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The future of Windows Mobile – Does Microsoft want to reboot the concept of a phone?

Yesterday I wrote an analysis of Microsoft's seemingly great last quarter contrasted with a rather devastating quarter for Windows Phone. Of course, no one was surprised, and we all know the reasons. None of that was news, but it did quantify it, which was interesting. Instead, in that piece I wanted to lay out the landscape for Microsoft in mobile, what they had to do and discuss what their intentions were for the category.

After ruminating a bit on the topic, I figured I would try to answer my question: What's next? To be clear, I am speaking here purely in speculatory terms, but I do think it is grounded in precedent. Also, there are some obvious directions that Microsoft is likely to go in when you look at recent decisions.

Out with the old smartphone

A few weeks ago, I noted how Microsoft, and specifically Panos Panay, seemed less enthused about the new Lumia 950 and Lumia 950 XL. I almost forgot to mention the Lumia 550, but then again, so didn't Microsoft at that October devices event.

The main argument I was making was that these Lumias do not entirely represent what Microsoft is doing these days. It should be clear that the Lumia 950 (Cityman) and Lumia 950 XL (Talkman) are carryovers from Nokia days. Even their codenames refer to the very first Nokia phones, in an a purposefully ironic choice.

Many pointed out to me that Microsoft picked up the Nokia mobile division. Therefore, those are their phones now. True, except that their development was still under Stephen Elop and his cadre including Jo Harlow. Both of those people were let go by Microsoft in late June. Terry Myerson took over for awhile before Panos Panay – famous for the Surface line – took over the engineering aspect for all hardware, including Windows Phone in late July.

That shakeup is a rather big one especially when you consider the old Lumia strategy, which clearly wasn't working. Meanwhile, Panay and his team are clearly knocking it out of the park with the Surface series. Now that Panay leads engineering for Windows Phone, Surface, Microsoft Band, and even Xbox there is a lot that can happen. Moreover, since this engineering team now works with the one Windows team under Myerson, there is a great deal more synergy with a single focus.

I suppose Microsoft could just kill off phones. However, that would make Nadella look bad. Not because killing mobile would be unpopular – quite the contrary, investors would applaud – but because Nadella had a chance when Elop and team were let go in June. Killing off mobile now would look bad because Nadella already did a re-org, and it makes his decision making look shortsighted. Why give the phone division to a new guy only to cancel it?

Plus, I still have not heard an argument about how the Universal Windows Platform (UWP) for Windows 10 has any meaning once you remove mobile from the equation. The whole thing just goes away.

Instead, I believe Microsoft has specific plans for mobile, which is why they gave it to Panay. However, I don't think they are just going to do a me-too flagship smartphone either.

The future of smartphone devices

Windows Phone, as we know it, is dead. It lost to Apple's iPhone and Android back in 2014 (some would say back in 2012, although for while things were looking up). In 2015, Windows Phone has been tenaciously hanging on as Windows 10 comes to fruition, but it is clear the old model is not working.

I said earlier that the Lumia 950 and Lumia 950 XL "do not entirely represent what Microsoft is doing these days." I used the word entirely because undoubtedly Continuum is a Microsoft vision of the future along with all of Windows 10 as an OS. In that sense, these new Lumias do represent Microsoft as they will showcase all that Windows 10 can offer. I don't think Microsoft was lying when they said that.

Nonetheless, when you look at the history of what Microsoft has recently done in hardware, they don't completely fit either. Let me give some examples.

For a few years, Apple's iPad was dominating portable computing. People called for Microsoft to do something similar. What did we all want? An iPad hardware with Windows. They responded with the Surface. That was not what people were expecting, and it's something entirely different. Even in 2015, the Surface Pro 4 is no iPad Pro.

For years, MacBook Airs and Pros were crushing premium laptops. People called for Microsoft to make their own. Microsoft responded with the Surface Book. Once gain, they went beyond what was expected and created something entirely different.

For years, people were asking Microsoft to make (another) smartwatch. Android had theirs. Apple released the Watch. Fitbit is already crushing it. Now we have the Band 2, which in my opinion, is the best of everything. Again, it is their own niche.

You see where I am going with this. Microsoft is not about creating hardware for the sake of creating another thing. They only create hardware after consideration of where the market is going to be, not where it is now.

Microsoft canceled the Surface Mini because it was just a small Surface. It reportedly brought nothing new to the table. It wasn't going to disrupt the market; it was another me-too device.

Now we are asking for a Microsoft phone. We get the Lumia 950 and Lumia 950 XL? It just doesn't fit. Those are nice phones; they are just not radical departures that challenge convention. Microsoft is now about challenging convention. Remember, out of the blue they announced holographic computing in the biggest "Whaaaaaa?!" moment in my career.

Apple used to be like this too. All they did was release another smartphone in 2007. We already had those, so what was different? Well, the whole philosophy behind it. No physical keys, large display, and complete control over the OS. Many of us, including myself, laughed it off. Many didn't even call it a smartphone since it had no app SDK ergo it was not a platform (remember, web apps?).

So, knowing all of that I submit the following question, which admittedly is a tough one: What comes next after the smartphone?

It's a legitimate question unless you believe the current app-phone model is going to go on forever. Are smartphones doomed to "Welp, we made the OS more complex and threw new hardware at it" system, or are they going to evolve? Where to we go from here?

Satya Nadella

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella even knows smartphones are about what is coming next, not what is here now. In an interview with Mary Jo Foley, Nadella said this about their smartphone strategy:

"Therefore, we have to be on the hunt for what's the next bend in the curve. That's what, quite frankly, anyone has to do to be relevant in the future. In our case, we are doing that. We're doing that with our innovation in Windows. We're doing that with features like Continuum. Even the phone, I just don't want to build another phone, a copycat phone operating system, even.""So when I think about our Windows Phone, I want it to stand for something like Continuum. When I say, wow, that's an interesting approach where you can have a phone and that same phone, because of our universal platform with Continuum, and can, in fact, be a desktop. That is not something any other phone operating system or device can do. And that's what I want our devices and device innovation to stand for."

We already know smartphones are having an effect on computing. Tablet sales are in a slump as smartphones with large displays take over. Even Apple cannot escape that cannibalizing effect with their Plus phones and iPads. PC sales are also down and no, it's not because of Windows, but rather people have tablets, phones, TVs, and wearables competing for their processing time.

Remember when you used to check email on a desktop PC, not on your smartphone?

I bring this all up because if I had to guess, this is the question Microsoft is trying to answer. They know they can't win with the current system. Apple and Android are too dominant. So what you do is jump ahead and create a device for where people are going, not where they are. The Lumia 950 and Lumia 950 XL is where we are today in mobile tech. It's not different. Why else do we compare it to the iPhone or latest Android devices and go "oh yeah, not bad I guess".

What does that mobile future look like?

For many a "Surface phone" would just be a metal phone with high-end specs and a Surface label. I always laugh at that since what Surface represents – transformation – is not that. That's just another smartphone with a brand name. Big deal.

Microsoft tried to kickoff modern PC development with the Surface. That was the whole point. What would such a program look like for phone if they wanted to re-invent that category?

Ditch platform specific programming, make universal hardware

Window Phone has always had one Achilles heel preventing mass adoption. Apps. This problem is even more pronounced in 2015 as we transition to Windows 10 and yet another software platform. The problem is not just Microsoft's. BlackBerry has this issue too and sorry to say, even Android. I still see commercials for new hit games and services that are iOS first with Android coming later.

It is not a trivial problem, but rather one that represents where computing is today. As a developer, you have to choose your target platform wisely. It is likely not an easy decision, especially now that Windows 10 is on 110 million PCs already. At some point, developers may find it tough to ignore an app on Windows 10, especially once the Xbox store opens later in 2016.

Satya Nadella

When you look at Windows 10 and its Universal Windows Platform, you get an idea of what Microsoft wants, which is agnostic software for hardware. Doesn't matter what device you are running you just install the thing you want, end of story.

There is only one problem. There are other operating systems out there that you need to compete with like iOS and Android and even old Win32 apps and games. So what you do is create tools to let devs just port over their creations. These are, of course, the Bridge Technologies Astoria, Islandwood, Centennial, Westminster that should streamline this process for Android, iOS, Wind32 and web apps, respectively.

Microsoft wants to get rid of software development not only targeting hardware but the OS itself. Apps and services are blending and if the future is to go forward something needs to give in this tug of war. This reasoning is what Nadella calls a "path dependent strategy":

"The reason why anybody would want to write universal apps is not because of our three percent share in phones. It's because a billion consumers are going to have a Start Menu, which is going to have your app. You start the journey there and take them to multiple places. Their app can go to the phone. They can go to HoloLens. They can go to Xbox...This strategy is path dependent, which is a term I use that means where you start is not where you end up. And therein lies a lot of the nuance. The fundamental truth for developers is they will build if there are users. And in our case the truth is we have users on desktop."

The next piece of the puzzle is what does a phone look like in this system?

Microsoft is clearly playing around multi-OS booting systems as reflective of their patents. They got the Android runtime to run within Windows 10 Mobile. They have a patent on 3D Touch navigation. They also bought Ntrig, which helped with that new G5 processor for pen input in the Surface Pro 4 and Surface Book. They have this idea of Continuum for PC and mobile, which is the software side of what Surface hardware is about. They also have this thing called HoloLens on the horizon and other crazy innovations.

What happens when you put all or even some of that together? What is it that people want to do with a smartphone that they can't?

I do not think we have seen what Microsoft has planned for mobile, not entirely.

Certainly the idea behind Continuum, which is turning your phone into a PC, is a big part of their future. Indeed, I see pocket computing and the concept of running a software-agnostic platform as the goal. This yet to come world is going to be about screens and what is in your pocket.

I think whatever Microsoft does in mobile will attempt to be what Surface was to modern computing in solving the 'Tablet or PC?' problem.

Microsoft has been reportedly working on a 'metal phone' that runs Intel hardware, which is something even I have heard from sources. The one thing I know is this is an internal Microsoft-Intel project and had nothing to do with Nokia. What that all means is going to be the fun part, but I don't think it's going to be just another phone with specs. There will be something unique about it and hopefully something that was not anticipated.

If you were the Surface team, what would a truly transformative mobile phone be that you designed? Rattling off specs alone misses the point, folks. I am talking about ideas here, not numbers or whatever the latest Qualcomm chipset that is available.

As I said at the beginning, this is based on my speculation but also recent Microsoft decisions and even product announcements. To suggest their vision for mobile phones is just another smartphone I think would be shortsighted.

We know Microsoft can not only dream big but deliver too. Between Windows 10, HoloLens, the Surface Pro, and the new Surface Book we know Microsoft can create new hardware categories. That was just for 2015. Let's see what happens when they apply those ideas to mobile.

Daniel Rubino
Daniel Rubino

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.

