Windows Central got their hands on a pre-release build of Microsoft’s canceled Andromeda OS running on a Lumia 950. As noted in the article, “Andromeda OS was never intended to ship on the Lumia 950, or any Windows phone on the market at that time.” They’re using a 950 because Microsofted used them to help develop Andromeda OS internally. Also worth mentioning is the fact that Andromeda OS is no longer in development. Android is the OS that will be powering future Microsoft devices, such as the future Surface Duo devices. Here’s an excerpt from the report: Microsoft decided to do something rather unique with Andromeda OS, and build out OS experience around a journaling/inking experience. On the lockscreen, the user is able to begin taking notes directly onto the lockscreen UI just by putting pen to screen. You don’t have to initiate a special mode, or enter an app first, just take your Surface Pen and begin writing, and the lockscreen will store that ink for you to see every time you unlock your device. […] Unlocking the device would take you to your home screen, which on Andromeda OS is another inking canvas. This canvas is called the Journal (though this later became the Microsoft Whiteboard app) which acted as a digital notebook with the ability to take notes with a pen, add sticky notes, insert images and 3D objects, and more. The Journal experience would always be running in the background, with your phone apps running above it.
Andromeda OS was also gesture based. The on-screen Start and Cortana buttons would disappear when opening an app to provide a full-screen experience, so to access those areas, you’d swipe in from the left for Start, and from the right for Cortana, which is also where your notifications were stored. Yes, Cortana and your Notifications were one of the same on Andromeda OS, with Cortana becoming your “manager” of notifications missed or stored for dealing with later. A swipe down from the top would reveal the Control Center, which is feature that’s now shipping on Windows 11, but started life here on Andromeda OS. Feature-wise, it’s exactly the same, with the ability to control things like Wi-Fi, brightness, volume, and music playback. It also features Fluent Design acrylic blur effects, as do many other parts of the UI, even in this unfinished state.
[…] There was also an experimental “Radial UX Menu” mode, where instead of gestures swiping in things like Start and Cortana, swiping would present you with a UI full of circular buttons for things like Start, switching apps, and more. This may have been an alternative to on-screen navigation, as not everyone was familiar with full gesture navigation at the time just yet. Or, it could have been an alternative method of navigation for when you were using a pen. Who knows. One thing we’re not able to show you is the Continuum mode that Microsoft was also working on for Andromeda OS, as unfortunately it appears to be broken in the build we have. That said, we do know what it was going to be like. Essentially, Microsoft was building out Continuum to be a true desktop experience, with windowed app experiences, the ability to store icons on the desktop, and more. If you’d prefer to see Andromeda OS in action instead of read about it, you can watch Windows Central’s video here.
Read more of this story at Slashdot.