It's no secret that Windows Mobile is dead. Microsoft tried everything to carve out space in the smartphone landscape heavily dominated by iOS and Android, even buying Nokia in the process. But that didn't work. So, there's no more Windows Mobile. No more rumored Surface Phone.
There might be something else, though.
Microsoft Courier To Be Reborn?
Back in 2009, Gizmodo leaked a couple of concept videos showing a so-called Microsoft Courier device that was basically a digital journal, not only in the sense that it featured a stylus for taking notes, but also because it had two screens that literally folded in half like a notebook. That was exciting, but nothing came of it.
But as Windows Central reports, Microsoft might be planning to release a similar concept, this time codenamed "Andromeda," that'll also fold like a notebook and rely heavily on the use of digital pen and ink.
The device apparently runs Windows 10 with Windows Core OS built in, in addition to CShell. Windows Core OS is rumored to be a modular take on Windows that makes it compatible on any device or type of architecture, and CShell stands for "Composable shell," which scales and adjusts the user interface to fit on any type of platform.
When folded, Andromeda supposedly fits in the pocket, which makes sense considering it's also tipped to have telephony features. Though it will have the ability to place calls and send texts, it's not meant to be a smartphone replacement.
Microsoft Andromeda Prioritizes Digital Inking
The report alleges that Andromeda will make heavy use of digital pen and inking, in fact, those things will be "at the very forefront of its experience." Microsoft's OneNote will of course be tied to that setup, offering users a journal-like interface that mimics a real notebook, complete with flipping pages.
It will run on an ARM-based chipset, which Microsoft has been hard at work developing mainly for laptops, and because it's essentially running Windows 10, traditional desktop apps will work, too.
Why You Should Care About Microsoft Andromeda
Microsoft knows all too well that its mobile platform is dead, but with Andromeda, it stands a chance to create an entirely new category in the mobile landscape. Lenovo already tried this with its Yoga Book, but Microsoft's own take will presumably have much better integration between software and hardware.
Sources tell Windows Central that the device will launch in 2018 at the earliest, which seems incredibly soon. If a 2018 launch is planned, that means the device is way past prototyping. A release schedule that early could mean that the company already has a final or pre-final design on hand. That said, delays often happen with these things, so 2018 might indeed be too optimistic.
Thoughts about Andromeda? Do you think Microsoft can make a splash in the mobile landscape with it? Feel free to sound off in the comments section below!