Tag Archives: Andromeda

Microsoft Designer Hints at Surface Phone Through Courier Resurrection

By Radu Iorga

Remember the Microsoft Courier? The ill fated tablet/e-reader got canned in 2012, back when such a foldable machine could have ruled the market. The iPad was still young and prone to get beaten, but Steve Ballmer couldn’t see it. Fast forward to 2018 and the Courier may have just inspired the Surface Phone/Andromeda. Hints were dropped during a recent conference.

We’ve seen ridiculous leaks over the past year, with crazy hinges patented, as well as 3 display devices. Microsoft is really trying to come up with something special, even though proof is seldom found about the device. The Redmond giant held the BUILD 2018 conference earlier this month and during it there was a moment when Microsoft designer Jon Friedman briefly discussed the Courier and its cancellation.

Why would he bring it up, except to make it come to life, right? The Courier was ahead of its time, with two displays, the ability to fold in and out, but Windows 8 or Windows Phone 8 couldn’t cope with it back then. The device came with stylus support, which made it ideal for note taking, so that’s another bummer. The fact that people at Microsoft are still talking about a project from 6 years ago means that they really saw something special in it.

The Surface Phone/Andromeda may draw heavy inspiration from that device, this time with Windows 10 on board. The latest rumors say that the Surface Phone could end up running a full version of Windows 10, making it fully compatible with the Microsoft OS and accessories. We still don’t know when it will come, but IFA 2018 feels like a safe bet. You know what would be nice? Snapdragon 845 on board and Windows 10 S with a huge battery life.

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Microsoft’s Foldable Phone Could End Up Having Three Displays, According to Patent

By Radu Iorga

If I were to sum up all the leaks of foldable phones I’ve seen, Microsoft would probably take the cake for the most leaks. Samsung would be a close second… Now there’s a new theory and patent saying that Microsoft’s Andromeda device may actually end up with 3 screens instead of two. Let’s see what we have here.

Microsoft’s foldable phone can easily turn into a tablet, having so much screen estate. This presumed Surface Phone is said to be using three screens, including a tiny display right in the hinge. The patent images show two large screens on either side of the device. In the middle area where the outer screens fold in we see a narrow display that shows the info “that is coupled to other screen regions”, according to the leaked info.

This means we can access virtual controls, time, messages, calls or notifications. The patent also says that info from the third display depends on the hinge status. This means that depending on the device’s use mode you’ll get to see more or less. We have a tent mode, tablet mode and phone mode for example. Samsung’s Galaxy X is also said to be packing 3 screens, but it will opt for two 3.5 inch OLED panels.

Microsoft’s patent is actually kind of old, dating from November 9th 2016 and it’s all about the new hinge with third screen. To me that third screen sounds overkill and an extra fragile item to worry about. How about showing the status info on one of the big screens?

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Microsoft Gives the Andromeda New Life, With New Foldable Device Patents

By Radu Iorga

If you read my previous articles about the Samsung leaks of foldable devices, you may have noticed that each time I mentioned the fact that I’m surprised I haven’t seen a Microsoft patent of the sort in a long while. Now one such patent appears, of course involving a foldable device. It’s actually a bunch of patents and designs, pictured below.

Lately Microsoft has been exploring new ways to properly implement a hinge on a foldable machine. The idea is to make a foldable device, presumably Andromeda, which turns from smartphone to tablet. The renders from the past year showed a dual screen foldable device, that could be converted to a tablet mode, tent mode, laptop mode and then folded into a regular phone.

The new patent tries to solve the issue that appears when a device with two displays is connected via a hinge down the middle. Microsoft claims that conventional gestures don’t cut it. This could hamper the user enjoyment, says the patent itself. The idea is to use various types of inputs, that will adapt to device orientation. Input signals can be combined and I see the hands of the person interacting with the device from the back, as well as from the front.

 

The OS would thus become “radically smarter”. There’s also another patent application, USA 2018/0113241 A1, which involves a method to keep the two screens looking flat, even if they’re curved. This may involve an “image correcting layer”, that creates the illusion that the screen isn’t curving. The patent applications were published on April 26 2018 and addresses both input based on interactions with a physical hinge and how light and images are corrected when the screen curves.

I don’t know why Microsoft is obsessed with input, since the recipe has been cracked for many years now, when it comes to touch input. I have to remind you that the Andromeda is the spiritual successor to the Microsoft Courier foldable device from 2010. It’s not exactly a Surface Phone and not exactly a tablet, but rather something new.

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Microsoft’s Foldable Andromeda Device Could Debut This Spring

By Radu Iorga

Microsoft has managed to capture many headlines over the past months, simply by patenting technologies, that are supposedly related to a so called Surface Phone, also known as the Andromeda. Now we learn a potential debut date or maybe a time frame for more serious teasers: this Spring.

I have to admit we suspected such a thing, since the Spring is usually the time of the BUILD event, where a new release of Windows is sometimes showcased. Windows Core OS may just come this year, together with the Surface Phone/Andromeda. Redstone 5 is also in the cards. The rumor has yet to be confirmed by valid sources, which even mention that the device is coming before or after BUILD, so not exactly there.

The way the development evolves will decide if it’s ready in time or not. Expect a dual screen smartphone here, or maybe a foldable tablet, which will make it to the market in the second half of the year. Microsoft has already patented a slew of aspects of the device, like a new type of hinge, a dual display machine and a foldable slate. It’ll probably end up as a 3 in 1 machine, which can be a phone, tablet or laptop in tent mode.

Patent applications have shown how the device could swap from one format to the other and the factor will depend on the position and angle of the screens. Before we see an actual release we may see a prototype showcasing behind the scenes, so leaks are our best hope for this Spring. By the way, we ARE actually in Spring mode right now, you know that?

For some reason the foldable format has yet to convince me. I call DOA for this unit.

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Microsoft New Patent Shows an Andromeda Device That Replaces a Laptop

By Radu Iorga

Microsoft has been working on a foldable device for a while now, known as either Surface Phone or Andromeda. We’ve seen numerous patents leaked for the device and the latest one hints at more of a mini laptop than your average smartphone. Let’s dig!

Up until now the Andromeda project was associated to a foldable device, that has telephony capabilities and runs on the Windows Core OS. This means that the unit could be a phone when folded and a tablet when unfolded. Twitter user WalkingCat discovered a patent that documents explanations for the device format. It describes the way the folding technology works and some usage cases.

The patent shows a hinged foldable device, but there’s an interesting feat here. When it’s unfolded, one of the two screens could work like a main display, while the second one works as a keyboard. This can turn the Andromeda device into a potential mini laptop. When totally opened, it can become a full fledged big tablet. It’s clear it’ll run at least Windows Core OS (WCOS), if not full Windows.

WCOS is supposed to be a modular OS, that switches dynamically between shells and composers depending on the form factor. Microsoft is attempting to get back into the mobile world for sure, but the way to do that is trickier than ever.

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