607 Comments
  • The new phones are good and will be great next iteration. Honestly at this point we only need apps. They need to get apps by any means necessary. W10 mobile could suck, but if we had app parity everyone would use it, see Android Kit Kat, Marshmallow, Lollipop et al.
  • Yep, all my friends want me to use snap chat and m like well..... I would, but...... Other than apps, everyone loves my 925 and thinks it's some new fancy android before they see the os
  • True... A Lumia 950/XL is definitely better than a MotoG, but the MG will sell more.... Apps
    ......Well, price... But, you get the point.
    ...................
    Nevertheless, something tells me that MS sees the future of the smartphone kinda the way I do.. Sounds kinda funny, but I think of R2D2 when I think of what a smartphone could be.... Cortana.. This cloud fueled device that follows you, and your every move... Able to access anything. Universal, no less powerful than a PC.. Basically, a PC.. The real pocket PC, but more of a robot PC... Not just some app dependent, standalone, texting toy... A real centerpiece of mobility.
    ............
    Forget about apps... The future changes everything.. That's where MS might have their advantage... iDroid is perpetually centered on an decades old app model... Apps are like computer towers.. Apps are like pagers.. Apps are like compact disk, and MS is investing in cloud storage... Android, and iOS, are too involved in the old way, the current way.. MS is ahead of the curve here... Apps (in their current form), iOS, and Android have another 10 years tops.. I think this is MS's line of thought...
    ........
    Where Apple screwed themselves is not working the iPhone around OSX, and Android isn't shit going into the next decade.... I will give MS credit for FINALLY being ahead of the curve..
  • Overly optimistic view. You guys are thinking as technoGeeks. You really believe high school teenage girls would be choosing their next phones based on if it can also double as a computer? You guys should really log off the computer and interact with the real world.  IPhones and Android phones sell a ton because people want phones that are simple and do what they are supposed to do well. Make calls and run apps that complement the user's needs. Nobody, outside those of us that spend inordinate amount of time on tech blogs, want to search and research "third party" apps. Most people do not have the time for that.  And sorry. I hate to burst the Surface love fest but... l think we are getting carried away with the Surface influence a bit. Let us be clear about certain things.  The Surface line is a huge success but only because it was coming from -$900M to being profitable. But... Surface sales numbers are nothing when compared to iPad quarterly numbers.  A Surface phone would be competing with Apple's powerhouse, the iPhone. And... Shockingly, iOS is not even the king in the smartphone market.  So they have to move iPhone numbers consistently to even come close to iOS. We are talking about 15M in A WEEK. Not even going to bring up Android.  If they sell Surface tablet/laptop numbers in the phone market, WP marketshare will not change.  So, yes, Microsoft has its work cut out for it. I am not saying all these to say I disagree with you or Daniel. I am saying that you guys are being to optimistic. I read all of these same predictions in Crackberry. truth is, there is only so much you can do with design and repositioning of the phone. Sometimes, we just have to admit that we might have reached the optimal point. I know I have come to terms with that. This is why I love my Lumia. I do not care about what is in the horizon. I do not care about what any other platform might be cooking. I have accepted my Lumia as a niche device and damn it, I love it that way. 
  • back with the launch of windows and windows phone 8, I got the glimpse of what path MS is heading for, and to compare that with their past, this has been the path that MS has been taking for a long time: Creating something new, creating a trend. One doesn't need to look far back to realise this, MS pursued tablets long before they were norm, Windows Mobile had features that nobody understood. This is not to say MS championed first the things that are normal today, but it is to show that they have been doing innovation for some time now. The success of Android and Apple lies in perfecting those things and allowing average users easy access to all that stuff. I must be clear here that I'm not trying to say MS did this first or someone ripped off their features, this might be true but this is how an average smartphone will grow with more features. The main point here is that MS is trying to figure out what will happen next when every person has a smartphone. There were smartphones when everyone had a dumb phone, iPhone perfected smartphone and showed they way to bring iPhone to more people. There were tablets before iPad, but iPad (or put the name of your favorite tablet) showed how to bring tablets to everyone. Similarly, here everyone has a smartphone, MS is trying to see what can be the next jump? They might make an unbelievable product that nobody but a Windows fan might know about, then there might be another Apple or Google product that brings it to masses. This doesn't affects me or makes me sad, I'm just excited to see what might be brewing up in MS headquarters, and that is the soul of why I'm sticking with Windows among the range of Apples and Droids. I accept that Apples or Droids may sell more, all I wanna see is something new at this stage which frankly I don't see coming from Apple or Google, which have added screen size, RAM, processor and tidbits of features every year now, compare that to continuum you'll see what different new thing I am talking about. :)
  • True... But, if MS can't get those apps they are gonna have to appeal to a different market...
    ......
    Besides, what evidence do we have today that MS is interested in appealing to teenage girls?... Not much... Productivity, and enterprise, are MS' only chance at relevance.
  • The issue is, business men and women have teenage daughters. They want to be on the same social networks their kids are on. If you don't run Snapchat, you aren't 'smartphone' in 2015. Sorry, but apps is it. Windows doesn't have them, and there is almost no chance that universal apps will change any of that. Why would anyone write a universal app when Win32 greys you there same audience? Thus, Windows Phone is dead. It died when BoA and Chase left. All that's left is a zombie OS.
  • The importance of snatchchat is highly overrated. All those people you just mentioned, I know them, and I don't know one of them that uses snatchchat. Not one. The teen market can be a potentially important market, but it is small compared to the rest of the population.
  • They won't be teens for the rest of their lives though...
  • I think its less about SnapChat specifically, but the ever changing popularity of new social media apps.  From Tindr, to SnapChat, to Periscope, Windows Phone won't get the official app.  While the third party or homebrews are nice, they do nothing to convince new users that Windows Phone has the apps they need.  
  • You never know. MS might make the porting a no brainer.
  • What the hell is so important about an immature app called Snapchat?  Why is it so popular? To me it sucks.
  • I dunno.  I don't see much point in it, either.  But I suspect that you, like me, must be getting to an age that would qualify us as "old fogeys." Because it is important to millions and millions of people.  And if the market is that big, but WP is still too small to worry about, than WP is clearly too small for almost anyone to worry about.  We don't even have a first party Facebook app, for cryin' out loud.  The biggest social network in the world doesn't have enough WP users to justify making an app for the platform.  That's how pathetic the WP market is.
  • Pleas echeck this link. For an close eyes user like you -> https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/store/apps/facebook/9wzdncrfj2wl#app-det...
  • I think MS has a solution for that. Hence the excitement.
  • Already replaced with Smashdub. lol :D
  • More and more people who are experiecing Windows Phone, they are dumping Driod and I's and choosing Windows phone. Reason is simple. Its a easiest learing curve for a newbie especially for elders. If you talk of apps, earlier it was subway surfer..thenn temple runa dn now any.Apps come and go but its teh OS which bring the environment to the user and thats where Windows super seed both Driods and I's
  • If you have a phone you are able to do all your school work on while having the same device for all the other fun things I can see this being popular with parents - its not going to cost the same as a laptop for school work and the cost of a phone. Especally if MS tweak the family settings so the parents can keep an eye on whats going on. Especally if all the work is automatically saved to OneDrive and the classroom version of OneNote Thats jsut one example of how I think things are going to turn out. Yes it needs apps and support but if that can be overcome then I see a great future. People are fickle - a top app today will end up being nothing in a few years - look at Twitter - usage is declining.
  • Only problem is you can buy a cheap laptop and a cheap mobile phone for less than the cost of one of these high end phones that aims to replace both devices. Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • This is exaclty why Microsoft is not releasing cheap laptops and and cheap phones as this category is too crowded. There's no money to be made there unless you sell in millions a week. Great quality products for people who appreciate them is where the profits are.
  • The problem is that a cheap laptop perhaps will run just as their expensive phone+pc. So you save money, get more or less the same performance and more apps. A win win. My phone's and and laptop's overall price is about $300 and they run just fine. They have good quality and performance for simple everyday tasks.
  • Cheap being the operative word
  • So agree with u. No reaon when people cry shortage of apps. Every major App is on WP. yes, we chose Windows phone because we dont want junk in our life.
  • Agree, thank you. Surface was not really that innovative. In a bit of an Apple fashion, MS took ideas done by others before and gradually and incrementally improved upon them. And some of the technology (chipsets, batteries, screens etc) was ready for it, like it was for Apple back in the day. However, like Apple, MS absolutely deserves credit for having the vision and pursuing it. Now, for phones, as for the form factor, it is difficult to see how they could radically improve upon it - kickstands for phones have been tried and failed. Qwerty cover? Perhaps. So its mostly about software, like Daniel points out. It is finally getting ready. MS vision is not so much about hardware as it is about an OS and apps platform that allows for all kinds of hardware. So hardware is secondary, in a way. But obviously an important part of the whole. As for the sales numbers - one correction. If MS were to sell phones in numbers similar to the Surfaces, they would be dead. MS has said the Surfaces are a $3.5-4 billion business a year. At $1000 a pop that would be 4 million devices. At $500, 8 million. So probably somewhere in the 5.5 million range. FOR A YEAR. We just spent all day yesterday in shock that MS only sold 5.8 million Lumias IN A QUARTER. :) So a lolitary Surface phone is not the silver bullet. They do need a range a devices. Lumias are it, and Surface phone MAY be able to add a lucrative cherry on the top.    
  • Phones will always outpace sales of computers.  That's like using pineapple sales to determine how many oranges you will sell.  I think the present day shopper will be more inclined to keep their computers for much longer their phone.
  • Umm, yes I know that, I was simply commenting on utg001 had said above. And using Surface tablets relative success as an indication how well the Surface phone might do, is also probably not very accurate, given how dramatically different the tablet market and phone markets indeed are.
  • Agree, despite a lot of phone makers with a lot of design smarts nobody has diverged very far from the iPhone form factor. Everybody's waiting for a major component evolution. Surface was more blending rather than breaking categories, and it seems to me a Surface phone would be similar. Continuum is a first step to your phone being your PC, Surface phone would push this concept as far as it can go. For starters they need to address the keyboard and screen requirement. There are a bunch of existing technologies from foldable keyboards to pico projectors that MS could synthesize. Continuum+Hololens seems compelling but I think that's a few generations away - particularly gestures that are rich enough to be able to replace keyboard and mouse. And if my daughter could play full screen Minecraft with control equivalent to keyboard and mouse on her phone while everyone else had to poke at tiny screens, that would shift the needle among kids.
  • According to Wikipedia, both Apple and Microsoft have taken stabs at the tablet concept long before Surface. To its credit, Apple began in the 80's. It's a bit more complex for Microsoft being primarily a software company especially during the end of the last century-apparently OEMs made the devices to Microsoft specs much like the early days of Windows Phone. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Microsoft_Tablet_PC                
  • You sound like the many doubters when the Surface line came out.  I actually saw a use for it which was why I was an early adopter and still have my original Surface Pro.  The phone operating as a computer is just the natural progression on things.  We now have handheld devices that can compute things that a room filled mainframe had a trouble with many years ago.  Now we full computers with Windows 10 loaded on it in the size of a USB stick.  Microsoft is just trying to make that inevitable leap before anyone else does.  I wouldn't call that being overly optimistic, it's just taking the next step.
  • I think Microsoft is on the path to doing what BlackBerry is doing with BB10 - "mobile computing", IOT, etc. zdnet.com/article/blackberry-10-forget-about-the-phone-its-the-os-that-really-counts
  • So, you are saying that people will eventually stop using PCs? I don't think that will ever happen. That's how I know MS will eventually have the upper hand. Developers simply can't ignore hundreds of millions of PC and Xbox owners.
  • Well, I don;t know about you but I pick my daughters phone, not her.  Secondly Our first computers were probably picked by our parents who were using them for work - That's how windows won the desktop war.   If they make a suface phone and they are reading this, battery is more important then weight.  A phone that lasts 3 whole days is more attractive then one that weighs .05 oz. less then competitors.  The same goes for thickness. Right now, my biggest issue with phones is they cost so much to operate!  I pay like $175 a month for 3 smart phones in my family.  I think if MS would just take on the carriers and find a way to work without needing them, then they will have a dominant phone.  I don't know how they would do it but if they can figure it out that would be a game changer.  AND it would be ironic that MS going up against Verizon, AT&T and Sprint would be the best way for them to help their customers and pull ahead of Google and Apple.... 
  • If a battery lasts a day, most people don't care beyond that all that much . They are used to charging even day, and wireless and fast charging are making it even less of an issue. Sure, they will be happy to take a phone that lasts two days or more, but not if it's noticeably thicker or heavier. I am afraid the market has spoken in that. As for carriers 1) phone service in many countries is a lot cheaper than that - US needs more competition; doubt ms wants to get into that game though 2) the only plausible alternative would seem to be some form of universal satellites based WiFi, which again would require someone to build the network; unlikely ms would want to do it. Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • Respectfully, I think you missed the point. There's no guarantee that things will turn out a certain way (whether the same or different), hence their strategy. The important thing is not to look too deeply at the current trends or sales numbers or market shares. In this industry those signals don't actually tend to tell us much about where technology is going, or particularly where the next bend in the road is. The smartphone as we know it is an idea, a class of device that does certain things. It came to be this way based on what technology has been able to do, how people have created and marketed it, and how people continue to use it. When these things change, especially when technology evolves to support new scenarios and allows for new ways to use it, the old paradigm falls apart. In fact, this has happened many times, both abruptly and gradually. One of the most obvious trends in phones is that they are faster every year. There are phones from tiny to huge and processors in them that can run powerful applications. What do we do with a mobile processor that can do more than a desktop PC could 10 years ago? More people are using just their phones to do everyday tasks. With each year, the difference between a TV, desktop, laptop, and a smartphone in many cases gets closer to being a simple matter of I/O. These things are all just PCs, they work pretty much the same way, and they all need software to run them. Why can't I dock my smartphone to a bigger screen and keyboard when I'm at my desk? It is capable of doing many of the most frequent tasks of a laptop. Why would a teenager buy an expensive smartphone just for communication and a separate laptop for school and work? With the future of mobile processors, it's increasingly unnecessary. The topic isn't market share or smartphones, it's about how people will use computers in their lives as tech continues to evolve. Someone please forward this to Thurrott...
  • I'm with you all the way on that one except, instead of R2D2, I imagine Jarvis. A phone that connects to your WiFi/4G and talks to you via Sonos Speakers (or the like) A phone that doesn't just wait for your commands but talks to you when it anticipates your needs. A phone that will allow you to control the internet of things via a simple, verbal request: lock/unlock your doors; turn on and control your Tado heating and your Philips Hue Lighting; even run a bath or turn on the shower; alert you to security breeches or surveilance footage and show it to you on screen; order, confirm and alert delivery of internet purchases all without glancing at a screen. Of course, a lot of this can already be done by your phone, your surface, your PC and presumably by your Hololens. The diference is that your phone always knows where you are and can provide relevent information and services based on your location (even on an extremely finite level like moving from the lounge to the kitchen). Perhaps the Microsoft Band could take over this function and then a phone really would just be a pocket sized "screen" and wait for it........ a phone.       
  • Looking at the history, Apple won't leave anything to a chance. I would not be surprised, if they were already running touch optimized OS X in their labs or a desktop version of beefed up iOS. Don't forget that they ran OS X on Intel since day one and kept it secret for 5 years, till the day they ditched PowerPC. ​Too much is at stake for Apple to not be working on a plan B for OS X and iOS. I think MSFT idea of universal OS, which changes based upon your immediate needs like chameleon, is the right direction.  I do completely agree with you that cloud will be the future. OS agnostic, device agnostic cloud apps. Our network infrastructure is not quite there yet, but imagine that your mobile devices become mere interfaces to your personal cloud, which does all the heavy lifting. Similar to VDI.  Before we even get that far, there is one interim step and that is leveraging remote computing on local network, before tapping into cloud. Having XBOX do graphics for your phone while playing games or work as a slave coprocessor to your phone while doing some office work on your mobile device. They;ve already proven with surface book that they know how to make a scalable device with separate processing units. I've watched every single Apple keynote since 2001  as a hardcore devotee and can clearly see how the roles have changed in the past 15 years. Microsoft's keynotes were just plain awful back then, yet MSFT is now the outsider, who is trying to reinvent themselves and are clearly becoming a much more flexible and tenacious company and their keynote presentation style shows it. Their young blood is now becoming the disruptive element and I like what I'm seeing and will patiently wait - it will take them at least 2 more years, before they break through in mobile. No doubt, they will. 
