back to article Hoping for Microsoft's mythical Andromeda in your Xmas stocking? Don't hold your breath

Finding a new form factor for personal computing is harder than Microsoft thought. Reports suggest Redmond has gone back to the drawing board for its "Andromeda" handheld device due to incomplete software. So the mythical computer looks like the victim of another Redmond reorg. In March, the Windows and Devices Group (WDG) was …

  1. James O'Shea Silver badge

    ‘Starting’ to look cult-like? Really?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      Fail hard with a vengeance

      Pretty much everything they touch these days is a disaster

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Microsoft

        "The Last Jedi" was, however, not a Microsoft Product.

  2. James 51 Silver badge

    The Gemini was an unexpected angle. Going to take a crack at putting Debian on soon, might give me an idea of how well it would run windows. I suspect though that it would take a serious upgrade to the CPU and battery to make it a pratical Windows 10 device.

    1. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Keep Windows off it.

      Netbooks were fine, then XP muscled in (remember, everybody was supposed to run W7 but MS couldn't make it happen), then specs had to be increased to run Windows properly and the price went up, then W7 got squeezed onto them, then the form factor died as the price matched bigger more expensive laptops.

      1. fandom Silver badge

        At the time netbooks were first released the current version of Windows was Vista.

        They were probably one of the reasons W7 was lighter on resources.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Just, only Britons liked the Psion. It was just a curiosity elsewhere. MS would have no luck trying something like that worldwide.

      1. werdsmith Silver badge

        No, UK was a big market but, Psion 5 was sold in a lot of other countries, they did loads of localised keyboards. I can remember looking at them in one of those electronics shop windows in Times Square NY, weighing up the pricing. PSion 7 and netbook were in there too.

        Then Swedish Ericsson had the MC218 which was a badged Psion 5MX.

        A lot of Gemini customers have mentioned being former Psion users in other countries.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          "looking at them in one of those electronics shop windows"

          Yes, there's when you saw them here, shop windows, but very few actually around. It was easier to see Palm Pilot here. I know it has fans, but it wasn't a worldwide success.

          1. Dan 55 Silver badge

            Re: "looking at them in one of those electronics shop windows"

            Ah, so you mean it was a success outside of the US, like Nokia in its heyday.

            1. werdsmith Silver badge

              Re: "looking at them in one of those electronics shop windows"

              It did ok for a PDA in that era. I know they think they are but in fact USA and worldwide are not the same thing.

  3. werdsmith Silver badge

    Sailfish has become my saviour OS on Gemini, I haven't booted the wretched Android since installing it.

    Given the outcome for any phone hardware business that gets touched by the Microsoft poison (Sendo, Nokia) I really do hope that Gemini's business becomes strong enough that they can afford to say no to Microsoft waving big cheques about.

    Thankfully the IoT windows fizzled out on Raspberry Pi, they proved they don't need it.

    1. Graham Dawson

      How well does it handle phone calls with sailfish?

      1. werdsmith Silver badge

        It being the form factor it is, doesn't handle phone calls well with any OS. Before I even bought it I knew it would not make a good phone. I use a phone for my phone.

        1. AMBxx Silver badge

          It will be interesting to see if the multiple, specialised devices idea takes off. Personally, I like the idea of a very small clamshell phone (think old Nokia) with a second, potentially linked device with keyboard etc. My BB Priv is too big as a phone, but too small for real work. Combination of devices without carrying a laptop could work.

  4. Sceptic Tank

    Andromeda? Far out!

    "does not have a compelling answer today, and will not have one better in 2018" ..... what year is this?

    Anyway. Since when has "incomplete software"prevented Microsoft from releasing a product?

    1. hplasm Silver badge

      Re: Andromeda? Far out!

      Microsoft... Andromeda. Chained to a rock.

      How apt.

      1. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

        Re: Andromeda? Far out!

        Microsoft... Andromeda. Chained to a rock.

        Sadly, with no sea monster eating her liver.

        Maybe Prometheus could lend a few vultures?

  5. DJV Silver badge

    "Experiences and Devices Group"

    Is that akin to the "Experience of Fscking Up Devices Group" that seems to have been hiding in the background at Microsoft for years making sure the fail rate always remained high?

