Microsoft recently became the fifth major PC brand in the US on the back of good demand for its Surface devices. Now, the company seems to be exploring new avenues in the PC segment for what could be its busiest year in the hardware business.
A new book ‘Beneath a Surface’ by tech journalist Brad Sams paints out a potential roadmap for Surface hardware devices. It reveals the slew of devices that could be updated or new form factors that could be released in the next couple of years. The information is based on reporting from unnamed sources and it reveals that Microsoft plans to update the Surface Pro and Xbox hardware lineup with new products next year.
There is also a planned update to the mysterious “Andromeda” device that is believed to be the successor to Windows Phone device that can transform into a tablet. As soon as CEO Satya Nadella took the helms at the company, he decided to stop focusing on smartphone push and redirected the hardware efforts towards the Surface division. Under Chief Product Officer Panos Panay, Microsoft has emerged as a design leader in the PC hardware.
In the most recent quarter, Microsoft reported that Surface revenue jumped 14 percent over the previous year. It reported a revenue of $1.8 billion from Surface business and in the next few years, the company aims to scale that up further. fans have been clamoring for.
Microsoft famously whiffed on its smartphone push, but the Surface division has made Microsoft a hardware heavyweight, rivaling Apple in the high-end market. In Microsoft’s most recent quarter, Surface revenue jumped 14 percent over the previous year, to $1.18 billion. “For Microsoft, the Surface brand has become an invaluable asset. For a company that makes, and will continue to make, the majority of its revenue with software and services, Surface has been a rare bright spot in the consumer and hardware spaces,” Sam writes in his book.
He reveals that Microsoft is planning a Surface Pro detachable tablet device with a USB Type-C port, smaller bezels, rounded corners similar to Surface GO and new color options for the fourth quarter of 2019. There is also a Surface Laptop planned with an AMD processor, which could debut towards the end of next year. There is also a pair of new low-cost Xbox One S devices planned for next year as gaming becomes an important business division within Microsoft.
Watch: Microsoft Surface Book 2 First Look
However, the first Surface-branded product launch next year could happen in spring next year and Microsoft is tipped to launch an “ambient computing” device. The product is said to sense and respond to user presence. “The [ambient computing] product is designed to help deal with some of the common frustrations of using a smartphone.”
Sam predicts Microsoft will launch the third generation Surface Book only in 2020 and later that year, it could introduce a reimagined version of the Surface Studio desktop computer. It is believed to be similar to Surface Hub in terms of design and include a modular design for easy upgrade a couple of years later. The Andromeda device, tipped to be a foldable, dual-screen computer, is likely to come late next year and Sam says it is closer to a PC than a smartphone.