There was speculation Microsoft is readying a “pocketable” Surface-branded device, although it was also said such a device would not see the light of day at all.
The Verge reported the computing giant was looking to create a “new and disruptive” device category as part of its Andromeda project. The resulting device would be foldable, with wrap-around dual screens bridging the gap of the hinge when fully open.
It was said the company was looking at stylus input, so the device could be folded over like a book with a pen-type digital input. It was also suggested Microsoft was looking at using ARM-based processors, following its Windows on Snapdragon efforts with Qualcomm, although an Intel-powered version was not ruled out.
But ZDNet sources said Microsoft decided not to include the platform elements needed to support Andromeda in the next Windows 10 release. This was apparently in part because they were not ready, but also because there was no compelling reason to bring such a product to market.
Much of the interest in Andromeda has been driven by the fact that since ending its Nokia- and Lumia-branded smartphone efforts, Microsoft has effectively been absent from the mobile market. It failed to sign-up third-parties to use its platform for significant smartphones (a few have dabbled), and a rumoured Surface phone never materialised.
Microsoft did, however, manage to pre-empt its rivals in high-end tablet and convertible devices with Surface. And sales of Surface-branded products are still strong, bolstered by its laptops: in a good quarter, it is a $1 billion business for Microsoft.
Reports this week suggest a budget Surface tablet could be in the works, targeting Apple’s core iPad line with a $400 price tag.