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Should the Surface Phone really run full Windows 10?

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MS logo (Image credit: Daniel Rubino / Windows Central)

The Surface Phone, however mythical it may be, is a popular topic among Microsoft, Surface and Windows Phone fans. To many, it's Microsoft's next attempt at breaking into the smartphone market, while at the same time reinventing how we think about smartphones altogether. That's a lot to live up to, and with Microsoft bringing full Windows 10 to ARM-based processors, rumors of the company looking to put full Windows on the Surface Phone quickly began circulating.

I get the hype around a phone running full Windows 10. With CShell, full Windows 10 would look just like Windows 10 Mobile does when in phone mode, and it would scale up perfectly when in Continuum for an experience that's identical to that of a normal Windows 10 desktop. The win32 apps would only work in Continuum mode and would normally be hidden in phone mode. The experience makes sense on paper. But I don't think it's a good idea.

For starters, many would describe Windows 10 as a much heavier, and maybe even a less-secure OS compared to Windows 10 Mobile. What's more, I don't want win32 apps on my phone. Win32 apps are old, and on ARM processors it will be emulated, meaning performance will likely be a little worse (or maybe a lot worse) than if it ran natively. I truly believe Microsoft should stick with Windows 10 Mobile with its rumored Surface Phone. Here's why.

With CShell, it doesn't matter

CShell is coming to both full Windows 10 and Windows 10 Mobile, meaning you'll still get that very same desktop experience when in Continuum mode and that enhanced phone experience when in phone mode. For consumers, the only real difference between full Windows 10 and Windows 10 Mobile is that full Windows 10 is heavier and has Win32 support. Windows 10 Mobile is more streamlined and efficient for devices on the go. Not having Win32 on a Surface Phone is a good thing in my book.

The future of mobile doesn't rely on Win32, so it makes no sense to try to shoehorn it into a phone. Microsoft should take advantage of a Universal Windows Platform (UWP)-only SKU of Windows, and with Windows 10 Mobile it can do that. I've tossed around the idea before, but I think Microsoft should change the name of Windows 10 Mobile to something else, something that separates it from the "phone" reputation it has.

In fact, I think Microsoft should steer clear of the "phone" brand altogether, for hardware too. On the inside, it'll be a phone, but on the outside, Microsoft can and should market it a lightweight Surface device for use on the go. It could still make phone calls and have LTE connectivity. But don't call it a phone — call it Surface Pocket, or Surface Go, something to separate it from the iPhone or Samsung Galaxys.

The idea here is to sell it as a product that comes with Windows 10, not Windows 10 Mobile or full Windows 10. Just Windows 10. Microsoft should be clear that it's a lightweight version of Windows, for UWP apps only, and release it to the world. With CShell, Microsoft can do all kinds of crazy things with hardware, including make foldable phones, or it could stick with a more traditional phone form factor with accessories such as a Lap Dock or Desk Dock, similar to the HP Elite x3. (What Microsoft should do with the hardware is a whole other topic for another day.)

My point here is nobody really wants Win32 on a phone. We're living in a mobile world, where apps themselves are slowly dying. I really think Microsoft should leverage what it already has with Windows 10 Mobile, give it a new lick of paint and deliver it to hardware makers as a lightweight edition of Windows. Maybe that way, developers will take UWP more seriously, and as a result, more apps will show up in the Store.

I wouldn't be surprised if, eventually, we see Windows 10 Mobile running on lightweight laptops thanks to CShell. Of course, at that point it wouldn't even be called Windows 10 Mobile, but the UWP only-ness of Windows 10 Mobile would still be there. Whether you want to call it IoT, Mobile, or something else entirely, the point is I think Microsoft should take advantage of a UWP-only Windows. Not today, but in the future, when the world is far more prepared for it. Hopefully, by then we'd be able to avoid another "Windows RT" scenario, because the majority of apps that people use will be available in the Windows Store.

Full Windows 10, or Windows 10 Mobile?

Now, I'm going to play devil's advocate for a minute, but only because I see why people want full Windows 10 on a phone. For starters, being able to run Win32 in a Continuum environment from your phone would be incredibly handy, especially for people who aren't necessarily all-in on the Windows ecosystem. That's the beauty of Windows: you can be entirely in Google's ecosystem but still run Windows. That would be less true of a Surface Phone powered by Windows 10 Mobile.

