A stunning Windows Phone concept: The Surface N

Chinese designer KuanGaa Chen has created something magical, which we somehow missed under our radar. It's a Windows Phone Surface concept, which would be the end result of a Microsoft venture into the mobile space to match its Windows 8 tablets. The video above runs through some of the features of both the hardware and advanced software Chen has managed to pack into the concept.

We've covered numerous concepts before, but this is something else. Probably the more interesting feature is the accent change within Windows Phone reflecting the colour emitted from the sides of the handset itself. We're also sure the transparent screen with Air Holographic projection capabilities would turn some heads.

Source: YouTube, via: MonWindowsPhone


Reader comments

A stunning Windows Phone concept: The Surface N



Yeah right. Apple hasn't done anything interesting in 3-4 years. They just keep trundling out a lighter, thinner version of the same phone. The iPhone 4 was somewhat interesting design-wise although easily broken. The iPhone 5 is just bigger, took out the smashable back-glass and can get scratched like a bastard.

Looks pretty amazing. I particularly love how smooth the UI looks, it makes me feel like I did when I first picked up a WP.
As far as practicality goes there were two things that caught my attention. The idea for groups in the app list is far better than tile groups, and having the shortcuts on the left to each group is a great idea. I really hope we see this in 8.1. The other thing was the notification centre. It was very nicely designed but I still think pull-down is the way to go because it gives rapid access without leaving the app you are in. In my mind it would be like the windows 8 charms bar, but coming down from the top, and would have quick settings, notifications and sharing tabs.

There's concept then there's just impossible which a lot of this crosses. A 4k screen screen at a mobile size won't be seen for years yet to then be transparent ignores everything such as battery and the internals and even the cameras itself would all need to be transparent. The device itself doesn't even look like it'd be comfortable to hold with such a thin bezel on all sides.

I do have are a very particular set of skills; skills I have acquired over a very long career. Skills that make me a nightmare for people like you. If you gave that Surface N phone to me, that'll be the end of it. I will not look for you, I will not pursue you. But if you don't, I will look for you, I will find you, and I will kill you.

That looks pretty fucken mad. Like the OS ideas. That phone would need to be considerably thicker to hold a battery that would power those extra features all day though.

This is NOT a concept; it's pure fantasy. 

  1. Don't mess with the software.  Let the Windows Phone guys handle that.
  2. Transparent screens are just ridiculous. 
  3. Making the back, home and search button that small will drive some people mad.

There is one thing here that would be a killer feature; the emotion theme aka border color.  The Nokia guys got it right when they gave the Windows Phone devices COLOR.  Having a phone border that can light up and change color would be awesome.  Yes, that could be a battery drainer, but how awesome I'd look at night time ;)

Would be pretty cool for microsoft to go back towards aero again the whole solid color thing seems like a step back towards xp 

I cant stop watching this video... Its a work of art. I know the holographics is real concept stuff but the OS could be done. I hope MS/Nokia are paying attention and thinking about how to implement these changes.

Awesome! The best bit would be organising the apps, and of course the so-called "information centre"! Like it! Here' a tip for you MS & Co!

Maybe by the time Windows Phone 10 comes along, We could Have a Phone like this on the Market!

Holograph and hardware aside... just look at the software improvements. Those animations are addicting (e.g. sliding to unlock, tapping a switch in the Information Center creates that awesome light pulsation). This software idea should definitely be taken seriously. But I mean... who doesn't say that about a concept video?
Oh well.

Apple must have seen this video - that explains the recent hints that iOS needs to be completely rethought... flater like WP8.  Something like this scares the poop out of them.
Microsoft - get this visionary on payroll NOW - before Tim Cook does.

oh god grow up. One beautiful thing doesn't make other beautiful things less beautiful. If you know what i mean. I like WP like you, but stop being a blind, stupid fanboy will you?

Woah..!!! I absolutely love it..!! I know some of it is such that we might not see it for another decade or so (read: properly working holograms.lol..) but the information center is an absolute delight and in my knowledge, its something thats not very difficult to implement, is it..??

Microsoft needs to do this asap.. They have the basics right.. Nice fluid interface..now just polish it already..a notification center..much lively live tiles..and a decent post image capture processing software..it'd be great if they could make the OS a bit more efficient on 3g. I am really disappointed at the battery life of my Lumia 920 on 3g.. :'(

I knew I avoided this article for good reason; it was bleh, but everyone gushed over it. The only good concept I saw was the emotion theme, even though it would probably not be battery friendly to have always on and, yet, extremely gimmicky if it weren't always on.
The app list doesn't need a way to organize it into sections. You have a start screen where you can organize your most used apps already.
That info center did indeed look like Android and iOS. Why do you need weather information there when live tiles are supposed to give such info? And the mini music player already comes down with the volume. Even though I think a notification list is redundant, cluttering one up with even more redundance... 2 wrongs don't make a right.
Transparent screen and holographic display... Why doesn't it fly also? Bluetooth teleportation? Seriously. What is this I don't even. I'm not even sure the camera tech was plausible. I'd think being able to choose a focus after a shot would require taking multiple shots that each focus on a section until the user decides where they want to focus, but I'd also think that'd lower the quality of the photo and/or make the user try to keep the camera still while the multiple shots are taken.
Sup, parade. Here's my raincloud. :P

Ok, so Nokia is apparently working on one for 2014. However, I wasn't really incorrect. Multiple shots are being taken and the image quality is reduced as a result (as well as a larger file being created to store the "hidden" information). The only thing I was off about was the use of an array of micro lenses, instead of just one high-quality lens. Also, technically, I'd still question the plausibility of the light-field camera with that much quality and all the other tech being crammed into such a thin phone.

