Will Microsoft Announce the Surface Phone at the Build Dev Con in May 2017?

Will Surface Phone surface at Microsoft Build 2017

As the lineup of flagship smartphones for 2017 gets heavier on the premium side of things, Microsoft is under intense pressure to reveal Surface Phone, its biggest attempted entry into the smartphone market since the acquisition of Nokia prior to Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella taking over the helm at one of the most valuable tech companies in the world.

2017 is a very different year for smartphones. Until recently, smartphone users in the United States were growing at healthy double-digit rates. As of 2016 that estimate fell to 8.7 percent, which was reflected by the sales of Apple’s iPhone which, for the first time, showed a decline.

smartphone user growth rate United States

And the picture doesn’t look too rosy going deep into 2017 and beyond, either.

This year will probably see the most number of smartphone models in the premium segment ever released. Apple has already launched its iPhone 7 (PRODUCT)RED and the 128GB version of iPhone SE (lower price but still premium), Google intends to launch at least two, if not three, Google Pixel 2 premium smartphones and Samsung will be shipping out its first flagship duo of Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8 Plus later this month. In addition, Apple is also planning an iPhone 7s and iPhone 7s Plus for 2017.

That’s nearly 10 premium smartphone models that Surface Phone will have to compete with. Granted, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella isn’t taking the head-on route and addressing the smartphone market in the traditional way, but no matter how revolutionary Microsoft can make the Surface Phone, its premium branding is naturally going to fall into the same bracket as Apple’s, Google’s and Samsung’s premium phones from a buyer’s viewpoint.

That’s at least two reasons why Surface Phone needs to see the light of day sooner rather than later, and the Build Developer Conference 2017 from May 10 through 12 would be the perfect setting for such an announcement. They don’t need to actually ship the device right away; all they need to do is reveal the device in order to buy some time and possibly generate media interest in Surface Phone. The tension right now is unbearable.

Fall 2017 has long been the expected launch window for Surface Phone, but if Microsoft can pull things together for a May reveal during Build 2017 next month, it will go a long way in building consumer confidence in the fact that they actually have something more than a sketch on a napkin to show for it.

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