  • Your friends sound lame are they all teens
  • More like... Windows phone is more simpler than iPhone and android.. Not sure where you got that from but I've had elder couples try out 3phones and chosed windows phone over all cause it was easy to use and uses less understanding of technology.
  • its not about simplicity its about 3 things: 1. Brand - everybody wants an Apple, Samsung or Sony 2. Nobody knows about WP - everybody uses iOS or Androis 3. Lack of support - basic app are not available for WP. Shame.
  • Agree. Of all the people I know, both at work and in my personal life, only a few have Windows Phones. For the rest, Windows Phone isn't even a thought when looking to buy a phone. iPhone or Android are the only things they even know to think about.
  • It means you are talking about kids with wide eyes and want to chase everything their friends have.
  • had this funny moment with some friends who kept nagging me about snapchat, they kept nagging (and mocking) and i was just sitting there..fiddling with my phone...and ping...text to all of them <Imagine that...I can text you all, and every cellphone on the planet (maybe), no need to be online of show any status, and i can reply when I want> I know people appearently have their lives depending on snapchat but personally, I couldnt care less
  • This is so important, what disappointed me at the hardware launch was the lack of mentioning the software bridges. These really need to be available now. Was hoping a big announcement on that. I will not buy the mobile till the apps come.
  • I think you're right. The 950 and 950 XL look like great phones. Compare specs/features to the other flagships and you'll see these are good phones. So what if they have plastic backs! The only thing missing are the apps, and yes they all matter. Get the apps and people will come..
  • One point he made, that's important, is that the next iteration of the 950/XL will be much better..... The prospect of a 960/XL is interesting... (Panos)
  • With the amount of time they had since purchasing Nokia's hardware division, I personally believe they could have taken what Nokia already had on the table and easily improved upon it in their own way. I watched the presentation again and what i realized is that Panos was actually excited about the phones and he did "big them up," but we keep forgetting ...Windows 10 for phones is still incomplete, so he spoke well of the hardware and mentioned every great aspect about them, but obviously they couldn't focus more on them due to the OS being complete.
    -------------
    When he took the Surface book down to the audience, he clearly mentioned he was pressed for time. So considering all the announcements they had in that hour and a half presentation along with the fact that Windows 10 for mobile is still incomplete, it makes complete sense why they couldnt focus more on those devices.
    -----------
    Besides that having a surprise announcement of a product such as the Surface book can get anyone eager to move on and get to that announcement.
  • Which is why I'm torn between this iteration and the next.  Decisions.. decisions...
  • Get OEMs and carriers to push Windows Phone at stores. People will come. Just look at Europe. That is more important than apps.
  • Marketing... Exactly
  • At this stage, instead of dreaming of what is coming next, all I want to see from MS is good execution of their existing strategy.  If W10 and UW apps are successful, W10 Mobile will also be successful.  MS should release their four app porting bridges as soon as possible.  The massive W10 user base will certainly kick off the UW app porting rush.  No developers can afford to ignore the new W10 market opportunities.  Personally, I don't see that rumored Surface phone has any advantages over the Lumia phones.  It can't run Win32 apps unmodified.  All Win32 apps would have to be converted over to UW apps via the Centennial bridge to reach the Windows app store.  Once converted, all Lumia phones will be able to run them too.  Only UW apps support Continuum on either Lumia or Surface phone.  The Surface phone is probably designed for business with enterprise grade security.  It won't be equipped with features that business don't need or pay for.  I doubt it can compete with L950/L90XL featurewise.
  • WIN32 applications won't become universal as such. They will stay win32 and only run on x86 hardware via click-to-run-like technology. So minimal effort for developers to get it in the store, but limited hardware support. So good and bad, because it potentially increases the number of apps in the store but creates more fragmentation. An x86 Surface phone would be able to run win32 apps, but it would only make sense when connected to a big screen with a mouse and keyboard, because these apps would not be touch optimized. Unless of course Microsoft finds a way to attach a keyboard to a phone... I wonder if anyone has tried that before... *cough*nokiacommunicator*cough*
  • Why physically attach a keyboard to a phone when there's Bluetooth?
  • You do mix things up here. Win32 essentially is a runtime-environment and API. It has no dependence to processor architecture whatsoever. As shown with the Surface RT, you can just compile an x86 Win32 app in order to get an ARM Win32 App. And this is just looking at the native API. For .Net/CLR you dont even have to re-compile in order to make the app run on all supported CPU architectures. So for desktop apps to run, you need in the first place all the desktop environment including Win32, .Net/CLR, COM, which is not or only partially available in Windows Mobile. Essentially you need a full Windows/RT in order to run desktop apps.
  • If they're relasing phone and SMS apps for Windows 10, why would a Surface x86 phone need to run the mobile version of Windows?  Perhaps upcoming W10 updates will allow it to initialize a mobile version of the smart screen for small screens.  Then you'd have the phone that can be your only computer.  No one has really been able to say that before.  It would definitely redefine some things.
  • I think, even if you had the apps, people will still not come. Windows isn't exactly hip and the interface is polarizing at best. You need to do more than match the competition if you want to come from behind. Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • Continuum is a good start.  It will be a mission impossible for both iOS and Android for the forseeable future.
  • On the contrary, I know many people who are interested to make the switch to Windows Phone but arent taking the leap due to lack of popular apps and apps they already use such as Snapchat, Clash of Clans, Miniclip games and a richer facebook experience that they are used to.
  • Actually, most that I talk to like the live tile interface.  They all think it's better than the static icons.
  • This is the chicken or the egg discussion on what came first. People will buy a phone with a certain OS because they want that specific app. Developpers are creating apps for platforms that have a lot of users. So if you as a developper have to choose, what are you creating apps for. Certainly not for WP, because this market is too small. But people want an OS with a big app store so they choose iOS or Android. So the developper does create an app for iOS/Android and thus not for WP ...(never ending story) Microsoft new this, but they had to find something to make their share bigger. They came with windows 10 and Windows 10M. To make one of the biggest audiences. For the developpers they have 2 solutions to be part of this group:
    1) UWP (Universal Windows App): If you create a new app, choose UWP and this app will be available for PC's running Windows 10, xbox one (as of november 2015), windows 10 Mobile (starting november/december 2015). This group of users alone will be much much bigger than iOS or Android users. 2) Bridges: If you have created an app (some time ago) and you want it to be available for the mass running Windows 10 (xbox one, pc, phone)... use the corresponding bridge solution to port your application to the windows platform with almost no effort. Developpers now have to put a lot of effort in building an app for iOS AND Android. With the bridges, Microsoft is giving them the tools to have their app(s) also on Windows platform (wether that is pc, xbox or phone) with a simple tool and thus much less effort than choosing for iOS and Android. What if you fired up your xbox one to play a game and in the meantime continued the snapchat conversation that you started earlier while sitting on the bus on your way home after shopping or workhours. And all this is just ONE app.
  • If we had all apps that Android and IOS users have, do you really think people would make a switch? It's not about hardware specs either cuz we have competitive devices. It's about OS design. You see how people are easily switching from Android to IOS and IOS to Android..that's because of familiarity of icons and OS similarity. Windows as an mobile OS is still something new and different which makes people harder to switch. Still those gorgeous (for me) tiles are so reflecting to other people which is shame.
  • I think Windows Mobile 10 update in 2016 should include like a Windows 10 taskbar on the bottom of your smartphone so you have your most used apps (phone, Outlook, Skype and your Instant messenger (Whatsapp,Snapchat, SMS, etc) That could make Android and iOS engineers say is copying their fixed apps, but to be honest Microsoft made the taskbar a feature since Windows 95, that is 20 years ago. So iOS and Android copied this from Microsoft.
  • No! No! No! to a task bar - this will look like Boring and Same Android/iPhone. Beautiful live tiles forever - not dead, do nothing icons, thanks.
  • No way for the taskbar. No Android or iOS implementations on my phone.
    By the way implementing a taskbar on windows phone, is ridiculous, because on windows phone, your startscreen IS kind of a taskbar. This is the place to pin your most used apps.
    For the others apps, they are just a swipe away. Swipe to the left on your startscreen.
  • "Gorgeous tiles". I feel the same way. As far as similarity and switching goes, I think MS is banking on the desktop OS to help with that. So if the apps are there I do think people will switch because of they'll be familiar with it. For instance, a coworker seen my windows phone start screen and said "hey, that looks like my laptop!" She had no clue WP even existed. She was very interested, but at the time WP lacked slot of the apps she wanted and she stuck with iPhone.
  • No, marketing would still have to improve exponentially... Mainly because of the saturation with iDroid..
  • Yep!! marketing is one of the main things.
  • I think 10 mobile fixes a lot of the unfamiliarity issue. What a lot of us complained about when we first saw it was the similarities to other OSes, since being too different was scaring people off. I think they have achieved a nice balance between what makes metro UI great and accessibility to people used to other platforms. Other than a confusing double menu here and there, I think the UI has benefitted from remembering what made WP7 great (although we did have to pointedly remind them a time or two, like with the Edge address bar placement) and then adding in some practical features other OSes did first. The resulting UI fixes the unfamiliarity problem you mention, while still making the new design superior to the old one overall. It's sort of a compromise on design, but it has so many improvements that the result isn't a watered-down metro experience, it's metro 2.0 based on a lot of lessons learned from other OSes as well as WP.
  • Yes. with proper marketing. The Only reason I won't switch to WP is because there are No apps.  Microsoft would rather fight with google than get google to make all of its apps for WP like they do for iOS.  WP OS alone, vs iOS/android (without anything other than native apps) is better than iOS and android.  Live tiles are like little widgets that change, giving the user fast info.  But I am not going to use mobile internet explorer to log into my bank acct, or go clicking all over the place on my local TV stations web page trying to get to specific infomation that an app can deliver in seconds.  Apps matter. They are safer than web browser log ins. (if made propery) WP users may not understand that since they don't really have any real apps. Unless of course they own an iPhone or good Android device they use as their "2nd" phone.  If i had ALL the apps on WP that I have on my iPhone and Note 5, I would sell both and exclusively use WP. As would many others if they had the marketing like Apple and Android put behind their products. Samsung spent more on marketing their phones in a year than HTC made in a year. Marketing is important.  This surface phone. Won't change a thing. No one is going to make apps for a desktop. Why? on a desktop you can just log in via Edge browser.... Mobile phones, NEED APPS. 
  • So if apps are more secure to login with then why wouldn't someone want the same on their desktop? On another note, ifixit had their iOS app pulled and they don't plan on bringing it back saying that their mobile web experience is just as good. Also I've been using Reddit's beta mobile site and I can't tell that it isn't an app. I added it to my homescreen and I get a nice app icon and Chrome's address bar disappears when you do that. This is on my Note 4 btw. I don't use Facebook that much so disable and just use the web version and I get notifications via Chrome. While yes this is all Android and Chrome I can see Microsoft making it possible for Edge to take advantage of these features. Point is, the mobile web is getting better.
  • Safer than web logins??? Really?? You have no idea what you are talking about. In fact I would argue the opposite based on the last few months. I believe that apps will eventually be replaced by web apps as HTML advances. This way developers will be able to write once and run anywhere. The apps will simply become wrappers for the web sites. Nothing else makes sense over the long haul.
  • Windows 10 has already taken necessary steps to be more in line with the other OS's which is why many here are complaining Windows Phone has lost what made it so unique ...but this move was necessary for the exact reason you stated; when people pick up a Windows device, it will feel somewhat familiar while maintaining some of it's beauty from the past.
    ---------------
    As I mentioned in my reply above, i know many who are ready to make the switch but are held back due to missing apps they use and knowing most popular apps arent on the platform.
  • So just get rid of the bandwidth by creating a free open WiFi network that covers 100% of the American Population. A massive task yes, but something Google is already working towards. No need for cell based calls use VOIP. Offer finance deals for users who are used to paying $199 for flagships. There are lots of people who already use iPod touches as their daily drivers. The Carriers know that massive WiFi networks are their biggest threat and there will be anti-competition legal battles along the way. But the power of the Carriers will come to an end. Most people who can't see this coming live in America/Canada.
  • I think you've probably never traveled through rural areas in a large country if you think this can achieve 100% coverage. There are so many areas in the US (for example) which have very, very small population density, and few if any buildings or other infrastructure. In a large city a wifi network would be challenging, but possible to build. In rural areas, building WiFi towers every few hundred feet or whatever, is really not a viable option.
  • Windows phone's basics aren't really that different from iOS or Android. It's a lot more intuitive, easy, and well-designed in a lot of way. But it's not so different that there is a learning curve. It's easy to switch to WP. The reason more people don't switch, (although a lot do) is because they don't know what it is, they've been trained to think that other brands are cool, and there are a few apps missing for WP. If the app thing is corrected, that won't fix the situation as most people still won't know that there is a WP. But that would be a step in the right direction.
  • I'd rather wait for Project Astoria to be finished and give Windows Phone 1 year after Android apps are now be able to be sideloaded/installed than to slash all the effort. Just remember how Surface 1 and Surface 2 were losses for Microsoft, but in Surface 3 it was all joy and hapiness and now Apple is copying the Surface Pro 3 model with iPad Pro. I think is time to give Microsoft at least 1 more chance after project Astoria (12 months), that should be enough to say if this platform is dead or not. And I still think that if project Astoria fails for some reason, there is always plan C, which is to fork Android like Amazon did with their FireOS. FireOS tablets are the most popular in Amazon and have sold millions, using a fork of Android that does not have Google Play services on their kernel.
  • I'm waiting for surface phone march 2016 release date. 500 GB, 16 GB ram, 5.5 inch display, dual sim,
  • I'm buying the 950 to hold me over until then
  • I do think with apps, we'd be 10% market share in the US and that's all they need to remain viable. Jury is still out on if they can get the apps. The tiles are a differentiator, but we have so many hamburger menus now and so many people on iOS using MS apps that I strongly feel that if we had app parity, people would switch in mass as simply using something different that's just as good/functional.
  • I honestly am not trying to be an ass here, but aren't you WP user TIRED of waiting, and waiting, and waiting, and waiting for something, anything, to happen.  I have had a windows phone in my home since they very day wp 7 came out on the LG Quantum slider phone.  It has NEVER made it to "daily driver' status once in 6 years.  You guys are die hards. I guess when you've waited 6 years and nothing at all has changed, what's another 6 years right?  6 years HAS to be better than iOS or android.... I will buy the 950XL just as my "toy" device that I throw a sim in for a day or two here and there, but I will keep my Note 5 and iPhone 6 because I know the 950 can't do what I want from a phone by itself.  I can't even curse while texting using cortana. If i want to use the F word in a text. let me. don't put #^$@! up there instead... really MS?  
  • I'd be tired of waiting if that was all I did. The fact is that the OS is such a pleasure to use that even waiting on apps is OK for me. I won't wait forever, but I'll keep enjoy WP immensely for a while longer at least.
    In fairness it's not the apps I miss it's the functionality they provide. If the web browser and Cortana keep giving me that, I personally am fine with it. That's tough to market though. Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • I have had no problem with my Windows Phones (while I wait - as you say). My Lumia phones does everyting I want. But I can undersand that teenagers can't use it, since they can't have Snapchat to send nude pictures to each other. There are a few apps that I miss, like the bank app for my bank. The website is just as good, once you get logged in, but to log in on the website is more difficoult than it is on the Android app. (I do have an Android tablet, just to see the difference.) But I do most of my banking from my office on my computer anyway - so... But the ease of use and stablity and responsiveness on WP outweigt (for me anyway) any missing app. Most apps have a similar app in WP, its just calles something different. Here in Norway we cant use Cortina anyway, so using the f word in normal texting works just fine. (And probably also in US.) Besides let Siri you use the f word? (Just wondring...) I use Windows Phone because they have the best phones, for a resonable price, and the ease of use. I also like the ecosystem, and it will be cold day in hell before I switch from Microsoft.
  • These phones are awesome. They have better specs than almost anything out there. No reason to downplay them.
  • Apps and a perfectlysmooth environment.  People may disagree on Apple precepts or restrictions but the the pure smoothness of how the device gets it's job done is art.  Then they top that with having every app first or simultaneously.  I'm not saying they have the only way of doing it but remember that huge amounts of the buying population adores the ability to have nearly everything and the "just put it in and it goes" utterly seamless execution of each function.  Surface gave engineering coupled with huge available programs with that perfectly smooth operation.  They need to hit the same magic with phones and still find ways to deliver the magic at different price points.  We have to realize this may take a couple shots as no one believed the first Surface was great but they proved they were on the track.  Hope they get this market right too and find spaces for 3rd parties to carve their special design language as well.    
