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This new Microsoft design patent is unlikely to be the Surface phone

File this under 'c'mon dude', but here it goes. The site Patently Apple has picked up on a new design patent given to Microsoft under the USPTO date for December 6, 2016. The USPTO document reveals a few generic drawings of your standard Lumia-like smartphone – any smartphone – with a display and slightly curved body.

Patently Apple goes a bit heavy with the speculation especially since their earlier find from February shared some resemblance of what was eventually Surface Studio. I call that luck as most patent filings rarely become actual products. Back to this patent, no information about the features, hardware, or materials used are mentioned making the filing pretty basic.

Oddly, the Patently Apple author goes on a tangent about pens, Apple, Samsung, and how Microsoft could be bringing inking to Mobile (a forgone conclusion already). They then cite FIG. 7 with the following conclusion labeled in their image:

However, what we can clearly see is that a Surface smartphone is likely to support their Surface Pen. Like the Samsung Note-styled embodiment, a slot has been designed into the body of the design at the top.

Of course, to our eyes, it only looks like a standard 3.5mm headphone jack like the kind you used to find on every smartphone in the world. I'm not sure when we started confusing headphone jacks with pen slots. 2016 is a weird year, and I suppose Apple fans have already moved on from 'headphone-gate' by forgetting it ever existed? I dunno.

Tiny hole for a giant Surface pen or just a headphone jack? You decide (but it's the latter).

The bottom of the phone has a single port, which again looks like an old micro USB slot and not quite the symmetrical USB Type C design we are accustomed too.

Frankly folks, I don't see anything interesting here. This design patent is a generic filing on what could easily be the Lumia 640. In fact, the patent cites Micromax, Sony Xperia, LG Optimus, Lumia 830, and the Lumia 530 – all phones from 2012-2014 – under 'other publications' for the patent's references.

Hey, say what you will, but the Lumia 650 is a sweet looking phone.

Microsoft has some exciting stuff in the pipeline for sure, but please don't go spreading this around as 'proof' of a 'Surface Phone.' Facts and data are still necessary, not a generic drawing based on yesteryear's inspiration.

Thanks, Charis N., for the heads up (I think)

Daniel Rubino is the Executive Editor of Windows Central, head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been covering Microsoft here since 2007, back when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, Microsoft Surface, laptops, next-gen computing, and arguing with people on the internet.

