Microsoft’s customizable PC could arrive in 2020 with new Surface Monitor

Microsoft Surface Studio 2
Dan Baker/Digital Trends

Although Microsoft’s second-generation Surface Studio is just beginning to ship, the company may be planning a bigger, more radical refresh come 2020. According to Thurrott writer Brad Sams in his new book, Beneath A Surface, Microsoft will release a stand-alone Surface Studio monitor with modular functionality that could potentially deliver easy at-home upgrade options.

Sams’ mention of a modular design isn’t entirely out of left field for Microsoft, as Surface chief Panos Panay previously hinted of such a concept. What we didn’t know was how soon it will arrive or what components could be upgraded with this new design. Space-saving modular PCs aren’t entirely new, however, and Intel also showed off its vision of a modular PC with its Compute Card as an evolution of the company’s previous Compute Stick.

Given that Microsoft based its first- and second-generation Surface Studio on an all-in-one desktop design, there is very little in the way that users can upgrade. The slim design of the desktop means that the Surface Studio is built more like the rest of Microsoft’s mobile Surface PC lineup, so adding a modular design to the mix will be a welcome addition for those who may want to get better performance as their investment ages down the road.

In addition to a modular Surface, Sams also touched on another much anticipated Microsoft product: Project Andromeda. Initially, Project Andromeda was reported to be positioned as a pocketable PC with a foldable display, perhaps launching in the Surface family as the Surface Phone. However, in his book, Sams claimed that Microsoft’s approach has changed. Instead, according to The Verge, Andromeda “has morphed into a larger form factor.” Despite having called Andromeda a “disruptive” device, it’s widely believed that Microsoft has delayed the launch of Project Andromeda to find use cases for the device, likely to justify its innovative design and higher price.

Sams also gave some interesting insight into the PC industry, including Microsoft’s frustration with its long-time chip partner Intel over delays of the latter’s processors. This situation could also lead to Microsoft bringing AMD into the fold as an alternative, and Sams speculated that an AMD-powered Surface Laptop could debut in 2019 as a result.

Even though Microsoft did not launch its lower cost Surface Go tablet with an ARM-based processor, if Sams’ claims are accurate, the relationship between Microsoft and Intel may be rupturing. While Intel still dominates the PC processor market, Microsoft also launched its Windows on ARM initiative to create Always-Connected PCs. To date, Microsoft has not released its own Surface-branded Always-Connected PCs, but a few devices from HP, Lenovo, and Samsung have debuted with Qualcomm’s Snapdragon processors, integrated 4G LTE modems, and promises of long battery life.

Computing

Could the next Microsoft HoloLens be announced at MWC 2019?

After not having a presence at Mobile World Congress for three years, Microsoft is now sending out media invites for a press conference on February 24 during the annual event in Barcelona. Could a next-generation HoloLens be on the way?
Mobile

C you soon? Rumors swirl of a USB-C port on 2019 iPhones

While it's not been long since the last iPhones launched, rumors for the next iPhone are already surfacing. Apple's 2019 flagship could include a variety of upgrades ranging from a new design to enhanced features.
Computing

Microsoft is getting ready for a coming wave of foldable Windows 10 devices

Windows 10 might soon have a new look. A leaked string for an internal Windows 10 19H1 build shows that Microsoft is getting ready to build Windows 10 for a future wave of foldable devices.
Computing

Microsoft will end support for Windows 7 one year from now

Microsoft is set to end extended support for Windows 7 on January 14, 2020, putting a halt on the free bug fixes, and security patches for most who have the operating system installed. 
Computing

Stop your PC's vow of silence with these tips on how to fix audio problems

Sound problems got you down? Don't worry, with a few tweaks and tricks we'll get your sound card functioning as it should, and you listening to your favorite tunes and in-game audio in no time.
Computing

Yes, Android apps can run on your PC, and it's easier than you think

Wish you knew how to run Android apps in Windows? It's easier than you might think and there are a number of different ways to do it. In this guide, we break down the steps so you can follow along with ease.
Computing

Chip off the auction block – Intel’s i9-9990XE may be sold to the highest bidder

Intel's alleged Core i9-9990XE may only be sold at auction to OEMs, meaning that only a few of the 14-core, 28-thread, 5GHz CPUs will ever see the light of day in specific devices and systems.
Computing

Don't spend hundreds on Pro Tools or Logic. Try one of these free alternatives

Believe it or not, Pro Tools isn't the only digital audio workstation worth your time. Check out our picks for the best free recording software, whether you're looking for a lightweight app or a full-blown audio workstation.
Computing

How to share an external hard drive between Mac and Windows

Compatibility issues between Microsoft Windows and Apple MacOS may have diminished sharply over the years, but that doesn't mean they've completely disappeared. Here's how to make an external drive work between both operating systems.
Computing

Should you buy the affordable MacBook Air, or is the MacBook Pro worth the price?

Though they both share Retina Displays and similar keyboards, there are still some specs differences and other changes that differentiate the new 2018 MacBook Air and MacBook Pro. In this guide, we stack the two up against each other.
Android

Mobile World Congress (MWC) 2019: Complete Coverage

There's no bigger show for mobile tech geeks than Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain: where flagship phones are born and intriguing new wearables shine. And this year, where foldable phones and 5G are likely to dominate the news. For…
Computing

Google is giving its G Suite web apps new touches of visual improvements

Your G Suite applications will soon have a different look. Several of the web apps are getting updated with subtle visual improvements inspired by Google's Material Design guidelines. 
Emerging Tech

CES 2019 recap: All the trends, products, and gadgets you missed

CES 2019 didn’t just give us a taste of the future, it offered a five-course meal. From 8K and Micro LED televisions to smart toilets, the show delivered with all the amazing gadgetry you could ask for. Here’s a look at all the big…
Computing

Hackers are scoring with ransomware that attacks its previous victims

Computer viruses are always evolving. In a new one, dubbed "Ryuk," hackers are targeting PCs with ransomware that scours an infected network in order to pinpoint and attack and enterprises with big money.