If many hoped that Microsoft would make a bold return to the mobile market this year, we recently learned that the company's "Andromeda" foldable mobile has unfortunately been put back on a shelf for now. Indeed, longtime Microsoft detective Mary Jo Foley reported earlier this month that the software components related to Andromeda have been cut from the next major update for Windows 10. In other words, the Andromeda software is not ready yet.
This was confirmed last week by The Verge's Tom Warren, who added to Foley's information that the biggest issue Microsoft is facing with Andromeda is the lack of a decent app ecosystem. The lack of developer support is one of the main reasons Windows Phone never had a chance, so Microsoft would be wise to dodge another bullet with Andromeda.
So like @maryjofoley I'm hearing Andromeda is definitely not coming in 2018. OEM devices may come, but not with Andromeda OS as it's not ready. The entire project is now under review because there's no app ecosystem to support it
— Tom Warren (@tomwarren) July 6, 2018
Still, the whole Andromeda project being put on hold doesn't mean that it has been completely canceled. While it would be very impressive to see Microsoft being first to release a mobile device that can transform into a tablet (and potentially a lightweight laptop thanks to Microsoft's Continuum technology), this year was probably too early for such a device to see the light of day.
Today, Brad Sams explained on Thurrott.com that Microsoft still figuring out the right combination of hardware and software for Andromeda:
Multiple sources have told me that Microsoft plans to overhaul the software and hardware before releasing the device. At this time, the software and hardware do not create a compelling solution that would move the needle for Microsoft and more importantly the Surface brand which is why when it came to the ‘go, no go’ decision earlier this year, it was not given the green light.
If this information is accurate, Microsoft is basically giving itself more time to make sure that it can create a killer product that wouldn't be dead on arrival like the Lumia 950 and 950XL were. There's no guarantee that the company will be able to pull it off, but if it does, we may eventually see the results of this hard work next year, according to Sams:
Sources inside Microsoft say that the next possible release of the device would be in 2019 with expectations being later in the year if it were to happen. Seeing as the device is going back into the lab to be overhauled, it will take time for it be re-worked and it will go through the product approval-pipeline all over again but will only ship when it will be a guaranteed success.
Even though the Redmond giant uses another year to update the software and hardware of Andromeda, the app problem won't magically disappear. A revolutionary mobile device is useless without any good apps to use, and it's still not clear how Microsoft could push developers to create apps optimized for Andromeda. Maybe Progressive Web Apps will be able to fill the gap, but so far only Twitter is taking its PWA really seriously.Further reading: Andromeda, Surface Phone