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How Windows 2-in-1's are setting the stage for the Surface Phone

Lumia 950 and Surface
Lumia 950 and Surface (Image credit: Windows Central)

It's, therefore, ironic that Windows based 2-in-1s are now increasing in popularity and even influencing the design of rival devices. Conversely, traditional slate tablets, which have dominated the space, are falling out of vogue.

Consequently, Windows 2-in-1 tablets supported by Microsoft's Universal Windows Platform, are propelling Microsoft's mobile vision of context sensitive hardware and software across the mobile landscape.

This "context-conforming" message and the utility of these devices are shaping the minds of the masses around Microsoft's "mobility of experiences" vision for mobile computing. This increasing presence and proliferation of 2-in-1's are profoundly beneficial to Microsoft's present and future Windows "phone" strategy. Here's why.

Team effort

My wife and I recently watched Ant-Man. In the movie, Scott Lang, a formally-educated intellectual finds re-entry into society a challenge after his release from prison for a "Robin Hood"-like money laundering crime. Furthermore, because of his past, he is not respected by his daughter's mother nor her new cop boyfriend.

However, Lang's daughter and Hank Pym, a retired scientist and hero, seem to be among the few people that see beyond the ex-con's failures and maintain a belief in him. Consequently, Lang is enlisted by Pym to don the aging scientist's Ant-Man suit to become Ant-Man.

The transformation required time and, more importantly, a team. He couldn't do it alone.

With Pym's guidance, the support of a team of friends and the alliance of a horde of ants, Lang uses the suit to shrink down to ant size, (increasing in strength), to operate obscurely just out of sight of his enemies.

By the story's end, his success is so profound that he is sought after by earth's mightiest heroes to join the ranks of the Avengers. His transformation required time and, more importantly, a team. He couldn't do it alone.

Satya Nadella{.nofollow} shares how a "team" of first-party hardware supports the entire Windows ecosystem:

"We will build first-party hardware to stimulate more demand for the entire Windows ecosystem... we'll develop new categories like we did with Surface… we will responsibly make the market for Windows Phone."

More than phone

Microsoft is much more than Windows phone. As difficult as this is for me to write and for fans to read, if Microsoft's phone efforts fail, the company will still survive. Unlike Apple, which garners 60% of its revenue from the iPhone, Redmond, can survive without a phone. Ultimately, Microsoft's cross-platform app push ensures some form of mobile presence.

Naysayers expect that this is Microsoft's destiny. Fans and the company themselves, however, are among the few who see beyond Redmond's past failures and maintain a belief that their mobile strategy will succeed. Some may view that belief as hopeful delusion. Others, who like Lang's daughter and Pym, who could see beyond an apparently hopeless surface, see the potential of the plan that is operating obscurely just out of sight of the mainstream smartphone market.

Microsoft is resting its success in mobile on the synergistic effects of the broader ecosystem.

Their strategy is founded on the premise that its mobile phones (which are no longer a standalone business) will reap the benefits of the success of other components of the Universal Windows Platform. More successful, and better established members of Redmond's devices ecosystem are at the forefront of Microsoft's efforts to bring the breadth of its solutions to the masses. Panos Panay shares his feeling about bringing unity to Microsoft's product line:

"Yeah, right now, the Lumia line is exactly what it is. We have the Surface line, and we have every other device that the company makes. It really is about bringing them all together with a consistent feeling and making sure the experiences across Microsoft come to our customers."

The ethos of Continuum

Continuum is key. Continuum's not a mere feature of Microsoft's products. It is, rather, a transcendent aspect of Microsoft's ecosystem that helps the firm facilitate its vision to serve the dual user and support mobile experiences across devices. The Surface, which was the first device to showcase Continuum, was born from the belief that a form-shifting hardware device could conform to a user's context supported by equally malleable software.

Consequently, the fundamental ideology driving Microsoft's approach to modern computing - context sensitive hardware and software purposefully designed to conform to a user's needs - is embodied in a Surface running Windows 10. Redmond's goal, of course, is to communicate this ideology to the masses.

They want the industry to embrace their context-sensitive personal computing ethos.

OEM partners have been critical to this process. The proliferation of Windows-based 2-in-1's that are undeniably inspired by Surface are evidence of the early success of Redmond's strategy. Panos Panay makes this point clear in this statement:

"…one of the opportunities was to hopefully inspire others to think about the new categories and the devices we're creating… We're seeing this category beginning to take off a little bit right now. That's a good thing. I think Surface is one of the main drivers of that."

Windows tablets on the rise

When the iPad made tablets a thing in 2010, Microsoft was MIA. From 2010 to 2012 the iPad and a horde of Android tablets ruled the tablet space while Microsoft, no doubt, was honing the Surface. Expensive Windows tablets eventually entered the scene but could not compete with bargain basement priced Android tablets and the better-branded iPad. Thus, Windows-based tablets initially saw little success.

That story has since changed. As of the first nine months of 2015, Windows tablets have seen a 58% YOY increase in shipments. 2-in-1's, boasting Continuum, have made up the bulk of these devices. Eric Smith, Senior Analyst, Tablet & Touchscreen Strategies Services says it like this:

"Windows devices now run the gamut from 2-in-1 Tablets from E-Fun in the US starting at $139 retail, to Microsoft's Surface Book starting at $1499 retail… Windows 10 provides a stable base from which the ecosystem can grow, and we are entering a world where Windows Tablets take significant market share from Android Tablets on the low end and compete head-to-head with iPad in the high and premium segments."

By Q4 2014, Microsoft held about 7% of the tablet space. Strategy Analytics estimates 22 million Windows tablets will ship by the end of 2015 thereby garnering 10% of the market. This momentum is expected to continue into 2019 with a 120% increase above current levels with 49 million units shipped.

Naturally, the proliferation of Windows 2-in-1's also means a proliferation of Microsoft's ethos. Context-sensitive hardware and software are becoming the default Microsoft Windows experience in the industry.

Additionally, it is expected that IT departments will also embrace 2-in-1's in masse. IDC Tablets and Research Director Jean Philippe Bouchard shares:

"It will take some time, but we expect that once IT departments are done evaluating Windows 10 and the awaited iPad Pro, they will start migrating some [of] their portable PC and tablet installed base toward 2-in-1s, which will accelerate the adoption of the form factor."

Shifting fortunes

Despite the growth of Windows tablets, that growth is occurring within a context of a shrinking tablet space. As Ryan Reith, Program Director at market research and analytics firm IDC put it:

"…as the smartphone installed base continues to grow, and the devices get bigger and more capable, the need for smaller form factor slate tablets becomes less clear. With shipment volumes slowing over four consecutive quarters, the market appears to be in transition.

The tablet space is undergoing a shift. Detachable tablets are becoming the preferred form factor over the traditional slate. Microsoft, who has invested not only in the hardware that fits this paradigm but also the necessary software, is well positioned for this shift. Redmond's UWP with Continuum that allows for apps and the OS's UI to flow naturally with a user's context is ahead of the curve.

Apple's iPad Pro and Google's Pixel C, though they mimic the detachable form factor, do not boast the [software necessary](http:// to support a user's transition seamlessly across form factors.

Falling into place

According to the IDC global smartphone growth, like slate tablets, is also slowing. Windows Phone's 10% decline, which reflects Microsoft's retrenching efforts, have contributed to this decline.

Apple, however, is also seeing less demand for the iPhone. According to Morgan Stanley, Apple's flagship device seems negatively affected by a maturing smartphone market. Moreover, the bulk of iPhone sales are not to new smartphone users. They are, rather, part of a replacement market where a consumer is replacing an existing phone.

IDC is predicting that by 2019, Apple's market share will drop to 14.1% from 15.8%. Android will grow to 82.6%, up from 81%. Windows Phone will account for 2.3% up from 2.2%. These predictions, of course, are for devices that fit the current paradigm of what qualifies as a smartphone. Microsoft, however, is expected to introduce a new category of device in Q4 2016.

As the Surface redefined the tablet and the Surface Book redefined the laptop, what has been dubbed the Surface "Phone" is expected to redefine the phone. The stage is being set, and everything is falling into place.

The growing appeal of 2-in-1's is establishing Microsoft's context-sensitive hardware/software mobile vision.

The growing consumer embrace of this ideology and device utility combined with the market growth of phablets and the resulting decreased appeal of slate tablets is the ideal backdrop for a new type of "phone". Microsoft Scientist Stevie Bathiche offers the following regarding the advent of new device form factors:

"Every new computing form factor is preceded by a new human-computer interaction model… success is innovating and creating those new categories using that new interaction modality. In the future, we hope to see… new computing form factors that are unlocked by a new way of interacting with the machine."