  • Personally I don't mind Apple's restrictions as I don't customise my phone much other than create folders for my apps and changing my wallpaper. Either way I love iOS and it's smoothness and speed. Windows 10 mobile is really interesting with continuum but apps are more important to me and I like things simple. I'm currently using Android but I'm had a lot of frustration and I've realised after 3 months of using Android I prefer iOS and iPhone. Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • First of all Microsoft needs to make money. And they failed to do with Windows Phone so far. On average they lost over 30$ with every Lumia they sold. Their ASP for the Lumias went down to only 108$ last quarter. That's totally terrible.  Let's compare it to Blackberry: Blackberry only sold 0.8 million devices last quarter, but their ASP was 240$! So Blackberry made about half of the revenue that Microsoft made with the Lumias despite that Blackberry only sold 1/7 of the devices! If Microsoft would manage to only sell 0.5 million Lumias 950 (still unlikely, but let's dream!) for an ASP of 400$ their phone revenue would increase by over 20%!
  • Everyone is still thinking now. In 10, 20 years time will people be Snapchatting? No, we'll have holographic communication, AR meetings, immersive gameplay etc. That's Daniel's point. It's the next generation MS need to consider. Create something that others follow.
  • This all seems crazy to me. Everywhere I look I see either a Windows phone or an Android. I recon I see as about a third Windows to two thirds Android with the odd iPhone diehard. OK, so I expect London is full of iPhones but Bankers are hardly cool. Apps? Whatever I want to do is easy. I search for an app to do it and it's there. Sure, some of the built in apps need a polish but the store has never let me down yet. The only exception being no WiFi scanner app which seems to be because MS won't allow it? MS do need to stop putting obstacles in the way so such things are not blocked. OK so there are clearly local issues in the US but that seems mainly based on the problem that when a customer asks for a Windows phone the US phone shop assistants take them round the back and give them a beating for daring to ask. Let alone display the things on the shelf. Why not just do something radical like move the phone division to where the market is (Perhaps somewhere like Finland? Just an idea...) and leave the US until the market fixing has been addressed by the regulators? Or perhaps MS become a phone service provider? You know, like Virgin (runs over the EE network) or Tesco (runs over the O2 network). It's not like they need to set up masts or anything as the infrastructure is already in place. Then they could dodge the whole US market fixing problem. As with the UK, once people can see them and buy them they will. And stop saying things would sell better if they looked/felt like Android because using anything else is too hard for us dense customers. Anyone who can master the hideous Android learning curve is not going to be stumped by a few live tiles or a swipe or two, and anyone who couldn't cope with Android will love WP, certainly those I've met (and they are many). MS do make it hard for themselves though. Still waiting for standard W10 to be compatible with basic, essential W8 apps like BBC iPlayer. The store just lies and tells me it's my devices that are not compatible but I know they are because it all just worked under W8. W10 is the problem and MS just lie to cover it up and blame the users' hardware. Forget about compatibility with Android apps, how about making Windows compatible with Windows apps for a start? Universal apps my arse. W10 is the real fly in the ointment here and when it comes to phones may be a bit of a wrecking ball as it seems the app selection will tank.
  • I think that MS should follow the same model that they are using for Windows 10. Get windows 10 mobile on as many devices as they can. Since hardware requirements are no longer any less than android they should make it so it is easy to install the os onto and android phone. Then market the crap out of it and get people to get windows 10 mobile on their current phone. If they can do that then it will be easier to gain market share and then apps will come. Then people will love the OS and get a W10M phone on their next upgrade. This is the best solution because it gives everyone something for free and gets them into the ecosystem.
  • 2015: "Honestly at this point we only need apps." 2014: "Honestly at this point we only need apps." 2013: "Honestly at this point we only need apps." 2012: "Honestly at this point we only need apps." 2011: "Honestly at this point we only need apps." 2010: "Honestly at this point we only need apps." Notice a trend here?
  • Yeah and every year we say that all we need is world peace and everything will be great, so why hasn't it happened? Some problems are just hard to crack, but acknowledging them is healthy.
  • Every year we get more apps. Every year iOS and Android get more apps. So while the app situation on WP has always improved, there is still a small lag from Android, and a bigger lag from iOS. Just as Android has never had the apps of iOS, WP has been behind.
  • And just like iOS doesn'thave some of the apps Android does. So what?
  • yeh apps is a issue, im feeling the game app issue now after 1 year.  I dont really miss any apps myself but i know for alot google is the big one.  I have email in the built in app so i dont need a gmail app.  But i have to disagree with you about these 950,s i am a huge windows fan and i find thes phones plain and very unpremium in their looks.  Ans soz most people take looks to be a major part of buying a phoine.  Yeh the specs rule but im surprised they went away from the lumia 930 premium look and muted the colours to just whaite and black.(i know theres backs.)  I definatly feel they must be throwbacks to nokia and  i tihnk mic are indeed workign  on a game changeing metal ish premuim feel more than a phone device.   Yoiur right though if they had the app gap closed then windows 8.1 would have been the leaving point for alot of android users.  So you cant really blame google for not wanting to loose that control and customer base and bring their apps to the windows phone, after al;l they are kinda just protecting themselves lol.  Not sure about iphone as that is a great experience too but sure people like me that got bored after 6 years on apple might have moved.
  • What apps are you missing out on? I've never felt like there are not enough apps available. Windows Phone will NEVER have the number of apps iOS and Android have.
  • I think there needs to be the "next computing device" and MS needs to get there I stead of catching up with the "now". I think Satya has vision and is on the right track.
  • I called dibs on Hololens "Light" version months ago. Heh.
  • When Windows Phone becomes a need, that is the only time it will sell. Microsoft bringing all it's services to other platforms is helping the company now but at the same time destroying the future of it's mobile. Just my thinking, you don't have to agree or snap at me.
  • Keeping Microsoft services exclusive to WP is not making WP "necessary", it would just make MS services unnecessary because most people couldn't even use them. MS was right to bring their services to other platforms, though of course I think the Windows apps should have at least the same quality as their iOS/Android counterpards if not better.
  • They will have as good quality. Wait for the release of w10m
  • personally i think its a genius move to release all your software on the competition.  Now people that use microsoft products are more likely to eventually have all windows devices and that includes phones.  I think this is the only way microsoft can go.  After all times have changed and microsoft has begun healing itself by being more open and trying to mend barriers, its up to others to get on board and work together for the betterment of the customer and not their individual eco system.  Let people have choice and it seems like microsoft is doing that to me.
  • I agree.  If people are used to using really good MS apps on iOS and Android, they are more likely to switch to a W10M device because of the familiarity.  And if their favorite apps appear in W10M, then there is another obstacle out of the way. But at the same time, a device running W10M has to have at least ONE main reason (either a certain look or a never before seen function/use) for people to be willing switching (die hard Blackberry users DID switch to Android and iOS because a new OS had something better to offer).  For people to switch, it has to be a perfect blend of some familiarity, a 'cool' factor and "OMG, I can't live without that new thing on the Windows phone".
  • Can you imagine, if a mini-USB can be a PC (full Windows), why not a phone? If you need a bigger screen, just plug-in :) ... That could sell well.
  • ^ THIS is what answers Daniel's question. With Continuum and the rumoured Intel-based Surface Phone, Microsoft is naturally heading this direction. Imagine a Windows phone that runs full Windows - need a larger display? Just plug in a screen and there you have full Windows 10 capable of running everything your desktop can run now (and not the limited number of Universal apps that are currently in Store)
  • I think in the beginning they would and should only go for win32 apps delivered via the Store. Take away the ability to run setup.exe yourself. It is more secure, more compatible and you give users all of the advantages of being able to browse apps from a single source. Plus by having access to the universal platform - without actually being universal, they would be able to tap into the capabilities of the platform (contracts, notifications, live tiles, touch, high dpi adaptability, etc) If this strategy works, then you will have the strategy not only for Windows Mobile but for Windows in general going forward: all apps become "Universal" - which was the vision back in the Windows 8 days. I realize that this strategy has its backsides and pitfalls, but I think it makes sense now that you can run Windows Store apps in smaller windows.
  • Can you imagine arriving at work or home and have to hook up your phone to wires in order to get it connected to a hub and then run it as a half backed desktop device? That sounds so 1990ish to me!
  • The Acer Jade Primo has a hub, but the phone connects to it wirelessly (unlike the 950 or XL). And the idea of being able to do any of my x86 programs on my phone (like WoW) wherever I go... I can see wireless monitor/kb/mouse setup being the standard in most locations, and you just make a quick connection from your phone to do everything your desktop could do over the cloud. Sweet! Now that would be ahead of the curve.
  • You can do it wirelessly via Miracast and Bluetooth kb/mouse, and QI charging pad. OR.. Using just 1 wire (the USB-C cable), you plug your phoputer into the HD-500 Display Dock, which is already connected to your monitor via HDMI or DisplayPort, and already connected to your keyboard and mouse via USB, and you can be productive like a boss all day long, then unplug and head out of the office with a fully-charged battery.
  • W10M already supports Bluetooth mouse and keyboard. You can Miracast to TV. But the hub is so much easier... One USB cable. Plug and play.
  • Can you imaging taking your phone out of your poocket and looking at the static icons with just numbers, no text, no imagery , no live tiles,  Sounds so 2008 to me.
  • This is a good idea but if you make an x86 phone at this time ms is cutting their legs out from under them right off the bat. The windows 10 store doesn't have as many apps as the windows phone store so you get back to the app problem. I see this as a major reason as to why they haven't done it already. Once they get everyone on to the UWP then I see them coming out with a x86 phone but not until.
  • Newsflash: Snapchat isn't going to make a W32 app either. This notion that a phone running W32 apps is a great idea is bizarre. Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • The phone would still be running UWP apps just like the current w10 an w10m but if it was on x86 architecture then it could run pc programs too. So a snap chat x86 app isn't necessary but a UWP app is. Idk snapchat will go away eventually like all social media (ie livejournal, Myspace) does someone will make something better and they prolly won't have a grudge against MS and all will be good.
  • Windows phone isn't going anywhere. That's all I can say
  • But Windows 10 will/is
  • Seems ok standing still on my 1520 with windows 10. Gave a whole lesson wirelessly today via Miracast for an hour using PowerPoint... Not a blemish or hick up. Tried to do that on ios a few weeks back from am iphone 6s and it was not nearly as smooth. Simples.
  • Nicely written article. I agree that MS is looking towards the future and although I like the new phones, they don't look quite right when placed next to the Surface line. I can't explain why.
  • Good article. Minimal varnish and spin. No solid answers (what article about future trends would have definitive answers?) but it makes you think.
  • Well, that is what continuum is about. Rethinking phones. Right now, there is only too much you can do with them. Continuum breaks that barrier, and thinks ahead. Even though it is in its early stages, if done right, Microsoft has a real gem on their hands. It'll give them advantage to both google and apple.
  • So really no one should buy these phones as they are likely to suffer the same fate as the Surface RT tablets.
  • No, Windows RT died because it wasn't upgraded to support universal apps. Otherwise it would still be useful. Universal apps do run on Windows 10 Mobile. On the low-end (which is what you need, because that's where you get many sales, thus large marketshare and therefore interest from developers), Microsoft needs to keep Windows 10 Mobile alive. But I can see MS bring full Windows to a Surface Phone, along with an hardware innovation. But those are likely to be years away so it's really about the Lumia 950 for now. And with Microsoft continuing development of their universal apps, we'll see a lot of development for the 950 in the coming two years as well. Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • Windows 10 mobile (aka Windows on ARM) should have been that same platform as Windows RT, and so suffers the same fate. Microsoft is so in bed with Intel and legacy Win32 that it cannot compete in the modern mobile market, dominated by lightweight ARM processing. The market has spoken, and it hates legacy Windows.
  • The real challenge is to get an Atom that can give the performance and battery life of a Snapdragon in the same size package. The Surface phone is about changing the mobile ecosystem from the ARM processor to the X86 processor meaninging those 110 million+ W10 systems are the exact same as what is in your pocket. If you can pack a Surface 3 into a phone and run continuum as a real desktop, you have something. You could even leverage the bandwidth of the USBC connection to make a display dock that gives your docked phone some extra umph in graphics or processing.
  • THIS!!! I agree Atom or Core M with 4 GB in a phone form factor is where you reinvent the category again.
  • Asus Zenfone figured that out already. I don't think that's the issues. Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • Right? The article is great but essentially the hidden nugget that wasn't stated is don't buy a Windows phone right now.
  • Something better is always coming, that's not really news. Why by an iPhone 6s when you know 7 next year will redefine the phone again with a big shift in hardware? Yet Apple sold more than ever of the s.
  • I agree, Daniel. And I didn't get the impression at all that you were saying "don't buy the new Windows Phones". You were speaking to the future. MS has demonstrated with the Surface line that they can deliver for the future. I look forward to seeing their vision of where it's going.
  • The difference is that in recent history the next iteration of windows phone/ RT has burned users because of a different kernel, or because of new hardware requirements. Go ahead and buy the iPhone 6s because even though there will be a new iPhone next year it probably wont run apps or an operating system that this year's model won't. Whatever Microsoft is cooking up to change the way we interact with phones will either need to have some backwards capability with current phones or users will get burned again. You might say that universal apps fixes this, but it really depends on what these groundbreaking features are. Groundbreaking often means breaking with the past.
  • Exactly this. When it comes to mobile Microsoft moves at a snails pace, all we've been doing since WP7 is wait for them to catch up. It took to get to W10M to get gapless playback which is ridiculous. Whatever Microsoft has up their sleeve for the mobile space, if anything, will need to be matured just like the Surface line so we're back to even more waiting. Meanwhile we have to continue to endure a life without apps.
  • UWP is not dependent on mobile in any way. It works on Hololens, Surface Hub, Xbox and might work on more devices in the future. Microsoft has already commited to make it the default environment for Windows 10 by kicking out Control Panel, and I am quite confident that next year Windows won't have non-UWP File Explorer. I've read this many times and I guess that people don't understand that at all.
  • HoloLens: limited usage. Not gonna use Yelp or a nav app on it. It's also not here yet and will be a few years before it's worth a devs time to create a consumer branded app. Xbox has potential, but once again, is limited. Lots of apps won't have a role on your TV and won't make sense. USA Today gets this which is why their app is not a text app but only does video. Leaving our mobile is a big swath of market. As I argue, in the future and even now, your number one computer is the one in your pocket. I am not convinced Microsoft can give that up and still maintain UWP in any realistic sense.
  • This is a realistic look, very different from the overly optimistic Daniel I usually see.
  • Well, he's right. Mobile and PC are the pillars of UWP, maybe IoT too in the near future but not yet and at this point Xbox, Surface Hub and HoloLens are just "extras". I don't think UWP in its current conception could be sustained without mobile, it would need to be redefined.
  • As I said, UWP is for developing future WINDOWS applications. If you think that there won't be any new PC applications, then yes UWP is irrelevant without mobile, but then maybe PC is also very irrelevant?
  • with a right price Hololense is really welcome in our living room or working place. I would love to let my client  watchich a 3d walk through of his building with Holense Yes Pc is still really relevant.
  • Win32 programs are more powerful than UWP apps will ever be. Just look at Edge, a UWP app and it is sluggish, crashes like no tomorrow. UWP is a simplistic platform that is more suitable for mobile. 
  • It is more than obvious that you have never written a line of code in your life and you want to claim something about development platforms, which can lead only to comments that sound funny. I look at Edge, and it is incredebly faster than Internet Explorer, and considering performance leave better impression than Firefox. For the crashes, yes it did, jusl like every new app. If you think that Microsoft Word for Windows was not crashing every hour while it was a fresh app, then you've missed part of the computer history. But if you have used Windows Insider builds, it is now as stable as its competitors, its got to a good shape in just two months after the release. To confirm your statement, Win32 is more powerful than UWP. But for 99% of people that power is used only to create viruses and malware, or in better case regular apps that by accident slow down devices. This will change with Win32 apps for Store, but then they will also loose part of their power as soon as they become sandboxed.
  • "never written a line of code" my ass. If you know what my avatar represents, you will know what apps I have written for the Windows platforms. And lol at the statement that UWP is use to create viruses for 99% of people. It's so far from the truth that I don't even bother to argue with you.
  • Well, if you've read my statement you wouldn't lol as it is clear that what you say was never mentioned. I do say that in the last 5 years if you compare number of new (not updated) Win32 non-gaming apps and number of Win32 viruses it is probably 1:1000. In UWP there are no viruses and there are new apps. Like it or not. Those are facts of life.