Apart from being able to run Win32 apps, I honestly don't see why full Windows 10 with CShell is a better option than Windows 10 Mobile with CShell on a phone-type device. It's important to stress that the idea here is that you wouldn't get a different experience if you went with Windows 10 Mobile instead of full Windows 10. The biggest thing you'd be missing out on are Win32 apps.

But maybe I'm just crazy, and Win32 should be part of Microsoft's mobile vision. What's your take?

Zac Bowden
Senior Editor

Zac Bowden is a Senior Editor at Windows Central. Bringing you exclusive coverage into the world of Windows 10 on PCs, tablets, phones, and more. Also an avid collector of rare Microsoft prototype devices! Keep in touch on Twitter: @zacbowden.

  • I think we are seeing that a full copy of a PC OS isn't the best thing for a mobile product, at least as of right now. I'd prefer a modified Windows Mobile OS but I don't see MS putting that much effort into it. And with the delay of the mythical Surface Phone, which is looking less and less probable, I would like to see a new iteration of the 950 line with better hardware, Windows Hello recognition, etc.
  • I'm hoping to run Win32 apps on my phone.  I don't know how it will perform, but it would be awesome.  ​You see, if MS is going for enterprise, then they NEED win32 support.  NEED it.  WAAAAY too many custom business programs run on win32.  Many corporate workflows depend on Win32.  To have it on your phone, and pare down to one device with an HP LapDock type of device for the road, and a full desktop setup in the office, all while the IT department maintains ONE device rather than three, is almost like a dream for IT departments.  Cost wise, manpower wise, support wise.  ​I run a really small business... basically just myself.  And I have a number of Win32 programs that don't need a lot of power that would be amazing to run on my phone in continuum.  So even my tiny business sees a huge business benefit to Win32 on my phone.  ​In the consumer space though... really... I don't see the point.  But if MS is going after Enterprise, then having Win32 is the ONLY option to give some life to their mobile efforts.
  • I completely agree with you, win32 apps would be awesome for users from enterprise. But not just enterprise, and not just in Continuum mode. Few examples. I want to try to do something quick with my phone, but there is no monitor it smart TV around, etc... Then it would be great to be able to start this app on the phone. With a 5-6 inch screen, and perhaps even with a bluetooth mouse, I could be able to do some basic stuff. Better like this, than not being able at all. Having OTG would be useful too. Just imagine not having to buy a more expensive bluetooth mouse, but being able to use any wireless mouse & keyboard. And finally, for consumers. Imagine you're a kid, you visit your grandma, and you have no PC there. but you can connect and play any PC game on that TV while using your phone as a console. Not necessarily some if the latest games, at least being able to play one of those awesome games from 2001, or so.
  • I don't understand your OTG comment. You can buy a BT mouse for $10 and a keyboard for under $20. Check Amazon. What 'wireless' thing are you going to get that is cheaper? I could see the option of using a wired set with OTG.  Thing is we shouldn't be demanding OTG, but rather USB-C and all it supports. That includes support as a USB host. Some say USB-C does OTG, but I don't think that is technically correct. OTG is a specialized capability for a USB device to act as either a client or host. the USB-C protocol lets it act as both inherently. It's a function of the spec, not a varient. Given that you can hook up a wired keyboard/mouse to a USB-C port, or a wireless dongle, BT, 2.4Ghz, or Logitech Unifying reciever if you want. That's as long as the drivers exist, of course. That caveat goes away if the phone/tablet/whatever is running Windows, not Windows Mobile.  
  • I guess you're simply from a richer country, and this small differences in price are not an issue to you. The thing is that those non-bluetooth mice and keyboards are generally cheaper. They are least half the price of an equivalent bluetooth device. From what you say, if USB-C can really offer everything that OTG can, then you're right. And we actually think the same when it comes to that matter. We both agree this would be more than useful! I mean, if we can have "an OTG" with USB-C»USB adapter, and use a mouse, a keyboard, access the content of a flash drive, and many more...
  • I agree with you, it shouldn't be limited to run Win32 apps using Bluetooth mouse and keyboard, I don't plan to invest on wireless mouse and keyboard, since I can reuse my USB mouse and USB keyboard, and that should be allowed in the Surface Phone dock, to add an external USB hub so you can connect hard drives, mouse, keyboard and other USB periphereals like printers.