Team Player

Like Ant-Man, Microsoft's diminutive phone division is positioned to reap the benefits of a supportive team. Windows 10 and 2-in-1 tablets have paved the way. During Microsoft's annual shareholders meeting Nadella shared:

"…we are seeing, for the first time on the core of Windows desktop, with 100-plus million users, active engagement... This is new. We've had different efforts in the past, but we now have one store and one app platform. Give us time to keep focused on it."

With 2.5 billion visits to the Store since Windows 10's launch four months ago there is a reason for hope. This early success should be enticing to developers and positive data for the app Bridges. It is also inspiring considering Nadella's assertion that all points of entry into the UWP lead to phone.

Additionally, Panos' passion for a consistent feel across first-party Microsoft devices, I'm confident goes beyond the aesthetics of the hardware's fit and finish. The transformative nature of the hardware is also a consistent Surface theme. That a device is something and something else by virtue of its physical design is a fundamental theme of Microsoft's products.

Consider. Surface is a tablet and a laptop. Surface Book is a laptop and a digital clipboard. Band is a fitness tracker and a smartwatch. This is Microsoft's story. Surface "phone" will not be just a phone.

From Zero to Hero

While retrenched, operating obscurely just out of sight of rivals, Microsoft's Windows 10 Surface "phone" may emerge as that hero device that elicits desire from the masses and inspires emulation among OEMs. If so, the Surface "phone" will not have gotten there alone. There will have been a team of 2-in-1's, establishing Microsoft's mobile computing ideology, through innovative hardware and software.

The Surface and affordable Surface inspired 2-in-1's are the "team" preparing the masses for Microsoft's category creating "phone".

A phone that may replace your tablet and become your PC.

Jason L Ward is a columnist at Windows Central. He provides unique big picture analysis of the complex world of Microsoft. Jason takes the small clues and gives you an insightful big picture perspective through storytelling that you won't find *anywhere* else. Seriously, this dude thinks outside the box. Follow him on Twitter at @JLTechWord. He's doing the "write" thing!

