Microsoft’s next big thing in hardware could be dual screen / foldable devices, report says

Laurent Giret

Microsoft Andromeda Surface Phone Concept

Could 2019 be the year where Microsoft finally makes its interest for foldable, dual-screen devices more official? We’ve now seen many Microsoft patents related to these new form factors, and the company’s Chief Product Officer also made no mistery about his excitement for a pocketable Surface device.

Yesterday, we reported that a that a bunch of Windows 10 builds marked as onecore, wcos, or even “shell_devices_foldable” were posted on Buildfeed, a now-closed website that used to track new Windows 10 builds. Following the discovery of these new builds dedicated to foldable devices, a new report from The Verge confirmed today that Microsoft is currently all-in on dual-screen, foldable devices:

Sources familiar with Microsoft’s plans tell The Verge that the software maker is making foldable devices and dual-screen hardware a big investment area for both Windows and Surface. This investment includes adapting Windows itself and its many built-in apps to work across foldable displays and devices with dual screens.

In a previous interview with The Verge from October, Surface inventor Panos Panay explained that Microsoft was actively exploring new form factors, though he added that the company wanted to make sure that these new products would actually find an audience. “We will invent and we will create when products are right. We can’t bring new categories into the world and not be a place where customers need it,” Panay stated.

Last year, we learned from various reports that Microsoft had delayed its “Andromeda” foldable mobile device as Windows Core OS, the modular version of Windows designed for new form factors wasn’t ready yet. Moreover, the company is reportedly focusing its efforts on a larger dual-screen Windows Core OS device codenamed Centaurus, which is expected to be released in Fall 2019.

All the work that Microsoft is currently doing on Windows Core OS should also allow other manufacturers to release Windows-powered foldable devices in the future. Unfortunately, without a solid selection of apps on the Microsoft Store, it’s still not clear if these new form factors will resonate with consumers. Anyway, the clock may be ticking for Microsoft as Google is already inviting developers to get their android apps ready for foldable phones.