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



There is so much Microsoft should pay attention to from this awesome concept. The dynamic liven tiles were brilliant and the app selector was nicely done. And of course the notification center. But of course it's too much to ask for at least a Windows Phone 8 interface.lol Nice though.

Agreed, that app menu was fantastic, being able to organise into catagories like that but still keeping categories and apps in each category in alphabetic order...best alternative to folders I've seen so far

Even the picture hub now shows live information! So many epic goodnesses here software wise not sure about the hardware.

to be honest, lets exclude all the hardware here! I think every aspect of the software changes were incredible! PLEASE Microsoft if you are reading this page, DO THIS!!
Is there anyway we can create a petition to push Microsoft to implement these ideas?

Just add a little more space for the home, search and back button and I would buy this phone, no questions asked. Love the idea for the app listing. 

The app listing is something that should be the easiest to do which makes it all the better. I also like the info center too.

I hope your wife or girlfirend does not see that post :)
I would never do that for a phone but, I would give up a lot for it !!

It strikes me that one could work it so the illuminating band would flash (or not) when you got a message or phone call.   Maybe you could assign different colors to different people, so you could even tell who was calling without seeing the screen.

Ah, I've never owned a Blackberry.    So it would flash for phone calls and such?   Could you change colors and assign different colors to different people?

It was a app bebuzz. All blackberry's had a led indicator. You could set a color for people, emails, voicemail, texts, missed calls. Basically anything. You could tell any activity on your phone just by the led indicator. It was so cool and the only thing I miss about blackberry.

That does sound nice.  My HTC HD7 had a LED indicator, but I think it just showed battery charging.   However I was kind of disapointed that my Lumia 810 has no LED at all.   I wonder if all Lumias lack LED's?

The HD7 LED is green when fully charged, orange when low, flashes orange when critically low, and flashes green when you have a missed call.

I did not remember about the flashing green when I've missed a call.  Thank you for the reminder.
The funny thing is I just NOW stopped charging my HTC HD7 when I saw the green light.   I'm preparing to move back to it from my 810.   I wonder why Nokia doesn't use a LED?  I do like knowing that it's finished charging without picking up the phone.

Same on my Motorola Atrix and many other Android phones i suppose. The apps use different colors by default, i.e. viber flashes somewhat orange, whatsapp white, sms green. Really retarded of MS to not support LED in WP8.

HUH!??   LED's are not supported in Windows Phone 8????       NO Windows Phone 8 has LED's?     That is weird, I hope that is not true.    Why would you remove a feature like that?   Whether or not you use it for notifications or not, having it indicate charging status is handy.     Does anyone have confirmation of that or a link?
This link seems to imply that some Nokia Windows Phone 8 devices do have LED's

My HTC 8X has a notification LED for charging, it also flashes red for low battery and green when you have a missed call

No flashes please.  Those are so irritating.  The blinking/flashing is a feature I dislike.  Especially when your phone is blinking all night long because you got a message.  To me that's like the worst feature ever.  But that's just me.

Yes, I am not sure how much I would like it.   That would be something I would want to experiment with.   I believe that all functions like that should be able to be configured by the user which is why I said "so the illuminating band would flash (or not)".

I stopped the video after it showed the holograms of the maps and stuff. As cool as it is, most of the tech here hasn't been done well enough for consumers to enjoy. Aside from that, I think it's to thin. I know it'll just end up breaking lol.

Definitely some impossibilities there, but there are also some great concepts that would be implementable now, like the notification center, and app grouping. Hopefully concepts like this get noticed somewhere.

Then Nokia should build a phone like this or any other OEM, doesn't matter to me which one, I'd buy it.. :P
Also the way the menu works etc looks really polished.. Microsoft should learn a thing or 2 from that vid.. :-o

I believe they will need each other in a good partnership to bring these new ideas forward.. 

If Nokia continues to give exclusive phones to only one carrier they need to. Nokia needs to get with the times. Put a flagship out on all carriers all at once. That business model made Samsung #1

I don't like the too rectangular design but everything else looks great. Well, apart from the use of WP7.5 instead of WP8 or WP9.
And the holographic feature would be awesome. But to me, anything that resembles stuff out of Star Wars is awesome. =P

Now that would kick some ass
even though most will not be pssible to do like the changing colour of the exterior, thing like theme chooser, notification & quick settings area and app catalogue should already be in the next update.
it would be a new chapter to build something like this

Changing the exterior color is probably possible, but it would require a device with a bunch of LED's around the bezel...

Or maybe EL wire, but I don't think they've gotten it to change color...

It may not require a bunch of LED'd, maybe just one or two.   I wonder that if you used a LED to illuminate the end of a plastic band, if the plastic band would not light up.    I'm thinking of how fiber optics works, but in fiber optics the intent is no doubt to control the loss of the signal along the length of the fiber.  So I expect that in fiber optics the fiber does not illuminate significantly, however in this use you would want the entire band to illuminate.