  • It doesn't matter what Microsoft does at this point.  They have no chance in mobile.  They failed.  They surrendered.  It's over.  The Surface Phone can't and won't save them.  Their chance has passed.  iOS and Android own mobile.  Next!
  • So you think that's it, IOS and Android will never have any competition for mobile. You don't know the history of this industry very well. Products come along that completely change the paradigm and market leaders all the time.
  • MSFT needs a mobile's the can reboot its attempt again...that's the thing about's losers can become tomorrow's winners if they continue to innovate...
  • I agree. Microsoft has failed. So far, that is. But they can still fail their way to success. Most successes come after a string of failures. Not usually after such a fabulous squandering of first mover status as Steve Ballmer was able to achieve, but Microsoft has a lot of other assets (cloud, enterprise relationships, technology, OS) to leverage here. The long and short of it is that Microsoft can take another run at mobile, by serving needs that are not being addressed. There is a lack of innovation in mobile at the moment, and a device that could run win32 when needed and be a phone the rest of the time makes sense. Continuum makes more sense internationally than it does in the US, but a folding device with two screens would be a great solution for mobile computing that would allow support for legacy win32 applications. Frankly a phone that opened into a tablet with a kickstand and would support some flavor of external mouse and keyboard would be really useful, especially with VPN support. And Verizon, please. There hasn't been a flagship windows device on Verizon for three years now. Microsoft could win a lot of people back that can't leave Verizon for network reasons.
  • I agree 💯 percent! I'm on verizon and I need this...
  • .
  • @cybersaurusrex; Mobile isn't going anywhere and will be there for whomever have a product. In fact if Microsoft continued with a steady hand when it had one of the better support staffs from Nokia they would still be growing the market today and with greater enterprise support would be growing here as well. 
  • I use a USB Flash drive with my 950XL and the phone recognizes it and let's me copy files between my phone and the Flash Drive. The inbuilt file explorer sees it as an additional drive.
  • And you are able to use a mouse and a keyboard via USB cables too? I'd love if more phones could do those things, even those non-Continuum. It's not that it wouldn't make sense.
  • iOS is literally the only mobile OS that can't do that.  With a OTG, Android supports keyboards, mice, USB drives, MIDI devices, and basically any other common USB device.
  • Coulda, woulda, shoulda. It's over for Windows Phone. Microsoft blew it. Most people don't need or want a phone that runs Win32 apps.  Heck, people don't even use them on their desktops like they used to. Maybe Microsoft can carve out a small niche for themselves (in mobile) like they have with the Surface tablets (2% market share), but it will be relatively insignificant. I just don't see Microsoft shifting any paradigms here.
  • Most Win32 apps are not made for touch though. It will be horrible in phone mode. Instead asking dev to make Win32 apps for touch better asking dev making UWP apps.
  • I agree, but it all depends of Microsoft. Nobody's going to make a UWP with Windows phones market share this low. They will do what is cheaper for them. For what you want to succeed Windows mobile has to become more relevant. But right now Windows users are not in position to demand anything. Heck, we don't even know whether we'll exist in few years or not.😂
  • why make for phone? there a lot of desktop, notebook and 2-in-1 plus VR/AR
  • They can handle win32 quite well, even in tablet mode. Making a UWP app would be a great thing for a 2in1 device user, but not necessary. That's why I always say Windows 10 tablets and 2in1 devices are way better and more useful thing than an Android tablet. Compared to them Android tablets are a waste of money. I just think that at least a little bit of phones is necessary for UWP to be accepted. It's really a pity that we don't even have several Windows phones globally available.
  • For tablet maybe but not for phone..
  • Yes, but with almost no new Windows phones out there, and completely no new globally available phones, who cares... Sadly.☹
  • Except that the whole point of UWP is that it allows the same app to run on desktop, laptop, 2-in-1, phone, XBox, Hololens. ​It also is more secure due to its sandboxing, does not carry the legacy baggage of Win32. So a UWP can be run on a phone without the developer having to do that much other than create views for the small screen size everything else would stay the same.    
