The slow decline of Windows Phone is well documented. Handsets are basically impossible to buy now, and there hasn’t been a Lumia phone since 2015. Yet the rumours of a Microsoft Surface Phone persist to this day, now expected to run full Windows rather than a cut-down OS.
Under the codename Andromeda, Microsoft is said to be working on a Surface device like nothing we’ve yet seen. Rumours suggest it will be both full-size phone and foldable full-size tablet.
Let’s take a look at all the latest Surface Phone rumours to make sense of it all.
Does the Surface Phone have a release date?
No. The Lumia 950 and 950 XL came out in November 2015 and that’s the last time Microsoft dabbled in phone hardware.
There is no sign of a firm Surface Phone release date. There can’t be when we don’t actually know if it’ll be a phone in the first place.
Having been rumoured for several years now, in late 2018 a new book from journalist and Microsoft tech blog collaborator Brad Sams called Beneath a Surface suggests Andromeda will become a reality in 2019.
How much will the Surface Phone cost?
Again, pure speculation that it will even arrive before 2020. But the recent rumours of a pocket friendly Surface device mean the rumour mill is grinding into life once more. Read on for the latest.
Most recently it was reported, via a leaked email, that Microsoft is working on a ‘disruptive’ pocket sized Surface device. In the internal email, it is described as “a new pocketable Surface device form factor that brings together innovative new hardware and software experiences to create a truly personal and versatile computing experience”.
While we can assume this may include a phone, the renders below based on the most recently available patents show a tablet shaped device with a foldable design. It looks a lot like a Nintendo DS, but with a fully rotating hinge so you can close the device, fold it round to have one tall display or open it flat to double the screen size.
@zacbowden @h0x0d @windowscentral #Surface Andromeda Render according to the latest patents pic.twitter.com/CmbvlfETtU— David Breyer (@D_Breyer) December 18, 2017
This would effectively create a new device category, one similar to the persistent rumours of a foldable Samsung phone, usually referred to as the Galaxy X. With these devices it’s unclear how the OS would cope with two screens at a time – whether they would bleed into one, or act as two separate displays with different information or apps displayed.
Older patents show the device folded with one half used as a keyboard, and then folded flat to display one document. If done correctly, the Andromeda would practically exist in a category on its own as part PC, tablet and phone.
It’s safe to assume that if legitimate, Microsoft is being very cautious. It has to nail this first time or risk another dud after the Surface RT and, now, Windows Phone as a whole.
The device would most likely come with Surface Pen compatibility, meaning a slight return to the Palm Pilot vibe – whether or not that’s a good thing remains to be seen. Samsung has seen niche success with its stylus on its Note phones, but Andromeda would likely run full Windows 10 (or 11, or 12 at this rate).
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