Alleged Lumia 1030 display bezel for Verizon raises questions

When parts of phones appear randomly on the internet, it can often be hard to understand the full context. Moreover, we are at the will of the person posting it and the information they were given.

Case in point is this new photo of a display bezel and touchscreen component with a scribbled 'Lumia 1030' and printed Verizon branding. There is no doubt that this is a part of a phone, but it is not clear on the details. The image comes via and there are no details about the device itself, which is exasperating. Even more, some of the hashtags and the tweet are just incorrect.

The article and tweet references both the "Lumia 1030" and "McLaren" as coming to Verizon and noting that this is the display component for it. However, some things just do not add up.

McLaren is Gone (For Now)

If you follow this site, you likely know that "McLaren", originally a Nokia project that Microsoft inherited, was canned last summer. McLaren sported at 45 MP camera and a new 3D Touch navigation system. In all likelihood with that big shooter on the back, this could have been marketed as the "Lumia 1030", but I honestly do not know.

McLaren was cancelled due to the "wrong choice" for the 3D Touch Nav technology and re-doing the phone with new components would mean re-doing the whole phone again. This is not a trivial task for you armchair engineers out there as redesigning the PCB and logic board is not simple. Combined with some doubt about the usefulness of 3D Touch and you may understand why Microsoft cancelled it.

Interestingly, almost all carriers in the US (except for Sprint, to my knowledge) were onboard with McLaren too as reported by @evleaks. This bit of info makes me wonder about the age of this photo. We are assuming it is new, but it could just an old parts snapshot. In fact, the front camera placement almost lines up, and the rest of the generic design also looks similar to those leaked McLaren photos. This comparison is not proof of anything, but it does raise questions.

Lumia 1030 and Playing It Safe

As far as I know there is no "Lumia 1030" in development. Alternatively, it is safer to say it is not something that I know is coming this fall. I certainly do not know all of Microsoft's plans here, and I would love to be proven wrong.

I could not imagine Microsoft is not planning something for a Lumia 1020 successor, but I do not think they are going to kick off Windows 10 Mobile with that device. Instead, they appear to be playing it safe with a more traditional "flagship" phone that has outstanding capabilities all around but nothing extreme about it e.g. huge display size or a mega camera. Such features tend to place those phones into niche categories. For example, it is only after Samsung's Galaxy S6 Edge sold well are we hearing reports of a 5.7" variant to push the already pricey phone into a more extreme category. Apple notoriously plays it safe with the iPhone and its humble – but excellent – 4.7" and 5.5" iPhone 6 and 6 Plus offerings.

In other words, build a solid base phone and branch out if sales allow it. To me, that sounds like the new "play it cautious" Microsoft (see the Microsoft Band release or limited Surface Pro 3 rollout). Mobile is already in dire straits. I cannot imagine Nadella allowing a flood of high-end devices that fragment their marketing message when it is not a sure bet.

Such a strategy also makes it an easier sell to get on as many carriers as possible, and it can showcase Windows 10 capabilities e.g. Windows Hello and Continuum. In fact, if you are wondering why Microsoft did not have an "interim" flagship it is because it needed time for those components to become available for those Windows 10 features. Imagine if you bought a "flagship" phone in March only to have it not support some those abilities. That and making a top tier phone does take time.

A Windows 10 "flagship" phone is not a off-the-shelf Lumia flashed with a new OS. It has to be built around the operating system to leverage all its capabillities. That is a hard thing to do when your OS is still being developed, even harder if it does not exist (see last fall).

Lumia 640 XL

Talkman destined for the US?

Some of the latest news I can share is going to be a bit disappointing: so far it does not look like the 5.7-inch "XL" flagship phone will be on a US carrier. Instead, the "Talkman" variant with the still ample 5.2-inch Quad HD display is the one most will likely carry. This information, of course, can change so do not bank on it yet.

The only differences between Talkman and Cityman are (1) six-core vs. eight-core processor (2) display size: 5.2" vs. 5.7" and (3) battery: 3000 mAh vs. 3300 mAh. Otherwise, both phones appear to share the same features, including a 20 MP rear camera.

Hopefully, more information about Microsoft's plans will come forward in the coming months.


Daniel Rubino

Daniel Rubino is the Editor-in-chief of Windows Central. He is also the head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been covering Microsoft since 2007, when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, laptops, next-gen computing, and watches. He has been reviewing laptops since 2015 and is particularly fond of 2-in-1 convertibles, ARM processors, new form factors, and thin-and-light PCs. Before all this tech stuff, he worked on a Ph.D. in linguistics, watched people sleep (for medical purposes!), and ran the projectors at movie theaters because it was fun.