  • Except the fact that out can run only on Windows 10 PC's. Basically, a developer would choose between older versions of Windows on one side which make more than 50% of all PC's, and HoloLens, Xbox, and Windows 10 phones on other side. There are so few Windows 10 phones in use, it is questionable how many people would use their app on Xbox (that would depend on the nature of the app), and HoloLens is basically still in development. Right now, Microsoft has to make sure that people can buy Windows 10 phones.
  • @garisa; That is result of Microsoft themselves giving up on a growing market though small at the start but had a pretty good support staff they got from Nokia of which would allowed it to keep going with wp and by the time their grand scheme get into play would have had a market to appeal to. I believe it was more philosophical in that decision to drop mobile because of it's progressive movement yet the grand scheme's basic fundamentals would have allowed Microsoft to first catch up and then keep pace with this momentum and help propel Windows Mobile into the market as well as enterprise.
  • Providing win32 support would kill Windows Mobile and the useless Metro app paradigm. If phones ran win32 apps why would a developer spend the resources to develop software for Continuum? That approach was famously tried by Black Berry to prop up the failing (but great) PlayBook. Look at the market share of their services now.
  • I agree with that. Only Microsoft is killing it on their own by not giving us any new phones. I hope that's about to change soon. They have driven away some developers already by not caring about mobile enough. It will be harder to get them back later, than if they just didn't leave this phone gap. If Microsoft is going to want them back. I'm just having less faith in Microsoft lately. They have a great product, but they are ruining it.
  • @Jumping Junipers; No not at all because of the two segments of the market; consumers and enterprise both of which a developer can target and given the large range of OEMs that support Windows is good for the developers. I am hoping with the upcoming Snapdragon#, Microsoft will be willing to provide as much support to mobile as the desktop and seem to have put themselves in the position to do so...
  • Running Win32 apps is a must for the business and enterprise users.  The important thing is it got to have a FOLDABLE screen.  When it is unfolded, it becomes a 8"-9" tablet which has sufficient screen real estate to run W10 UWP apps, Win32 apps and web apps.  You basically carry a PC display in your pocket at all time.  The app shortage problem will be lessened over time since the UWP, Win32 and web apps are continuely growing with the expansion of W10 user base.  The phone apps are much less robust than using web apps on tablet screen.  You don't have to find and wait for phone apps anymore.  My credit union will never release a WP app, but it has a super nice web app.  So I can use that on an unfolded tablet instead - happily.  This will apply to all other services we can't find in the Store.  Personally, I could live with a W10M device as long as it has a foldable screen also.  But it is not good enough to appeal the enterprise users whom the Surface phone (cellular PC?) is targeting.
  • Even though I have a android phone I still go the web page on many places even though there is an existing app which I guess is crazy but that's me. I hoping and patiently waiting for a Windows Mobile device and would have no trouble with a foldable device....
  • 100% agree, I too run a small business and even the UWP apps compared to the full fat win32 are a show stopper.  Besides there is no ecosystem in Windows 10 Mobile anymore, it seems to be crumbling.  Im getting an iPhone until MS can deliver a mobile device that I can use to get work done, I salivate at the thought of HSBC banking app tbh.
  • Absolutely correct. However I think Composable shell on the Cloud SKU with win32 through the Store would be the only option because regular Win32 programs on a mobile Surface device would 1. deteriorate performance 2. affect battery life 3. be insecure. Product name, just Microsoft Surface.      
  • I agree 100%.  The job I previously held uses almost exclusively Win32 applications.  In fact, when I left the place a year ago, they had no plans of upgrading to Windows 10 on PC's.  I was among a handful of people who created and built some Win32 applications using vba and sql.  It takes a long time to get all the bugs out, especially while trying to do a primary job too; I was a Design Engineer for ball and roller bearings, not a programmer (I learned some programming while on the job).  My point is, when the company does go to Windows 10, which it may have done already, I can't see it switching over it's mobile devices (which last I knew were iPhones) to a Win 10 Mobile device if a full Windows 10 device, which runs Win32 apps, is abailable.  