Mobile productivity users have recently received both good and bad news regarding Microsoft’s Surface product range.
The good news is the Washington-based company has confirmed pricing, a launch date and specifications for the new Surface Go – a smaller, cheaper addition to the Surface line up which seeks to better Apple’s rival entry level iPad.
The bad news comes from strong rumours the popular Surface Andromeda project, which sought to introduce a hinged, dual screen mobile device, has been cancelled by Microsoft.
Online anticipation for the Surface Go is already running high ahead of its August 22 launch date in the UK. The device will retail for £379, which is more expensive than the £319 starting price for the latest iPad. However, the Surface Go potentially has a few advantages over Apple’s product.
As the Surface Go will run Windows 10 in S Mode, it can run any application available from the Windows Store, including the same version of Office 365 apps made for any other Windows machine. While Apple’s iOS devices require custom built, often simplified versions of desktop applications, the Surface Go will not need users to make any sacrifices depending on which hardware they’re using.
The Surface Go can also be expanded with an optional keyboard and mouse. So far, Apple only offers keyboard attachments for its much more expensive iPad Pro range, and mouse support is non-existent. Microsoft’s device also competes with support for the Surface Pen which, similar to the Apple Pencil, allows input simply by drawing on the screen.
With other options such as 8GB of RAM, 128GB of storage and a microSD slot, the Surface Go promises to be an affordable, flexible tablet with enough power to compete not only with the Apple iPad but also laptop computers in general.
At the same time as Microsoft fans are waiting to get their hands on the Surface Go, many have been disappointed by the news that the Surface Andromeda project will likely never see the light of day. The device promised a full Windows tablet experience in a foldable smartphone-sized form, reminiscent of the productivity and communications instruments seen in the Westworld TV series.
Reasons for the supposed cancellation are uncertain. Some have suggested changes in executive management at Microsoft have caused a loss in momentum for Andromeda as the company shifts staff to a services model. Others believe the device would need a custom version of Windows 10, which is not yet ready and therefore leaves no certain path for third party app developers to go down.
The Andromeda concept has received many calls to be revived on social media and Microsoft’s feedback forums, but with a patchy history of success in mobile devices, the company is unlikely to want to release another portable hardware product that has a high risk of being dead on arrival.
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