111 Comments
  • This is why I drink
  • It's a Lumia 640 drawing Dan. Did you forget what one of those looks like?
  • My wife has a 640XL and her mother has a 640. The flat sides with the slightly angular backing, camera placement and shape looks more like my old 930..... However the missing camera button, single LED flash and I believe the headphone jack's placement are not right for it to be a 930. The body is identical to a 930 though. Maybe it's a 943 ;P
  • Dude the body is nothing like a Lumia 930. It is exactly the same as a 640.
  • Not close as 930, forget even 830 which is have totally different design. This design really looks like a 640. The 650 have the camera placed bit higher than on that patent design. I don't think we will expect any leaks for Surface Phone whatever they will call it anytime soon.
  • Yep. That is Lumia 640. I was holding my 640 while reading the article. Was surprised to see 650 there. Front microphone on 640 have same location as the drawings. Never used 650 but from picture, it doesn't look like 650 have small opening like 640.
  • I had mine, too XD
  • I think it looks way more like the 650. Btw, that phone is amazing! I just managed to get my hands on one (I'm typing this comment on it), and it's very fluid, looks beautiful, and man, that display... It's "only" 720p, but I think it's perfectly fine on a 5 inch screen. But the viewing angle is perfect, it uses clear black, so colors are vivid, and the brightness is perfectly adjustable, so it looks good in all conditions. And Windows 10 Mobile. I thought it runs good on my 535, and I still think so. But it flies on this phone! So it's very good.
    Btw, I also managed to get my hands on an iPad air 2, and it is good, but not superior to Windows 10 Mobile by any means. Its touch gestures are useful and cool, and it's good that you can choose Siris language separately from the OS language, but it's keyboard is barely usable compared to what W10M offers. No swipe, no quick switch between languages, no cursor, the spell checker corrects EVERYTHING too aggressively, and there's no simple way to hide it after you opened it. Other than that, the Instagram app works and looks better on Windows 10 Mobile than on an iPad, believe it or not. It just displays the iPhone app without any scaling, with huge buttons and a giant black bezel around it on the screen.
    Sorry for the long comment btw, but I had to get this out of my chest now :D
  • Nah its the L640, not the 650. The position of the camera on the drawing is the same as the 640 and the front microphone placement is also identical. The 650 has the camera positioned a bit higher than the drawing, the LED on the 650 is closer to the camera than the drawing, while its nearly identical to the 640.
    Also the 650 seems to have a wide centred microphone, while the drawing has a small dot on the right bottom centre like 640 (you can see it easily resembles the 640 when you have the 640 in your hands when comparing to the drawing :p) And I agree with everything else your said^ :D
  • Yeah, maybe you're right. I had the 650 in my hands, and it looked pretty similar :D
  • Same on my Lumia 930 ☺
  • Those guys are hilarious. I think the magnitude of self inflicted burn actually made my day. They willingly handed this funny story to you guys.
    Btw, does the back seem like its framed? As if the camera could be surrounded with a secondary input method or some short of low quality display or where they always like that in patents and I am thrown off completely by the penslot? ( lol.. ).
  • Me too Dan, in fact I just took a shot.
  • It could be worse. You could be an Apple fan and not have a new garbage can in over 1000 days; a laptop that overheats, can't hold a charge, the display goes psychedelic, and the biggest selling point is that it has a second and only touch screen dedicated to letting you select emoticons; and a phone where it took great courage to remove features that people use every day.
  • Dan really knows this IS the Surface phone, he's clearly just trying to keep it under wraps until the moment is right. Cough.
  • On the Japanese Whiskey due to stupidity :) I think there's so much random speculation and some sites will make a story out of nothing. The whole "Surface Phone" thing is going to disappoint so many people because they are giving it too much hype based on rumours. I'll be staying tuned to WC for when there's some real news about a new MS phone. I'd love one in early-ish 2018 but not getting my hopes up this early.
  • Next 24 hours may be interesting.
  • Stoke the fire much? ;)
  • WTF even report on this then? I see a new Surface rumor on the MSN app almost every day and no hint of anything here. Is this just to make fun of the headphone jack? That was actually funny. I do bet there are some out there that already bought into the hype of an obsolete port that many other types of devices use and continue to use for a long while. Sure it would be nice to have NO holes at all on our phones and to be waterproofed to 1000 feet, but we aren't there yet with the rest of the devices in the world that we need to use with our phones.
  • "WTF even report on this then?"
    Because it's funny of course ;-)
  • + Also to kill tips about this.
  • This would not have been reported on here if it had not been for the other site mentioned in the article making wildly off-base speculation. This is simply an article put out there to provide some fact-checking in a world of pointless rumors. Once again, thank you, Dan.
  • Nailed it, and you're welcome!
  • I guess I can somewhat understand why this one article needed a response because it was so ridiculous that it deserved one. It just seems that if you actually worried about squashing all SP rumors, then you would drive yourself insane.
  • Please allow me to join you..!
  • Daniel, you made me spit my coffee out! Response of the YEAR!
  • wahhhhhh down voter whiner!
  • It only has single LED flash for cryin out loud. clearly not a surface phone
  • Lol!!! Awesome Dan!!!
