Microsoft had quite a few surprises for Surface fans during its press conference on Tuesday, including a pair of Surface-branded headphones, a new Windows 10 app that will let you run Android apps on PC soon, and a new Surface All Access payment plan. That’s on top of the expected news of the day, including the expected Windows 10 update and all the new Surface computers. But Microsoft didn’t have that “one more thing” moment some Surface fans may be waiting for. The foldable Surface Phone isn’t here yet, but Microsoft’s chief product designer Panos Panay seemed to hint in an interview that the project is in the works.
The other day we saw some evidence that suggests the foldable Surface Phone, code-named Andromeda, is still in development. Microsoft apparently posted out in the wild several Andromeda OS references. But the company is far from making any Surface Phone announcements.
Talking to The Verge, Panay mentioned new form factors for Surface devices, including a pocketable Surface.
“It’s absolutely my baby,” he said. “We will invent, and we will create when products are right. We can’t bring new categories into the world and not be a place where customers need it.”
He had praising words for such devices in the past, saying about that unreleased 7-inch Surface Mini that it was “awesome,” and comparing it with a Moleskine.
But Microsoft, like Samsung and other companies working on foldable devices, has to develop the kind of new computing experiences that would convince buyers to go for pocketable Surfaces. And Panay is well aware of the challenges ahead.
“Right now we see people use these products in ways that are blowing my mind, it’s inspiring,” the exec said. “I think Surface Hub 2 is ready. I think any other form factor you haven’t seen yet we’ve gotta get right, we’ve got to make sure we keep inventing to make it perfect.”
Panay doesn’t talk only about the hardware side of things, as the software is equally important for providing new Surface experiences to customers. But he would not commit to anything for the time being. He did say he thinks “there’s a lot of new form factors that are coming in the future.” That means Surface fans dreaming about foldable Windows 10 phones will still have to wait for such experiences to come to market.