Even though Windows 10 Mobile is getting the ‘adopted child’ treatment from Microsoft of late, its considerable user base of about 7 million or more device users will be the biggest promoters of Surface Phone.
Surface Phone is no longer considered a real device that Microsoft will release. It remains an abstract concept that Microsoft has been working on for several year. More recently, however, there have been signs that a Surface Phone device is, in fact, in the works at Microsoft HQ.
Multiple rumors suggest that Microsoft is internally testing hardware that runs on a new variant of Windows 10 Mobile. We also know that this year, Microsoft intends to launch Surface Mobile devices, which are Windows 10 on ARM devices in a mobile format that could be one of the avatars of Surface Phone as we know it.
Yet another rumor is based on the fact that Microsoft has applied for a patent for a foldable mobile device that could use its metallic body as an antenna for a cellular signal. It’s most likely going to have 4G LTE capability, which means it will have cellular components on the inside – possibly Windows 10 on ARM chips like Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 835.
All of this sounds like hearsay, but the information is reliable, and comes either from Microsoft insiders or from publicly available patent documents.
If the earliest form of Surface Phone is released this year in the guise of Surface Mobile, then current Windows 10 Mobile device owners will probably be the biggest promoters of such a device. They’ll have the necessary experience with a Windows-based smartphone as well as UWP apps from Microsoft Store. More importantly, they’re highly likely to be staunch fans of Windows-on-a-smartphone.
These are the people most keen on Surface Phone when it does come, and these are the people that will be the early adopters, putting Surface Phone into wide circulation as soon as it hits. 7 million might not seem like a big number when you compare it to the hundreds of millions of iPhones that Apple sells each year, but for Microsoft, it’s the first step back into the world of smartphones, but in a much more significant way.
Surface Phone is expected to be like no other smartphone on the planet. Not only can it be extended to larger monitors seamlessly with the Continuum function, but Microsoft wants it to be able to run traditional desktop apps as well. And that’s pretty much the USP for Surface Phone.
At the end of the year, we’re likely to see the first generation of Surface Phone. It might not be fully capable in terms of what Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella really wants for the next era of smartphones, but it will have features that iOS and Android smartphones currently do not – or, at least, not as full-fledged features.
The time is ripe for Surface Phone, and Microsoft understands well that it has to find the right balance between moving fast and innovating in a big way. Hopefully, the first of many Surface Phone iterations will be able to find that balance and give Microsoft a strong and early lead in a new wave of smartphone technology.