  • Howdy folks! As usual thanks for reading. Microsoft as we know has a profoundly difficult and uphill battle in getting it's phones into the mainstream. As we know MS is currently retrenched and is not fighting a head to head battle with rivals. The company does however need to reenter the space and we expect that to happen, with the benefit if the app Bridges having yielded some fruit, in Q42016.
    But a launch of a Surface Phone without a change to the Mindsets of the masses would be fruitless. Thus MS has incorporated into its Windows strategy various measures to increase the appeal of Windows and the MS ecosystem.
    The proliferation of Windows 10 2-in-1s as we've discussed here prepares consumers minds for that context shifting Windows Mobile device.
    We've even talked about the subtle affects of the Start menu here:
    In Highs and Lows 4 ( we talked about Microsoft's app attack.
    And of course there are other measures they've employed. So what are your thoughts?
    LET'S TALK!!!
  • Moving forward. Innovating what's been innovated
  • As usual a great read so thanks for writing!
  • @mbrdev Thanks for the support! :-)
  • We support great writing and you deliver! I only hope that their strategy works so we can have three viable options.
  • @MMissionary Thannks so much. I appreciate that. I'm hoping the strategy works as well!,:-)
  • They don't need to change the mindset of the masses, they just have to present an enormous opportunity to business customers.  Give us an x86 windows phone that has the ability to run non-UWP software.  There's so much legacy software in use that no one has any money/time to redesign.  If they do have the money to rebuild, there's fewer and fewer reasons to target Microsoft when their workforce have iPhones/iPads, Android phones/tablets, chromebooks.  Release the "desktop in your pocket" phone that keeps existing software relavent and when it comes time to rebuild the apps, good reasons to keep with the same ecosystem.
  • It's been said again and again, x86 apps are not usable on a phone screen. Making a phone with a bunch of programs that can't be used unless its hooked up to the monitor would be a step backwards.
  • But that's where Continuum comes in. If you limit x86 apps to only run on the Continuum desktop, you allow for one device to rule them all, and incentivise the developers to code their apps for all screen and viewing options.
  • @Steven Curl, a dock with a x86 soc would be better Imo.
  • No thanks. Having to deal with PCs antivirus in the enterprise is enough work, that's all we need is having to manage AV on x86 phones as well.
  • I see your point. But imagine a phone with enough processor and storage that it runs "apps" as a phone, but x86 software as a Continuum device. As many hurdles as there are to jump over before this is actually a product you can buy, it still lines up with a completely new paradigm of personal computing hardware. I carry a smartphone AND a Surface Pro 4 with me almost everywhere. Both have to be available because neither can do the other ones' tasks. But Continuum clearly implies that it is within the authors' vision that my phone is a phone when it is in my hand. It is a PC when it is in a dock. I KNOW we aren't there yet. But we have NEVER been closer!
  • Ability to run x86 apps are a waste of resources on a phone. The better approach for enterprise is the ability to use VDI through a UWP app in continuum instead. Now you can run anything you want, takes less storage, processing power and battery.
  • This is probably the better approach. Although it would be great to run x86 programs on the phone, it will be a nightmare for IT when users start having up their phone just like they do on their desktops.
  • I'm not sure which industries and softwares you are used to working with, but my softwares and most of the ones in the industries I work with, are pretty usable on a small screen.  Several of the ones I wrote back in '98 actually were geared for touch screens and had large buttons that is actually very usable on a phone.  I played around with it with remote desktop under WP7 on my Focus.  The point with continuum is that you aren't locked into that small screen.  You could try and limp by in a pinch on the phone screen, but once you link to external input and output, you are just like a desktop/notebook.  Rather than selling desktops, notebooks, and tablets, you start selling personal devices that connect to different form factors.  The biggest complaint about Windows in the mobile space is the app gap.  Putting out a phone that can run anything you've ever used suddenly tips that complaint on it's heals.  You've got your whole wealth of the entire Windows library from 1993 forward.
  • In my case, I create graphics and I can't see me being able to run PhotoShop or Illustrator on a phone anytime soon. Lightweight programs might work but I think that, unless Microsoft does some heavy-duty engineering and has the ability to put real power in phone form without compromise, a good Intel phone that takes complete advantage of Continuum might be a ways off. The thought of being able to run full programs on a phone is nice but I don't think Microsoft is going to implement it the way people seem to think.
  • I see AMD being more capable of fully utlizing Continuum than Intel. AMD, much like Microsoft, paved the way for heterogeneous computing when it brough APUs to the market in 2012 and cofounding HSA. Since then, AMD has allowed integrated GPUs to share what were typically CPU workloads. They've even dabbled with combining x86 and ARM on a single chip, which I believe is already in use in the server segment. Obviously the tech hasn't matured, mostly because they're lagging behind significantly on the CPU side (hopefully they can close the gap with their new Zen architecture). Nevertheless, I think they're working on some great innovation which could really help to realize Microsoft's ethos.
  • Not right away, at least not without another large breaktrhough in SoC technology by Intel. It will come in time, however. We're getting ever closer and will get there within the next few years.
  • I'm a designer and I agree with you ladydias, it's not gonna happen. Heck it was a pain using Adobe CC softwares on my 1st gen SP! I can't imagine a freakin phone. I think a "CPU" dock with x86 capabilities would be better.
  • I just had to get a new desktop PC at work since the laptop I had started to seriously affect my efficiency. Can't even imagine how it would be with a phone. Of course, there are plenty of lightweight work that could be done with just a phone, but using a phone like that also poses risks for the employer that they usually would not have with laptops / desktops.
  • 2 months ago you would have gotten a rash of reasons why "Contunuum will NEVER be applicable to me". But after just a few short weeks of a bunch of folks experimenting with their new dock and 950(XL), the tone is already becoming more "what they need to do next to make this better".   Still complaining, technically speaking.....but a much different conversation. So if a few thousands barebones Continuum test drives have had that kind of influence, I am convinced that a mature and enterprise version of Continuum, in a handheld form factor, is going to be huge. I don't think current mobile phone market share has even a tiny influence on Microsoft going forward with this. They seem determined. Right or wrong.
  • So a better Continuum will sell a few thousand extra Lumias into business? Not even a rounding error for Apple.
  • Not really when alot of that legacy code requires dos & other APIs that have been removed from the OS. So unless it'll offer hyper-v(not likely) companies will continue with what they already have
  • The Powerpoint app on W10 is an example. We cannot complete full fledged presentations on  it. We need a PC to accomplish that task. However, the suggestion of Continuum running full fledged software is a good one. Even if Microsoft provide that functionality anf makes the surface phone the ultimate machine, I am sure lost of users will complain about the price and compare with other OS
  • Agreed. Continuum is simply a hammer in search of a nail. It's backwards 1990s-level thinking. Even business users these days want great phone apps that integrate into their enterprise as well as a great laptop/hybrid to suplment it. They have NO desire to plug their phone into some dock setup to use Win32 applications.
  • There is actually a bridge in the works to decrease the costs significantly reduce the costs of porting a legacy app to the new app model. That means these businesses could convert an old x86 app into the new model with much less work. Of course by design it converts to a Windows app. If they can pull it off a lot of enterprises will be happy to stick with Windows versus try to redevelop the app for another platform from the ground up.
  • Loved the " 'desktop in your pocket' phone" bite. Sounds like the future marketing mantra of the Surface Phone.
  • That's a narrow, legacy based mindset. An x86 "Surface" phone should be a UWP device only or whatever future modern application platform(s) are to come. The Win32 API while capable, is not well suited for modern Windows devices or software development.
  • Bi What we are likely to get is form factors that Windows Mobile 6.5 had, and are now coming back to Win10M. HTC should dust off it's Diamond Pro, Dell revive the Venue Pro, and Samsung can load Win10M on its Note series devices. Microsoft can bring it's Surface phone with mini keyboard and pen support. Working better? Yes, but not new.
  • Better, definitely. Those old configurations were very poor optimized.
  • I never understood how a stick PC works (with that size) and yet nobody could put the full Windows 10 on a phone. Maybe MS can answer me some day.
  • It can be done but not without tradeoffs. Sticke PC is almost 3/4 size of an average smartphone without even having celular radio, camera sensors, light sensor, gps radio, gyro, and so on. When you add all those radios and sensors along with a huge battery that can with stand all the processing power and last at least a day is a liitle hard with the battery tech we have right now. It might be a possibility in future but not at the moment.
  • It has to do with battery life. You could make a phone with the processing of one of those sticks. However, you would have a terrible (by phone standards) battery life.
  • there was a phone that ran windows 7, they could make it run windows 10, if they tried.   it was done years ago with a fujitsu phone that ran windows 7.
    Horrible Idea Nightmare Phone Runs Windows 7 (Yes, the Desktop OS) yeah it was smaller, and the battery didn't last long... but it was there...
    Size: 125 × 61 × 19.8 mm (19.8 mm at thickest point)
    Weight: 218 g (with battery pack)
    Continuous Standby Time: ~600 hours in FOMA 3G
    Continuous Talk Time:
    ~370 minutes in FOMA 3G voice mode
    ~170 minutes in videophone mode
    Display: ~4" wide SVGA touchscreen (1024 × 600 resolution)
    Camera: (back side) 5.1 megapixel effective resolution, CMOS sensor
    (inside) 0.32 megapixel effective resolution, CMOS sensor (0.17 megapixel in Windows® 7 mode)
    Color: Navy Black Windows® 7 mode OS: Windows® 7 Home Premium 32 bit Full Version (with SP1)
    CPU: Intel® Atom™ Z600 processor (supports HT technology) (1.20GHz)(4)
    Main memory: Comes standard with 1GB/max 1GB (LPDDR400)
    SSD: ~32 GB (eMMC)
    Wireless LAN: IEEE802.11b/g/n (communications speed: up to 65Mbps)(5)
    Windows® 7 battery life: ~2 hours(6) in Windows® 7 mode this is not even close to being a new idea. there was even a dock for it:
  • If I am right Sony also hand a VAIO  pocket pc that could make phone calls. Tried it in the early 2000's and couldnot find the comfortabilty that we are used to on bigger desktops/laptops. 
