Sunday December 04, 2022

Leak reveals Microsoft’s canceled Windows OS for dual-screen devices

Before Microsoft switched to Android for the Surface Duo, Microsoft was working on a secret Surface device that could be used as a pocketable computer. The device was codenamed Andromeda and appeared in leaked emails, patents and reports. This is before Microsoft switched to Android for its Surface Duo. Windows Central now has an early test version running on a Lumia 950 of Andromeda OS to show how close Microsoft came to launching a new Windows Phone.
Although Andromeda OS was not intended to be shipped on a Lumia 950 950, some Microsoft engineers tested parts of the operating systems using these devices. Many tech companies do not allow all engineers access to prototype dual-screen hardware. However, they had to continue working on OS components.
The UI of Andromeda OS looked very much like Windows Phone. Image: Windows CentralWindows Central’s hands on of Andromeda OS shows an early version of what would eventually be a Windows Phone with dual-screen hardware. The lockscreen is clearly inspired from Windows Phone. Cortana manages notifications. The lockscreen can be used as a giant canvas for taking notes. This is a big difference. There is no need to open a separate note app. Just start writing.
Microsoft even called the home screen a journal. This digital notebook was able to support inking, sticky notes and images and was always accessible instantly.

The lockscreen was a large canvas for inking. Image: Windows CentralElsewhere you can see early gesture support that led to the eventual Android-powered Surface Duo. The majority of the early Andromeda OS UI looks similar to what shipped with Surface Duos or ideas that went into Windows 11.
It’s still interesting to reflect on what could have been. Microsoft eventually abandoned plans for Andromeda OS and Andromeda OS, in favor of similar hardware powered by Android. Microsoft was also working on Surface Neo which is a larger dual-screen device that runs Windows 10X. The project was ended last year with the cancellation of Windows 10X. It looks like Windows 11 will be the standard for OEMs who attempt to bring dual-screen or foldable hardware to life.

Back to Top
%d bloggers like this: