Image Credit: Harry Douhyun Kim

New product categories must answer “what”, “why”, “how” and “when?” In January 2015, I began to describe a post-phone handheld focused on inking with telephony as the “what” of Microsoft’s mobile strategy. The “why” was to integrate highly mobile PCs into the cellular roadmap to meet the growing demands of mobile computing. The “how” relied on Windows 10 as a universal operating system for all device types and context-compliant hardware states, while Windows Ink supported a digital newspaper focus. 2018 was the “when”.

Between 2015 and now, patents and leaks like the role of Windows Core operating systems and the name of the Andromeda project started to fill in details that I worked on in an ongoing story. Distinguish between smartphone and mobile spaces was paramount because many observers have mistakenly equated the demise of Windows-on-phone with the demise of Windows-on-mobile.

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A recently leaked email from Microsoft confirmed my analysis that Microsoft is indeed working on an inking-focused Pocket PC category that is compatible with the mobile space, not the smartphone. Microsoft even bragged that it would be disruptive. While Andromeda can be canceled, here’s how Microsoft may Expect its new class of PC, with OEM support and iteration over time, to disrupt the market.

Related: Why Microsoft’s ‘Andromeda’ Surface Is Critical To The Windows Ecosystem

Andromeda and smartphones

As “PC-type” smartphones have not targeted, but have encroached on the PC market, telephony-compatible Pocket PCs will not target but may do encroach on smartphones. They’re expected to be portable, always-on Windows 10 PCs offering features like Windows Ink, iOS, and Android integration and more, while also being able to make calls.

With TimeLine, Your Phone, and other Windows iOS and Android integration features, users may be able to receive phone notifications from these PCs without engaging their smartphones.

In addition, smartphones are still moving towards larger (even foldable) tablet-like dimensions to accommodate non-telephone use like web browsing which dominates smartphone use. Pocket PCs the size of a tablet that unfold to the dimensions of a mini-tablet would correspond to this paradigm of use. Especially since the mobile web, as well as applications, are very much involved in smartphones.

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PWA, gap app and Pocket PC

Microsoft’s Progressive Web App (PWA) investments, combining the best of the web and apps, aim to bring “apps” like the new Uber PWA, to Windows and the Pocket PCs.

Since Windows 10 treats PWAs like Native Universal Windows Applications (UWAs), Microsoft is probably hoping that PWAs, legacy applications (via emulation), and UWAs can make Pocket PCs capable of doing most of what smartphones with rich application ecosystems and Windows PCs do this separately today.

IOS and Android integration could spoof smartphone engagement.

If users find value in phablet-sized PCs that transform into mini-tablets when mobile, deliver desktop experiences through Continuum when docked, and make phone calls, they may find them more convenient for web browsing, media consumption and the social media activity that now dominates smartphone use. They can then see Microsoft’s iOS and Android integration strategically lessens the reasons they directly use their smartphones. This could be a disruptive strategy for Microsoft.

Progressive web apps can be the great equalizer

Carriers fact

ACPCs equipped with eSIM, combined with Microsoft’s sales data through the Microsoft Store, give consumers the power to choose carriers and purchase data “on the fly” from Windows. This new dynamic carrier-Microsoft favors Microsoft.

In January, I wrote that this creates a competitive environment in which operators would compete for user attention by delivering compelling data packages with their ACPCs. Sprint’s recent promotion of free data for ACPC customers confirms this.

Pocket PCs, as an evolution of telephony to ACPCs, would likely follow this new model. A category of mobile devices that shifts the power of the current smartphone paradigm from the carrier to consumers and Microsoft would be disruptive.

How ACPCs can give Microsoft the edge over operators

Partnerships for a future unique device

As PCs move towards the cellular roadmap, chipmakers and cellular infrastructure builders like Intel and Qualcomm, as well as PC and phone makers, are exploring and creating new form factors and cases. PC use. Microsoft’s impact on the industry by making Windows 10 context-aware and more mobile-friendly is already impacting the evolution of PCs and how companies like Qualcomm are building mobile platforms for the future. connected PCs.

We are moving towards a “Westworld-style” single-device future.

Microsoft’s potential outlook for the Andromeda-inspired PC category likely spans years, combining the contributions of advanced processors, the rollout of 5G, and the iteration of OEM partner devices over time. Additionally, through collaboration and inking the Surface family of devices, Microsoft is building a use case for the category. While ambitious, risky, and potentially delayed or canceled, Andromeda could be the bold and real first step in a single device category that could be a PC, tablet, and phone.

Although reminiscent of sci-fi gadgets (what innovation isn’t?) It would indeed be disruptive.

Consider this, the first mobile phone was not very interesting, but the category it spawned disrupted several industries.

Microsoft must leverage partnerships, eSIM and edge computing to position Pocket PCs

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