  • The ratio is like that because there have been enough Win32 apps for almost every need, so there is almost no new Win32 apps. Where Win32 apps do not cut it, there are web apps. Almost all apps in the Windows store is just trying to replicate a limited set of functionalities of existing web apps or win32 apps. My app is a port of a well-known win32 app. Your app is a limitted version of File Explorer. More often than not, regular windows users just use the win32 or the web versions and are not aware that a store version exists. Even if they are aware, they may still prefer the web or win32 versions because they have been in development for very long time and offer much more functionalities.
  • That's pretty interesting that only for Win32 apps there is nothing new and for nearly every single field of human work there is. Thanks for giving compliments to my second app (though I am not quite sure if you really know which one it is as my app doesn't even remotly try to be File Explorer like some other apps out there, but to be something very fresh). I'm glad many people don't agree with you and app is often in top 100 on Windows 10. You have the right on your opinion.
  • When I compare win32 and web apps to store apps on PC, I can only see that Win32 and web apps are superior in functionalities; many time store apps do not even exisits. For example, Slack is only availalbe as an Win32 apps. Facebook website is way better than the Facebook app in store, Plex app does not allow casting to Chromcast like the web app does. With the exception of banking apps where there is the extra check deposit function in store app, I can't find any store apps that do not have a better win32/web app version. Can you give me one example of a PC store app that has more functionalities than the win32/web version? An app being in top 100 says top says either one in two things: (1) you have a very good apps that are very popular or (2) the store is so deserted that it reaches top 100 easily. I'm not saying your app does not deserve it, I'm just saying the windows store is a desert at the moment that any decent app would be ranked on the top.
  • :). I believe that our conversation started in the wrong tone, and I can't say I shouldn't take any blame for that. I agree with what you say for top 100 apps, surely there is both thing as a reason to be there. I have one app that is constantly in top 50, it is harder and more valuable. Considerings the Store apps, I think that at least Drawboard PDF, StaffPad and my Share to Speech have some features that edge their Win32 counterparts. And to note here that in my case biggest fields of being behind in some feature is UWP - you can't watch the clipboard and you can't add custom voices (though I find that thing less important as those voices cost much more than my app, but I still understand that for some fraction of users it might be critical).
  • However, I agree with you that in many Win32 apps there have been a lot of time invested and it is hard to come to some better solution in some short time period. However you started by saying that UWP limitation is the main reason for this, and I really don't agree, but I agree with what you said in the end. So let's stop it here :).
  • is it a sega game gear or sony cassette walkman?
  • Actually, I see this article as being optimistic.
  • Indeed. I think Microsoft is committed to Windows 10 Mobile, its a lightweight OS that supports their Universal Apps. You need a lightweight OS for low-end devices, and low-end is how you get a large marketshare, and thus developer support. Whatever Microsoft is cooking with regards to innovating the smartphone, it's a risky direction. They need multiple plans. And one of them is what Nadella spelled out: getting developers from desktop to mobile by means of universal apps. Once you get developers, you can get more customers and OEM support, which will turn a vicious circle into an virtuous circle. Besides, even if they radically alter the world with some smartphone innovation, having a lightweight mobile OS can still be useful to run some other sort of device. E.g. I can see the Band 3 running W10M, or perhaps the hottest item of 2020: MS sunglasses which come with Cortana and hololens build in. Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • Where have you been the past few years? MS has been pushing low end and gaining no market share, obviously it's not working.
  • Maybe read the comment you responded to more closely? 
  • I think it's critical to read his entire comment
  • Daniel, this was an excellent article. Very well done! It did well to stimulate thought with the reader.
  • I thought you could buy at least the Dev version of HoloLens for like $3k on Microsoft website.
  • Preorder I mean
  • I feel like app parity would make windows phone a solid third place contender and I think msft should do more publicly to get developers here and to stay.
  • The most people I talked who prefers not to buy windows phone is the app gap. Even some o friends bought wp and they switched to android and but they admit wp has solid OS but app gaps especially google apps are deal breaker. Mind it surface phone may entice enterprise but common people still want Lumia series phone. Wp has good reputation too: Good camera, good battery, fluid with low spec , glance etc.keep it and bring developers in better touch. And please set price right especially where market is good so that people choose Lumia over moto or Low cost alternative. Why Lumia 640 dual sim still over $200 outside of US? Completely stupid pricing. People have still strong regard to Nokia hardware, use that and put all out effort to reduce app gap. I know some haters are there say snapchat guy. But I don't understand why MSFT cannot invite IMO or like developers and why fb messenger doesn't have calling feature in wp and why Viber not allowing video call. I am sure all these can easily be solved if MSFT were serious...and fo use of skype ...google voice charges 3 cent to call to my country people and fucking skype charges 3.5 cents plus fucking 9 cents connection fee. With hangout I can call or text any Usa no free but fucking skype charges 2.3 cents plus 5 cent connection fee. Google voice allows having free us no but skype charges for it . Some may say these are very little things but every drops make a sea man ! Wake up.
    Well written Daniel...
  • i have used windows for one year, i have all the apps i could want well untill 1 year later and suddenly its a huge strugle to find games i want.  That was never a issue on the iphone but then again i use my 5inch 930 alot more than my iphone 4-5s.  And still your right there is a app gap.  But i really think that most people can do without aolto of things they think they need.  A good example is google.  I have a gmail account and i dont need a gmail app to see my mail, i use outlook it shows me all my accounts(still like a linked inbox though.)  Actually google cal would be nice as i dont like the look of out look calender, no weekly view. But not a game changer.  Then theres hang outs, thats prety much the only thing i feel people would have a good enough cant do without reason.  Yeh thers skype and many others but alot use hangouts and they should be able to continue useing it.   Not snap chat is a diferent best, i dont use it, and probably would if it was on my windows phone but that is a essential app, particually amongst the younger generation.    Im just happy microsoft is gone keep making windows phones, be it on a smal scale they havfe said that prety much if manufactorers dont suport their software buy bringing out those new devices runing windows 10 then microsoft will build them.  Look at the surface tablet.  Look surface book, these are marcket leading products and as long as they keep making phones and i keep anjoying them i know itll be the same one day too.  No mater what country im in i can call on skyper via the internet for free, i though hangouts worked exactly the same way.  I know you can pay for credit to make calles to mobile phones and landlines where peo0le couldnt be bothered to instal skype lol.  I didnt realise hangouts did exactly the same thing.
  • It would be helpful to read the article then peruse the comments
  • I agree. However, it has simple problem - people have habit not to buy anything on Windows. Just like they have the same habit on the web. If you have top 100 Windows 10 app, you get something like 50$ a month, if you have the same for iOS you get at least 10000$ a month. So there is not a problem in the number of users. The problem is in the habit. But I agree that Microsoft could do more to improve, just wanted to say that it is a very hard path.
  • That would be because most WP users are low-end users.
  • I was referring to Windows 10, so this is about desktop.
  • hahaha.  I used iphones for 6 years so your saying im classy and high end lol.  By the way i got bored and use a lumia 930, i feel that barring the game app ssue its the best phone os and phone i have used to date, dont get me wrong i loved my iphones but i was never a fan of ios, it was just simple and convienient and everything worked, id actually say a iphone is for people who want a simple easy and it just works experience.  Windows if you want to change and try something frresh new  and different, personally live tiles is great, strangely very simple and reliable and just works too lol.  Androdi if you like alot of messing about.  Why do we have to put people in catagories just because they want to use something different to you.  I dont get that.
  • Not trying to categorize people, but simply stating that most WP users use low-end devices, and are thus less likely than iphone users (most use high-end devices) to buy apps/iaps. And so WP becomes a lesser platform in developers' eyes because there is less potential for profit. The same applies largely to Windows 10 PCs. As an example: most games, where developers aren't bankrupted, sell for around $10-30 and usually sell between 10 and 50 thousand copies. The global gaming market is around 300M gamers, given an average of 25k sales that's just 0,008% of the market. Assuming there's 100M active WP users, which is likely too high, that's only 8k sales. Now factor in the general unwillingness of mobile users to pay for apps, the possibility that low-end users are even less willing to spend, or capable of spending, money on apps, and the general low prices on mobile and you'll be lucky getting $2k - $4k / game (which usually take at least 3 months to make, PC-indie quality is about 1 year for 3 people). No wonder, it's now trend to try to hook in the high end users and try to milk them as much as possible. No wonder they are not terribly interested in WP.
  • Peple use WP because it is lower in cost that the iPhone but also because the OS is much better and it has most everything one needs.
  • Yep they really need to gear up the developer outreach, even if that means subsidizing many popular apps to get the ball rolling in the short run. They definitely have the cash for it.
  • I've heard directly from a developer when I asked where is the Windows phone version of their app, that with 2% market share they don't see the need to spend the resources for another platform. It's all about apps and apps are all about market share.
  • The article ended with asking our vision for a concept and we still comment about apps and all that age old stuff we keep discussing to death in every comments section -.-
  • It's what's killing Windows Phone/Mobile.
  • No. The problem isn't that people don't have access to the Mint, Chase or Target app on Microsofts store. It's that they can't do what those apps let them do in an easy way. You CAN solve that problem without apps if you really want - you just have to figure out how. See the experimental Uber/Cortana thing for example.
  • Use the website and pin it to the start menu.
  • Exactly. I was hoping people would give it some more thought. The thing is, Microsoft needs to change the paradigm. They are betting on the cloud big time, and if they can integrate services there in a good way with a surface phone, they can move past the app model. U don't know how, but I bet Microsoft is trying to figure out if it can be done and how.
  • Even though I think this was the best Microsoft presentation so far they were like yeah we got 2 windows 10 mobile flagships same thing different sizes. Oh yeah we also got the 550 thank you.
  • If MS and Panay doesn't go all in with their own phones and, they are just plain stupid. Panay seems like a big ego-trip.
  • What?
  • Well written article. It does make me take a step back and think. I'm well attached to my device that goes with me everywhere I go.
    Maybe... Maybe the next step is to make the mobile phone not needed? I can't fathom what that would look like, but if you were a large corporation with heavy investment in to a universal OS... ...It wouldn't seem implausible. Kicking a user's personal/mobile OS to the "cloud"- I mean, there's an ever growing amount of bandwidth over cell towers. Why not? Just thinking out loud I suppose, but I sure am attached to my 1520 (and I'm sure soon enough a 950XL) :-)
  • Great article Daniel.  This can't happen soon enough for me.
  • Hmm would love to sit in those intel/microsoft meetings...
  • I am not sure if the universal app strategy will succeed. I don't think they will. Here is why: - Most Windows desktop users don't use apps from store. They just unpin the store icon from their taskbar after they install windows. - Xbox does not allow developer self submission; they have been saying that you can start writing apps for xbox by writing apps for Windows since 2013 but the possibility of submitting apps has never been mentioned.  - Hololens is a niche and unproven devices. In addition, apps on hololens are very different from regular apps. - Apps on IoT are just so different from regular apps (they don't have UI for example) that they don't even count. So that left only tablet and mobile users who need apps. Sadly, the number of devices in these categories that use Windows 10 are very very small. Not sure if developers will think it's worth their time and money to write apps for.
  • "Most Windows desktop users don't use apps from store. They just unpin the store icon from their taskbar after they install windows."
    I'd argue that is changing. Microsoft said more are using the Netflix app than Netflix on the web now on Windows. Also, desktop PCs are slowly going away for tablets/laptops/hybrids. I'd argue apps make more sense the smaller the display gets and the more imminent the display is e.g. touch.
    "Xbox does not allow developer self submission;"
    I'll tell you that this is 100% coming in 2016. There will be a Store for apps on Xbox open to devs. The rest I generally agree with, which is why mobile is such a big deal.
  • Dan, One of the things that are nice for uwp is the mail/people/calendar apps its a simple thing but syncing of that natively gives users a reason to use the store. and its not only for wp users. I think the next thing may be garnish in reality but the uwp will be the unsung driver. Banks have got to like uwp for desktop for the obvious reasons. Unfortunately, the US is the worst country to view WP as a platform. When you take away all the US centric stuff and the services that dont deliver well outside of the US (yes netflix too) Its easy to see why a lot of countries are close to 10% or above. When you can deprecate every feature with App availability focusing on HW and gadgets as the saviour is  bit deluded. The question is " If I gave you all, every app on IOS/Droid for your WP  how good would the devices be?" There are currently a lot of noticeable strengths to the existing HW and devices and on a more level playing field this will shine rather than being deprecated.     
  • I won't agrue that Microsoft said that about Netflix but I have serious doubts about that being accurate.
  • I only use the Netflix app on my W10 laptop. Why wouldn't I?
  • Daniel, This is definitely changing. Humans are programmed to touch. Microsoft has been pushing tablets and touch for years. Now that tablet architecture has become the zeitgeist, Microsoft is positioned to leap-frog these Silicon Valley players. These kids in the Valley are all about apps and quick cash-outs. Services are the real steadfast commodity, next to the raw materials of visionary talent. Talent that creates innovation, talent that is not only “Reinventing Catagories”, but dreaming of, envisioning, and building tomorrows devices, today. Microsoft never really made a strong play at growing a 'consumer mojo’. Enterprise was where it was at. Nobody ever thought you’d have 300 Terabytes or ripped Blu-Rays from the library on your Synology. Keyboards, a phone, an mp3 player, when everyone was using a Motorola Razer and a Sony Walkman. That was the 80s. Microsoft made a few keyboards, then came Xbox. Not too shabby for not really trying. Recall this, Microsoft is the eldest sibling, and Microsoft is far from a stale and aged company. Redmond has enabled the entire planet to excel with unprecedented productivity and growth, all based off Bill Gates' initial vision. Microsoft never meant to be arrogant, and as its leadership has evolved; so too have its products and services. Going 'cloud first' is the pinnacle strategy that tech companies worldwide, are trying to own. I believe that the sheer heft and might of Microsoft's personnel, from their engineers, their pool of young and talented dreamers, teams of all disciplines, set free in the myriad nooks and secret labs, coming up with things like Band and Holo Lens. These creators of tomorrow are crawling all throughout the underpinnings of the Microsoft culture. The dreamers that got hired 20-25 years ago are still there; some now running the show. Enterprise is Microsoft. Nobody remembers Novell. Did Apple and Google run a Microsoft Backend? Who cares, I don’t really know, nor care what server they authenticate to when they go to work in the morning. They probably force their IT guys to use Linux, rather than capitulate and acknowledge they just don’t have enough miles or points to get into the same lounge Microsoft has access to when it comes to playing 'Big-Boy Computing'. They certainly rode on Redmond’s coattails for years. The Valley runs amuck is useless transient apps and angel investors plotting a profit. There is no endgame there. We are all Microsoft aficionados here; are we really going to let short term gains, 'no mater what the market cap is' rock this boat? This isn't about beating or attaining for Windows Phone, something that, in the purview of information technology is as unimportant as posting a video of cousin Claud eating a bowl of spaghetti on a propriety Periscope app. These useless fads won’t shape the future. People are going to wake up soon. Those idiots running around the wonders of the world taking photos with their iPads are soon to realize, they are chained to these devices at the expense of family, and what it means to be human. They’d be much better off using a DSLR that happens to be a Lumia Smartphone, than sit there like a dope, thousands of miles from home, doing SnapChat. Go experience The Sistine Chapel with your children, let Cortana, on you Microsoft Band tell people you’re on vacation with your family checking out The Great Wall of China. Skype them later from your hotel room with Continuum before room service arrives. You don’t need to spend your time looking through a bunch of dots beneath a stupid Mickey Mouse clock-face. Track your heart rate and mileage and get on with your life. I do believe Nadella's move to take Office, Cortana, OneDrive, the superior Azure Cloud computing platform, and the whole kit and caboodle, “Wherever the customer is”, is brillient. This is the first blanket of snow that Silicon Valley has seen for the long winter to come, an Ice-Age of sorts. Winter is coming, my friends, and Redmond is going to gouge out that Valley with glaciers that destroy with the might of dragon fire. As Panay ‘Brings The Thunder’, Facebook, Uber, and other players that want to stick around, aren’t sitting around on their laurels counting coin. Their putting their crampons on; getting ready for the climb to the top. IT departments of the Fortune 500 don't have limitless App-Dev budgets. But when the locked in lemmings on Android and iOS being to focus back on the faces of family, children, and the bottom-line of personal finance; the one-year lifespan of a glossy iPhone, or a ridiculous Galaxy Edge will become apparent. And why can’t their purchased content and services follow them? Because to play on closed ecosystem, is to ensure eternal happiness will never be yours. Unless, of course, you’re willing to upgrade at a premium cost. Hell no! Remember that a rose by any other name is still a rose; but when it won’t work on your new $50,000 car, or the smart-home your kids will finance in 2030 will require them to also finance a 2029 $6000 iMac, we'll all appreciate the wisdom Microsoft has acquired over years whilst seizing the world's business computing environment. The arrogance and anti-trust woes, the new kid of 1975 had are a thing of the past. Now grown, Microsoft, has matured far beyond that of a 40 year old cooperation. We are Legendary. We’re talking about something that will be seen from augmented reality glasses aboard the International Space Station, who’s crew happen to be running Intel Laptops powered by what Operating System? Yes, Microsoft. Why do you think NASA didn’t partner with Apple to make a Holo Lens? You think Congress wants to give Cupertino 30% for each software update and pay $20K for a Pre-Release Device and SDK? Sooner or later we’re going to have some major changes to patent law. Global competition and innovation stagnation cause by companies with closed ecosystems will end. Global standards will arrive, Financial Institutions are nearly there, Medical Records are the next World-Wide must-have. API’s are going to be globalized. Governments will eventually demand this. The developing world can’t wait 80 years for a family to save up for an iPhone. And with the fragmented Android crapware environment, spearheaded by Google CEO’s that don’t give a damn about backward compatibility will eventually be pushed aside. Microsoft has set the standard for making products that span the years. Everything is possible, from Virtual Machines, PowerShell and Hyper-V. Hardware is independent. OEMs can innovate. Windows 10 is for all intents and purposes Free. Services will define future markets. Allowing your customer to pay once and use everywhere is the new Microsoft Model. You cannot beat that for the long-haul. It’s not a financially viable strategy to go with a closed ecosystem. Glamour can only go so far. An Apple Watch is like a Kardashian. Anna Kendrick got the Apple Watch spot-on as, “The new gold standard in douchebag detection.” But now, Microsoft’s shift to a consumer focus has gelled. The Zune and Kin have given way to a plethora of cutting edge engineering. Microsoft is “Relentless” (Panos Panay). What’s next? An iMac Killer? Do we even care. Let’s just run OSX in Hyper-V, help the EU and Congress sue the pants off Google and Apple. What can they do? Make a few more rows and columns of uninteresting icons, a redesigned headache of settings and permissions and call it "The Thinnest, Most Overpriced Piece of Next Years Obsolesence We've Ever Created"? Once you’ve rooted or jailbroken one of these slabs, you come to realize just how boring they really are. Use Redmond’s Wisdom to lead the inevitable IEEE consortium to standardize System Integration globally. We have the infrastructure and the scope to build it ‘Our Way’, ‘A Fair Way’, ‘An Interoperable Way’, ‘The Microsoft Way’ and come out ‘Smelling Like a Rose’. #TeamRedmond and @Microsoft #DoGreatThngs #OnePlatformToRuleThemAll Best Regards, Elizabeth 'NoCrapOnTap14' @iHeartInfoTech
