Leaked documents have provided details [arstechnica.com] about Microsoft's upcoming Surface tablets, the next-generation Xbox, a two-screen handheld device, and the next HoloLens:
Andromeda, Microsoft's mythical pocketable, two-screen, hand-held device [arstechnica.com] that's supposed to carve out a whole new market for itself, is due for release in 2018. The documents also say that, after Andromeda, Microsoft OEMs will produce their own comparable products, just as they've done with Surface Pro.
The big question for Andromeda is the same as it has always been: why? To define a new hardware form factor, as appears to be the intent, its design needs to be particularly suitable for something. Surface Pro, for example, has appealed particularly to groups such as students (taking notes with OneNote) and artists, thanks to its form factor and multimodal input support. To succeed, Andromeda needs to offer similar appeal—it needs to enable something that's widely useful and ill-suited to existing hardware. But presently, there are few ideas of just what that role might be.
Next up, in 2019, is a new version of HoloLens [thurrott.com], codenamed Sydney. The documents say it is due to hit the market in some capacity (for developers or perhaps full commercial availability) in the first quarter of 2019. It will be much cheaper than the current HoloLens (though how much cheaper isn't known at this time), as well as lighter, more comfortable, and with a much better display. It will probably use a new sensor package derived from the Project Kinect for Azure [linkedin.com] announced at the Build developer conference last month and will also probably incorporate Microsoft's second-generation holographic processing unit [microsoft.com] custom processor.