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article imageReport: Microsoft planning new modular Windows dubbed 'Andromeda'

By James Walker     Sep 20, 2017 in Technology
Microsoft is reportedly laying down the groundwork for a more modular Windows known as Andromeda. The company wants to rid itself of the 30-year-old legacy components in Windows 10, creating a more agile platform that adapts to different hardware.
The name "Andromeda" first cropped up earlier in the year when rumours of a flexible Windows 10 desktop came to the surface. In a new report, Microsoft fan site Windows Central has spilled the secrets of the project, revealing it to be a much more ambitious effort to reinvent the core of Windows.
Citing "multiple sources" within Microsoft, the report claimed the company wants Andromeda to be a "common denominator" for Windows. Cross-platform, capable of running on any hardware and with a range of modular extensions, Andromeda is an attempt to move Windows into a fully modular mindset.
The project has been borne out of the weight of the current Windows 10 platform. Although it looks and feels modern on the surface, the heart of the operating system runs on components and an architecture that's been developed over decades. Its aging, monolithic and increasingly inappropriate for the fast-paced reality of modern tech.
Under Andromeda, Microsoft plans to modularise everything to create a set of components that can be included or omitted on different devices, depending on what's necessary. Windows will be more adaptable to different hardware families, such as smartphones or the Xbox, and the size of the operating system will be reduced.
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The project also marks the culmination of Microsoft's "OneCore" ambitions. It will see every Windows product move to a true common codebase, ending the current complex of individual operating systems bound by shared code.
With Andromeda, a Windows phone would be based on an identical kernel to a Windows PC, without caveats. The phone would just come with a different set of components to the PC, bundling pieces more suited to a pocket-sized mobile device.
Andromeda could enable Microsoft to stage a re-entry into the smartphone market while making a minimal dedicated investment in smartphone software. The technology may also let it achieve its Continuum ambitions, where a device can seamlessly pivot between mobile and desktop environments. When you connect a monitor, the mobile components could be removed and replaced with newly loaded desktop ones.
According to Windows Central, Andromeda's currently under active development for initial use next year. The site's sources didn't provide any more specific timing information. Microsoft's said to be planning a "mobile-focused" experience for Andromeda's first introduction, perhaps suggesting the elusive Surface Phone could be around the corner. As ever, Microsoft's plans are likely to change during the project's development and Andromeda could entail more or less than what this latest leak has revealed.
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