Rumors about a foldable Surface phone (reportedly code-named “Andromeda”) have long been circulating, but last year it was reported that Microsoft had put the plans on hold. Now a new report claims the company could be working on such a device.
Citing IHS Markit Associate Director Jeff Lin, Forbes claims that Microsoft is working on a foldable Surface device that could arrive in the first quarter of next year. Lin claims to have gotten this information from supply chain sources.
Microsoft’s foldable Surface device will reportedly feature a 9-inch screen when opened and a 4:3 aspect ratio. The device could be powered by Intel’s 10 nm Lakefield SoC and run a new version of Windows 10. This new OS is expected to be called WCOS (Windows Core OS) and feature a dual-display UI.
The device will reportedly have an always-on connectivity feature (LTE or 5G). More importantly and the biggest feature the foldable Surface device is rumored to come with is the ability to run Android apps and iCloud in Windows 10. The ability to run Android apps was also rumored for Microsoft’s foldable pocket PC, previously said to be code-named “Andromeda.”
Although the foldable Surface device is expected to debut in the first quarter of next year, it could be announced at an October hardware event. It could also debut alongside Windows Lite. Microsoft’s foldable Surface device could be among the first Windows Lite devices.
Windows Lite is expected to be a variant of the Windows Core OS. Other variants of the Windows Core OS will likely include those which power the HoloLens 2, Surface Hub 2X and the next-generation Xbox. Microsoft’s Windows Core OS is a modern version of Windows in which several legacy components have been ditched in favor of performance and improved user experience.
This is not the first time we are hearing about a foldable Surface device being in the works. Earlier this month, The Verge reported that Microsoft showed off a dual-screen Surface device internally. The tech site also said a video teaser of the device was played, resulting in a long line of employees eager to get a look at this new device inside Microsoft’s headquarters.
According to The Verge, the device code-named “Centaurus” will look like Microsoft’s previous Courier tablet concept. Citing its own sources, Mspoweruser previously said the device could have a dual-panel display and not a flexible screen. The device could also feature a keyboard overlay accessory to make it easier for users to type. The report also said the device will run on Windows Core OS but still support Win32 apps such as Office.
Foldable devices are the newest form factor in the smartphone industry. However, it isn’t off to a good start. The Samsung Galaxy Fold, which was originally scheduled to release on Apr. 26, is delayed indefinitely due to issues with the screen. The release date of another foldable device, the Huawei Mate X, was pushed back as well. A Huawei executive recently told Techradar the device will arrive no later than September.
“It’s coming in September – at the latest,” the president of Huawei’s Western European Region, Vincent Pang, said. “Probably earlier, but definitely September is guaranteed.” Huawei unveiled Mate X in February this year.
As far as where the Huawei Mate X launch will launch, Pang said “any country that has 5G.” Pang stressed 5G because the Samsung Galaxy Fold launched with a 4G LTE version. Although there were talks of a 5G version of yjr Galaxy Fold, its pricing was never revealed.
Further, Pang assured the tech blog that the device will run on Android because “it has already been announced.” Pang’s statement suggests that the Huawei Mate X could fall outside the ban on U.S. companies from transacting with Huawei, which was imposed by the Trump administration.
When asked what Huawei is doing to ensure that the Mate X’s plastic OLED screen doesn’t end up like that of the Galaxy Fold, Pang saidm “That’s a secret. But we have done a lot of tests, especially for that.”
However, the executive told CNET that over the last few months, they have worked “to improve the P-OLED screen on the device to prevent it from getting caught up with the same problems that Samsung had with its foldable smartphone.”
Further, Pang said hey will release with “basically the same hardware” as they showed at the Mobile World Congress. Huawei’s Mate X is priced at $2,600, compared to $1,980 for the Samsung Galaxy Fold. Samsung has yet to reveal a new release date for the Galaxy Fold.