  • funny how they misinterpret a patent from 2015 and dont notice all the newer lumias kinda look just like this.
  • Great quote, I will use it tonight!  
  • The poor Apple fans started following Microsoft stuff to still see some innovation as their own beloved company fails to bring new interesting hardware.
  • lol, that part is the only truth in relation to this article
  • Cheers ill drink to that!
  • And they are pretty bad "detecting" the new interesting stuff as we see.
  • Excellent analysis. Thanks for pointing out the anomalies. However, would good to know why Microsoft is filing patents for Lumia 650-esque type devices? Could also indicate that the Lumia brand is not dead after all.
  • Pretty standard IIRC to protect IP and gain patents on generic things that later can be collected on. Lawyers and groups get paid big money to try and get these for companies.
  • I'm gonna draw a square on a napkin and file a patent. It's ridiculous how generic these things go but I suppose that's all just part of the game. Still thanks for bringing a laugh to my morning!
  • Could they be filing patents of old Lumias to stop other manufacturers releasing "clones" of them now that Lumia is gone and there is a gap in the 1% of the market to fill? Or could it be what might have eventually became the Lumia 660 from when the plan was one low, mid and high spec phone each year? After all doesn't it take approx 2 years from concept to launch in phone design??
  • Thanks for clarifying
  • Agreed. Adding that first sentence of the above comment might be of use to the readers.
  • I can see the surface phone there. Just look closely....
  • So what are they patenting here? A generic looking phone shape? Is that patentable?
  • Evidently ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
  • No, they are patenting those big scratches on the screen and back. Must be that, there's nothing else.
  • Not sure either. Maybe the specific design shape of the phone. Though it looks too generic that every ODM already produced similar to this look. Its not anything close to famous Fabula Design used on earlier days of Lumia up to 830, which I bet its already patented on some of them.
  • This is a Lumia 640.
  • Definitely.
  • I was about to post the same thing. That drawing is the exact design of the Lumia 640.
  • Is Lumia 650 available nowadays? I checked Amazon India amd Flipkart but can't find it. :/
  • From MicrosoftStore.com unlocked and from Cricket.
  • Try ebay too.
  • I would also like a New Windows Phone even if its midrange.
  • Figures looks like Lumia 640 :D
  • My guess is this might be the last Lumia phone before the Surface phone.
    Microsoft might release 4 phones 1 will be a Lumia for CES17 the other 3 a surface phone for MWC17.
    Let's hope so.
  • This for the surface phone?... I now concur with the "isheep" banter(pun intended)
  • It's the Lumia 1030! I can see the 82 megapixel camera and 64GB storage in there somewhere!
  • Hehehe...u jux made my morning over here!!!
  • Lol 😂
  • Hi
  • I also have design plans for the surface phone they look like we don't even know what it looks like since we are still thinking about how did we get to this point and how to compete with everyone.. It's like one vs thousands...
  • Even someone as gullible as me thought this pen slot was in fact headphone jack (sorry apple fan boys but but Microsoft is just not gonna corroborate Apple on that ill thought headphone-gate). And the design looks very generic. I do feel Surface Phone is not gonna be your average generically designed device. A phone is still gonna be a phone. And USB C port with pen support is no brainer for Surface family. But it is also gonna be a much more then that. Exactly what? We'll know for sure in future. Right now. *fingers crossed*
  • Its funny and unbelievably blind to even think the headphone jack to be a pen slot. Seriously, is the guy even at least saw Galaxy Note or other devices that have pen? How big are those and how it looks like? Surface Phone whatever they will call it will have at least USB-C and a design that will share from current Surface devices. So likely it will be something very minimalist shape like Surface Book Clipboard and the display of Surface Studio. Still the looks can be anything but that generic looking device.
  • A headphone jack? Courage!
  • Why does it have to be called a Surface Phone?
    It is not a platform like Xbox... it shouldn't be generic.
    Must be visibly Microsoft.
  • Microsoft has succeeded in creating category defining devices in the SURFACE brand, we all anticipate that, this device will be under the surface brand(lumia officially over)...now if this device is define a new paradigm shift, can still have cellular connectivity, why nt dub it "surface phone?"...it's unofficial Bt we like it dat way!!..n no, it's nt a platform!
    😜
  • Surface brand is an expensive nice to have .
    Its a bit like a Rolls-Royce.
    You know is kitted out but would I buy it over a Mazda, not even if I could afford it.
    Would I drive to the local gas station to pick up a bottle of milk with a Rolls... Definitely not. There are cheaper more correctly branded , identifiable tablets/2in1 devices from Asus, Lenovo and Huawei that will do a better job. Just call it Microsoft model xxyyxx so that it can be recognised for what it is.
  • If you would choose a Mazda over a better car even if you can afford it, then you really don't know what is out there and don't deserve something better.
  • Mazda is better than rolls.
    Lenovo Yoga series is better than surface.
    The price is at best money laundering.
  • Eh? In English please. We aren't restricted with characters here
  • Hopefully it is out soon. It has been almost an year with rumours around surface phone.  
  • Dream on.
  • this patent filed at Jan 2015, way older than the Surface Studio patent, which is filed at July 2015, this couldn't be the Surface Phone, would be the patent for Lumia 640, cause two months after the patent filed, Lumia 640 released.