I am not a materials engineer, I expect someone may be able to weigh in on this.   But my overall impression is that I bet it could be set up without having a ring of LED's around the phone.


Basically you shine one light into a glass tube and the whole tube lights up. Wrap the glass tube around the phone, use two or four LEDs and hey presto, glow phone.

Just put light into a gorilla glass screen. All the edges would glow but the screen would not transmit the colour. Just needs a bezel of the right angle.

That's interesting, I was not thinking of that.   I wonder what the engineering challenges would be.   My first two thoughs are, you may not really want to expose the edge of the screen and I am curious as to where one might introduce the light and if if fact the screen would not transmit the color.
I bet you are right though and the engineering questions would be surmoutable.

Yeah, it will work. My old PC had LED lights (PWR & HDD) that were on the motherboard itself and the case (built specifically for the board) had these 5cm long solid tubes of plastic that sat over the top of them and twisted at weird angles before being displayed on the outside of the case. i.e. The light would shine out the end of the tube. The plastic was transparent and did have a glow to it. It definitely wasn't glass or fibre-optic, but it would still have refractive and internal reflection properties. The problem with turning corners on a phone that the angles need to be correct. I'm sure someone could figure out a nice solution :P

Yea it can be done probable with a flexible oled screen and transparent plastic to protect but i guess it will drain the battery to quick.

please MS buy Nokia and create a phone like this!! no one would buy an iphone if he could have this one!! :)

call it surface phone ...

1/2 Now they only need to create the "Surface Phone" :D
I hope they will still making 4.5" phones, but is good to see that they are making big phablets too.
Also, they need to end the Exclusives, and release the updates by themselves not by the carriers.
Windows Phone has a long way to go, but I am already enjoying the beautifull Lumia 920 with Windows Phone 8
Glad to see this kind of projects and concepts for a Windows Phone, It's all about time for we to see this kind of phones in our hands :D

Nokia should make this phone for Microsoft and call it the Nokia Surface xxxxx and all will be happy evermore.

I don't want to be snarky but I hope you realize there is no X or Y color here. The implication is that you can pick whatever accent color you want and it will also display around the sides of the phone. So one is not buying a green or orange Windows Phone. You're buying a Windows Phone that can be red today and yellow tomorrow, or maybe even switch colors throughout the day.

Hi Jusatin, why do you think the information center is too "androidy"? IMHO I think as long as it swipes left and is a metro interface I love it and think it to be a more original implementation of the information center than the drop downs of IOS and Android, but im curious to your thoughts why :D

Many of these concepts may not be that far away. Should be an exciting next few years for Windows Phone, 
Beautiful job!

Yup! I would bet that everything about the concept is possible right now with the exception of the holographic display. That I am not so sure of is possible now.   If the holographic display is possible I would doubt it is mass market capable at this point.

Yeah, and complete BS to have a phone that thin that can function as a phone and camera and also magically generate jets of steam to project into.

I wasn't even thinking steam because that would be ridiculous. But I can see why you would think that looking at the video and I do see that is in fact a method of doing holograms.   I would hope that would not be the plan, but of all the technology displayed on the video, the holographic display was the most unlikely in my estimation, and so I really can't say I gave it much thought. 

Wow! The best WP concept I've ever seen!! I love this and Microsoft needs to get some ideas from it!

Pretty awesome actually, this guy definitely has some design skills. Even though things like holographic projection is way in the future there are some very real concepts here. I see this like concept cars, they come to production with less of the tech they showcased but the progression is there. The app list filtering and organization looks well thought out. MS should hire this guy.

Yea, I agree.  I like a thin bezel, but that bezel along the bottom is too thin for me....

Amazing idea. I could do without the holographic tech to be honest, but everything else borders on perfection. This would destroy the rest of the smartphone market.

yep. and then so many developers would create so many windows phone apps just because they want this phone and test their apps on it. :) looking forward to such a great device.

also this led thing around the body of the phone is genius design choice and it would turn so many heads in the subway ... :D

Yeah, but if you already am spending the time, then think bigger... think logical, think design... think use.... Do it right!

It just needs one thing
If its going to be like the surface. That would be the icing on the delicious cake

I just passed out....

Thus would ELIMINATE the competition. The holographic thing was pie in the sky but everything else was on point.

Some of that stuff is actually practical. Like how the call ended. Or how some of the items on screen move when swiping. Those little things should be added. Of course the holographic stuff and 3d map is a stretch. But hey..whats the point of concepts if you're not stretching a tad. Awesome. Loved it.

Microsoft needs this type of designers. absolutely beautiful. I guess changing the tile size ( which they added for WP8) was not the problem afterall, look at this georgeos concept which is based on single size tiles, notification system, application grouping  were necessities and the emotion light thing was a really nice addition. the holographic screen was really a pie in the sky but really cool.
Again Really Really nice concept

The information center and redesigned app list are the most exciting things I took from this. The rest is just fantasy.

