Noted Microsoft aficionado Brad Sams has reported via a Sam’s Report podcast that at least two independent sources have confirmed that a possible Surface Phone device has been “floating around campus.” The “mobile-type” device purportedly runs CShell, a Windows shell that can dynamically work with multiple device types. Could this finally be the Surface Phone we’ve all been waiting for?
Other rumors hold that CShell is still not very stable, but we do know that Alex Kipman, the man behind HoloLens is also working on a new device for Microsoft. If that’s true, then Microsoft might not be ready to ship it this year. The company will definitely try to steer clear of releasing a buggy version of what is supposed to be a pretty revolutionary feature.
If the new device that’s “floating around campus” also runs Windows 10 on ARM64 with x86 emulation and the “full desktop experience” that Microsoft has been talking about, we could be very close to a Surface Phone release.
That means we’ll be seeing a cellular PC, or a mobile device with PC capabilities, that’s always connected to the Internet, can run Windows Store UWP apps as well as traditional x86 win32 desktop applications, has great battery life and can be extended to an external monitor via Continuum. And it will be expensive, let there be no doubt about that.
Microsoft only mentioned “2-in-1s and laptops” when they showcased Windows 10 on ARM at their Build conference a couple of months ago. However, if they can bring this same technology to an “even more mobile” device, or the “mobile-type” device they’re talking about, that undeniably points to a Surface Phone type of gadget.
A tablet or laptop running Windows 10 on ARM is certainly not a ground-breaking release, which is why there’s bound to be something that Microsoft is hiding up its sleeve for a last-minute reveal. We believe that these larger devices that have been acknowledged to exist are only a smokescreen to distract us from Microsoft’s real purpose – Surface Phone, with all these capabilities we’ve been talking about.
Here’s a video explaining how Windows 10 on ARM64 with Snapdragon 835 chips from Qualcomm work:
So that’s what we can eventually expect from Surface Phone, although we do expect additional features like CShell to come with the devices when they’re finally released.
As such, you can expect Surface Phone to be a powerful mobile PC that effectively bridges the mobile-desktop gap that’s been expanding since smartphones became popular.
“Later this year” is what Microsoft says about the release date, and they’ve not yet committed to a smartphone-type device, so keep that in mind. But it will come when it’s ready.