Brad Sams, who you may know from his articles on Thurrott.com, has published a new book about Microsoft’s Surface hardware today. The publication looks back at how Surface became a billion dollar business for Microsoft, but Sams also learned quite a lot about what Microsoft has in the pipeline during his investigations.
The Surface family of devices has become increasingly diverse over the years, with Microsoft launching new accessories like the Surface Dock, the Surface Dial, or the brand new Surface headphones. Sams’ book revealed that a monitor-only version of the Surface Studio could be coming in 2020, but there are a lots of interesting bits about new Surface products that Microsoft is currently developing.
After all these years, the Surface Pro remains the most popular form factor in the eye of consumers. Sams contends in the book that the 2-in-1 tablet “will get heavily updated in Q4 of 2019 with thinner bezels, new color options, USB-C, and a few other enhancements.”
The Surface Laptop made its debut in 2017, and a new version was released this Fall along the Surface Pro 6. Microsoft is reportedly planning another update in Q4 2019, but Sams said that Microsoft could switch to AMD chips for some models. “The company is still exploring chipset options and is waiting for the silicon to materialize but it’s on the agenda to take a look at team red for a possible laptop upgrade,” he explained.
In addition to new Surface Pro and Surface Laptop models, Sams also believes that a Surface-branded ‘ambient’ device could be coming in the Spring of next year. There are not a lot of details about this new accessory for now, except that it may require a smartphone and “help with text input and navigation.”
As for the elephant in the room, yes, Microsoft’s “Andromeda” foldable mobile device isn’t dead yet, but the project is getting bigger, literally. Sams drew a comparison to Intel’s Tiger Rapids two-screen notebook prototype, which isn't really something that you may able to put in your pocket. “This device will ship when it’s ready and there is justification for it but the company sees it as a visionary device and it is currently slated for a Q4 release,” Sams said about Andromeda.
We'll see what happens, but Microsoft changed its plans many times over the years, as we've seen from the cancelled Surface Mini. In just six years, Microsoft has managed to build a very healthy business and a quite prestigious brand with Surface, and the company may not want to tarnish it with a device that lacks all the popular apps that are already available on iOS and Android.