  • That diagram has me lolling.... over the floor... too freaking hilarious LMAO.
  • Bezel bezel bezel
  • Gg..
  • Why? Just wasted 5 Mins I will NEVER get back! Can we pls stop with the a) click bait, b) maybe but isn't posts and c) pointless posts that say nothing!
  • Don't read it or respond!
  • 150% certain its the 640, not 650.
  • The tone of this article is so funny! This is why I like windows central.. Just straight to point.. Not click baits!
  • Really? Apple diehards can't imagine anybody else would want to keep their headphone jack?
  • They are clueless.
  • This apple user is NOT. I was going to get the 7 in piano black until I saw lack of headphone jack...I will keep my 6s thanks! It will be many years before its unuseable. Technology is SLOWING down a lot lately. Hell my good ole sgh-i717 NOTE 1 running arrow launcher from MS is actually quite quick and has pen support! pretty neat!
  • Hey downvoter, my old note one can do anything a 950xl can...and more!
  • I didn't downvote you, but your Note 1 can't run continuum, which is a great feature.
  • Continuum is not really that great. Its really a gimped OS feature. Just saying. Might as well take out the connected stylus and write that down on the 950, oh....wait. I think that would have been a much bigger selling feature than continuum....
  • Sorry, but a gimped phone that can't separately power another display with apps that are aware of context nowadays is useless.
  • Sorry, I just don't see the big deal. I would rather see surface pen support, ink, drawboard PDF. Things you use on the go. connecting to a monitor with a gimped OS, Not my idea of an awesome feature. You still have to carry a fake laptop if you want to use one...so why pay 2 times as much for less.
  • Say what you want about continuum, but my opinion of it wont change. In fact, Microsoft just revealed something quite magical today, and while this definitely won't make it to the 950xl, nevertheless, I'm quite happy to see that this "gimped OS" will soon be all the computer I need.
  • Who would design a pen slot in the middle of the phone?!
  • The only thing that could cause it to be a possible new phone is the reduced sized, rechargeable stylus as Dell is using on the Latitude 5175/9 included with the battery keyboard and leaving out the headphone jack as Apple has.
  • OH MY GOD ITS FINALLY OUR FIRST LOOK AT THE SURFACE PHONE!! THIS IS 100% WHAT IT WILL LOOK LIKE I KNOW IT!! if I had a nickel for every article out there that says stuff like this
  • Looks exactly like the lumia 535 ...and with no camera button and single led flash its surely no surface phone
  • I had wish to see surface phones with thinner and solid aluminium body and with the sensored volume keys.unlike those phones with big volume buttons
  • That is a Lumia 640, i have one in my hand rigth now and there is no diference.
  • No, it's the Surface Phone. I have one in my hands now. Exactly the same.
  • Haha :D
  • Hmm it could be the Surface low end cheaper model smartphone is using the 640 case design made out of Surface metal. Seriously Folks Microsoft and it's OEM partners especially HP are making the "NEXT GENERSTION SMARTPHONES 3 IN 1  HYBRID DEVICES" NOT-regular smart phones. Folks Microsoft knows regular Windows smat phones are not selling well but rather than givng up it is creating a new catagory of smart phones the powerful Smartphone/ PC hybrid 3  in 1 devices. folks the 2017 Redstone 2 and Redstone 3 updates willl enable any Windows 10 mobile CONTIUUM CAPABLE smart phone to RUN 3 TYPES OF SOFTWARE. 1= Windows 10 mobile Apps, 2= UWP "Universal Apps and last but least full X86 Windows Desktop PC win 32 programs through the New X86 /Win32 Emulation software that microsoft software Engineers are now working on. Microsoft's personal next Flag ship smart phone be it a smartphopne / PC hybrid 3 in 1 more poweful than the HP Elite X3 is.  GET READY FOR IT  
  • Gregory, I am not sure if you are kidding, or on some really....no REALLLLLY good drugs.
  • IN THE ABOVE COMMENT I meant to type that "the 2017 Redstone 2  and 3 updates will enable any Windows 10 Mobile CONTINUUM CAPABLE smartphone to RUN 3 types of software 1=Windows 10 mobile Apps, 2=UWP Universal Apps and las but no least full x86/Win32 Desktop PC programs through new x86/Win32 emulation software    
  • Worth noting the micro USB port on the bottom of the device. A new device would include USB-C like the 950/XL. Microsoft is trolling the press with this patent design even if they didn't intend to.
  • The bezel is WAY too large to be a 2017 model phone. Besides that I immediately noticed the same things mentioned in the article (i.e.,
  • that's obviously a headphone jack, and the USB port is 100% a micro-USB).
  • Looks like every other boring Lumia design
  • Why patent that ugly design ooh no!
  • Really nice read, with a very sympathic intro.
  • Something to keep Lumia on the web space...
  • This is exactly the same design, camera location, headphone jack placement/shape and USB connector orientation than my brand new Lumia 650.
  • To me its sounds like a smoke screen, something else appears to be in the works behind the scenes. At least it got people talking about Win 10 Mobile again.
  • I wanted to write something, but there is no need. Everything has already been said. I hold my Lumia 640, and is totally the same as in the drawing. Even dual-layer cover. One colored (blue on my Lumia), and other transparent. Exactly as in the drawing.
  • People are seriously deluded if they think a hardware update (aka surface phone) and an OS update is going to make any bit of difference. Windows Phone has minuscule market and mind share and spoken in the same vein as Blackberry. The surface phone is a vain and desperate wet dream. The platform lacks any impact on the mobile tech culture and let's not mention the missing key apps that people love and more developers pulling away from the platform. Get real... a handful of tech geeks clamouring over a Surface phone will achieve nothing.