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If Microsoft doesn't kill at BUILD 2017, the Surface phone may be dead on arrival

That reality hasn't stopped fans from hoping nor has it stopped Microsoft from trying. Microsoft's CEO Satya Nadella's faith, as well as that of a host of die-hard fans, rests in part on what Nadella calls an "ultimate mobile device" that is "beyond the curve." Fans call it the Surface phone.

A Microsoft Future Vision video showed us a foldable and modular "phone" that bears much in common with a recently revealed patent. Moreover, full Windows on ARM inspires visions of a telephony enabled, Continuum-powered ultramobile Surface. Still, there's no confirmation what this device will ultimately be. But we do know what it's supposed to do: Change the game.

I've already analyzed the critical role Microsoft's ecosystem plays in relation to the success of the Surface phone — the device is important, but the ecosystem is the other part of Redmond's ultimate mobile device strategy upon which Nadella's faith rests.

BUILD 2017 is Microsoft's 11th-hour opportunity win developers before the Surface phones debut.

Since cellular PCs are due to arrive relatively soon (later in 2017), and a Surface phone by early 2018 (in light of a dearth of developer support that has plagued the platform) one is led to wonder if Microsoft's ecosystem will be ready for an ultimate mobile device.

Microsoft's BUILD developers conference this May will be the company's opportunity to make an 11th-hour appeal to developers in preparation for the company's "game-changing" move. Here are some areas that I think Redmond will or should address during BUILD 2017.

Project Centennial: From Win32 to UWP

Project Centennial is one of the three remaining app Bridges that were announced during BUILD 2015. IslandWood (iOS) and Westminister (Web) are the others. App Bridges provide developers with the tools needed to turn their existing apps into Universal Windows apps. Microsoft's Desktop Converter with Project Centennial begins the process of converting Win32 apps into full UWP apps.

A Continuum-powered device that can be navigated via a mobile-friendly adaptive shell one moment and project full PC apps to a larger display the next is indeed the ultimate mobile device. Win32 apps converted to full UWP apps via Project Centennial have great value in such a scenario.

For Microsoft to get the full value of Win32 apps in a mobile and app-focused personal computing world, making those apps mobile-friendly is essential. Project Centennial's Convert, Enhance, Migrate and Reach All process endows Win32 apps with the features, device agnosticism and XAML UI of full UWP apps.

Always-connected cellular PCs and the Surface phone will need legacy apps to be "modernized." In preparation for these devices, I predict that Microsoft will make a major appeal to developers at BUILD 2017 to win their support to Project Centennial. If a Surface phone with full Windows and Win32 apps is to succeed, they must.

Microsoft's Project Centennial app Bridge makes sense of Win32 apps on phone

Xamarin, one tool for "one" target

One of the significant barriers to Microsoft winning the type of developer support competitors Apple and Google have, is the way in which developers perceive mobile. Most developers "think" iOS and Android when they consider developing for "mobile." Windows is often an afterthought if it is considered at all.

With the acquisition of Xamarin, Microsoft has embraced the arduous task of changing the way developers think about developing for "mobile." The acquisition further positions Microsoft's ecosystem as a platform for developing cross-platform apps.

By providing developers with the tools to essentially write code once for all platforms (iOS, Android and Windows), Microsoft strategically elevates its platform to the same priority level as the two leading platforms. This single development platform that target's a single "mobile conglomerate" rather than individual platforms can help to change the way developers perceive mobile.

Given the brief window available to Microsoft between BUILD 2017 and the Surface phone Microsoft will need to use BUILD's platform to convince developers to embrace thinking of "mobile" as a single target that can be addressed via one development tool. If the Surface phone is to succeed changing how developers think, though difficult, is necessary.

Wand Labs: Who needs an app for that?

Last year Microsoft bought Wand Labs. This small start-up developed a messenger-based technology where a user could use an app that they didn't even have on their device. Wand breaks an app into components called "atoms." These atoms, (whether a song, movie, etc.) are recognized by Wand, and decoded information is converted into virtual apps stored as Wand plug-ins.

I presented an analysis of how Microsoft might incorporate this technology into its Conversation as a Canvas platform strategy:

If Microsoft plans to integrate Wands technology within the company's cross-platform AI and bot strategy, we may see Wands abilities incorporated into a host of messaging platforms across the industry. This plan, of course, includes Microsoft's first-party option Skype..."