  • I love this post. Thanks for looking beyond "WP needs Snapchat"!
  • Elizabeth, this is the One Post to Rule Them All. You actually 'get it' and I think I love you. I've copied it into OneNote where I can read it forever. There is so much I want to say in response but I don't know where to start. Thank youl.
  • I cannot disagree with this Tolkien-length post of nonsense enough. That you need to go to such incredible lengths to try and justify MSFTs blundering and embarrassing monumental failures is proof of how doomed this situation is. The rest of the world has moved on. NO ONE is paying attention to MSFTs mobile "strategy". They gave up years ago, despite MSFT releasing excellent mobile OS's and Nokia releasing brilliant phones. Over and over and over we see incredible posts by WP users like these, in articles like these. It's a never-ending cycle. Stop banging your heads against brick walls people. It's really painful to watch. You're better off using Microsofts services through iOS or Android than you are on WP. That situation isn't going to change. You need to wake up to this fact. You've waited 5 years and 3 painful reboots. Don't you think enough is enough?
  • Here's one thing you should know that summed it up for me--
    "Papa, where can I download apps on here?"
    --Overheard conversation between a 9year-old looking boy and his dad at a big electronics store here in Tokyo in the laptop section.    People are used to using apps on their mobile phones, and expect that same paradigm on ALL their devices. Even Macs have an "App Store" where you download traditional MacOS apps, but more and more of those are looking like and sharing code with their iOS counterparts...and guess what, it works! I don't understand why people think that Windows users won't do the same? I certainly enjoy using Tubecast and ReddHubb instead of firing up my browser and going to YouTube and Reddit all the time on my laptop because it's faster, the apps aren't RAM hogs, and live tiles and notifications make it easy to see if there's anything pressing in the first place...
  • The difference is the OS X App Store apps are true desktop apps with all the advantages of a desktop app, and the OS itself was built with all of the features Microsoft is *just getting around to adding in Windows*, but with Desktop Apps in mind for those.  MIcrosoft is building shit into Winodws for Universal Apps, which are still terrile compared to any comparable Desktop App and then dragging their feet on making it easy for Desktop Apps to use those features. Additionally, the fact that there are almost no Desktop Apps in the Windows Store at this point is a big fail as removes the incentive for a lot of people to even bother using a Microsoft Account sign-in or visit the store regularly if at all. Apple did not have this issue, becaues their desktop OS does not and has never had a multiple personality disorder like Windows 10 *still* does.  All of their platform features (Grand Dispatch, Retina Display Support, Metal, Core <TakeYourPick>, Force Touch, Media Browser, etc. were built with Desktop Apps in mind.  Services like iCloud may not be as good as the alternative, but they implemented Standardized Ways for 3rd Party Apps to store and Sync Data on the service, etc. Their frameworks are simply better developed than Microsoft, their platform is better managed at this point, and it just isn't a comparable situation. Much of hte hype about Windows 10 is due to how terrible Windows 8.x was from an end-user standpoint, and Windows 10 only improves somewhat on that - it doesn't fix it.  The Desktop vs. Mobile App dual persona still persists and it's still a headache for both users and developers. I buy more apps on OS X now.  They seem to be getting apps that are comparable to Windows Apps that cost twice as much these days, and the apps seem to be getting much better development.  Better optimization, better user experience, and because of how Apple Standardizes things they get features and optimization for free without an app update. Microsoft needed to do this with Windows.  I thought .NET would have done that, but they're still jumping from framework to framework and rebooting things on a release by release basis. Mac App Store applications are not smartphone apps.  Their Twitter app is not the same as the Universal Twitter app on Windows 10, for example.  It's better in almost every way, despite being a full desktop app and offering all of the same benefits because Apple has many of the same systems in place for desktop apps there as Microsoft has on Windows 10.  Except Microsoft's systems are extremely biased to Universal Apps.
  • Well, Windows 10 Store usage has definitely increased compared to 8. I think with time, if good apps arrive in the Store, the Store will gain traction. It's not going to be an immediate success, though. It's been confirmed that you will be able to submit UWP apps for Xbox.
  • I use a 32" tv as my monitor and I'm here to tell you I use more and more apps all the time. Screen sizes doesn't matter
  • Terry said more people use Netflix app on Windows 10 than website.
  • I'm using a lot of apps from the store on my desktop.
  • I'm just gonna go ahead and BS, most pc users have no idea what they are doing aside from opening a browser, most never even click the icon, and even more dont even know you can unpin stuff... not very constructive.. but, I hate when people pull BS facts out of their ass.
  • My usage of store apps has increased in Windows 10. And universal apps are coming to the store. I have seen lots of Indian developers improving their apps for windows 10, releasing mobile apps too in parallel. If one user has increased the usage of store apps, imagine among 110 million users. U may not be one of them though. It can only go higher.
  • I have 267 apps lol yeh i counted them, i use 30 daily, just like my iphone i only go in the store now every few weeks when i need a game or something new has become apealing.  This is mainly cause after i get my phone and restore it from the cloud it already has the exact same apps i had on befor and dont need to find again.  heres all my daily apps.  Outlook mail, outlook calender lol sype,metro tube, tube cast,whats app, 6tag(because i prefer it to instagram but i have that too.) Grove music, Photo album (and it rules, i take a photo on my phone and in seconds its on my tablet and dektop where ever i am oh and video, my mates iphone 6s doesnt do that, actually his jaw hit the floor when he saw it and hes a genius on his iphone 6s plus.) Here maps, the fantastic Here dric(it easyly replaced my 50 pound tom tom on iphone.), plex, netflix,Charging app,people app,Dairy Buddy, Currently 10 very classy high graphic smooth playing games, yeh like the ones on other platforms. paypal, mix radio,spotify kodi remote, commander remote and media remote though i onoly realy use media remote for my xbmc lol.I also have all the lumia apps about 6-7 of them.   I have alot more like vineoffice apps powerpint, office, exell  News apps sky  msn, and many many more but these are prety much the apps i use daily.  Oh and geo chaching.  Strangely  I have and use alot more apps than i ever did on my iphones, i dont know if thats cause the 930 is a 5 inch screen or if its was windows 8.1 and its awsomeness.   Also mWhen i put my phone on a table while talking on phone, speaker comes on lol yeh i dont have to press it i just lay phone on table.  Picking phone up and puting to ear turns speakerphone off.  My iphones none of them ever and still dont do that.  I supose what im saying  is that youd be surprised how many windows users probably use their phones more simply cause they are a great deal of fun.  God i love my 930 and apart from getures , callender weekly view and linked email accounts(which i hopoe come back) there is not a single reason at this time i would even want to try a different os, but thats just me.
  • Wow true words, I am already bored with the smartphone concept, I really liked the LG's Wine Smart because it is a new thing, not just the same device with slightly different specs
  • It's funny, you keep saying the 950/XL does not fit. But later you are exactly describing the future and what the 950/XL is capable of. The phone does fit. They only difference is an intel processor and a metal case (sigh). Your reasoning doesn't match realistic expectations. You can't combine hololens and a smartphone in any sense that matters to a smartphone itself. There is also no next thing after smartphones for at least a decade to come. Smart watches have too small screens, anything bigger than a smartphone is too big, the smartphone is the only form factor that is desirable. Nobody wants to wear glasses like google glass and heck no hololens in public.
    Stop dreaming this nonsense. If the surface phone can do anything it is just realizing a pocket pc with w32 apps.
    Also I don't get this nonsense that the 950 didn't get enough attention. Watch the presentation again, they were freaking enthusiastic about these phones. If you can't see that I don't know what's wrong with you. But I have a theory. The surfacebook amazed so hard that you quickly forgot the phone part. I really advise you to watch ONLY the phone part again and then tell me again that it was not given enough attention.
  • Totally agree ⤴
  • Kind of. Lots of things are missing from these devices like some Surface pen technology, unique design, engineering efforts that needed the creation of new technology, etc. All of those things are in the Surfaces, none are really in these Lumias. Sure, Continuum is the one thing, but why then the rumors of a metal Intel phone? Why would that matter? What's the plan there? Just doing the same thing as these phones? I find that difficult to believe. Moreover, how do you go beyond this where "the next bend in the curve" is? Look at when Microsoft announced Surface. Surface Pro 3. Surface Book. HoloLens. Do you really think these phones are on the same level of that creativity?
  • But the 950's are still excellent phones so can we just wait for a wide release and these phones work in tandem with PC before we call it DOA?? W10M isn't even released as yet and yet we're undermining these phones as If they're another budget WP8.1 Phone
  • I don't think they're going to be DOA, but as I mention above: If the Surface team was tasked with creating a genre-bending phone that really broke boundaries, would these phones be those? No. But we know those folks are going to create something new, eventually. Now that the old Lumia managers are gone, where do we go next? I mean, I didn't set this up, but it is the reality.
  • Look, I dont disagree with your article at all, in fact im totally excited as to what's next down the line. And im not that blind to not see our OS of choice is need of a game changer... But for now until that time comes, lets get behind these new phones until then
  • Well, a lot of speculation about what it will mean if an x86 phone were released got me thinking: wouldn't making a phone capable of running x86 programs potentially make every PC a phone? I mean, what if you could make whichever device you loved the most perform whatever function you needed in the moment? I suppose most people would think it would make no sense to stick a sim card in your laptop in order to use it as your phone but it seems as our desire to consume media on the largest screen we have available increases, so does the logic of putting our sim in that device. I have an S6 edge and a Gear S. T-Mobile works the plan so that I pay reduced price for the secondary line I can use when I am away from my phone. The Gear still uses my Edge when it is in proximity though. Why couldn't that work if I wanted to put my main sim in my Surface 3 and link my Windows Phone to it? Hell, I could even imagine desktops and Xboxes becoming the new landlines managing multiple sims. Windows Phones could be designed to be just connected to the main Windows device via Bluetooth or wifi and the sportier ones could have their own sim.  It is kinda the way mobile is going now. We are carrying and wearing more screens that are just satelites of our favorite devices.  Who says the phone has to be that favorite device?
  • I'm a Windows fan, but L950 e 950XL already fail... they have no chance against Apple e Samsung new flagships. They are excelent indeed, but it lacks that NEEDED wow factor from HW and SW. Also emerging makerts which are use to buy low end lumias won't buy them... They're too expensives. Also we still have the app gap problem. If even the fans want to jump the ship how can we expected no fans (users confortable in theirs platforms) to jump in? We could always expected MS to build a sexy phone with that wow factor and reivented the phone category, but will Windows 10 mobile holds until there? I don't know...  
  • Pen tech: Masses don't need it, would fit a business phone though. How do you carry both? Remains a problem. Unique design: I think they look quite excellent. I prefer plastic over metal because it has only advantages apart from the aesthetics (tho i like the look of these plastics). I think the rumor of a surface phone means a purely business oriented phone. I do agree that I see them focusing more on the enterprise sector where w32 apps matter and where continuum is very useful. Yes I think they are of the same level of creativity. Just not like we are used to. No fancy colors. But they fit perfectly in an office environment. The plastic with all its advantages combined with a few metal elements like the ring and the side buttons is sleek in my opinion. Edge to edge glass. What more can you do with a phone these days? Bezels have to become smaller because we want that. In the end you can only have a screen at the front and a plain square back cover. That’s all that’s possible. When you add any design to it, it becomes more bulky. Phones are destined to look boring because there is no room left.
  • Not to mention the accessories partnerships, which give variety to the dull look.
  • Daniel, I was at the October 6th event and agree with you that that event was more for the surface line then the 950's although they made an effort to proudly announce the 950's so I have to agree with you that we might be in for a surprise with the "surface" phone. Microsoft convinced me the past years that they take mobile first serious. I can't wait to see what is coming our way. One thing for sure, Microsoft is working hard to make stuff happen, just look how well 10572 runs (1520, 830 and 925 here), not finished but they are getting closer. Loved the event and was proud to be there as an insider, I was even lucky enough to play with Hololens. I will buy the XL for sure but looking forward to the next generation. Microsoft has the $ to make it work and I believe they will, they actually HAVE to.
    Edit: Great article btw...
  • I think there is another important aspect that MS can leverage more, which is ecosystem. Continuum needs to be more about enhancing your experience across devices than it is today. We are starting to see this in the latest builds with the ability sms through your phone from the desktop. I have a Windows PC connected to a projector and a Windows Phone, but as of yet, no good way of getting content from the small device up on the big screen. MS doesn't have a real alternative to AirPlay and Chromecast yet. Nor a real answer to HomeKit and Google's pendant (forgot the name). I think part of the journey into the future of smartphones and making them about much more than just phones and app launchers is to see them in the context of a larger ecosystem. The cloud is part of this ecosystem, btw. Daniel has hit on an interesting thought here, regarding what the role of a mobile device should be in such a world. The way I see it, each "surface" (pun intended) you interact with, whether it be made of glass, voice enabled, gesture controlled or any other type of sensor should be part of the same experience. I shouldn't have to think about that I wrote a document on this device put it in this folder and now I want to transfer it over there and then open it in an app there... In the future Cortana and the cloud will take care of these things for me. It would be more like "Hey Cortana, I want to continue working on my presentation for tomorrow's marketing meeting. Open it on my Surface Pro." Or "Hey Cortana, let's watch yesterdays basketball game in the living room." - it shouldn't matter which device picks this up - could even be the band. By controlling the whole stack, MS can deliver some unique capabilities this way that would be much more difficult if they were to jump to Android, for instance. I am hoping that we will start to hear more about their support for AllJoyn soon too as this could potentially increase their offerings in this space. I do acknowledge the app gap and I think they should keep working on it, but I also think they need to stay ahead of the curb and be ready for or even be the ones who deliver the next pivot.
  • I get the feeling Panos has gotten a slight Ego problem. If he honestly thinks he can design better phones than all of Nokia he has issues. MS as such was proud of the 950/XL, only Panos gave the short "these aren't my phones" comment that's causing a lot of outrage. Considering Panos' past I'd say I don't want the surface book (seems first-gen to me, like surface 1 first-gen bad to me) and same reasoning extends to an eventual surface phone attempt by Panos. The 950/XL is a solid phone that works, for everyone. It isn't meant to be futuristic or revolutionary, MS has no OEMs with WP so they need to do the "me-too"ing themselves or they won't be in the market at all. For all their fame and revolutionariness Surfaces don't sell much compared with the "me-toos" from HP/Dell/Lenovo (classic laptops).
  • I think you completely missed the point of this article. It's not that the 950/XL are bad fits. It's that they aren't the future Microsoft is envisioning. I couldn't agree more. I'm not knocing the 950XL. I've got one on pre-order. My 1020 is falling apart and the 950XL is the best phone available as far as I'm concerned, but even with Continuum it is still just another smart phone that is stuck in the apps ecosystem, apps that are good but still scaled down versions of the true desktop apps. Look at Photoshop Express and the Office apps. All admirable products, but hamstrung by the hardware they run on. Can you just imagine having the desptop version of Photoshop on your phone? I think that would be awesome. Full blown editing capabilties with a device that fits in your pocket. And thats just one desktop application. Think of the business opportunities with specialized software that goes with you. Modifying architectural drawings on the fly, banging out professioinal presentations, editing music; all using the phone in your pocket. There's no limit to what you could do. iOS and Android have no way to compete with OS like that.