Hell, I don't even know if they would give up there precious iPhones for that matter.  But if they did and wanted the ability to run some programs on the phone as well as PC, then Win32 would have to be there. Now as far as personal use, I would say we don't need Win32 apps on our phones.  For example, who would be out somewhere and think to themselves, I need to create this solid model in SolidWorks, now and whip out there phone to do it?  Not me, for one the screen would be way too small.  For another, I'm not carrying around a large monitor to hook up to.  This is just one example (I'm a Design Engineer, remember) but there would be countless other programs and such that one can only effectively perform on a PC or laptop, not a 5" +/- screen. - RW
  • Personally, I believe Win32 on a phone is overkill. A mobile phone to me, has to fluid, spunky and easy to use, none of which will happen with win32. The world is moving beyond win32 the same way it moved beyond horse and buggy. The reason most of us go to the mobile phone instead a windows 10 tablet for instance, is that it is quicker. In fact we can access most of what we need through a mobile device, hence the success of IOS and AOS. UWP is the way to go, Windows RT was the right way at the wrong time. Don't get me wrong I love using my SP3, but it is not the best tablet experience.
  • Well said. Enterprise is the defining factor. Maybe they need two versions of the phone. One for enterprise and another for consumers. Then again maybe not. Brand confusion awaits.
  • Any consumer version must substitute Android app capability for Win32, otherwise, it's a waste of time as the consumer market has settled on iOS and Android. Since you aren't going to get iOS, Android runs on x86 and ARM, so there you go.
  • I agree with AcentAE86..  I am also a one man show and have many years of accounting on a program running WIN32.  There are a number of other WIN32 prgrams I run well.  The time and effort to fand and tranferr the infomraiton in these programs is time consutming and as we all know "TIME" is money.  We don't have the resouses to go and replace these software products either. 
  • Completely agree. It's probably more for enterprise but the idea of having one device that you can take in your pocket, have access to all the apps you need to get your work done and then when in the office simply dock to user as you would a PC seems like the way to go. For that reason full Windows 10 with support for Win32 apps makes perfect sense. Perhaps there should be two versions.... One Full Windows 10 for enterprise the other more like Windows mobile but with full support for universal apps.
  • Agreed but don't you think if Mobile runs win32 it will be a negative ad for Surface or 2 in 1 segment which MS currently using to recover the windows  business and user base?
  • Right, if they are going for consumer - Win32 is bloatware. But even for enterprise - they might be losing that game...
  • I disagree. I think with any software, app or win32, to have available at my finger tips is better than nothing. Some apps or software is still win32 based, which may or may not run in a mobile device, but if that project Microsoft has to convert win32 to UWP is good for mobile devices, wouldn't that be better than waiting for developers to build UWP? Which may never happen.
  • I completely agree.. WHY NOT HAVE THE OPTION OF HAVING BOTH!... Reality check, Zack B. There are no UWP apps, and there won't be in the foreseeable future.. You're delusional if you think going the route that has failed time, after time, will miraculously work because MS "gives it a new coat of paint"🤣.. No, we need something the other platforms DON'T HAVE!... "Give it to the world"🤣🤣. Get real, Zack... Show people a Surface "phone" that's as powerful as their PC, can run Xbox games, and Blustacks, so they can use Snapchat (lol), and they might raise a brow. Anything less and you're wasting your time.... In a market ruled 99% by iDroid you think MS doesn't need to innovative🤣🤣🤣.... With all due respect, Zack Bowen is super delusional...... Where's Jason when you need him.
  • Oh comd on Jason's no better. I think Zac was trying to pull of a Jason here. Just confuse the readers with baseless claims n keep the readers hooked up
  • Lol. We do get a lot of sensationalized information here. Mainly about how great MS is..
  • full W10 on mobile wont solve the problem itself. Mainstream users will continue to use Android/iOS because they are SIMPLE systems. Go to a ramdom guy on the street and ask him about UWP/32/64bit SW or converting A to B. He wont know what are you talking about because non tech people doesnt care about things like this. All they want are popular app and TOP notch mobile phone as seen in the commercials x86 support is for tech guys, not for masses
  • Couldn't agree more.
  • Commercials? Microsoft doesn't know what those are. ;)