If there was ever a time for Redmond to work some magic, and apply Wands unique tech, BUILD 2017 is the perfect stage for Microsoft to excite and wow developers.

What of the web

In my "The untold app gap story" series, I said that the mobile web is a more engaged platform than mobile apps.

Web properties are twice the size and growing twice as fast as app properties. Microsoft's AI and bots strategy seeks to optimize on this deference away from apps by utilizing highly engaged messaging platforms as the canvases for intelligent bots to facilitate certain tasks traditionally relegated to apps.

Could a Google's Instant Apps-like solution be another area for Microsoft to invest? Because Instant Apps use parts of existing apps Microsoft, given the app gap, cannot replicate it at the scope Google can facilitate it.

Still, given Microsoft's underdog position, Build 2017 is their opportunity to make a case for such a strategy in conjunction with an unprecedented push of its bots strategy.

Desperate times call for desperate measures

BUILD is Microsoft's annual stage where the company appeals to developers with keynotes and presentations expounding on the technical details of how they can be a part Microsoft's latest and greatest innovations.

That's practical. But it may not be as effective as what's needed as we approach the debut of the Surface phone. Especially since each year the presentations are great, but the developer support is still not where it needs to be.

The competition is brutal and Microsoft, as they make the intellectual appeal to developers by trying to sell them the benefits of developing for Windows, may find that developers investment in other ecosystems is a barrier to them investing in Windows. What Redmond may not be considering is that many developers, like all of us, are emotional beings.

They may need to see something drastic and unorthodox to cause them to really "see" the Windows ecosystem as something worth investing in. Desperate times call for desperate measures. Perhaps a permanent reduction in the percentage Microsoft requires from developers, or even a temporary elimination of that fee altogether, would be sufficient to get developers attention.

Microsoft should reduce or temporarily eliminate the fee it charges developers.

It would certainly communicate that Microsoft is serious about getting developers on board. They would, as the old saying goes, be putting their money where their mouth is.

I expect to see game-changing efforts from Microsoft at BUILD 2017 to engage developers as Redmond attempts to bolster its ecosystem for the debut of the Surface phone by 2018.

Microsoft, if you're listening, knock 'em dead.

What do you think Microsoft should do to win developer support?

Following the story

Windows phone isn't dead

Smartphones are dead

The untold app gap story

AIs, Bots and Canvases

Microsoft and the duo user

Windows Mobile and the enterprise

The Surface Phone

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!