  • I find your typo of "The company dies" in a Windows Phone article you wrote to be sadly prescient.
  • LOL. While I firmly believe Windows Phone is dead and has zero chance of coming back, the company itself will survive. They're not Apple, they don't depend on their phones for revenue. Which is a good thing, because they'd be flat broke if they did.
  • You have become my favourite writer on this site dude.... Great article.
  • Well, this is a whole bunch of wishful thinking. Sorry, but I supported MS's phone efforts for five years, and all I see in Windows 10 Mobile is a betrayal of everything great about Windows Phone. I switched to Android three weeks ago and I'm actively encouraging others I know on Windows phone to do the same. So far, a couple have gone iPhone, a couple Android, but only one is holding out. Windows phone is dead.
  • "I'm actively encouraging others I know on Windows phone to do the same." Why? Are they not able to make their own choices, or do you need to justify your own decision?  If they bought a Windows Phone a year or two ago and are still using it, maybe there is something they like about it. If it was a recent purchase, it will certinly continue to do what it currently does for a couple of years. If that becomes insufficient, I expect that they will figure that out. No device becomes suddenly less usable because something new or differentcomes out. Don't understand why you would go out of your way to convince people that what they have is somehow wrong for them.
  • So why still whinging / moaning about windows mobile?? Android is a nothing OS. Great for gaming and making calls and.......erm.......oh yeah, maps. iOS isn't that productive. Now, a full blown Linux, as Ubuntu promised, on a phone would be something worth considering over WM. Like MSFT, traction was slow at best.
    Rather than go down the fashionista route, I'll stay here where I have a right to quantify my arguments, by using the OS.
    PS, I used to cook Android roms, and if it wasn't for the large Devs community sorting out bugs, droid would be way behind. There are always big problems with droid, and that's part of the reason for continual releases. Unfortunately, whenever a new one is released, it will have the same bugs and more!
  • You should be the editor of the site!!
  • @always_salil No thanks! I appreciate the compliment but I believe Daniel is doing an awesome job.:-) He's also a great supporter of my work. :-)
  • :)
  • Man, you nailed it with that bit about Apple and Google not having a software presence that consistently follows various context transitions. Nice article!
  • @Anguis Thanks. I appreciate that. We should all be also thanking Apple and Google for helping to validate Microsoft's vision by mimicking the Surface form factor on a less capable ecosystem foundation. Thier efforts bring more attention to Microsoft's vision among the industry and helps to highlight the advantages of of Microsoft's UWP and Continuum. :-)
  • So now it's Q4 2016? :D it's been in status "next year" for the last seven years, kill it already. My 735 is the last WP I will own, thanks for ******* this up MS!
  • Sigh... I just wish Windows Mobile was good...  I miss WP
  • I'm with you.
  • What's so bad other than some performance bugs?
  • Tons of missing features, abandonment of WP design principles, a sorry Android knockoff UI that's much more difficult and far less intuitive to about that as a starting point?
  • If wishes were crackers, my daughter would be fed...
  • Or your parrot.
  • HA, nice one mooncow27
  • My Surface Pro 2 has gotten better over time. My Lumia 920 has gotten better over time. Win10M devices will get better too.
  • Yeah, but really, how could Windows 10 Mobile get any worse? It's easily the worst mobile OS on the market.
  • Except for the other ones.
  • Don't use it then. Go grab a fashion item on droid etc
  • Agreed. That's why I dumped it.
  • So what are you still doing here? surley you should now be on the Android site enfusing how good your Android is.
  • But you still come here to talk about the phones...if you've dumped then just move on to android forums or something
  • +1. Getting so old now. Why the rats desert and then return, is beyond me. They have little to no voice on this site due to desertion. Maybe, they have found the same moans on droid sites, I mean, you have 2 issues to complain about there. Poor OEM support AND poor OS. Maybe that's where the confusion lie? Come here and moan about one thing, or get confused as to who to moan at over there........
  • You lost me about three paragraphs into the Ant Man breakdown.
  • This.
  • Ant Man refrences not known nor will they ever be by me.  Paul Rudd was made to play smartass sidekicks, not a superhero (a dumb one admitedly, but still...)
  • @Josh Well thanks for hanging in there that long! :-) Having lost you in the piece I'm glad that I at least found you here in the comments. Hopefully you'll be inclined to revisit the piece. I'd love to hear what more you'd bring to the discussion. Thanks for participating! :-)
  • Spoiler Alert!
  • Too much of the movie review.
  • its not a review, its context...
  • Yeah. too much of context made it a review.
  • Contextual review?
  • If there would be a surface phone the, it would be a true surprise product from Microsoft like how they surprised ppl with hololens, surface hub and surface book.
  • I agree with a lot of this. If the UWP (including Islandwood and Westminster) can get a decent mobile experience and Centennial can get some quality Win32 legacy apps in the store, the Surface phone could be quite the success.
  • We need two surface phones. One that is 5.5 and the other 6 inches. One for fans and one for business. And we can scrap the Lumia's. Take the Lumia camera software and throw it into the Surface phones. Add a built in kickstand and we are ready to go. Just my two cents...
  • 5.5 inches as the smaller phone would be pretty ridiculous IMHO. Not everyone likes phones that big.
  • I want a Zune HD sized phone! =p
  • Omg I want the Zune HD exactly as it is with phone capabilities... I've always wished for this
  • I think it's coming full circle.  The Zune HD was one of the first devices to use an OLED display, it had a metal case and had a dock so you could use it on a television.  I think whatever the surface phone will be will have an AMOLED and be unibody metal but hopefully still be able to keep a spot for a microsd card.
  • ^^^^ THIS!
  • True, there has to be an option smaller than 5.5
  • How could it be a surface phone if it doesn't at least resembles the surface in some way? There wouldn't be a reason to put a kickstand on a small phone. The smallest would have to be a 5.5. The surface phone would be used as a productive device or a device one can create with. You can't create with something small. Were hoping they make a powerhouse phone. A true phablet. The Zune HD was nice, but that's too small. It was too small when it was first introduced. The screen was beautiful and I enjoyed it, but it could never take the place of a productive device. The smallest has to be a 5.5 inch device. After having my 1520, the 950XL seems small to me. One of the reasons I'm keeping my 1520 a bit longer. Phablets are not made to fit in your pocket. They are used as mini tablets.
  • It doesn't need a kickstand to be a Surface phone. The Surface hub and book don't use kickstands, the book doesn't look like the Pro but still fits the Surface design.
  • I know, but the kickstand is practical. The object is to put a computer in your pocket. A tiny phone won't cut it. 4-5 inch footprint is too small if you ask me. To each his own though. I use my 1520 as a pure productive device. It's comfortable to me. A large screen makes everything easier. Reading, typing, working on the go, viewing photos, and more. As a photographer, I need the screen size. I do a lot more than text, send and receive emails, and Facebook. So I need it. It's not an option for me at this point. I get what you're saying, but the world is moving from tiny devices.
  • The world isn't being offered any smaller devices that compete in features and performance with the larger ones. You can't judge the poularity of a device that isn't available.  Every OEM that is producing similar devices in more than one size, also seems to add features to the larger models that could be the compelling reason they are doing well beyond the size factor.
  • I don't want a phone, I want a phablet. How can it be called a surface phone when it doesn't resemble a surface? You can't put a kickstand on a small device. Well you can, but it wouldn't make sense. You would sit a small device on a table to try to watch a movie or use a keyboard to pound out a long email or document on a small screen? A small screen wouldn't make sense in any way shape or form. Surface stands for productivity. And well you can't do much with a small device. It has to be at least 5.5 inches.
  • Hey it's 2015 and foldable screens coming soon(tm) Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • Other than the kickstand, a keyboard just like the surface pro one, but a smaller version that folds the same way, would be amazing and would make doing work much better
  • A keyboard like the touch pro 2 would be a decent place to start.
  • Seriously? The Surface keyboards are the same size as the Surface. You want to type on a 2.5" x 6" keyboard? Just get the MS foldable BT keyboard and put it in your other pocket. Clearly your pockets are big enough to hold a 950XL ;).   BTW, the foldable keyboard, a mouse, a dock, or MS display adapter, make a pretty compact travel kit to go with a 950/XL. They even sell that as an accessory package at the MS store.  Comes with the Arc BT mouse, which I own. I'd actually recommend the new BT designer mouse. Isn't really any bigger, way cheaper and honestly more ergonomic.
  • I swear people like you deliberatley want Windows Mobile ot fail. 5.5" as the smaller option? That's DOA.
  • I can hardly wait for the Surface phone.
  • I'm already imagining the next October event!
  • Better hope and pray it's ready then. I wouldn't bet on it yet. Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • I'm fully invested in the Microsoft Ecosystem. The only thing I don't have is an Xbox, as I still like the Sony products better. Other than that, I have a Custom Built PC, A Surface Pro 4, Microsoft Band 2, and Lumina ICON, and will upgrade soon to the 950 XL. I would love to see what the Surface Phone will do!
  • Xbox rules the living room! Missing out.
  • Not everbody gets it. I too have a custom built PC, a SP4, a band 2 and I also have the 950 XL, which is an amazing phone. The OneNote/Pen experience on the SP4 is unparalleled and if MS would bring that experience to an 8" tablet then I could truly go paperless.
  • It's called "Lumia". Not "Lumina"
  • *beep* *beep*
    Android/iPhone detected they don't have Lumia in their language dictionary.
  • Neither do Windows devices until you teach them. Chevy Luminas have been arounf way longer.
  • So, you changing carriers. 950s don't run on what Icons do. Just curious as the lack of Verizon devices is a real issue with as many folks as there are who need to be on Verizon for whatever (short sighted, masochistic) reason.
  • Microsoft will not succeed if it ignores connected devices and IoT. What is Microsoft doing with connected devices for the car and house? New cars support CarPlay and Android Auto. What is Microsoft's plan? Why would anyone buy a phone that doesn't support his or her new car? How about lighting systems, security systems, HVAC systems for the house? Those devices are supported by iOS and Android. Posted from my Moto X Pure Edition via the Windows Central App for Android
