Following the success of Surface Pro tablets and Surface Book laptops, Microsoft is now rumoured to be developing an all-new piece of hardware that would be a digital journal with a foldable form factor. The Redmond company had initially previewed something similar called the Courier - with two screens and a stylus - to take on Android tablets and Apple's iPad range.
Microsoft is planning to launch the new device as early as next year, reports Windows Central citing some people at Microsoft familiar with the matter. The device is reportedly running on a Windows 10 version that has Windows Core OS along with Composable Shell (CShell). The new shell was first leaked on Windows 10 Mobile to bring some existing Windows 10 components to the handheld devices. Further, it is touted to be an "adaptive shell" to let developers scale Windows 10 to any form - even on a foldable device.
Codenamed Andromeda, the hardware is rumoured to be the real face of the Microsoft Courier that was projected as a book-style PC in 2008 but cancelled in 2010. This also suggests that Microsoft would not have any plans to re-enter the smartphone market.
If we believe what all Windows Central has reported, Microsoft's new device will sport two display panels combined together - similar to the ZTE Axon M, accompanied with a stylus. The device is said to have a notebook app that has OneNote integration and supports inking options via Windows Ink to deliver enhance note-taking capabilities. Additionally, the hardware is rumoured to be powered by a high-end Snapdragon processor.
Microsoft hinted the development of the foldable device through an application filed with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) in October 2014. The patent application even included a three-display device that would just a prototype model for the rumoured device.
The arrival of the foldable device would bring Microsoft closer to Lenovo that had launched the Yoga Book in September last year as its native book-like device. Furthermore, it would help the Windows maker compete against companies like Apple and Samsung that both are catering the growing productivity demands through their portable offerings.