Surface Phone could be the ultimate mobile device, but not till late 2017

microsoft surface phone
With the Surface Pro 4, Surface Book, and Surface Studio, Microsoft has solid devices for the 2-in-1, detachable notebook, and all-in-one desktop markets. The one area in which the company’s offerings are lacking is smartphones, with both the stand-alone mobile OS Windows Phone and the Lumia hardware line having been unceremoniously canceled.

Today, Microsoft’s mobile efforts revolve around supporting Windows 10 Mobile running on OEM hardware such as HP’s Elite X3 smartphone. That’s been the company’s stated strategy for a few months now but it might not be its long-term direction, with the Surface Phone remaining a real possibility if only a bit delayed, as Forbes reports.

Recently, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella spoke about the company’s work on “the ultimate mobile device,” in a reference that made it clear that Microsoft doesn’t want to compete with smartphone market leaders Apple and the Android ecosystem head on with consumer-focused devices. Microsoft tried that already, and failed.

Rather, Microsoft wants to focus its efforts on a new market-defining device that might meet a smaller subset of customers but that offers real value and differentiation. Given Microsoft’s “mobile-first, cloud-first” productivity solutions focus that’s aimed squarely at the enterprise, it’s likely that the Surface Phone will be aimed in that direction as well.

The newest information points to a device that will utilize Qualcomm’s newest Snapdragon 835 system-on-chip (SoC), and run a 64-bit version of Windows 10 Mobile with an enhanced version of Microsoft’s large-screen PC-like environment, Continuum, that supports legacy x86 applications. The ability to connect a Surface Phone to an external keyboard, mouse, and display and run full desktop applications like Office 2016 or Adobe Photoshop — or proprietary enterprise productivity apps — would be of real interest to business customers.

The Surface Phone is likely being tested in multiple configurations, with prototypes running both 4GB and 6GB of RAM to go with the Snapdragon 835. The 6GB version would likely be the one to run the enhanced Continuum mode and would thus be the most business focused.

However, the updated version of Continuum is rumored to be coming with the Redstone 3 update, which will follow sometime after Redstone 2, or Creators Update, that’s expected in Sprint 2017. Most likely, Redstone 3 will arrive later in the second half of 2017. Given Microsoft’s pattern of introducing something new and exciting at its October events, with the Surface Book in October 2015 and the Surface Studio in October 2016, dedicating the October 2017 event to a Surface Phone would make sense.

In any event, anyone who’s excited about the prospect of a high-end, truly innovative, and well-built Windows 10 Mobile device, may have a bit of a wait. And with its presumed target being the enterprise market, the Surface Phone might not be of great interest to general consumers, with Microsoft continuing to concede that market to Apple and Google.


How Razer forged the Blade 15, the slim gaming laptop nobody else could build

With the recent launch of the Blade 15, Razer ushered in a new design language that's cleaner and more angular. We recently visited Razer's San Francisco, California design studio to learn more about Razer's approach to design.

What to expect from Microsoft’s October 2 Surface event

The October 2 Surface event is just around the corner. Let's take a look at everything Microsoft could unveil at the event, including major announcement for new Surface products, unique accessories, and long-sought Windows 10 features.

Tired of choosing between Windows and Mac? Check out these Chromebooks instead

We've compiled a list of the best Chromebooks -- laptops that combine great battery life, comfortable keyboards, and the performance it takes to run Google's lightweight Chrome OS. From Samsung to Acer, these are the Chromebooks that really…

The Huawei Mate 20 Pro's body may wirelessly charge new Bluetooth headphones

Huawei is no stranger when it comes to big phones. And this year it plans to go even bigger with the Huawei Mate 20 and Mate 20 Pro. Here's what we think we know about the new range.

OnePlus 6T may launch soon with in-display fingerprint sensor, dual cameras

According to a recent report, the launch of the OnePlus 6T could be different from any other OnePlus launch in history. How? It could have the backing of a major U.S. carrier. Here's everything we know about the OnePlus 6T.

It's not all free money. What to know before you try to mine Bitcoin

Mining Bitcoin today is harder than it used to be, but if you have enough time, money and cheap electricity, you can still turn a profit. Here's how to get started mining Bitcoin at home and in the cloud.

Bing, Windows search evolve into new, cross-platform Microsoft Search

Microsoft is upgrading its various search tools to provide more contextual help for those seeking it. Bing, Office, and Windows search will all be upgraded over the coming months to provide much more nuanced results.

U.N. security blunder left secret Trello boards, Google Docs exposed

United Nations documents were left vulnerable to unauthorized users by staffers who left Trello boards and Google Docs unprotected and accessible to anyone who had their unique URLs.

Back for the boardroom, Microsoft outlines the future of the Surface Hub

With the Surface Hub 2 still on the horizon, Microsoft announced two additional versions of its digital whiteboard, the Surface Hub 2S and 2X, to attendees of their 2018 Ignite developer conference.

Here's how to install the free MacOS Mojave update now

Apple's newest operating system has finally arrived, and we'll show you how to download MacOS Mojave for free. After you install Mojave, you'll be able to take advantage of new apps ported from iOS, a dark theme, and more.

Chrome 69 logs you in without consent, but Google says it’s for your own good

Google is under fire for how Chrome 69 behaves. When you log into a Google service, you're automatically logged into the browser, raising serious privacy concerns. Google was forced to address its tactics and update its policy.

Microsoft Teams blurs your video background, prevents national embarrassment

Users of Microsoft Teams platform can now blur out their background during video calls as the company calls out the world's favorite BBC dad to show it can be done. Available now for all Microsoft Team customers.

Spotify vs. Pandora: Which music streaming service is better for you?

Which music streaming platform is best for you? We pit Spotify versus Pandora, two mighty streaming services with on-demand music and massive catalogs, comparing every facet of the two services to help you decide which is best.

MacOS Mojave has landed. Here are the five best features of the update

Apple's new version of MacOS is finally here and can be installed on your Mac today. Why should you upgrade? Well, there's a lot more to the update than just Dark Mode. Here are the five features you need to know about.