  • But you don't get it either. Nobody except people like us or in the enterprice wants to run w32 apps on their phones. It aint hip.
  • It's more for continuum, so you could turn a TV into a PC and not an RT device.
  • You can connect via remote desktop to your pc and see how "well" they run on a small screen device
  • "Stop dreaming this nonsense. If the surface phone can do anything it is just realizing a pocket pc with w32 apps." W32 apps are irrelevant NOW unless you're a business or a very, very tiny percentage of the computing market. Why would it be relevant a year from now? Microsoft is shooting for the Cloud, with Cortana. The app model as we know it is a stop-gap measure, popularized by necessity at the time by Apple because they wanted to a do a few things quick and easy. These days, people use apps out of habit and because it's the least bad way of doing things in a more customized way than a browser permits. Microsoft will concentrate on things like the Uber integration in Cortana - take the web, customize it, and make it better than apps. They tried with the WP7 model of being less app-centric, but it failed because 1) it was integrated in the OS (requiring massive updates that were too far between) and 2) there still wasn't the all-connected,all-the-time culture. Now, it's a different ballgame. Cloud is the future, and whatever a Surface Phone will be, that will be the center of its software - seamless, elegant, and with hardware that enhances it, not the other way around.
  • Was dying to see a relevant comment in this thread and I concur! Cloud is where the future is, I want to see a thin client model device powered by Azure and UWP. If these also run on Android and iOS win for consumers :)
  • Cortana actually does much of the heavy lifting locally and I personally believe the Uber integration is merely the new UWP Uber app hidden inside the Cortana code for testing of third-party Cortana integration. I honestly hope so otherwise Cortana will fall on her face as MS can't add every service out there themselves, they need third-party's to do so themselves.
  • Win32 Apps are irrelevant because Microsoft made them irrelevant.  They have been hopping form Framework to Framework without sticking to one and innovating on it, like Apple does.  Apple switched from Carbon to Cocoa, and that's about it.  Microsoft has gone from MFC to .NET (Various versions, some not totally compatible) to UWP (which is actually a horrible development platform for desktop apps compared to the Native Frameworks).  There are longstanding issues in WPF that Microsoft has not addressed, and it's barely developed.  They have stopped all major development on Windows Forms.  Things like SQL Compact appear and disappear at a moment's notice.  Programming languages appear and disappear (honestly, pick one or two and call it a day...). You don't have this issue on OS X, and that's why it's getting a lot of developer support these days even with its smaller marketshare.  It's simply better managed from that aspect, and it's fairly no-nonsense which is the complete opposite of Windows. Here is Serif's Affinity Photo for OS X (recently out of Beta):  https://affinity.serif.com/en-us/photo/ Here is Serif's PhotoPlus for Windows (latest version recently released):  http://www.serif.com/photoplus/ Microsoft has great developer tools, but if I was starting a new project at this point I'd likely choose OS X over both Windows/.NET/Win32 and certainly over the Winodws Universal Platform (which is too limited for a ton of project types) because it's simply the more reliable platform to build on at this point. The funny thing about your post is the the UWP is likely to be more valuable to businesses than to consumers.  Businesses can easily control these apps, and often they use these "Thin Client" type apps on thier machines.  To a home user, prosumer, student, etc. the UWP is often completely ignored.  There are people hacking their systems up to remove the Windows Store and the UWP apps, for example, and Microsoft baked in thier stock UWP apps precicely because of hte amount of people who uninstalled the ones that were bundled with Windows 8.1 (where practically everything except the Windows Store could be easily uninstalled).
  • I agree 100%. Cant wait to get my hands on my 950 XL.
  • I wear glasses and hate it so yeh totally agree.
  • Daniel, I completely agree. I have this unsettling/excited feeling that Microsoft is up to something. Something Big. I believe it's centred around Continuum and the UWP. But I don't know exactly what it will look like. I think it will involve a Surface Phone and I think that device, although expected, will be a game changer and quite different to what we were anticipating, just like the Surface Book. But that's only part of the endpoint they're working on. Next year will be very interesting and will mark either the resurgence or the end of Windows Mobile.
  • I rather think tthey are looking for the next best thing in mobile revolution
  • Hardy surprising, everyone is doing that. But even if they find it, they still need to convince the public.
  • I would be impressed if the next smart phone was not dependent on carriers. When or how can you free us Microsoft?
  • Since they have the leases on the bandwidth, you will never be able to get rid of the carrier issue. Also, until the US market realizes smartphones are damn expensive they will need to provide the subsidies, even if that is interest free purchase plans, e.g. Edge, Flex.
  • Subsidies are pretty much gone already and I don't think the monthly purchase plans will ever go away.
  • Isn't a no interest, give to anyone with a pulse payment plan, pretty much a type of subsidy?
  • Not really, a subsidy lowers the cost of something by moving part of the cost somewhere else. In the monthly pay plan you pay the full price of the phone over the course of 24 months. It's more like an interest free loan. You get the phone and then pay for it monthly.
  • So not charging the 20-30 percent many store credit cards charge isn't lowering the cost of ownership? Dress it up anyway you want, but anything that lowers the cost of ownership is a subsidy.
  • I have no clue what you're talking about with the 20-30 percent thing, but the payment plan still makes you pay the same amount for the phone, just over a 2 year period. The cost of ownership is no lower after you've paid for the phone.
  • If you go to Macy's, Penny's, Firestone, Goodyear, or any jewlery or furniture store and get an in store credit card, unless you have absolutely perfect credit, the going rate is between 20 and 30 percent. The carriers have chosen to forgo the intrest charge most, if not all other retailers charge, hence a lower cost of ownership. Even an iPhone from the Apple Store has at least a 12.99% intrest rate if you use PayPal.
  • That doesn't change the fact that you're paying the same price for the phone as you would if you bought it outright, hence, no subsidy.
  • What if you were always connected to say WiFi no matter where you were. Think then of VOIP for phone service. Maybe even Skype as the way to make and receive all calls. I think that is the future of "cell phones".    
  • Somebody is going to own that network. Whether it's cell or WiFi there are infrastucture and maintenace costs that have to be borne by someone.
  • For voice, that's where it's heading. Your voice calls will come over your handset's data connection. Be that cellular or Wi-Fi. Couple that with software-based SIMs (something Apple's already putting their toe in the water with) and the carriers (and their hold on consumers) start to look out of date. They'll have to adapt. Much as broadcasters are having to cope with the change to being content providers, carriers are going to have to get themselves in shape to be data connection providers - with all services (including voice) running in that channel on a software-SIM based handset range. Any user, any network, any handset. Just fire it up and off you go. Maybe except for crazy CDMA dudes. It might see an end to the silly tie-ins/handset subsidies/network-locking etc. The smart networks are already trying to position themselves in that space. Others will hang on to their cash cows and watch subscriber numbers drop to zero before they realise their folly. In that kind of space, Windows handsets could carve out a market. But MS need to be out there now, arm-twisting networks into software-SIM.
  • I am glad that WindowsCentral starts to have realistic look about the matter. Not the usual overly optimistic write-up.
  • The article brings up a rather optimistic expectation though, one that might cause a bigger disappointment next year (much like the hype and cancellation of McLaren).
  • How come everytime I hear Nadella's name now, it is about how he dropped the ball? Get this dud out of hear. He has no vision and is just doing the vanilla crap. Exit left, clown.
  • Dude, their stock is at a 15-year high. Wall Street loves him. Calling him a dud seems a bit off.
  • When is the last time you saw him speak and got excited? Or didn't go a week without everyone having to make excuses for him? He is not a leader. Just some corporate head, at best.
  • What excuses have I made for him? I like him, think he's doing the right things.
  • Agree, he has more vision than Ballmer.  I still laugh at seeing Ballmer up there chanting "developers! developers! developers!" while all sweaty in his dress shirt.
  • Never said you made excuses for him. He has mishandled the whole mobile division. And anytime it is pointed out, you get a hundred people making excuses for him.
  • Instead of dissing the guy how about you actually back up your claims?
  • Guess I'm a sucker, I have loved every Keynote I've seen or heard recently.
  • Why did you like the last keynote? Because of him or because of the other guys?
  • Microsoft has invested heavily in OS and tools and hardware capabilities to be poised to produce the next big thing. While it feels like it has been alot of side ways movement between WIndows phone 7, 8 and now 10 (seems like a bunch of reworking without making much forward functional progress) 10 is the launch pad for what is next. I anticipate an oh wow moment this time next year in the mobile category from Microsoft.
  • The only problem I see with Nadella is that he should have been "installed" at the top way earlier. I don't want to think about where MS was if Ballmer had still been in charge.
  • And if I had may way, Nadella would be fired tomorrow.  And exiled.
  • Lol.. And this is a big reason no one want your opinion..
  • Just remember that pretty much everything MS is now was made during the Ballmer -era.
  • I dont care what type of mobile device they come up with next, as long as they dont get rid of live tiles. . . To me, that's what makes windows phone exciting. I could NEVER go back to just some boring icon, EVER! But whatever they come up with, im totally on board and I will support them til the wheels fall off. I really do feel windows 10 mobile will take off. Everyone is counting out "mobile" before its even released! Damn! I feel that Windows 10 PC isn't complete as yet until mobile is released... Its a slow convergence, but its coming together. Shits not over yet!!;
  • same! live tiles forever!!!
  • You've not been paying attention.  Live tiles are already dying.  Live tiles on W10M are HORRIBLE compared to WP8, plain and simple.  Even the very look of the tiles is disgusting by comparison.  I can hardly even READ the tiles on W10M whereas on WP8 they are bold, in your face.  And they update.  Consistently.  You absolutely cannot say that about Windows 10 or Windows 10 Mobile.  I've been testing Windows 10 on a tablet, a laptop, a PC and a Lumia 635.  I have them configured--as much as I can, which is pretty near impossible--to look and function as much like my Windows 8 tablet, laptop, PC and Lumia 1020 as possible.  Comparisons are stark.  Everything in Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 just works and looks great.  Not true, side-by-side, with Windows 10.
  • Wow, I hope the Microsoft leadership have more character and guts than this awful, thinly-veiled distancing of themselves from their own products would suggest. A good employee and a good team player would be out there promoting this years models with all they had. Those in-the-know would know the truth or falsity of their private feelings about a predecessors designs. The time for that, if ever, would be after a failed launch when it.might be received as serving also the wider good of creating a break for a fresh restart. The need to get out in front this way is weakness, lack of courage and lack of toughness. It also insidiously feeds the canard that the "old" Microsoft was a failed company, rather than a storied one in forward transition. These goddam Surface phones better pull the eyes right out of your head, if they are to be worth the preemptive trashing of the entire catalog of phones. Next years models are always going to be faster and better and prettier. So what is the value of putting an individual's name ahead of the rest of the company's? I happen to like a lot of what Panay is doing, but not if it includes near sabotage of his in-house rival's efforts.
  • Good point mmcpher
  • Thank you, I too found Panay's "these aren't my phones" comment absolutely horrifying. To even think he believes he's better than Nokia at designing a phone is baffeling, Panay might have access to new tech from MS Research and the Windows division but to trash what Nokia's doing based on the headstart you have is just unfair and makes it seem like you don't deserve (or should even) be in charge of a whole HW division. Just go back to being team-leader for the surface HW.
  • Great piece! This echos my thoughts exactly. They won't be caught with their pants down again and I expect them to start setting some trends. Though it's an up-hill battle. Microsoft isn't "cool" anymore and that is a reputation they're going to have to change with whatever trends come next. I was so excited for a new flagship, but the 950s don't have me excited and I'm hesitent to plop the money down for one. After being on Windows Phone since WP7 my wife is likely going to switch to an iPhone once her 920 goes down, which is a move I've also sadly considered. I don't like Apple, but I really don't like Google... maybe I should just go back to a flip phone. Call a spade a spade on this iteration and wait for the next thing.  
  • I like all Microsoft products. They are perfecr for me.
  • This is why I am hesitant to get the 950/950XL when it is released. Who knows what spectacular piece of hardware will get released May-July 2016? I will then have to wait till my 2 yr contract is up since buying off contract is too pricey for me.
    As for Continuum, it won't be fully realized until phones have the ability to run Win32 apps. Even with that, how great is the desire for consumers to have this ability in the current app centric lifestyle? Would it be enough to convince people to switch? Personally, Continuum is a cool ability, but is it better than carrying a small ultra portable that doesn't need a separate monitor and keyboard as well as an adapter for connecting those peripherals?
  • "As for Continuum, it won't be fully realized until phones have the ability to run Win32 apps."
    That was my earlier point, although in hindsight I remembered Project Centennial. It's purpose? Port Win32 apps to the Windows Store. Seems like that go hand-in-hand with an Intel phone.
  • I suppose I'm fortunate finacially, but I've quit allowing the carriers to determine when and how often I get a new phone. Besides, You're paying the fulol price wither way, whether you buy it off or on contract.
  • Which Win32 apps would you run on phone? How much CPU and RAM and storage would they require? What would the user experience be? I don't seet the use-case, but I'm willing to listen :)
  • While I appreciate your sentiment, Dan, I don't see how Microsoft "disrupting" the phone market helps their cause, in terms of W10M, at least. I mean, while the Surface line is great, its success rests partly on the fact that it exists in an existing (and strong) ecosystem. Any future phone MS makes will still likely be hampered by a weak ecosystem and a lack of OEMs making competing Windows phone products. Unless they move into - I really hate to say it- pure Android territory.
  • I think that's where the Bridges come into play. What if Win32, iOS and Android apps can just be ported over? Of course, that needs to happen first, but if you eliminate "platforms" all else becomes equal.
  • That's plain common sense, Daniel... But, you know, I'm starting to understand to some extent the frustration of some fans with that kind of developers that seem to disdain Microsoft: Maybe even with this tools they could pass on
  • Lol like I said Dan, as long as live tiles are intact I dont care which way they wanna go. But please windows fans, KEEP OUR BELOVED OS ALIVE, GO OUT AND PURCHASE THESE EXCELLENT PHONES WITH A FRESH NEW OS IN W10M WHENEVER ITS RELEASED! :-)
  • Sorry, but I don't love any OS enough to buy hardware that doesn't support the apps I need now. I'm not going to wait forever and hope that those apps eventually arrive. Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • Here here. 
  • I will definitely get the 950 XL, cant wait!
  • Well it doesn't matter how easy or great the bridge and porting tools are, why would any developer invest in any effort to re host on such a weak WP platform.
    The obvious answer is to close down the Apps gap, by allowing Android Apps to run on Windows Phone. The best Apps developers will still want to put the effort into Live Tiles and Cortana integration, but only if the user base has been established.
  • Frankly, if you have to embrace some other ecosystem, please cut a deal with Apple. Having to go to Google Play would be the straw that forced me to buy a iPhone X.
  • Common laptops and Windows tablets (from very low-end to Surface etc.) are able to run Win32 apps today. Why would anyone want to run Win32 apps on XBox, IoT or phone? Which apps?
  • Hopefully the Intel phone will include wireless touch display tech. With continuum you could have thin, light & cheap tablets in any shape or size. It would also give develpoers more justification to develop universal apps or push win32 apps into the store. 
  • I wish people would get OFF Win32 already.  Kill that off and move on.
  • Microsoft Courier style phone, would be very interesting and do the surface brand justice in the mobile space Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • Every time I read, hear, or think about Courier, my heart goes pitter-patter. Sigh. A girl can dream...
  • I know right, I was so hoping that MS came out with it. The idea, then and now, is refreshing. The courier was first with it interface, before the note series from Samsung and before apple came out with the iPad, MS fans had the courier. It was a real shame that the MS execs decided to thrash the idea, another lost opportunity by MS. In my opinion the Courier is the answer to question Daniel "If you were the Surface team, what would a truly transformative mobile phone be that you designed? Rattling off specs alone misses the point, folks. I am talking about ideas here, not numbers or whatever the latest Qualcomm chipset is available." The idea of the Courier falls right in line with the spirit of what Nadella is trying to accomplish. It is a genere bending type of device that would create a new category in the mobile space. Especially now with with Cortana, the surface pen , as well and other technological improvements. Forget about a Surface phone, could you imagine the SURFACE COURIER!!!!!!! For those who do not remember the Courier here are a few link I got from you tube that goes into MS vision for the courier https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GlpftPSuXe4 here is another link https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pFQWc79TYcU    
  • A 950XL-size Courier is a nice concept. I would take it further by making the second screen detachable, so you can start off using the phone, then plug in screen and keyboard and voila you have put together a modular Surface. If the second screen packs a huge battery then you may even be able to run Win32 apps on it at a pinch. With a next gen cpu it might be able to approach the performance of a Surface 3. Challenges that would need to be solved actually don't seem that bad. 1. gap between primary and secondary screens, bezel shrink and genius hinging needed. 2. Cost, two small displays costs more than one large display. But then again, it's a Surface so suck it up
  • Smartphones are nothing more than personal computers with touch screens and a cellular antenna. End of story.
  • Great!