Just like the tablets inthe Gorilla Glass adverts for the future of windows products. Can anything as fantastic as that ever be available on contract... with Orange...??!! Come on guys youve only got till Nov '14

 I dont think this can be implemented (not in the soon future ar least ) but I like the idea of changing the cover color depending on the theme. This feature can be implemented and it will very nice

yep. that's the only thing i'm hoping for at the moment. this is an awesome concept but some things are to many years away from now ...

I watched this yesterday, sent it to a friend who hates anything that doesn't start with a lower case i.

He asked me when its out for sale.

Microsoft need to do this phone and implement the software ideas as well.

stunning is a understatement. Just wish this was more of a acutal concept device more than a computer generated.
Just some of the tech it use is mind blowing...Epic device, no question I want it now !

Amazing the time and effort put into this concept. Bravo! Needs WP8 instead of 7.5. The app categories and info center are ideas that MS needs to take a look at.

Needs better industrial design, not very usable unless it had onscreen or only gesture based actions. Plus its just a rectangle...no fine detailed touches, as we see in the 920. Really hope it doesn't take Nokia long to bring us that camera tech! And Microsoft better get the notification center together for the next release....they've had enough time, this time!

I love this concept but I love the OS improvements more. They can add some of that stuff like the animated Xbox live tile, notification center, app list organization, and them color pallet and I'll be so happy. Also the UI motions and animations look sick. Microsoft please take note. And Nokia please make a 6 inch high end Lumia or at least 5.5 inches

The app list idea is amazing, Look screen is beautiful ... just need more apps to be presented.

the new way of LIVE tiles is really LIVE now ... this is gorgeous 
the notification center idea is nice, i can see weather and notifications in a simple way.
id love to buy something like this ... and hope to see some of it on my 8x.
PS : please pleaes bring this calling screen to windows phone 8.1 please... its way better than what we got now.

I like how different screens were utilized. Now that is how they should implement their notification screen. Plus the way they sorted through the apps was pretty amazing. The hardware is something that is too imaginative but cool to look at.

That notification center! There needs to be more room for the back, home and search buttons. Light band would certainly cut into the battery and structural integrity of such a thin device, but generally speaking very awesome.

Every software enhancement this guy rendered Microsoft can, should, and better implement in current WP8 devices, using grouping titles similar to W8 titles in the app list genius, and as long as the information hub is absolutely metro it isn't android like at all

Yup. I would like to see all of that. I am not so sure that MS is that quick, so I don't know if we will get it by the end of the year, but one can hope.

Damn, I think the left side is the obvious place for a notification center. But I wonder how would one use the notification center while in a app? I am not honestly a big fan of the drop down notification like android or IOS have it.

That is sweet, love the lit edges, almost florescent like but why put all that energy towards a concept. Just for shits and giggles or is there a purpose behind this.

Would buy in a heart beat. Stunning design for both hardware and software. Absolutely loved left screen design and layout(hint,hint MS). The emotion theme is a cool idea but it would make a better notification light. Come on MS / Nokia. Make it happen, i am sure every1 here would buy it.

Pretty easy to make a great concept when you completely throw out the constraints of what's technically feasible. Most of what's shown here has never been shown to be possible in even the most rough concept form. Hell, I'd like a phone that transforms into a f-16 fighter jet but that I can roll up and wear as a smartring. That would be a pretty awesome concept too.

I think you are wrong here. I bet with the exception of the holographic display that EVERY aspect of that phone is possible right now. Oh yea, I think they also described the screen as 4k. I am not quite sure that is ready for prime time on a phone yet.

duh!   I don't know if you are trying to be clever, but your comment just seems stupid.  I am not calling into question the concept of glass, I am simply stating that I am unware of any screen as small as a phone that can display a 4k image.   Phones have only recently been released with a more or less 2k resolution.

Why don't you look it up before you drool all over the forum.


I think I've watched this video about 10 times and everytime I'm amazed at how much thought and execution went into designing the various elements. It goes beyond anything Microsoft is doing, promotes the Windows Phone UI into a whole new unrivaled class and addresses quite beautifully every concern and issue we've been bitching about and whining for. This is a slam dunk design and effort. Microsoft or Nokia needs to really hire thus guy. He is on point.

Totally agreed.
And MS definitely needs to get this guy on their team, because of something called TALENT.

Please let it be this Nokia is announcing next week. :)
Also, love the grouping function on the app menu, kinda mimics the Win8 start screen.

This is really amazing. It would cost $1000 of course, but I'd find a way to get one. Some of the UI features are definitely needed right now. Hope Microsoft fixes multi-tasking, the app menu and adds a notification center on the next version; I would prefer it on the next update!

*Throws credit card at monitor!!*  :(
*Throws cash at monitor!!*  :(
WTF???? I said I was Nokia for life, but if MS does come out with a device like this, then all bets are off. Or maybe do like someone else said, Nokia build the device for MS and call it the Nokia Surface Phone!

Now I wouldn't mind a phone running windows (or anything for the matter) if that was the hardware!! Why on earth don't we have awesome devices like this in production yet