Agreed - the notion that so many goodies could be squeezed into a form factor thinner than any current phone alone seems a stretch, but not beyond the pale given the rapid pace of miniaturization.

I think all people are saying here is the overall design language seen in this concept is a world-beater.  Notice nobody commented that they "had to have" that holographic display - people understand that is a pure "what-if."  The aesthetic of a polished slab of glass with the glowing bezel is certainly doable right now.  The enhanced OS with grouped apps, notification center,  and more refined, textured tiles is certainly doable right now.  The light field camera is almost doable now.

If MSFT and Nokia teamed up to put this phone on the market, I have no doubt they could turn out 90% of what people are lusting over in a very short turn-around period.  That might go a ways towards taking a lot of the wind out of iOS 7's sails when it launches.   If MSFT doesn't move first, we know Apple will.

Seriously the Notification center and the grouped app list is awesome!
Holographics are a little too SciFi right now but Microsoft should use some of the interface stuff. 

A surface phone shouldn't be too hard to design. 1. Start with a Zune HD, up it to a 4.3 inch screen with phone guts 2. add WP8 3. Take my money.

ok microsoft! know i want:
-swipe right: info center
-swipe left: menu like in video
-user can select any colour he wants just like in video
-new fancy animitons just like in video
that's it :)

This should be the phone that's coming out on Christmas.   It would blow the doors off anything out there.   If they come out with this phone make sure it's on all carriers.

Don't really care about the hardware stuff, it's all vaporware that frankly wouldn't add any value. The zero bezel design would be SO annoying to hold and use and the thickness would mean no battery, crappy camera and fragile as heck. 

The software concepts are amazing!!!!!
I want that information center so bad it hurts. It's just perfect and it solves every one of my gripes about living with WP8.   It has a notification center, it gets the media controls out of my way when I'm listing to music and trying to open an app, it gives me a place to turn my radios on and off quickly, it is SO good. The weather is a nice addition, but that I don't mind leaving to the live tile. 
The app switcher is excellent and I really like how it groups apps and gives you the quick jump at the left side. This could also toggle to quick jump by group and by alphabet so you don't have to pull up a totally new screen for the alphabet. You could also come up with a nice way to have your hubs reflected here too. 
The theme picker is a no-brainer too, no idea why MS hasn't gotten this in their yet either. Give me chocies please, MS. This implementation is basically perfect. 
Microsoft makes me so angry sometimes, these problems are not hard to solve as demonstrated in this concept. 
PS: I know this is a cheap shot, but the concept wins solely because it has Zune and not a broken Xbox "Music" app. Good grief, what a disaster. 

 All I can say is DAMN! I really hope that Microsoft/Nokia/etc. incorporate some of the ideas shown in this person's concept or just hire them to work on the WP team. I would break my contract to get that phone. 

What a joke, how is a phone that can't even address the fact that It can't even let you add you own SMS\MMS in this day in age ever going to do this. This made me laugh so hard lol... ha ha ha ha... Looks like this was made back when Mango was still around.

The operating system might not be up to date but they really took the ideas to a new level. The tiles feel actually live now. The animation and videos really bring it to life. The organization of apps is much better and even within the music app it's more organized then what windows phone 8 currently has. 

much more innovative than we have today!
but, some will have their way through, so I'll keep looking forward to it ;)

MS WinPhone8 will go a loooong way if they remotely try to attempt anything like this.. but I bet you Apple or even Samsung might beat them to it...

Of course it looks beautiful and high tech, it is impossibly thin.  If a working prototype could be made it would have no battery in it at the least.

Impossibly thin phone not thick enough for headphone jack = fail.  Not thick enough for battery either probably.

If MS could bring this into production, I think not only will it be a game changer but also push MS straight to the front in terms of design, not necessarily market share, but I bet a lot of people would migrate across just for the experience. I am a bit of a stingy b*stard but I would happily pay to own that type of phone. 

Did you see that the guy used WP7-like interface to make the demo? As an example 0:48 shows two columns of icons (like in 7.5) and the black column on the right of them.

May be this video is old. I don't know.

this was awesome. absolute classic piece of imagination.

some of the features are to be included in 8.1 though. i think somebody from MSFT has seen this video and then took these features in programming such as the paralax, info centre and calling screen.


Some things are very unrealistic. Everything transparent and the holographic display is not possible in this form. But I really like the design of the app and pulldown menus. 

I just dies and went to heaven, i just wish it was on the market NOW. I would be waitting in from of the store for weeks(like those brainless iSHEEP), to get my hands on this creative device. i really wish, someone at MS seen this video and took some notes. IT CAN BE DONE MS. look what you have done with Surface Pro 3. this would put iPOOP in landfield with POOPIE diapers,..........where it belongs. 

Now I would buy that windows phone in a heartbeat! Stunning, nothing like it on the market that I know of. Microsoft should buy this design and run with it!