When Microsoft spoke about the origins of the Surface Duo they insisted that this was not the same device which was meant to run Windows Core OS.
“At that time, it was different hardware, it’s not the same hardware… it’s not even remotely close,” Panos Panay told the Verge. “We’re in so many generations later of development [with Surface Duo], we understand how thin it is, we understand reliability, we understand the robustness of the screens. It has been generationally made, it’s years in the making.”
The newly released firmware for the Surface Duo tells a different story, however.
The attestation certificates refer to the device by its original codename ‘Andromeda’ and firmware partitions are signed using a certificate named ‘Andromeda’, which was issued in 2017. The firmware also includes Hypervisor Firmware partition (HYP), which evokes one of the features of Windows 10 X and Windows Core OS.
While Microsoft insists the new device is much more refined than the 2017 version, we know of course that the hardware has been waiting for the software for several years now, as clearly suggested by the 2017 patents, which are not much different from what we are seeing today.
For some Windows fans, this raises the question of running Windows 10 for ARM on the device.
Probably, the main issues though is the lack of some acpi tables which will hurt a lot like MADT, MCFG, and more
— Gustave Monce (@gus33000) September 12, 2020
Famed Windows Phone hacker Gustave Monce suggests this may be possible, but probably not with all its features intact.
Either way, the news confirms something we all suspected, but I think most of us agree Microsoft made the right decision to rather launch a device with access to millions of apps and a thriving ecosystem of services.