317 Comments
  • Thanks for reading folks!!! Microsoft has a short timetable to get developers onboard to begin getting it's ecosystem in order before the Surface phone arrives. BUILD 2017 is the last opportunity for Redmond to make a focused and persuasive pitch to the developer community before Microsoft debuts the Surface phone. I highlighted some areas areas i think are important. What do you think Microsoft should do? Well you know the drill LET'S TALK!!!
  • 1 - Change the game, change everything, Microsoft need to travel to another galaxy gain some ultimate inspiration from an advanced civilization and build a device that will be much more than a phone, yeah you heard me ...more than a phone... Everybody is waiting for " SURFACE PHONE " let me tell you that it won't happen, Microsoft is not intended to build a phone at all but a device that everybody will love and will want to own like an iPhone, a device that will change the game, yes let me all caps here " A DEVICE THAT WILL CHANGE THE GAME, MICROSOFT NEED TO BUILD A DEVICE THAT WILL CHANGE THE GAME " Microsoft need to do what Apple did years ago when introducing the first iPhone.
    And I think this is happening, I have a feeling that they building something BIG, it might be a foldable device that can change shape or a companion device that can couple with the Surface tablet...
    2 - I will all caps again " NO LONGER WORRY ABOUT APPS " yeah i know this sound crazy, well not that crazy, if this ultimate unknown device will be able to run the full big fat Windows 10 then its already something big, I am not a big fan letting android apps running in windows so I don't propose it.
    3 - Before this ULTIMATE DEVICE which I won't call a surface phone arrives Microsoft should catch developers attention but how ? Well by CHANGING THE GAME, BY BUILDING SOMETHING THAT THEY WILL LOVE TO SEE THEIR APPS RUNNING ON.
  • so... basically, release the device first is what you're saying.
  • Yes, release the device and let it catch people's attention.
  • No, I get it, I'm just saying, their may have been an easier way to say it.  Edit: sorry, didn't want this to come across as too critical. i feel like a smiley would help here.
  • Oh I see, but I was dramatizing a bit. That's why I redacted that long, do not be sorry at all ☺ critics help making progress buddy ☺
  • What I'm afraid of though is the device will get people's attention, Samsung will notice the device is picking up support. They will then copy the device, shove android on it, and call it a breakthrough in mobile computing. People will then buy that and ignore Microsoft, because people still see them as a corporation who does not care about the consumer because there is not enough money involved to do it.
  • "Let it catch people's attention".....
    That right there I disagree with. The iPhone wasn't, and hasn't been, a success because Apple "Let it catch people's attention"... No, Apple has effectively marketed the dog **** out of it...
    No matter how wonderful a "Surface Phone" (don't get too caught up in the name, it's arbitrary) is it will not matter if nobody knows about it... So, MARKETING is what will be necessary for the Surface Phone to be a hit. Out of this world marketing. Even if the Surface Phone miraculously gained every app available to iDroid, It would not be a hit if marketing is insufficient. Microsoft has to check every box.
  • Microsoft need to travel to another galaxy gain some ultimate inspiration from an advanced civilization   Maybe to the Samsung Galaxy? I heard, there are some explosive ideas to be found there...
  • Way beyond the Samsung Galaxy 🌌, they need to go through GARGANTUA and land in the tesseract explore some brilliant ideas and come back to earth amaze us. It will happen
  • Or finally brng Windows LCARS?
  • The issue Microsoft have is the phone has to be something different to iOS and android. People are now stuck in there way with phones and just stay with the same os yoy. Windows mobile need to offer something different to the others. Continuum could be the answer but that is far off being what people want as it is now.
  • YES, Microsoft is not a lame duck. In the consumer mobile arena Msft is in the underdog position, but Satya is strategically very cool!
    Mobile in general is in its 1st generation only and Microsoft will take it to it's 2nd generation. Intel has let Msft down with mobile chipsets and cpu's. But, now ARM is near viable enough for the PC in your pocket and Msft is full out on it.
    People who frequently read Jason's articles know that there are no monolithic flavours of Windows anymore for quite a while. It's all about convergence for already a long time. Windows consists of many subsystems and they can be reconfigured, maintained and replaced as needed.
    Windows One Core is the core of both Windows 10 Mobile, Windows 10 desktop as well as other Windows flavours.
    So, we already have Windows 10 on ARM as Windows 10 Mobile. Hence, Windows 10 Mobile is not dead at all!
    Forget about Windows 10 desktop and its Full Windows moniker. Windows 10 Mobile is the new Windows, in its Redstone 3 release including the Win32 subsystem and an enhanced Continuum with Common Shell.
    When will we see new devices? Well, I wouldn't be surprised that at the end of this month during the Mobile World Congress we will see at least announcements of Windows 10 on ARM 2-in-1 tablets and notebooks with LTE.
    I would not be surprised either if we see this Ultra Mobile Surface device being announced in the September Oktober time frame with the availability of Windows 10 Redstone.
  • Mobile is not in its 1st generation. Palm owned that generation. Blackberry owned the 2nd generation, Apple the 3rd, now Samsung in the 4th.