  • IoT, is owned by Windows, from history, till now. CE, and Embedded, are the platform that most ATM's STILL run on. They've already shipped it for Raspberry Pi's new models. The car piece, is contrived, as they will eventually have to make that type of software, platform agnostic, or risk alienate large swaths of even IOS, and Android users, if the car they want, works only with the smartphone platform, that competes with the platform they carry.
  • I agree on the auto becoming more agnostic. And it would be exactly what I prefer. In fact, let Continuum continue to develope so that my automobiles double din monitor is just that.......a monitor! My W10M phone would Miracast or "dock" to the auto and then serve as my navigation, music, phone, text, email........almost unlimited in-car functionality with Cortana and\or touch screen.  
  • I completely agree!!! I was thinking the same thing!! That would be awesome
  • As cortana, Google Now, Siri improve, I see digital assistants being a sort of central hub that communicates with vehicles, allowing you full interaction. Having cortana at the ready allowing control & communication capabilities, Windows would be just fine.
  • This is exactly what Car Play and Android Auto do. They are even compatible with each other and Micrsoft would have to be too or else no one will adopt theirs. You cannot make it do everything either. You are a driving a car and distractions have to be kept to a minimum. Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • Nope. What happens is some stereo makers make units that incorproate CarPlay and Android Auto. However they are distinct platforms that do not play with each other at all. F.e., there are no Google apps on CarPlay OS. Apple essentially wants to force you to use Apple Maps and Music.
  • That needs one Continuum enhancement. Touch on the external monitor needs to be supported. Right now the external monitor for the phone is only supported via keyboard and mouse, or from the phone. Don't want to be trying to use your phone as a trackpad or kyeboard in this situation. Otherwise this would be brilliant. Just plug your one cable in when you get in the car to keep the phone charged, and have access to music, maps, cortana, handsfree phone/txt. Probably need some sort of safety feature to keep people from watching movies or updating a spreadsheet/presentation while driving. 
  • Exactly!
  • ????  what????  Occasionally you must just finish the sentence and, not you, know use, many, many many, many commas, in your, statement that it, seems like there, are, too  many, pauses
  • This is a massive concern if mine. It is not the phone itself but the full ecosystem. I'm not going to change my car to support my phone but I would change my phone to support my car. I'm currently researching smart home systems and sure enough, the windows phone appears to be lacking. So here is hoping that developers and manufactures will recognize that windows phone is here to stay.
  • You can read about Windows 10 IOT Core and projects related to these...for reference you can see my project on Raspberry Pi and Windows 10...just started... Control LED light using Windows 10 IoT Core and Raspberry Pi Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • They have it running on Ford cars - Microsoft Sync i think!
  • Too long....
  • Want the cliff notes? Abridged edition? Or the pop-up story book version? J/K ;P
  • One Manga version, please. j/k
  • @agnish Sorry to overwhelm you. They're was so much awesome data out there and so many awesome quotes I couldn't leave you guys without the context for my views. Editorials by virtue of what they are allow a degree of opinion and speculation, I need to share with you all some of the varied points that support my view. And, gosh, it would be boring if just blandly stated. I write poetry(actually writing a book of poetry and a Children's book written in rhyme) so I see the world through the lens of analogues and metaphors. That not only helps me process and comprehend complex concepts, but it also helps me communicate them-almost like a parable. Hopefully, when you have time, if it was too long fir you to complete in one sitting, you'll revist the piece when you have more time and er can discuss some of the points I present. I'd love to hear your opinion! :-)
  • Nobody has time anymore. For anything. An actual real human life might now be lived as just a stream of soundbites. But if I catch you sound-biting me Jason, you're gonna catch a comment of grief. :)
  • @snakebitten I'm actually VERY encouraged by a lot of the comments you guys give on my pieces. Many of you guys (too many to name individually without missing someone and risk offending) have been very supportive. It's great to have an opportunity to share and HEAR you guy's thoughts and read and/or participate participate in thoughtful discussion.
  • If Microsoft are able to make win32 apps universal, they could seriously win market share. As much win32 software is the only reason companies stick to it. To have things like adobes full suite, fully adaptive on phones, tablets, desktops, and more... That would be mind blowing. It's a slow revolution. But it's been worth waiting for!
  • Microsoft's "Project Centennial" might make that possible! :)
  • Project Centennial and Project Islandwood would seriously impact the W10M's future.
  • Has anyone tried Ubuntu's convergence?? I use both Ubuntu and windows 10 and only recently have I found about Canonicals plan of Convergence. It is similar to Continuum but quite different too. The difference is quite subtle actually. In continuum the phone simulates a desktop environment and runs a UWP but in Convergence the phone itself is a fully functional desktop and will be capable of running the desktop apps. I would love to see them both compared by windows central since both of them are similar ideas implemented differently
  • That's the nature and beauty of separate architectures... =p
  • Oh yes it is. I actually use both the OS's on my 2GB RAM, Celeron Dual Core processor ASUS laptop. I love both of them for separate reasons. Win 10 for the functionality and versatility and Ubuntu for it's lightweight fluidic interface and speed. Honestly Ubuntu actually runs way faster than windows 10 on it but it simply can't do many heavy tasks nor has the means to do them in most cases. Like using office for instance. But still both of them are really capable OSs
  •   That was the whole idea of the Ubuntu edge campaign on, which I backed. Sadly it failed and has been astoundingly slow to resurrect,  with early phones so underpowered.
  • Great read, and I wholly agree. As great as they are, the new Lumias are just the beginning. They are flawed but they prepare the ground for what's coming.
  • @98plustwo Thanks for the compliment! And yes the Lumias are great in my opinion as well!:-)
  • My brother needs a new laptop and he refuses to buy a regular one and wants a 2-in-1.  I know lots of people who are now shiftint to this style of hardware.  So it's definitely making a mark.
  • I also see teens and young (and not-so-young) adults b1tching (d@mn that profanity filter!) about the prices of the Surface Pro and Surface Book... This alone is a good sign that Microsoft is on the right track!
  • Yah but Microsoft is for the premium brand that people are willing to pay.  They don't want to underscore the OEMs.  The OEMs can take over with lower prices.  And only those who really want the specific hardware will go for these.  
  • Yup. They don't want to undercut thier oems. By focusing on the premium end, they can also.introduce & drive product innovative that oems can then mimick, helping to drive new product designs & categories. The lumias help both MS and thier oem partners.
  • So a lot of people have been wondering how you could make a phone with continuum much more than enhanced screen doubling. Well there's the win32 bridge. There's Java, Flash Player, maybe even OS game controller support that can happen.
  • 'Universal' game controller support would probably be one of the best things MS can do. I still can't believe they do not offer a Win10 -version with a TV -interface.
  • I think 'enhanced screen doubling' is seriously undervaluing what Continuum already is. If you have a laptop or desktop running Win 10, and you use the modern apps, what you see on the Continuum screen when hooking up the phone is indistingushable from what you see on the desktop/laptop. I recently bought a Surface 3 (have a Pro, desktop, etc) and explicitly chose to not install any Win 32 apps on it to see if it was usable. For the most part, Office (modern) with Onenote, the Outlook components, Edge, and other store apps serve me just fine. There are some things I miss professionaly, Access, Visio, and I'm sure some would miss Project, Photoshop, Corel, etc. but not much I miss personally. I would actually like to see more effort put into making 'lite'/modern/UWP versions of some of those applications than having the hardware capable of running the W32 versions. The latter would prevent any effort on making those applications more touch/tablet aware. I can already run all these on my 7" HP Stream. Heck, ten years ago I could run all this on my 9" HP Slate 500. W32 apps were not touch friendly on a small screen then, and they aren't now. The idea of having apps on my phone that are ONLY usable if I connect to a large monitor and have a keyboard and mouse, seems contrived. I don't think we can expect the required items to be available anywhere we go just yet. If I need a big screen, keyboard and mouse I'll just bring those items in the form of a 2-1, not as peripherals to my phone. I will bring just a keyboard and mouse, so whatever app I plan to use, needs to be usable on the phone,  i.e. UWP.
  • More wishful thinking, pie in the sky stuff, right?
  • The numbers don't lie as far as the changes in the desktop and 2-in-1's go. It's not unreasonable to see the potential for phones. People here seem to forget that Microsoft has a very long history of sticking things out until they succeed.
  • The facts speak for themselves on this one
  • No sir. Facts right here.
  • oh boy, time is getting close. vamos ms you can do it. millions of people are waiting.
  • Great article
  • Yep... Surface Phone.... I'll hold of on the 950XL. Hopefully the Surface Phone is a phablet or comes in two size variations. On a side note; very well written article.
  • As much as the slate market is dying, I did preorder myself a mi pad 2 pictured in the article. I enjoy having a small 8 inch tablet to read on, and for just browsing the web. My lumia 1520's 6inch screen just doesn't cut it.
  • So, how do you like the mi-pad? Is it physically pretty similar to an iPad, thickness, weight? Reasonably responsive? (for a 2G device). The picture above intriqued me. happy to find your post about it.
  • Been saying this for a year now, you write it better than I say it. ☺
  • what else can they merge now, a phone that flexes into a watch+x86 continuum? that would definitely get headlines if done right
  • Nokia Morph? hehe
  • That's probably the best new "2-in1" -category anyone could create right now.
  • I'm posting BEFORE I read the article or any comments. Why? Just so I can say I love it when I hit refresh on Windows Central and the top listed most recent article is by Jason Ward.
    Not saying that I will or have agreed with everyting he says, but for some reason his style, thorougness, and angles are my favorite here. Ok, now I will go read it. Don't make me come edit this comment Jason! lol  
  • LOL...Thanks man! :-) What a compliment and wow , now the pressures really on!!! lol
  • I was gambling maybe. But hardly a longshot. :)      No edit necessary.   
  • 'Whew' :-)
  • Thanks for the great read Jason. Great comparison to the movie.
  • @AntnyGoomba Thank you for the support! I appreciate that! :-)
  • We all can dream.
  • Yes excellent read...  
  • @X-topher Thanks! I appreciate that!
  • The stage is set for Panos...
