Microsoft's smartphone plans may not be as dead as once presumed. Code found in a recently released Windows 10 software development kit (SDK) suggests that a Surface Phone could still be in the plans for the company.
The evidence comes from Twitter user WalkingCat (@h0x0d), who posted a series of screenshots from the Windows 10 version 17672 SDK that show reference to "Andromeda OS" and "Factory OS Andromeda Device." Andromeda is an internal codename at Microsoft that's reportedly attached to a new, modular version of Windows that can be tailored to specific devices, and perhaps a folding smartphone/tablet hybrid that would be released under the Surface brand.
A response from Twitter user Lucan (@tfwboredom) suggests the references have been in these SDKs for months. If all of this lines up, Microsoft may finally be readying its re-entry into the mobile device realm, as testing may have begun for this referenced Factory OS Andromeda Device.
A follow-up tweet from WalkingCat points out references in the code to Windows Core, another rumored modular version of Windows that would allow for cellular call capability to be added on.
In that same tweet, WalkingCat also mentions Polaris, a reportedly lightweight and "modern" version of Windows. This variant of Windows would be built entirely around the Universal Windows Platform, which would make it more locked-down than traditional Windows, only allowing for apps from the Microsoft Store.
Polaris is expected to exist alongside traditional Windows 10 and Windows 10 Pro, and would be marketed to those looking for portability and a lighter, simpler operating system. That would makes it Microsoft's next tool for fighting off the growing surge of Chromebook popularity.