Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) may develop a new portable surface device according to an internal document obtained by The Verge . The document allegesly describes the project – called "Andromeda" in previous patent applications and reports – as a "new and disturbing" device that could erase the rows between computers and smartphones later this year.
Specifically, Microsoft Andromeda calls a new pocketable Surface device form factor that combines innovative new hardware and software experiences to create a truly personal and versatile computer experience. " Based on Microsoft's latest patent, the device resembles a dual display that can be used with a screen like keyboard and the other as a display.
In other words, it might resemble ZTE s dual-screen Axon M smartphone, as TechCrunch called a "fascinating mess" last year. However, it is far too early to jump to conclusions, and there were many other rumors about Microsoft's evil " Surface Phone " in recent years.
Why should Microsoft need a smaller Surface device? 1
9659008] Microsoft's biggest failure in the last decade was the loss of the mobile OS market to Google and the Alphabet s (NASDAQ: GOOG) (NASDAQ: GOOGL) ] Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) . Windows Phone and Windows 10 Mobile devices only account for 0.2% of the mobile market today, according to NetMarketShare.
Last year Microsoft left support for Windows Phone and stopped the development of new features for Windows 10 Mobile. It simply was not enough users or developers interested in Windows-powered smartphones anymore, and Microsoft pivoted their mobile efforts to iOS and Android versions of its cloud-based apps instead.
At the same time, Microsoft's Surface 2-in-1 devices cut out a niche with higher growth in the stagnant PC market and helped the company to compensate its mistakes on the smartphone market. In the last quarter, Microsoft reported that its surpluses increased 32% annually, bought by "better than expected" sales of Surface Book and a slight comparison with a downturn in the previous quarter.
Microsoft currently sells a wide range of Surface products, including Surface Pro 2-in-1 devices, Surface Book-removable laptops, Hybrid Surface Laptop, Surface Studio all-in-one computer and the massive wall-mounted Surface Hub for corporate video conferencing. But persistent rumors suggest that Microsoft will eventually add a "Surface Phone" to that range – which can benefit from a strong customer demand for Surface branded devices.
Microsoft wants to create a new niche market
Microsoft's success with Surface inspired many OEM users to replace their aging laptop form factors with similar 2-in-1 Windows devices. According to the leaked document, Microsoft believes that "Andromeda" should have a similar effect, and its top OEM users will follow similar devices.
However, the outlook may be a bit too pink. Microsoft had an easier time moving the PC market design style with Surface, as Windows was already the world's leading operating system. The mobile market will be a much harder nut to crack, as Apple and Google already have a tight duopol.
Although Microsoft's portable portable area becomes headed, there is no guarantee that consumers will consider replacing (or completing) their iOS or Android devices with a lockable Windows device. If Andromeda does not impress consumers, just as other Surface devices did, OEM manufacturers will probably not follow the lead.
Will Andromeda Be Another "Surface Mini"?
Microsoft has taken the plug on similar projects earlier. Back in 2014, Microsoft discontinued its notebook-like Surface Mini just a few weeks before the scheduled launch. The 8-inch tablet was directed against Apple's iPad Mini and smaller Android tablets, but Microsoft probably decided that the market was already too saturated for a new Windows-powered device.
Microsoft could face a similar dilemma with Andromeda. It has already used its power in computers to expand on mobile devices with Windows Mobile 10, but the effort was flopged because apps meant more than operating systems. I'm not convinced that a "pocket" area will go better, but Microsoft has surprised consumers earlier.
Suzanne Frey, an executive in Alphabet, is a member of The Motley Fool's Board. Teresa Kersten is employed by LinkedIn and is a member of The Motley Fool's Board. LinkedIn is owned by Microsoft. Leo Sun owns shares in Apple. Motley Fool owns shares in and recommends Alphabet (A shares), Alphabet (C shares) and Apple. Motley Fool has the following options: long January 2020 $ 150 call on Apple and card January 2020 $ 155 appeals to Apple. Motley Fool has a policy of disclosure.