  • I'm sorry, but this has got to be the biggest bunch of hooey I've ever read. People aren't getting "prepared" for anything, except the next iWhatever.  As much as I fell in love with Windows Phone and Windows 8, I have fallen OUT of love with everything they've been doing since that fool Satya took over and ruined it all.  I do NOT see this "proliferation", no matter how much you'd like it to happen.  Nobody I know is impressed by Continuum or "PC Does What" or any of that.  They are forever stuck on their iWhatever and Android stuff.  Microsoft can't even remain consistent in anything, and people like me who were FULLY onboard with where they were going with Metro are angry as heck that they drew us in and then crapped on us.  I no longer encourage people to try Windows in its various forms.  I tell them to stay where they are.  If they are able to do what they need, there is ZERO reason to leave their platform.
  • Sorry but that is just incoherent Babble... Don't buy Microsoft because I don't like them? Ok I have taken on board your advice but have decided to file it under junk...
  • This fool again
  • It probably is true that if you, ScubaDog, really do stop encouraging folks to try Windows, Microsoft is indeed doomed. And sadly, just when people were starting to discover the unheard of Windows.  (You are a hoot dude)
  • In India they would prefix 'hoot' with a 'C'.
  • Lol @ScubaDog good for you. Go back to boring and slow Windows 7!
  • Dude what are you, 58? Go back to your ancient IPAQ or something.
  • I say **** with hopes and talks of surface phone,it will come,market the flagships 950 & 950 XL properly and let masses know about the great flagships
  • What's up with the overkill on commas?
  • As from tomorrow, Microsoft are charging you for the use of commas, so people are getting in as many as they can before they have to pay for them, i think it works out a 1c a comma, but you can get yearly subscription at a cheaper rate...,
  • Sounds like you'll have to pay for document editing if you use continuum, but editing on the phone will still be free like it is on Windows phone?
  • Actually if you want to edit documents for free in continuum, you can do that on Word in the browser.  It's nowhere near as big a deal as people are making out of it and yes, if you're doing it on the phone it's still free.  All they are doing is closing a loophole for abuse with the office 365 requirement for editing on a big screen.
  • lol, 'abuse'. Such harm that was being done to Microsoft!
  • Since they are simply bringing it in line with their stated rule of office not being free on screens over a certain size, my point still stands. Office still makes up a great deal of Microsoft's revenue and it's better they set their rules up now before they get continuum in the hands of more people. Like I said, people can still edit documents in the web, it's what I do on my desktop and people who require more complex functions can pay for them.
  • Wouldn't it make more sense just to have the continuum, online and mobile versions all have the same limitations for free, rather than have it change for each version?
  • Yes and no. I'm not saying it can't be done, and they just might decide to change it down the road since I think they just introduced the potential for confusion by charging for it in Continuum but, at the same time, they are essentially treating their customers the same whether they are using Windows, Android, or iOS. If there's one thing I've noticed about Microsoft, is that they often play things very low key, this spares then from the inevitable accusations of favoritism towards their own platform and keeps people from saying they don't want other platforms to compete by giving their services away. Do I think those sorts of accusations are asinine, yes, but I also know that if Microsoft is going to start promoting their phones as "PCs in your pocket" and if they really start hitting advertising hard, which they haven't yet, they are going to come under much closer scrutiny regardless of how poorly Windows phones have done in the past.
  • Ok, just to clear up the misconception some people might have. If you have office 365, you can edit. You don't pay on top of that. But yes, the free Office that comes with windows phone does t allow the editing on continuum
  • Great article, as usual. But it wil be lost on most of your readers because you didn't mention snapchat.
  • That's still a thing? Lol.
  • Fantastic read again Jason. The shift is coming.
  • To disable continuum when not using the dock.....
    connect tv
    Start continuum app on the phone
    Hit ...display settings
    In display drop down change to connected tv
    Scroll to bottom--- advanced display options
    Select project...
  • Thing is do you guys and ladies realize phones will eventually simply evolve into small or med. Full functioning PC/tablets. Phones will be obsolete anyway in time. In my opinion of course.
  • Well that's the point of the article
  • Wise ***
  • It's always refreshing to read your view on things, Jason! This article is no exception and, through and articulated reasoning, provides us with food for thoughts. Thanks.
  • Even if Microsoft come up with the brillaint Surface phone they will still have app problems and users like myself who love windows platform will also not be able to suffer this problem for long. For instance i have lumia 1520 and sometimes i call my brother to check my internet data usage or minutes on his android phone cuz i dont have the app in windows store. I have belfius banking app on my lumia 435 windows phone 8.1 but the same app is not available for my lumia 1520 windows phone 10. Sorry for my weak English
  • I don't know about minutes, but you can check data use via Data Sense in your settings. You set up your limit and the date it rolls over and can even pin a tile to your start screen.
  • Thank you for the tip.
  • You are welcome. :-)
  • Dont worry, Belfius will soon discontinue your Windows phone 8.1 app. and make a Windows 10 app. Windows 10 is at 150 million users now.   BankofAmerica just told me they are building the Windows 10 app, so I will have banking again also. yay!   As far as data, I think ladydias is right, data sense,
  • Where did you get this 150 million figure?
  • Thank you
  • There will be 10 months before the new flagship arrives so plenty new apps can make their way to the OS until then. The market share is already not an issue anymore, or should be, since there are already three times more W10 pc and tablets. Combined with the windows phones it would make almost 200 millions devices. If you app is good enough, it should get enough revenue to make it profitable on both platforms(pc and mobile)
  • Put a screen on the InFocus kangaroo and you've already got it. That thing is perfection.
  • I'm worried that building up Surface Phone hype like this can only lead to disappointment. If Microsoft has done anything lately it has been impressing us with the unknown. The Lumia 950 and 950XL were leaked so hard that we were practically able to announce the features before Panos ever opened his mouth. Then Surface Book comes along and we're all "Wait, MS made a laptop!? What's he doing with that butto-OHMYGOD!!" When Surface Pro originally premiered it was the same thing. "MS finally decided to make a tablet, eh? That's cute-HOLYCRAPIT'SALAPTOP!!" Same with the Band. "MS made a fitness tracker? That's dumb. Everyone really wanted-IT'SALSOASMARTWATCH!!!??"  Here's hoping they pull that off with a Surface Phone, but maybe let's not build it up to be something it may not be? We are all wanting a phone, but maybe the future isn't a phone at all? What? I couldn't say.
  • You nailed it. I read some of these articles and accompanying comments and shake my head. I know they are setting Microsoft for some serious let down. By the time the Surface Phone is announced people would be expecting a phone that can last 1 week on a single charge, double as a computer with 16gb of memory, has iris scanner and fingerprint reader, has foldable dual screen, has three microsd card slots, has 512gb of built in storage and can translate your voice to klingon in real time. Then Panos introduces a regular phone. 
  • Hopefully it is clear in my pieces that I don't present speculation on the anticipated Surface Phones specs. What I attempt to convey is the strategic positioning of a particular class of device; where in the paradigm considering industry direction and Microsoft's historic, current and communicated goals such a device would fit. Whether the expected strategy will succeed or fail, time will tell. My attempt is to simply look at the big picture, lay it out as I see it, then "invite" others to view it with me and we cab see how things play out. Sure I'm optimistic. Though the clear underdog, thier strategy, at least from my perspective seem most consistent with the industry's direction. I actually think that with the UWP, Continuum, Live Tiles and other things that thier actually ahead of the curve. That combined with the fact that thier the underdogs in mobile (because thier not doing things like the leading rivals) may give a greater appearance failure. But the Pixel C, IPad Pro and Google's moves to bring some degree of unity to Android and Chrome just shows that when your ahead in how you see things, you're mocked and others finally see what you see. Then your mimicked. This is not to say I like every move MS has made. Read my Ode to Windows 8 article for that perspective. But I do think, overall, that thier on the right track. :-)
  • While I agree with the general premise of what you are saying, I am not as bullish as you are. There is one fundamental flaw in your argument. You fully expect Microsot to execute. Execution, from top to bottom, is not Microsoft's strength. This is from years of working as a large disjointed company. The left hand does not know what the right hand is doing. One of the reasons the Surface Pro is seen as a success is because it is a Microsoft product. If it was an Apple product, those sales number would be deemed awful. Apple is known for executing its visions to perfection. The company works as a cohesive unit; top to bottom. Yes, continuum is a great innovation. Yes, the convergence of all the PC, tablet and phone is brilliant but is there anyone that would be shocked if Apple decides tomorrow to do the same thing and still get a finished product to the market faster than Microsoft? Living images have been around on Lumias for years and yet Apple is getting credit for bringing that innovation to the market this year.  Why? Apple has been working as one cohesive unit from day one. The marketing department is familiar with their product line from conception to delivery and so can sell it better.  Please read Steve Jobs, the book.  Also, I know you are not speculating on what the Surface phone will be like. However, this is Windows Central, the readers here are eager to believe the best of Microsoft. They want to hold on to anything that assures them that something great is in the horizon. Tell them a 5 and they automatically make it a 10. Well, the commenters anyway. Still, I know Microsoft is in the right direction. They have been making the right calls lately. Do I think it will make them the number player in the mobile sphere, like some people here want to believe? No. But it will make them an important player. And right now, that is all I can ask for. 
  • I agree with you. I also believe that many of us, particularly those of us who are older, have seen Microsoft's previous attempts to enter a new market but fail, only to see Apple and others make a successful entry into that market; therefore, we tend to be more pessimistic. For example, Microsoft tried smartwatches over 10 years ago. The tablet PC existed before the iPad. Both of these were examples where Microsoft entered a market very early but failed in its execution. Posted from my Moto X Pure Edition via the Windows Central App for Android
