Microsoft’s rumoured foldable Windows 10 device: What we know so far

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Microsoft Andromeda with stylus

The next trend in the hardware world appears to be the
dual-screen, 2-in-1s, ultramobile PC with support for multiple
form factors including laptop and mobile. Microsoft’s Andromeda
is said to be the first Windows 10 device to feature multiple
form factors serving different purposes depending on the
position and angle of the displays.

The report from reliable sources revealed that Microsoft’s
Andromeda will feature dual-screen and hinge setup, that
doesn’t necessarily combine two similar displays. The two
displays connected to each other with a new hinge design would
allow the form factor to change on the go.

Many call this project the “Surface Phone,” despite the fact
that the device is currently codenamed Andromeda, and the
so-called Surface Phone was an ordinary smartphone with Windows
10 Mobile that has already been cancelled. Andromeda is likely
to be Microsoft’s next mobile-type device, and it will offer
mobility.

Here’s what we know so far about Microsoft Andromeda

From a new software (Windows
Core OS) to the
sophisticated camera, here’s everything you need to know
about mythical Microsoft Andromeda.

Two screens

Microsoft Surface Phone
Image Courtesy: FreePatentsOnline.com

Patents have shown that Microsoft wants to build a device
featuring two different displays. Microsoft isn’t building a
flexible screen, so the company plans to use an
innovative hinge design that would allow multiple form factors.
For instance, you’ll be able to use Andromeda as a phone,
tablet, laptop and in tilt mode as well.

The form factor would depend on the position and the angle of
the screens. The patents discovered in the last few months more
or less confirmed that the device will have two displays, and
another patent revealed that the
device might come with not two but three displays.

The designers have already imagined the Andromeda with foldable
displays, different form factors and features. It’s a dream
that’s yet to come true, and the rumours claim the release of a
new mobile device is imminent.

In other words, Microsoft wants to invent a new product
category whose main idea could come down to a
“HingedDualScreenDevice.”

The new OS

Windows Core OS

Microsoft is working on Windows Core OS, a new modular version
of the operating system that will power the Andromeda. The
report suggests that Andromeda will run Windows Core OS, a full
version of Windows 10 optimized for all form factors. It’s
worth mentioning that the new OS won’t support the old
SilverLight apps, and that’s a good thing.

Judging from the tidbits of information, which provides us with
a closer look at Windows Core OS. It’s a new modular platform
with Windows Composable Shell (CShell), and the mobile shell is
codenamed Andromeda, which could bring mobile capabilities to
foldable mobile devices, with the focus on portability.

Windows Core OS structure

Windows Core OS will also fix the app gap to some extent, as
the UWP apps will work on all devices. Very little is known
about the Windows Core OS and the features, but the software
giant could take the wraps off it later this year.

New camera tech

Microsoft's foldable display patent
Image Courtesy: Patently Mobile

In a patent filing published earlier this year,
Microsoft explained the use of a new camera tech that would
allow it to work with dual-screen. The camera module would
indeed protrude from the body of the device, the company
explains:

“In the embodiment of FIG. 1A illustrated above, the retaining
member #18 includes a hinge as noted in purple. Hinged
transitioning between folded and unfolded states of the
handheld device is further illustrated in the perspective
drawings of FIGS. 1B, 1C, and 1D. FIG. 1B shows the handheld
device in the unfolded state. FIG. 1D below shows the handheld
device in the folded state, where the housings #14a and #14b
may lay flat against one another as regions of the camera #12
that extend outside of housing #14a (e.g., past the inner
surface of the housing) press retractable cap 16 inward into
the recess. FIG. 1C shows the handheld device in a partially
folded state.”

The release date

The rumour has it that the foldable Andromeda will be unveiled
later this year.

The patents discovered in the last few months more or less
confirmed its existence. One of the patents also hinted at
builtin projector support, which seems unlikely.

There’s no doubt the Redmond-based firm doesn’t want to be late
to the party, and
Intel also believes that dual-screen devices would see
daylight this year. Several other companies
could join the party in 2018 as well.

It remains to be seen if Andromeda will compete against the
iPhone and Samsung Galaxy lineup in the smartphone world. And
what’s a smartphone?



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