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.
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.