  • Introduces a regular phone that speaks only Romulan!
  • Awesome :D
  • I think the Surface phone will be geared toward business. Get Intel inside , hardcore encryption, and get out the beginning of June(fiscal year).
  • Surface phone is the only chance for Microsoft to stay in phone industry. if they make Surface phone, i will buy 1 for me 100% :)
  • Continuum is key. Make users pay for Office use on Continuum. Mastermind (TM). Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • 950XL in my pocket with continuum dock. secretely connected to my work monitor. I can do 75% of what I need to do.  Kangaroo outside in the BMW, on WIFI, accessed using RDP or teamviewer. (also connected to ELM327) i7 at home on teamviewer.   I can do everything I need. and If I get really desperate for "gaming" or x86, x64 at work, I can go out to the car, and bring in the kangaroo.        
  •   Surface phone: powerful phone,  pen,  hololens, runs x86 apps on Microsoft Azure virtual machine (so it is a dumb terminal for that,  but the actual programs run on powerful cloud computing ). That would allow it to run any windows,  DOS,  Linux etc environment. Where do I pay?
  • I have a bad feeling the Surface Phone will be ginormous. As long as they release a 950 successor in two years or so that's still around 5" then I'm cool. If the "Surface Phone" is in the 5" range I might consider. If not I'm gonna need a "Surface Phone mini" or some sort of high-end device in that size which is why I mentied 950 successor. It doesn't need to be a a "960" per se, just a device with high end specs that isn't a toaster. 
  • To me, Lumia has always been about affordability while delivering a pleasant smartphone experience. Currently rocking a 640 which are selling below $100 as prepaid this season. While a Surface phone line sounds enticing, it also seems like more of a premium product. If they manage to put one in my hand that has got Continuum for pocket money, I am game.
  • The Surface Phone would be the only thing keeping me on Windows Mobile. I'm patient and can wait a while. I got my 1020 and it still runs beautifully.
  • Let's hope MS can deliver an amazing Surface Phone.
  • Thanks for the movie spoiler Jason! ...not. At least put a warning beforehand next time? Aside from that, great article. Though I doubt it'll change the views and comments of negative-nancies like rodneyjr who just likes nothing...but complain... Even if the Surface Phone ends up truly being a game changer like the Surface line has so far, I still can't see it changing the mindset of those kind of people.
  • rodneyj provides a good voice. Microsoft takes one step forward then two or three steps back. Now it's continuum, who knows if a year from now they'll even promote it. Before it was Kinect. They have already to started to move away from Kinect and talk up Hololens. That probably will end up in the trash too. Am I being negative? Yes. I am. Because it's Microsoft's history. They've already ruined their own Window Phone concept. And I won't even get into that right now. As rodneyj would remark. SMDH! :)
  • @Racxie Sorry to spoil to the movie for you. :-( Hopefully i left enough out so that you will find the film exciting when you watch it. Thanks for the kudos on the piece. I appreciate that!
  • Jason, an amazing write-up. Hats off to this kind of clarity and such an articulate post. This kind of completely encapsulates and presents to the readers the whole of Microsoft's efforts and ideologies. I couldn't have read anything better. The paradigm shift in the way they do their hardware, coupled with a competent and ever evolving software is a testament to the fact that Microsoft is ahead of the curve. Exciting times ahead. Thanks for such an amazing article once again.
  • Thanks for the support. I'm glad that this piece was beneficial to you. Please feel to share! :-) These are exciting times to be an industry and Microsoft watcher!
  • Apps,apps,apps Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • Really good article.  I thoroughly enjoyed it.
  • build asus padfone like device in place of tablet build surface.
  • Jason- great read, and I think you are correct on many counts.
    My wife, who grumbles at and doesn't like tech in general, really likes her surface 3. It gets pretty much everything she needs done. But she is not taking much note of the convergence of the mobile world. She just uses it! The revamp of the start menu into the desktop for enterprise customers is gradually re-introducing people to the environment that slapped them in the face with Windows 8. They are going to get so accustomed to using it that they won't blink as it appears more and more on smaller screens, appliances, kiosks, help desks, and more. As a matter of fact, they will LIKE that their atm interface works like their computer does... Because this is a desktop-first strategy, I believe it will ultimately work. For now, I am still a Windows Phone user, but a conservative one. My Lumia 640xl is great, and will be even better with windows 10... But I am at this point waiting for the first flagship phone that runs a more thoroughly integrated windows 10... Will that "threshold" be crossed in the next year? Perhaps!
  • If the alleged forthcoming Surface Phone isn’t the absolute holy grail of cell phones with the ability to run every legacy x86 application I worry about the number of posters on WC who may very well commit some form of digital seppuku.
  • Great article sir!!!!
  • The article is right on target. The team of devices most use will be Surface and Surface Phone augmented by smart displays. The days of Windows Phone are numbered; the x86 based Surface Phone guarantees this.
  • There will always be a place for a Desktop, there will probably be room for tablets for a long time (in a traditional sense, like an Android or iOS tablet) but 2-in-1 tablet computers are going to be more and more popular as people find that the ecosystem in Android or iOS to be truly productive is very limited. On a Surface (book or pro), for example, you can literally do ANYTHING you do on your desktop! This also has the metro ecosystem for those extra finger friendly days! I, for one, won't be buying another "laptop" ever again! It's all about the 2-in-1 haha. 
  • The Surface Phone is starting to be the worst-kept secret at Microsoft. I, for one, love a good comeback story tho.
  • Updates being made are sometimes useless, like moving this button from this corner to that corner, ref recent onedrive update. Instead of bringing in the most requested missing features, they are busy working on shifting already existing features from this to that area!
    And again busy removing certain features that users have never complained about, and later bringing then back, ref call duration.
    Upto date we can't change phone labels - mobile1, work 1 etc.
    I don't know why we can't have a permanent battery % up there.
    If an individual can do it, why can't a big company like MS do it I mean Chronos calendar managed to put all holidays for most of world countries but upto now Outlook calendar doesn't include most holidays.
  • I wasn't interest in tablets before because they were like "big smartphones thaat cannot make phone calls" (or can they?) but Windows tablets can run Win32 apps. 2 in 1 just are awesome!
  • Another issue I have with MS is that you can't play Some of Xbox (paid) games when you are offline though the game is loaded on your phone, is there no other way of doing it so that we can play offline e.g. Halo strike
  • Filed under ads and hype. In reality WP is doomed now that Continuum is not with the hassle and extra pay. Besides everything takes forever from MS, it's too late already.
  • Great article, as usual with Jason Ward!
  • The surface phone won't have a stupid kickstand and a stupid tiny keyboard. Phones are touch only. You have to be really stupid if you think the surface phone will be going down the blackberry path.
    The surface phone will simply be a touch phone that supports w32 apps. That's all. So it will be a phone and a pocket pc to use with continuum. That's what makes it surface.
    The only input method after touch could be mind control. There is nothing else to gain in that area. Phones will for a long long time be touch devices.
  • Surface Phone will be far too expensive for average users to buy, most likely arrive too late. Don't think consumers want to wait, alot of people are really waiting patiently for a new Windows Phone worth the upgrade.
    Not interested in cheap plastic cladded phones
  • This ^
  • But the surface phone will be the concept setter like the SP and SB line. OEM's will fill in the budget and mid range.
  • So, you want a premium device but you're worried that it will be too expensive. Expensive is the definition of a premium device. Smh...
  • This is truly an accurate account. Mobile computing and interaction is changing. Just like the smartphone was the digital convergence of many devices one os and app development that transforms on context is the future and Microsoft is leading the way.
  • The best part of "surface phone" will be windows 10 and windows 10 is already here. UWP is the most important change and it is going to eat win32 just like win32 ate DOS. There is no reason to wait for something that is already here...
  • Jason you got the room going there, great article. Sorry, not enough time to read all the comments but it's look most of you are exited about what could happen and I hope it does in a way as I have lot of love for my Windows Mobile. The only issue I have with the comments and article is the whole speculation that the phone needs to be rethought and rebuilt with new vision, to revolutionise. All that sounds great but what a load of crap. Our Daniel on this very web site, Mr Microsoft himself, has not really helped with his not so positive and damning comments on the 950, that they are not revolutionary enough. Again a load of crap as the 950's hold there god **** bl**dy own very well against there rivals in spec and performance. This brings me to my point............APPS, BL**DY APPS. The main reason Windows Mobile is not eating into the market share is that it does not simply have the apps, full stop, simple. I convinced two of my work colleges to jump on the WP bandwagon. They are now back to their iphones because WP did not have apps they wanted. It had nothing to do with phone, nothing to do with hardware, the software or it's looks, it was the lack of apps. Microsoft could spends millions of $'s developing the new revolutionary smart phone, all bells and whistles, bigger and better, 3 x faster than their competitors but if it ain't got the apps it ain't going to sell to joe blogs. It maybe attractive for business use but the people want apps. Look at apple, they don't have the highest market share but they got there through customer loyalty and apps, plus the iphone is the phone a lot of people would like to have but don't want pay for, so they go for free android phone on contract and the apps. Apple have released the same phone every year, with the odd change, but are still selling them in the millions because the phone works as it is and of of course the large app availability. Android has the main share through great marketing from their OEM's, especially Samsung, cheap phones, usually free on contract and a ton of apps. You may argue there is the new software like islandwood etc, to allow developers to transfer android and iphone apps and of course the whole universal thing! Well the android thing is dead in the water, not happening, and we are not seeing lot of new, that we are aware of, apps from the iphone either, and dont get started the universal app philosophy as it is just not delivering what all thought it was going to. Windows Central had to write an article to appease us and put us straight that if an app goes universal it does not mean that it will come to Windows Mobile. That in itself is utter and total rubbish, a universal app needs to be "universal", all platforms need to be included for mobile to work, exist. At the end of the day I would love to see this fantasy become reality, for it to be the best smart phone in the world and it to come out of Redmond. I'm just worried if it does happen that it will be to radical and to expensive for masses, and only targeted for business!