  • Don't forget....on Full win10 you can use DuOS and have android!
  • Good god, no. That's running a virtual machine inside an OS. Do you really think most people want to do that over just buying an Android phone that has more features anyway?
  • It is the ONLY way a windows device will get apps.....I am long gone from windows for mobile since its terrible.   Just saying if they want ANY chance of ANY has to be able to run some type of app system.  That is the ONLY way forward.  I agree that its not ideal.  But it's something.   Anyone arguing apps are not important has their head in the sand or up their ass.
  • Give me software over apps anyday! I hardly use apps and I don't need many apart from the stock apps such as call, text, settings, etc. By the way, I'd love for it to run full Windows.
  • Apps are software
  • So microsoftwinpho,  you use your phone exactly like you use your computer.  because,  as it sits right now,  SOFTWARE cannot do what mobile apps can do.   Its a simple fact.  I have all the real software on my notebook and desktop.  I do not NEED it on my phone.   I need my phone to do thing while mobile which full software and web pins simply cannot do. 
  • Oh Apps are dying n bots will take over :P
  • It isn't for the masses... YET. There was a time when the idea of having a home PC was relegated to nerds.
  • Yes but Microsoft isn't a company for mainstream consumers, they're a company for creative people, and if we are asking that a phone should run Win32 programs, then it should, this will mean paying less for electricity bills and benefits of greater mobility for workers.
  • i think MatroUI is what Microsoft should abandon, i have so many friends who are still complaining about those bix box looking UI. I know we 1% still like it but i am just talking about 99% who is not willing to adopt this UI. Phone screen is just too small for Matro and make it more clustered. Windows 7, 8, 8.1 mobile were fail, never really reached even 15% market shares. Personally I liked windows 10 because you can hide the live tiles under start manu. 
  • Why? To make the US just a bunch of icons? People are getting used to it and starting to love it faster and faster as touchscreen windows devices become more and more common. Personally, if they killed the tile UI, I'd hate them. And I hated the tiles when Windows 8 was a thing, because I didn't understand it, until I bought a 535 and finally switched from android... Btw, the design language isn't called metro for years now... It's MDL2 😂
  • I have been using windows OS since HTC HD2, and have used numerous windows phone since then. You wont believe, once at&t rep asked me if i work for Microsoft" :p. Probably i would be the happiest if windows phone becomes hit, but something is wrong. People are just not willing to adopt and they wont until their mentality towards Modern UI changes. To me desktops are like landline phone, secure but almost dying. Microsoft betting big on Continum is not going to work. Why would i connect my phone with a monitor when i can just use my surface/laptop anywhere i want? It's goot to have but not necessary deature. They have to bring something new and per it's new UI, new start. 
  • I'm with you on this one. Microsoft should do something about the 950 line.
  • Its whats is going to eventually happen, so now is a good time to start.
  • It just might be according to specific agencies.
  • Without win32 there is absolutely no point in bringing out a Surface Phone. Having a full windows experience is all that MS has to bring to mobile and I'm sure they know it. Even then they need to start using android apps so that they will actually have apps. UWP does pretty much nothing to solve the problem. 
  • Most definitely yes. By default I would have the Only Run Store Apps on to keep it secure; but for all intents and purposes CShell and the new updates to the start menu in the Creators' Update can make tablet mode into a Phone mode. Windows 10 is just so much more feature complete and refined than Windows 10 Mobile that it makes sense to run it on high end phones even if Win32 is done via emulation. Until there is a significant closure in the app gap, Win32 in continuum is still the ultimate productivity on the go.
    I understand that the future is not Win32 based, but realistically it will be around indefinitely in some form. The DoD still has systems that only run on DOS for example. I agree they shouldn't market it as a phone though. Windows 10 Mobile should continue to exist on low end devices to take advantage of the halo effect of UWP app creation as full Windows 10 continues to gain traction; but for a high-end/professional device like the Surface Phone, full Windows 10 should be included.