  6. johnnyblaze

    MS hardware is a shit-show. Just look at Surface, a 'premium' brand that's so buggy and unreliable some owners are on their 2nd or 3rd replacement. MS therefore, can't even get their own hardware and software working properly, and yet still think their important enough that they can create a whole new market for a product that nobody is even asking for. It wouldn't surprise me if MS pull out of hardware altogether - it's certainly not a fit fot SatNad's cloud ambitions.

    1. hplasm Silver badge

      Definitions time...

      "Surface, a 'premium' brand that's so buggy and unreliable some owners are on their 2nd or 3rd replacement. "

      "Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results."

      1. JDX Gold badge

        Re: Definitions time...

        If you get the replacements free it's ok!

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Definitions time...

          "If you get the replacements free it's ok!"

          Does the warranty get extended with each replacement or will MS just stop sending replacements once the original warranty period expires?

        2. hplasm Silver badge

          Re: Definitions time...

          "If you get the replacements free it's ok!"

          Maybe - if the first one is also free!

      2. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

        Re: Definitions time...

        "Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results."

        Or, to use the modern term "end-user IT support".

  7. Warm Braw Silver badge

    These reasons are really twofold

    Maybe the hardware should be too...

  8. Dave 126 Silver badge

    Microsoft Hardware

    I get the impression that the Surface computers were MS's attempt to show up other Windows PC vendors poor efforts - low res 16:9 displays and shoddy trackpads were the norm - whilst threatening to step on Apple's lawn (specifically hardware suitable for professional graphics applications). It doesn't matter too much to MS if you run Windows on a Surface or on a Dell or Lenovo, as long as you arent running MacOS. It seems to have worked, since mobile PC hardware has markedly improved.

    And I'm pleased to draw attention to a non 16:9 laptop (other than a 3:2 Surface or 16:10 MacBook): The Huawei Matebook X Pro - high Res 3:2 screen, discrete Nvidia graphics as an option. Finally!

    1. J. Cook Silver badge

      Re: Microsoft Hardware

      I'll cheerfully admit that Microsoft's mouse and keyboard group at least have a clue about things, although a wireless mouse *is* kind of hard to screw up; They are on par with logitech, at least for the great Unwashed Masses.

      1. Kristian Walsh Silver badge

        Re: Microsoft Hardware

        The keyboards for the Surface range are done by the same group that does Microsoft's standalone keyboards, and they're really very good. The Surface Book keyboard has a good claim to be the best on a current* laptop: that gap when closed allowed them to fit a keyboard with proper amount of key travel.

        (* barring that special model they did last year, new ThinkPads really aren't old ThinkPads)

  9. JohnFen Silver badge


    "Windows-10-based device"

    That's me out, right there. I already have to defend myself against rampant spying by Android and its apps. There's exactly no chance that I would jump out of the frying pan and into the fire by using a Win 10-based device.

  10. Mike 16 Silver badge

    MSFT Hardware

    Well, MSFT has presumably long wanted to have their hardware considered on a par with the reliability and polish of Apple kit. Apple has been happy to help them achieve parity.

    That said, in my mostly MSFT-free computing life, one (or three, depending how one counts) of my favorite compute-on-the-go products has been the Kyocera laptop (TRS-80 model 100, Olivetti M10, NEC 8201) that, IIRC, was spec'd by MSFT, with some software written by BillG himself. Runs for days on AA batteries that you can get even in places where clean water and reliable power are in the distant future.

  11. arctic_haze Silver badge

    Cargo cult

    Or rather a millennial one. The followers believe that the thing they wait for (end of the world or Surface Phone) will come on such and such date, and when the date arrives and nothing happens, they happily switch to another date.

    Maybe human psychology makes us do such stupid things?

  12. Miss Config

    Drawing BOARD ? Isn't There SOFTWARE For Drawing ?

    Redmond has gone back to the drawing board for its "Andromeda" handheld

    If Microsoft want to do 'Drawing' surely there must be SOFTWARE that does that kind of thing ?

    Somewhere. They might even be really radical and look up a supplier on the interweb.