  • a universal app needs to be "universal"
    As the article you mention explained, unfortunately it's not that simple. If I started to develop a brand new Windows app I would definitely go for UWP. However, porting an existing app has a non-negligible cost that needs to be measured against the potential benefits.
  • I think your point of view is very misguided and you don't understand the point of the Universal Windows Platform. The apps will come, but they won't come all at once or overnight, this is something ridiculous to even hope for. The reason apps will come is because of Windows 10 desktop, and the time and effort involved in developing for desktop and then adding support for mobile / xbox / hololens etc is minimal. As Satya said him self and I think it best describes the point in UWP, all entry points to Windows 10 lead to mobile (Eventually). This is the real genius of UWP, the fact that wherever you start developing a UWP app, the natural progression will always be to support mobile and Continuum. Now to take your point on not needing to rethink / revolutionise the smartphone, it's a poor point based on the fact that if everyone thought like that we would not even have smart phones. If Microsoft throws all their eggs into the current market and keeps repeating the same thing and expecting a different result they will end up missing the next shift in mobile computing the exact same way they missed smartphones in the beginning. Microsoft knows they won't beat Apple and Android in the smart phone battle, so they are doing the smart thing instead which is trying to beat them to the next battle and gain the higher ground before Apple and Google even know it exists. As for your comments on Dan and his reception of the 950's, I completely agree, the 950's are hands down the best phones on the market, and while they are not perfect and still feel like a beta product I would rather have continuum on a 950XL that has no snapchat than an iPhone with all the apps in the world but is still just an overpriced dumb phone with no future other than further releases of "look it's thinner and faster than the other one, please give us all your money again." Microsoft is the top innovator in the world right now, but the long term vision will take years to finally achieve. I'm up for the ride, the only question is, are you?
  • @mbrdev: your points are valid, though I wouldn't go as far as blaming pooleyjnr for not understanding UWP. After all, his experience with WP was what it was. Time will tell if Microsoft's strategy is the right one. I'm a Windows developer too so I'm of course hoping it will; however, for various reasons I'm not completely sold for UWP in its current state.
  • Perhaps I was a bit harsh but I didn't mean to come across like that! And I'm not sold on anything Microsoft is offering currently, it's simply not enough and not ready yet. But the keyword here is yet, I'm sold on Microsoft's long term vision and goal, I'm a believer in what they are trying to do but I know it will take years to truly accomplish. The UWP in my view already beats the development experience of any other ecosystem, but again, it's not there just yet, there is still work to do and it will take time. Personally I'm not satisfied with the current documentation and examples available, I think they need to put a lot of effort into improving that, for instance when you download the sample apps sometimes they don't even build and you have to mess around a bunch to get them to run.
  • You are absolutely right . Same experience here as yours with employees i convinced to switch to WP , except for one , they went back to Android . Reason is lack of apps . End of the story . Universal apps will only help for those apps people want to have on their desktop , not that many . MFST should develop much more apps themselves , no other solution . People can give ideas and get 10 or 20% of the revenues as royalties. Cheers
  • Man, with all this hype there better even be a Surface Phone.
  • It's guaranteed. Panos Panay was given the green light for a phone, so him and his team won't rest until it's done, that's the kind of team they are.
  • If we go surface, we better have a great plug in stand like the SP3/4 has. I don't like the dongle look of the current Lumia Continuum accessory. Also a touch keyboard with WordFlow should be in the flip cover for any XL sized version. And what about a keyboard dock for corporate environments: Phone plugs flat in a home under the keyboard and acts as a live trackpad. All desktop connections would go through the keyboard (USBc, USB3, HDMI, Speakers etc.
  • Yes, the continuum device is horrible looking, back to carrying a bag, may as well have a tablet on me. Geez.
  • Please make a dual simm, and do it well, that's all is ask.
  • Jason, you write the best articles on WC. Whenever I see a new piece you've written, I know that I'm in for an informative and thought provoking read. This one is no exception, albeit the Antman analogy was kind of like the squash casserole my mother made for one of the sides for Thanksgiving dinner; just a little too salty for my taste. Everything else on my plate was delicious! 
  • To change the mindset start with the label. Don't call it a Surface Phone. Call it Surface Mobile b/c that's what it is and its more than a phone. It would drop the legacy baggage with Windows Phone variants too.
  • The phone needs to be a PHONE.  Not a 2n1
  • When you look back to dumb phones, current smart phones are already 2 in 1s, believe it or not they don't just make phone calls they even have the internet these days!
  • Great article.
  • great article.... Windows 10 will role any device soon... in 2018 1.6 bil User is so easy for UWP and ONE Core!!!
  • The thing I am afraid of is that MS, like most of the other players, is pushing everyone onto bigger and bigger devices. Frankly, it means they are abandoning me and I believe a large chunk of the market--those who want a truly mobile communication device first. I have other "productivity" tools thare are much more effective than any portable device will be simply because of size. There are certain physical limitations to things in the world you can't get around. You can see and do more on a big screen. You can drop a small device into a secure pocket that closes, is secure, and yet allows you to instantly access it for the things you need on the go like texts, emails, calls, and maps. This dichotomy is not going away. I don't want a phone that folds, opens somehow, connects to other devices, etc. I want a phone that is a phone first.
  • Couldn't agree more . No bigger then 5" if it is to be a phone to me . Else a tablet with calling capability makes more sense to me then a phone that pretends to be a computer .
  • Surface Phone blah blah blah....
  • That was a great read, Jason bro. Whenever you write,I need to make sure that I need to sit and carefully read through. The sort of analysis and insight you provide even in the minute aspect of MS strategy is really good. I think I must take a cue from the way you write. As always, Good job, Jason!!
  • What about continuum built into displays? No more need for a middleware device including the MS display adapter.
  • I'm loving the Ant-Man reference. At first I wondered exactly where you are going with it, but then it clicked and I found myself smirking slightly :).
    Bravo sir, and a great piece of writing to boot!
  • Nothing MSFT is doing is working towards closing the "app gap".  Growing a huge user base of Windows 10 in places other than mobile does nothing to close the "app gap", because the UWP doesnt automatically bring new W10 apps TO THE PHONE.  The only way you get that "app gap" closed is by building a viable user base directly in W10 Mobile.  MSFT has been very straightforward is stating that they are NOT going to do that by their comments that they are no longer trying to compete head-on with Android and IOS. Why in the name of all that is holy would I pay north of $600 for a phone can't do the things I want and need my mobile device to do? That shipped with such a half-baked OS that it cant even accept the OS updates specifically targeted to it's two devices? I wouldn't, unless I am so blinded by MSFT love that I will buy ANYTHING they produce.  And let's be honest, only Apple commands that kind of blind loyalty in numbers big enough to matter in the marketplace. If MSFT wanted to compete in Mobile, they COULD.  Set the 950 @ $199 and the XL @ $249 off contract.  Make a compelling argument that "Sure, you wont have all the apps you want/need YET, but you're getting a flagship quality device for hundreds and hundreds less than IOS or Android flagships cost". MSFT would lose millions upon millions this way, but they would gain the userbase they need for devs to suddenly find W10 Mobile to be worth the time of producing apps for.  It's not as if MSFT hasn't used this strategy to success before; Internet Explorer, Bing, and even the Surface program itself.  The fact that they don't or won't should tell you all you need to know about MSFT's unwillingness to make W10 Mobile a viable platform. I've said it before, I'm about to say it again, and you better believe I'll be back with the "I called it!" post when it actually comes to pass - MARK MY WORDS, IF MSFT IS STILL PRODUCING SMARTPHONES 18-24 MONTHS FROM NOW, THEY WILL BE RUNNING CYANOGEN OR SOME OTHER FORK OF ANDROID. Windows 10 Mobile is DOA.  Fortunately for me, I'm not the Captain of this ship, and I'm jumping into a lifeboat rather than sinking down to the bottom of the mobile ocean by throwing good money after bad and continuing to invest my hard earned dollars in a platform that is on it's way into the dustbin of history.
  • I hope the surface phone just crushes everything.
  • Excellent article as always, Jason! And as I've said before, I'm with you - I'm optimistic!im actually, genuinely optimistic! Maybe I'm Pollyanna, or a fool, of just naïve. But I actually see this all working! The thing about Continuum equipped phones, especially a theoretical Intel powered one is that they are 2-in-1s as well, just of a different stripe. Now the trick is just getting people to see and think of them that way.
  • Thank you Jason for your excellent brief on MFST strategy . As most here I wish Redmond to succeed in the mobile market place . But in my opinion no matter how gorgeous the hardware or good the OS , and I think those are quite good already , without more apps that people want , any strategy will fail in terms of market share . Solve the apps gap first, then success will follow . Don't and it's a flop.
  • Great very informative read (got TextAloud to read it to me ;). I just hope the Surface Phone turns out to be the following: It will literally fit this your explanation PERFECTLY in conjunction with a Tablet-shaped continuum dock that perhaps transforms it into a Surface 3...I wouldn't be getting such dock unless it literally gets as powerful as an Intel Core i5 Surface Pro 4, but I'd happily give Windows Phone a try then.
  • Personally, I still think it's a lack of apps. My girlfriend switched from her Lumia to iPhone, as she found the most of the app selection and functionality frustrating. Sometimes I think of swtiching too, but then I remember that I still root for the Dallas Mavericks. Therefore, I'll still root for WP as long as I can bear.