While Andromeda has typically held the spotlight, Centaurus recently took the stage when London, U.K.-based information provider IHS Markit told Forbes that the device could come in the first quarter or half of 2020.
IHS Markit cited supply chain information and also claimed that Centaurus would have two 9-inch displays and a 4:3 aspect ratio. However, the more intriguing detail from IHS Markit is that Centaurus would run Android apps.
According to IHS, the device would run Android apps as part of Windows Core OS (WCOS), which Microsoft has been developing as the underpinnings for a lightweight, adaptable version of Windows to power dual-screen devices as well as massive screens like the Surface Hub 2S.
Specifically, Centaurus and other dual-screen devices, especially those targeted as Chromebook competitors, would run something codenamed ‘Windows Lite,’ which appears to be a stripped-down version of Windows for dual-screen devices like Centaurus.
Unfortunately, adding support for Android apps to WCOS or Windows Lite seems an unlikely prospect, as it would go contrary to a lot of Microsoft’s other projects, particularly the struggling Universal Windows Platform (UWP). There’s also the issue of Microsoft needing to make its own Android app store, as well as convince developers to modify their apps to work without needing Google Play Services, which is no small feat.
On top of this, IHS Markit says the new dual-screen Surface device will use Intel’s new 10nm processors and have LTE or 5G connectivity. According to The Verge, Microsoft and Intel have worked closely together on Centauraus, and the chip-maker is pushing manufacturers to create dual-screen hardware as well.
Microsoft also teased Centaurus during an internal, employee-only event, suggesting work on the device has progressed to the point that it could be shown publicly soon. Considering the company likes to hold Surface events in October, it’s possible we could see Centaurus for the first time soon.