Microsoft isn’t satisfied with changing the way users think about tablets and notebook PCs. Having successfully introduced 2-in-1s to the world with the Surface line of devices, it seems that Microsoft is preparing to do the same thing to smartphones. Allegedly, Microsoft is planning a Surface Phone that’ll actually take on the iPhone 6 and use technology from Intel in some way.
A report out this weeks declares that there’s a Surface Phone in production at Microsoft. Microsoft introduced the Surface line along with its Windows 8 operating system back in 2012. The family of Windows 2-in-1s have blossomed into the best high-end machines shoppers can buy running Microsoft’s operating system. Now, it appears that Microsoft is taking on the iPhone with the same principles that made the Surface Pro 3 such a success and the Surface Pro 4 a worthy follow-up.
The Surface Pro 4
Windows Centralreports that Microsoft has decided not to release a high-end Windows Phone in the middle of 2016. Allegedly, that device was killed and replace on Microsoft’s hardware roadmap with the Surface Phone, a handset being designed and developed by the same team that designed and developed the Surface family of tablets and the Surface Book.
“Panos Panay and his Surface team, who are responsible for all of Microsoft’s premium device engineering, are getting their shot at Windows Mobile and making a premium flagship phone, the report notes. The outlet has been pretty accurate about developments in the Microsoft ecosystem in the past.
Unfortunately, it’s too early to know with absolute certainty what this Surface Phone will look like or how it’ll work. Microsoft still embraces hardware categories that others have pioneered, but the company is also careful to try to change the overall conversation. The Surface 3 isn’t a tablet, it’s a tablet that can be a notebook with an additional accessory. The Surface Book is a notebook that can become a tablet if the need arises.
Allegedly, Microsoft is working with Intel on the Surface Phone. The rumored partnership could indicate that Microsoft is preparing to take Windows 10 Mobile’s standout Continuum feature to a new level. On PCs, Continuum allows users to switch in and out of Tablet Mode for better touch-support when it’s needed and windowed apps when they are most helpful. When connected to a wireless display adapter or a Microsoft Display Dock, both devices can emulate a PC complete with windowed apps and a desktop.
If Microsoft is working with Intel on the Surface Phone, it seems possible that Microsoft is preparing to bring what we know as programs to Windows 10 Mobile. These are apps that you open on the Desktop that aren’t from the Windows Store. “Presumably their role is in co-developing a chipset for the phone beyond the normal Qualcomm ones found in modern smartphones today.”
Putting Intel processors inside the Surface Phone would turn it into a PC that can be stuffed in a pocket. In other words, it’d give users the opportunity to abandon their notebooks and desktop PCs in favor of a device that easily fits in their pocket. It’d change the conversation to what’s beyond ever-evolving more powerful mobile phones. Done right, it could put Apple on the defensive in smartphones like it has with the iPad. That’s if Apple doesn’t introduce something revolutionary this fall. That’s when the iPhone 7 is supposedly coming.
Allegedly, we’ll have to wait a somewhat long time to find out if these rumors about a Surface Phone are true. The Surface Phone isn’t said to be scheduled for release until the fourth quarter of 2016. Microsoft hasn’t publicly commented on these new Surface Phone rumors.