Microsoft Andromeda Dual-Screen Surface Device Lives, But May Receive Snapdragon 850 Overhaul

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It seems as though many enthusiasts have Andromeda fever. And by Andromeda, we mean Microsoft's supposed upcoming ARM-powered dual-screen Surface device. Andromeda has been rumored for quite some time, and Surface Chief Panos Panay even fueled the rumormill with a cryptic tweet late last month.

However, enthusiasts also know that Microsoft is prone to cancelling projects -- ahem, Courier -- which has sparked some to even file petitions urging the company to spare Andromeda. A new insider report suggests that Andromeda has [thankfully] not been canceled, but that the project is getting a major overhaul before its eventual release.

"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," writes Thurrott, which is quite in tune with the Microsoft rumormill.

Another reason why Microsoft is hitting the reset button on Andromeda has to do with the hardware that would be available at launch. If the device were to launch this year, the best that the company would be able to offer would be Qualcomm's Snapdragon 835 processor. But, as we've seen with early reviews of Always Connected Windows 10 PCs running Snapdragon 835, there is a lot of room for improvement with respect to performance (although battery life is a definite plus).

With that in mind, Microsoft is reportedly planning to release the device with the newly announced Snapdragon 850 Mobile Compute Platform, which is being specifically designed for thin and light laptops. Compared to the Snapdragon 835, Qualcomm promises a 30 percent uplift in system performance, a 20 percent increase in battery life and efficiency, and a 20 percent increase in Gigabit LTE speeds (courtesy of a 1.2Gbps Snapdragon X20 LTE modem).

Andromeda laptop

Microsoft is now reportedly targeting a late 2019 release date for Andromeda, but there's still a lot riding on the device and the Surface branding according to people familiar with the project. Microsoft doesn't want to "risk releasing anything that will tarnish its reputation," according to Thurrott, and if it were to be a "complete flop, this could reflect negatively on the Surface brand and impact products like the Pro line that sell quite well."

While those concerns are definitely understandable, Microsoft isn't averse to taking risks as witnessed by the release of the Surface Go earlier this week which features a dual-core Intel Pentium processor and 4GB of RAM in its base $399 configuration.