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: Drawing BOARD ? Isn't There SOFTWARE For Drawing ?

      Especially because CAD is one of the last things we need to keep Windows desktops around for.

    2. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

      Re: Drawing BOARD ? Isn't There SOFTWARE For Drawing ?

      If you saw the last round of MS Surface adverts then you would know that they have drawing apps. They keep telling us that 'you can't do that on your Mac'.

  13. Philip Stott

    Maybe it’s just me, but ...

    I’ve bought 2 Surface products; a Surface Pro 2 and the first gen SurfaceBook, and I’ve been more than happy with both.

    The Surface Pro 2 was bought for mainly tablet usage, but with the ability to run Visual Studio if a client had an urgent problem while I was on a train, or otherwise away from the office.

    The SurfaceBook I couldn’t love more. The best laptop I’ve ever had. It’s mostly used for development, so what I want is fast compile time and it does that in spades. This machine seems more than the sum of it’s parts as I have an almost identically specced Lenovo laptop that comparably runs like a dog.

    I realise this sounds a bit “gushing”, so I should point out that as it cost two and half grand, I’d be almighty f***** off if it wasn’t good.

    1. Geoff Campbell

      Re: Maybe it’s just me, but ...

      Similarly blissfully happy Surface Pro 4 user here. Had it for over two years, and had no urge to ever use anything else, as discussed in other threads hereabouts recently.

      I think the ZDNet article on Andromeda is being massively overblown. The project hasn't been cancelled, and hasn't ever had a release date so it cannot have been put back. You can pretty much summarise the article as "rumours and whispers that we made up nixed by official software release cycle".


  14. Mage Silver badge

    Windows 10?

    Windows ANYTHING is a kiss of death for anything other than desktop. They've done their best to drive people from it too with the stupidity of Win8 & Win10.

    They need a desktop with best of NT4, Win2K, XP (Win7 was only a fixup of Vista, maybe use some bits of it).

    Windows Phone, & Arm surface shows that a non-desktop MS system should NEVER EVER be called Windows ever again. Windows CE wasn't Windows. No "pocket" device can be windows as it needs a different GUI.

    Desktop windows need legacy APIs, and x86-64, full backwards compatibility to all NT applications and many 16 & 32 bit non-NT Windows apps via NTVDM, WOW, etc. Not experimental new APIs and Run anywhere programs and a Store and slurping, XBox, VR etc all integrated.

    MS are a mess since 2004.

    Different platforms need tweaked OS, different GUI and different applications apart from perhaps simple widget like email and pure text note taking, or music / video playback.

    A Browser made to have same GUI on mobile & desktop is crippled on Desktop. By all means use some commonality below GUI.

  15. J J Carter Silver badge

    Maybe not so niche?

    We've been rolling out a range of mobis across the organisation and the Samsung Note 8 with stylus is proving surprisingly popular despite the outsize form-factor. Of course they'll all running MSFT apps for Android and Skype for Business, managed by Intune.

    A foldable device that doesn't suffer from the shitfest that is Android could well appeal to 20% of end-users

    1. J. Cook Silver badge

      Re: Maybe not so niche?

      You also forgot the shitfest that is Samsung delivering updates for a device right up to the day they EOL the thing, and then you are boned regardless of how much useful life is left in the thing. I have an elderly Note8 from 2013-ish that the stock firmware stopped getting updated right around 18 months after getting it. Lineage... walks on it, rather than runs. (and is missing a bunch of useful features, like the stylus and usable sound)

  16. Alister Silver badge

    "Surface Phone" and then Andromeda speculation has circulated for years since Microsoft withdrew from the handset business; the final Lumia models emerged in late 2015 and early 2016.

    Well, a year and a half, anyway...

  17. oiseau Silver badge

    Say what!?

    Hoping for Microsoft's mythical Andromeda in your ...

    No ...

    At this stage of the IT game (2018?, 21st century? Hello?) and after all we've seen, I'm not hoping/wishing/expecting/needing for anyhing from MS.

    Why in heaven's name would I do such a stupid thing?

    Really now ...

  18. Ken Moorhouse Silver badge

    Anyone else expecting to find...

    Jessica behind that photo?

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