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Bottom line: Reports of Microsoft's Andromeda, a folding device that's part of the company's Surface line, have been around for a while. Now, we know what it will look like and when it might be released.
Back in October, it was reported that the Windows maker was working on a foldable device similar to Courier, its dual-screen tablet concept that never made it into production. According to a Microsoft internal document obtained by The Verge, Andromeda will create a "new and disruptive" device category.
Microsoft describes the handheld as "a new pocketable Surface device form factor that brings together innovative new hardware and software experiences to create a truly personal and versatile computing experience."
Graphic designer David Breyer has created 3D concept images of Andromeda, which are said to be identical to the current engineering samples. His renders include different potential modes for the Surface machine, including what he calls a laptop mode, which looks like a smaller version of Asus' Project Precog, and a gaming mode complete with a virtual Xbox-style controller.
The big question now is when will Microsoft release Andromeda. According to a Thurrott report from earlier this month, it is scheduled to arrive sometime this year. The publication also writes that after it is launched, Microsoft OEM partners will release similar hardware.
Microsoft is also said to be including a stylus with Andromeda, allowing users to record notes much like they would with Samsung's Galaxy Note series. Additionally, it may be powered by Qualcomm's rumored Snapdragon 1000 platform.
With large tech firms such as Samsung, Huawei, Lenovo, Intel, and possibly even Apple working on dual-screen devices, the form factor could soon become quite popular. The biggest hope for Microsoft is that Andromeda will finally banish the memory of the Windows Phone. "It will blur the lines between mobile and stationary computing," claims one internal document.