  • then again the question is the same who will buy it? Why would you buy a surface phone if you can buy a Surface book/studio or just a random tablet? You wont be creating your app on the train with a surface phone, you wont be working on a project in CAD while on surface phone i dont see a reason for a device like this. Its a rebooted version of pocket pcs but in a world with tablets, ultrabooks, 2in1 devices. Right now i see it as ... unnecessary ... maybe powerful commercials will change the future but Microsoft alone not
  • Win32 doesn't necessarily mean Visual Studio or CAD. I for instance would use it because my job requires specific security and smartcard certificates to be installed (and they only work as Win32) in order to access my work email, open specific network folders, sign documents, and a myriad of other things. And even ignoring Win32, Windows 10 as an OS is better organized, has a superior UX, performs more smoothly, is much more stable, and has more features like OneDrive folder syncing to local storage, better driver support, pen and ink support, a better Xbox app, etc.
  • And how far will that take Microsoft?  How many times must it be said.  The MAJORITY of people buying phones DON'T want a business phone.  They don't even want a phone that mentions Windows because it sounds like work.  They want a COOL phone to play apps.  If Microsoft plans is to stay irrelavent and have less than 5% of users they should ABSOLUTELY make only business type phones.  Great, good times for the handful of those who wants that.  But the same people who wants that type of phone will be the first to complain the price is too high.  SMH.
  • That alone won't take Microsoft very far, but as part of their larger strategy it could be very successful. If the Surface Phone is real it's going to be high end and should run full Windows 10 on ARM; lower end phones should run Windows 10 Cloud. The app situation will hopefully close as CShell rolls out and continues to benefit from UWP apps built for PCs and Tablets then scale well to the phones.
  • 950XL was supposed to save the whole platform what happened? The same will happen to Surface phone.
  • Where are you getting that from? Whoever said the 950/XL was supposed to save anything??? Where, and Who?
  • MS was thinking about scrapping that series before they got released from what I heard. MS had given up on WinMo by that point. 
  • MS needs to just give in and make sandboxed android apps a first class supported thing on Windows. I think apps are not a battleground anyone needs to die on at this point. They are really important but not the beginning and end of a platform. MS might want to cozy up to Amazon for the app store and move on to more important issues that might help them accomplish things. The whole app thing was decided a couple of years ago for good and MS needs to move on.
  • All this talk is waste of time MS has given up on mobile. They will not target consumers anymore. Surface phone if at it surfaces will be targeted at a niche group just like surface studio
  • That's not only these apps. You have also apps such as Kodi (former XBMC) and other continental app now available in the store that works great with touch device. You also have other apps that just sync your photo with your DSLR or do other tasks automatically and you almost never have to interact with the UI, you also have Windows services from third parties that runs in the background for different purposes. Of course the main reasons here is to target enterprise users but at the end it will be beneficial for everyone because enterprise users are also consumers. As others reported if they come with a 3 in 1 device that works then it's easier and cheaper than anything else on the market.
  • It would end up blreplacin people's home AIO PCs. They'll just have a docking station and take their PC with them. When on-the-go, it works largely like a phone and you can access the more complex stuff if you're more tech savvy. But for regular people, it's a phone until they plug it in. Then it's their PC.
  • I DONT want to carry a 15" labtop Surface blah blah every were I go.
  • What? Why?
  • So instead you'd rather pack a keyboard, mouse, display dock and monitor? Or a dumb terminal shaped exactly like a laptop?
  • By reading the article looks like the author doesn't know:
    1. What CShell means
    2. What is the real power of Windows. Yes, it is the ability to run 'real' software. He call it 'old'. Laughable comment. In my view Surface phone should come in two flavours:
    1. Full Windows for enterprise
    2. Mobile (should be called Light) for consumer.
  • Win32 is old. There is not a single, mainstream Win32 program that is exclusive to Windows. It is all niche professional software that is best used with a decent PC and large screv
  • Where's Notepad++, Auto Hotkey, the full OneNote/Visio 2016, etc. for Mac OS? Or millions of users ain't "mainstream" enough for you?
  • None of those are mainstream programs. They are the definition of niche professional software. Consumers are not lookin