  • The Pocket Surface is the next computing device. You already have a great touch enabled OS.  Create an X86/X64 device that can run Windows 10 with the adaptive UI.  Yes a full blown COMPUTER IN YOUR POCKET that has a phone attached. That also solves the "app" problem because it will run all existing apps. The End!
  • I want to agree, and partially do, but there's still the issue of input vs portability. A lot of people already don't like using win32 apps on a full Surface without a hardware keyboard and mouse. I like that your idea would give you a PC anywhere, if you had a folding keyboard and compact mouse with you you could get some of that, but that's still kind of small for serious computer sessions and getting bulky for the kind of portability a phone should have. If you have to carry a bag to get the most out of a phone, then people will just want to bring their surface. Even if it comes in handy from time to time, it might not be enough to make them switch from Android or iOS. tl;dr: it's tricky to have the inputs to support a real PC experience without losing the portability that would make users choose to use their phone and not just their surface or laptop.
  • First and foremost, Microsoft needs to shut up. Stop telling us what is coming up next and let what is happening now be the excitement. I'm not going to buy anything if the next thing is better than what is out. Second is pour some money into getting the os and apps finished. Stop with all this "coming soon" shit. I want it now, not 6 months from now. Third, spend some money on marketing. As pitiful as marketing has been, it's not the worst of the three things and that's why the masses are not buying your phone products.  
  • You have a really good point about the coming soon stuff. Stop and savor what we have. Perhaps things might have gone differently.
  • Agreed, as of late all this talk is just helping to solidify my decision to move elsewhere, I don't even want to talk about "coming soon" but "soon" we will ;-). Marketing, does MS even do such a thing LOL.
  • They need to make the phones networking ability incredibly powerful. It should have the ability to use any standard to create continuum on any screen. That is absolutely any TV that has Bluetooth or a network connection no matter what internal OS the TV is running. Supercharge networking and make it reliable.
  • The technology is not NEARLY there to make that useful.
  • Whatever Microsoft is working on next for the phone, I hope they can keep a lot of the leaks 'plugged' - my favorite thing about the October event was the Surface Book and how it was not what was expected. I'm looking forward to see what Panos will do and that the success of the Surface pro 3 has given his team some latitude. I don't think the stock price is going up only because of the annual report. Reviewers are genuinely excited about the Surface book. This will be a great year for MS as long as they don't do something stupid.
  • One thing Microsoft really seems to be good at is keeping leaks plugged. Who saw Hololens or Surface Book coming. Even Halo has surprises in store, as far as I know we still don't know who the big, bad is. I don't believe it is strictly Osiris vs Blue and we aren't totally sure of the fate of Cortana.
  • Thanks Dan, a bit wordy, but I would imagine you're on the right track.
  • Aka don't buy one of these phones right now
  • And I'm not unless my Lumia 1020 finally dies.  For me, these devices are a downgrade.  Choosing a Windows 10 Mobile smartphone is simply the lesser of three evils, in my book.
  • Great article! Thank you. It does create a will to wait for this new mobile device of Microsoft, yet I'm not sure whether I can wait, the L950 already has quite some appeal to me and I really want to return to the windows platform after two years of IOS and android... Might buy a cheap lumia to​ bridge the time to the new mobile device of Microsoft.
  • I completely disagree with this. Microsoft has launched top notch smartphones with Windows 10, and continuum. Along with Windows Hello. What else do you want? This is another Microsoft is doomed in mobile piece of article. 
  • lol, doomed? I'm saying the opposite. Also Windows Hello is no big deal. Fingerprint and eye scanners have been done on Android before, not really pushing the boundaries there. Plus, they don't even work yet! They even said "beta" on stage. Continuum as is is not enough imo to sell these phones, though I do believe it is the start of something. I put the question to you once again: Do you think if the Surface team designed a phone, one that is supposed to really shake things up, that these devices would the result?
  • The only thing that the surface team shakes up is in the screen-keyboard-problem-area. This problem doesn't exist with smartphones. Unless you think it does? Then I suggest, buy a Blackberry with a keyboard. A new one is coming out. So what does surface mean to a phone? Nothing designwise. It could mean metal which is in my world a step back. But what it only means is enterprise. Surface is enterprice. Enterprise = no focus on camera's. It is dual sim, affordable, etc. So don't hold your breath for a stunning surface phone. It will be plain and for enterprise.  
  • I don't.  Using the "Nokia started the development of the 950 & 950XL" is a bad excuse.  They may have started it, but it's been two years--the folks at Microsoft could (and likely DID) change any aspect of that development once they got hold of them.  These are Microsoft's devices, regardless.  I'll say it until I'm blue in the face, these aren't flagships and it's ridiculous to pretend they are.  They are high-end, to be sure.  But I don't care whether you call the Lumia or Surface, they'll be Microsoft's and they'll be also-rans until they utterly surpass almost anything any other devices can do.  As you pointed out, "Hello" ain't it and Continuum ain't really it, either (see my other post on this).  People are still clinging to their iPhones and Android devices even if they have a Windows PC.  Why?  Because the apps they DO have--even though they are NOT Windows programs (W32 or otherwise)--get the job done that they need done.  In other words, they don't CARE if the program runs on their PC.  And, in fact, Microsoft is now CATERING to them by making programs (often better ones) made-to-order for those other platforms.  So why would they care about Continuum?  Why would they give up their iPhone or Android device for that?  Well, they wouldn't.  And they won't.  I'm of the opinion that Microsoft has essentially lost most of the rabid Windows Phone fanbase (of which I count myself a charter member) because they threw out what we loved about WP7 and WP8 in favor of this thing called Windows 10 Mobile.  They've attracted, as a result, those who largely didn't care all that much for Windows Phone or weren't hard over for iPhone or Android--but just sort of like the idea of having synergy in their computing experience.  I don't believe, as a whole, they are passionate about anything in particular, so they'll ultimately be fickle with W10M.
  • They are Microsoft devices. And the team and leadership that created them - Elop and Harlow - were fired. What does that tell you? I'm saying the team behind the Surface were not in charge of this phone. Now, since late July, they are in charge of Windows Phone and the old leadership is gone. Now what? What does that mean for phone hardware?
  • It does not matter who designs the phone, with which design language. Results would be the same, as the problem with Windows Phone has been marketing (reaching clients) and software updates. Additionally a surface phone likely won't have wireless charging, removable battery, things that will make many people unhappy. All we need is solid hardware with long term software support.     
  • Calm down, Daniel Rubino has wrote about this ecosystem since 8 years ago (2007), I don't think he's saying is dead, but I think he's saying that most (non Microsoft) Windows Mobile apps as we know today will be replaced with better Android apps when project Astoria is finished. It will be a sad day for WP developers which spent thousand of hours coding in this platform, but coding their app in Android is the best choice to go for now.
  • Microsoft has launched a novelty called UWP . Maybe we can just see what happen before starting an autopsy ?
  • Pen, for one. It's like they left it out just because the feature wasn't ready, and they wanted to make a bigger deal of it than they could at this time. That basically shows they aren't super into making these phones their glorious flagship since they're afraid it would make the pen look bad. I still totally want a Lumia 950 XL, but dropping an important feature because they care more about the feature than the phone sends the message Daniel was talking about.
  • Eco system! And do buy the phones the software is the key, not underlaying processor
  • If the "Surface" phone comes with a desktop class processor, could we see a phone that is actually, really, fully, your primary computing device? Smartphone on the go, get home and dock it and then use continuum to cast to a portable "tablet", your TV, or a monitor and keyboard for a full, complete Windows 10 device running both UWP apps and full up desktop software. I could see a few businesses liking the idea of managing one device instead of 2 or 3 per employee (not including docks and the like for laptops), plus with the bridges they could port the software they use fairly easily. May canabalize the market of devices like the Surface 3, but a lot of people didn't think the Surface Book would exist because it would canabalize sales from the Pro 4. Who knows... it's hard to speculate on where smartphones can go because it seems like it's all been done.
  • I love the sound of that, can't wait for it to happen!
  • Microsoft is doing a great job, I have a 1520 and love it and never had any problems. My phone is an extension of my desktop. Microsoft needs to make these phones really stand out like these 950's should of had the 41mp camera's and advertise the crap out of them. People say when they see my phone they say oh that's nice what kind is it, people are all brain washed that there is nothing but iPhones and Android and that's ridiculous the Windows phones are faster with more features and if you know Windows desktop these phones are easy to use. Microsoft needs to show what these phones can really do!!!
  • I don't know what comes after mobile (okay actually I do, I think it is holographic computing- with real holograms), but I don't think the Surface Phone should be rushed. I think neither Windows 10 nor Intel is ready for it. Whatever other ideas Microsoft may have for it.
  • Hololens after smartphones? Yeah right! Two different user scenarios man.
  • I said holographic computing and not hololens. Which means the user's interaction will be with real holograms instead of touch screen interaction that we have today.
  • All this anti Nokia nonsense by Americans who don't understand that Nokia know a lot more about phones development than Microsoft ever will.
    Nokia branding is now being used for Android, and next year will be allowed on Smartphones. Nokia is still a worldwide brand, Microsoft phone strategy failed, Panos and his Surface technology means little in mobile against Samsung and Apple.
  • Nokia ran itself into the ground. Microsoft created HoloLens and the Surface. Apple is now catching up to Microsoft with their iPad Pro. I think you're putting Nokia on a pedestal, frankly. They had flaws.
  • What if Microsoft sold less phones last months because there is no more Nokia logo on the Lumia's? Wouldn't surprice me....
  • It's very clear that Nokia was not prepared for where phone tech was going. I have enjoyed my Nokia phones, but if they hadn't lost their vision, they would have never ended up where they did. It's also clear that the phone world understimated the impact that Apple would hav. I'm convinced that only Apple could have disrupted the phone market the way that they did, because no other company has such a loyal (cult-like) following.
  • Nokia needs to find their voice.  It isn't Windows Phone, and it isn't Windows 10, but it is not Android either.  People want innovation.  An Android Nokia phone is not innovation.  They need to go back to the drawing board and give us something new and exciting.  Android is a strange anamoly.  People don't honestly want Android; they think they do, but what they really want is an alternative to closed ecosystems like Windows Phone and IOS.  They just like the fact that they have something open.  Android, left on its own terms, was never that great.  It is what one does with Android that creates a great phone, a great experience. So why should Nokia race to the bottom and follow the leader when they were once a leader in feature phones.  The partnership with Microsoft itself was an anamoly.  Both needed each other at the time.  But that season has passed.  That does not mean that Nokia should embrace the open standard and disappear into the night.  What it means is that they need to find a way to differentiate themselves.  There isn't anything that Nokia can do with Android that has not already been done with Samsung and Motorolla, or even Google's own line, the Nexus.  Amazon tried it, with the Fire phone, and that is all that Nokia would be doing.  Amazon thought that it could create another heavily modified Android experience like it did with the Kindle, and lightning would strike twice and it would have a hit.  That era is over.  Android itself is over, people don't realize it yet.  2016, 2017, everyone will have the same five Android phones.  All of these small bit players are going to get shaken out of the market and things will go back to the way they were during the Windows Mobile days. 
  • Great article and very well written.  I think one thing that's missing is not necessarily looking at what Microsoft has done as "something new", but what they've really done (since Panos took over) is blend a little 'bit of the old with the new. Let's just look at where Microsoft was, when it came to "smartphones."  Going back, prior to the first iPhone, Microsoft was competing with Palm for the "must have" phone.  Microsoft had Windows Mobile (which were called Pocket PC's) and Palm had PalmOS.  Windows Mobile, at that time, was really the most underrated as far as mobile computing.  In fact, I think that's what really helped build HTC into the company that it became with Android.  Microsoft's partnership with HTC (creating the HTC Mogul, HTC Touch Pro, and HTC Touch Pro 2) really did not get as much credit as it should have running Windows Mobile.  All that was due to the iPhone and its "different" take on "smartphones."  Actually, when the iPhone was released, what Microsoft failed to do was market the fact that Windows Mobile could do everything that the iPhone could do, AND MORE!  If anything was short sided, it was the focus on how Apple created their own "app store" with mobile specific apps.  On the flip side, Windows Mobile had a browser that could run websites with Full Flash, prior to Android, but that was never something that was mentioned. Now, jumping forward to the present.  Microsoft saw the errors in their approach to Windows, from completely bringing something "too new" with Windows 8 and 8.1.  That was a mistake, in my opinion, and what they did with Windows 10 was blend some of the old with the new.  I personally hated Windows 8 and was ecstatic when the Windows 10 previews showed an approach to Windows that blended what I loved about the OS, as well as some new functions that I could easily love too.  And the moment they announced they were completely re-inventing Windows on phones, I turned away and quickly made the jump to Android (that was the HTC Evo, for Sprint, and I've never looked back after that).  In all my 3-4 years using Windows Mobile phones, the only thing that made it not as pleasurable to use was the lack of "easy" way to accomplish all the customizations I wanted.  Had Microsoft started generating an "app store" back then, with developers creating programs/apps to accomplish customization, I likely would have stayed around.  It wasn't the UI that I hated about Windows Mobile, it was simply the lack of ability saving time that needed to be invested, to make the phone work the way that I wanted.  So, I wouldn't be surprised if Microsoft brings a blend of what they originally wanted to do with Windows Mobile, coupled with Windows Phone concepts...All of that would translate into Windows 10 Mobile. For my own personal needs, if Microsoft could accomplish creating a Surface Phone, that would be able to run Windows 10 PC programs that could register touch input without issue...that's really all I would need.  I think that was ultimately what Microsoft wanted to do with Windows Mobile, years back.  I believe Windows Phone 7 and 8 were attempts at "us too" re-invention.  If Panos plan is to bring synergy to everything Microsoft, using Windows 10, then I"m all for it.  Just build hardware (in a Phone size) that can do everything the Surface 3/4 and Surface Book can do...but put it in the phone size package.  And I'm not talking about relying on developers to "port" apps over to Windows 10 mobile...I'm talking, if the developer makes an app for PC...then that means the user can download that app and install on their Windows 10 mobile Surface Phone too! I'm not an expert on what needs to happen with hardware, in order for that to be possible, but I really hope they can accomplish that.  At that point, we'd be talking about a "true" Pocket PC...flashback from the past, just with better technology, in 2015-2016, to handle it.
  • Good article.  In fact about half-way through reading it I was reminded that Microsoft published a few PRish videos of their vision of the future of computer / life; some of what was covered here was on display in those videos and some of what we're seeing unfold with Continum, new hardware categoires, etc are presented in these videos.  It's interesting becuase these videos are a representation of what Micorosft's vision was 4+ years ago and we're now seeing the benefits of it.  I can only imagine how much closer the next 4+ years will get us.  I believe we'll see a lot of this tech in the future. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ho00x7ZvDLw  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nOU_t4bqEJg   Also, for what it's worth I like Ballmer but he wasn't the guy to move them into the future; I absolutely believe Nadella is.  Alos, I can only hope we'll see the Microsoft Courier make a come back. :)  
  • Yeah, I know it's not about specs, but specs play a part in enabling the capabilities of the platform.  Here's what I see: - Intel Atom-class processor with Apple A-series SoC-class graphics: This gets you x86 computing on Windows 10 for a REAL Continuum experience, which would let you run desktop AND UWP apps when you are connected to a dock, and a better GPU provides support for games and/or GPU/compute workloads (i.e. video encoding, etc.) for x86 apps.  The next Atom CPU must be more efficient.  And no, I don't expect Intel to use Apple's GPU, I expect Atom to have a GPU that can match the performance of the A9 or A9X. - 802.11ac Wi-Fi: What Continuum really needs to support is essentially Continuum over Wi-Fi (CoW) so that you are not dependent on a dock at all times. This would be more than just remote desktop to the phone, as you would have the phone UI when not using it, but immediately switch to the desktop UI when CoW is running and you have the keboard and mouse on your PC. This would also enable the phone to act as a network enabled trackpad or writing pad (see Surface pen support below).  This is where it actually becomes useful, and you can directly utilize your content and phone hardware from an existing PC over the network without having to specifically have a dock, monitor, keyboard, and mouse any time you want your phone usable on a large screen.  A good experience likely would require fast 802.11ac WiFi. - 64 - 256GB UFS 2.0 storage, plus microSD: essential for supporting UWP and x86 apps if the phone is to become a more important computing device.  UFS 2.0 would provide much faster storage performance than standard MMC based storage in phones, as it currently does in the Galaxy S6.  This is important to ensure that x86 app loading and performance is not bogged down by the MMC. - Surface Pen support: provides for writing on the phone, or when using Continuum via a dock, or CoW you can use the phone as a writing pad with the strokes appearing on the monitor. All in all, I think the future of Microsoft phones will be driven largely by moving to x86, and improvements in Continuum allowing support for desktop AND UWP apps, Pen support, and finally Continuum over WiFi.  
  • Maybe hold off on the 'Surface' phone until you can afford to make it fast enough to run desktop .exe's smoothly. Then you don't have to buy expensive tablets and laptops--just slide your phone into different-sized  dumb displays that are just IPS, keyboard, and extra battery. Go wireless from phone to TVs/monitors.  Go wireless as a controller for HoloLens and Windows on Xbox, etc.  Dock for USB peripherals with no bluetooth.