have hoped. That being said, a refresh of the product is in the pipeline and actively being developed.
And then there is Andromeda; here is where this gets a bit more interesting. According to the documentation, the device is scheduled to be released in 2018.
Microsoft thinks of this hardware as a pocketable device to create a truly personal and versatile computing experience. But the company also says that after the release of their Andromeda device, OEM partners will release similar hardware too – Microsoft is hoping to create a new product category with this hardware.
If this strategy sounds familiar, that’s because this is the same path Microsoft took with the Surface Pro line of devices.
If you look at Intel’s Tiger Rapids prototype that was announced at Computex, this could be the foundation for some of the upcoming OEM devices that fall into the ‘Andromeda’ category.
With all of this being said, the documents I viewed were created under the leadership of Terry Myerson. Seeing as he is now leaving the company, the new leadership could change these plans significantly.
Before anyone asks, there was no release date mentioned for a Surface Laptop or Studio update in the documentation. That being said, the Laptop is mentioned several times as being key to brand and I fully expect that it will be updated in the near future. As for the Studio, I can’t imagine Microsoft abandoning that product at this time and it’s likely that its future was detailed in the documentation that I have yet to see.
While I’d love to know the exact dates for updates to the Surface brand, for me, this is a solid road-map of new hardware that should help to keep the brand vibrant and well respected in the hardware community.
<p>I think they should align for yearly new hw/refresh November release date:</p><p><br></p><ul><li><span style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0); background-color: transparent;">surface studio</span></li><li>surface pro</li><li>surface laptop (make this 360 degree)</li><li>surface book</li><li>libra</li><li>andromeda</li><li>surface hub (maybe every 2 years for this)</li><li>HoloLens <span style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0); background-color: transparent;"> (maybe every 2 years for this)</span></li></ul>
<blockquote><a href="#283311"><em>In reply to dsharp75:</em></a></blockquote><p>I don't think most people would find that Andromeda would provide the full pc experience. Running full Windows doesn't necessarily imply the full pc experience any more than my ability to lug my desktop PC's CPU unit from room to room makes it a mobile device.</p>
<blockquote><a href="#283311"><em>In reply to dsharp75:</em></a></blockquote><blockquote><br></blockquote><p>If you really need all the desktop stuff in your pocket I sincerely commiserate you. </p><p>For everybody else life has become much much lighter, quicker and easier during the recent decade.</p>
<blockquote><a href="#283760"><em>In reply to curtisspendlove:</em></a></blockquote><p>The form of books are the result of their physical nature and that of the human body. It's awkward to hold a heavy object in one hand for extended periods and the pages you've already read have to go somewhere. Thus the two-page form is better than the flip-form.</p><p><br></p><p>A electronic "slate" can be made fairly light and the unused "pages" don't have to be held in place like they would for a book. Also keep in mind that the user of an electronic device will be using their hand to interact with the screen more often than they would turning the pages of a book. Thus a lot of the time a person using a foldable device would be holding it in one hand anyway.</p><p><br></p><p>So I don't think the long history of the book format has much to say about the desirability of a foldable mobile device. The advantage I'd see is its more compact nature when closed although I'm not sure how important potential customers would see that.</p>
<p>Good – updated Surface Pro much needed, hopefully I can hang on to my failing SP3 and old desktop long enough to get a higher powered model to be Go to device. </p><p><br></p><p>Libra – Not really a fan of low powered kit at the moment as my need is for allot of number crunching these days. Be interesting to see if it could replace my iPad though, whether I’d go for it is doubtful. </p><p><br></p><p>Andromeda – hmmm a year or two ago I’d have had the money put aside for this purchase already. Now I’m not sure. I’ve spent a fortune since win mobile demise on various android/iOS devices trying to find a happy home for my mobile needs. </p><p><br></p><p>What does really interest me is if andromeda champions new stylus and touch interface which will be ported to surface pro and ARM models too…….. that would be a total winner (if it’s any good of course ). </p>
<blockquote><a href="#283920"><em>In reply to JG1170:</em></a></blockquote><p>It's funny. sandeepm says "Only truck drivers and janitors carry phones in shirt pockets" and you say "nobody ever turns off devices anymore". So I guess I must be a nobody who is surprisingly qualified to be janitor or truck driver.</p>
<blockquote><a href="#284576"><em>In reply to JG1170:</em></a></blockquote><p>If you meant "normal everyday people", you should have said that instead (although it's an undefined group). Nevertheless even if "everybody you know" had this belief (and I seriously doubt you've polled them all), your limited circle of acquaintances wouldn't even represent a blip of data relative to the world at large.</p>