  • I would not say there is a generation between Apple and Samsung.  They have two different operating systems, but both iOS and Andreoid are the same generation of Sandboxed, App based mobile with a Web Browser thrown in just as more of an after thought. Let's look at Mobiles from a computing point of view.  First Generation were really the old phones with 2G/EDGE/GPRS that had a clunky, basic browser running mobile WAP based.   Microsoft and Palm brought in mobile computing.  Think of Windows Mobile 6.5 and Earlier.  There are still many devices, including all those handheld scanning devices, that still run Windows CE/Windows 6.5 Mobile on them.  This is probably more correctly the Second Generation when it came to Mobile Computing and Microsoft pretty well owned that over Palm on device success. I would class, in my opinion, where Android and iOS is at as Third Generation mobile computing.  But it is more of a step backward to App Based over what Windows Mobile (6.5 and earlier) and Palm were capable of doing. I see what Microsoft is trying to build with Windows 10 One Core is beyond Mobile Devices, although you could call it a 4th Gen.  It is more of a Unified Generation.  A First Generation of fully unified devices.  A deam Apple and Alphabet (as Google) dabbled in but have yet to pull off.  
  • Mobile had been around since the early 20th century, even before the first mobile phones in the 1970's... So if you're not at least starting with those old Motorola devices from the 70's, then this whole argument is pointless... But, I do agree. Definitely not in the first generation😂😂😂😂😂 That's ludicrous.
  • What they also need to do is throw a couple billion dollars into a 'Hearts and Minds' campaign for the Surface brand. Emotional style commercials that inspire, just like Apple and Samsung are doing. Do some retro stuff too, Windows was everyone's first 'device' and we millennials love retro. That sort of appeal will get everyone talking Microsoft and Surface. They basically have to make Surface cool and Windows cool again. For the rest of 2017 no one should be able to go anywhere in North America, Europe, Asia and Australia/New Zealand and not be exposed to Surface in some way. If they have to take a bad quarter because if the marketing spend then so be it. They have hoardes of cash and they should use it otherwise it's useless.
  • Agree. Marketing is essential for success.
  • If its not game changer and doesn't include holographic projections, translucent screens, VR/AR, biocircuitry, etc.... then I hope they just stop bothering with Surface phone.  Please don't taint the Surface brand with mobile failures....
  • True.. Not sure if the things you mention are necessary, but MS does risk bringing down the Surface name if a "Surface Phone" doesn't hit.
  • Based on their past...prepare to be dissapointed.
  • Three years into the Nadella era at Microsoft, and this post and Zac's illustrate one thing clearly, no one knows (even the closest observers) what the f Microsoft is doing in Mobile.
    .
    On "Cloud First" you not only see the strategy, but you can see the increase in market share and revenue.
    .
    On "Mobile First" there's still continued blood letting in market share and revenue. Three years of "Mobile First" and Cortana hasn't replaced Siri on iPhone, nor Bing gaining on Google on Android. Phones sales are dying, OEMs saying they don't trust Microsoft's commitment. Developers abandoning their investments in Windows, customers left wondering why they ever believed in Microsoft to begin with... A complete failure after three years, but a Surface device will save the day in 2018... Maybe. Nadella should be VP of Cloud, and a new CEO hired. He failed at half his work.
  • Considering how well cloud is doing i would say its more like he lied about the cloud first mobile first. What he should have just said is "MS is a Cloud company first and for most and the inovation there will allow us a way forward to the future of MS as a Cloud only company".
  • That is exactly what I think is going to happen at some point... complete abandonment of Windows.  Maybe not in the short-term... but I think there are alternative plans being made beyond OS.
  • Except that the stock is up 100%, employee approval is up to 95%, and Microsoft has massively diversified their revenue streams.  Nadella is hardly a failure, or even half one.   It's actually quite clear what "mobile first" means.  It means that Microsoft will provide their application ecosystem on all mobile platforms of note.  As iOS and Android together have 98% of the market, it makes sense that this is where Microsoft invests its mobile app efforts.  
  • You are insane! Microsoft stock has never been higher. No one is buying Windows Phones so what did this genius do? He put all of Microsoft's services on to the other platforms to ensure that no matter what OS people are using, they are using Microsoft's services. You, like many readers here, are so focused on the mobile, that you fail to see how good they are doing on their services, their cloud infrastructure, as well as their Surface devices. Windows Phone has never gained traction. Even at its peak, it couldn't compete with Android or iOS. Personally, I prefer the direction that Microsoft is heading, but that is just me.
  • ...
  • I don't think so !
    Look they having success with their Surface line.
  • Agreed 😂
  • MS gave their "marching orders" to OEMs/ODMs recently and outlined several lines of products they hope to see made. Mobile devices aren't one of them. The Surface phone is probably never going to happen, and certainly won't be showing up at BUILD.  Correspondingly, UWP will remain stillborn.
  • Hey xI'm tc. Let's wait and see😉 Also, I made no argument that the Surface phone would show up at BUILD🙂 My argument was that MS needs to really enlist developers via BUILD to help bolster the ecosystem for the Surface "phone". Thanks for participating!👍🏿
  • Hey xI'm tc. Let's wait and see😉 Also, I made no argument that the Surface phone would show up at BUILD🙂 My argument was that MS needs to really enlist developers via BUILD to help bolster the ecosystem for the Surface "phone". Thanks for participating!👍🏿
  • I know you didn't.  But the implication was that something at BUILD would have to lay the framework for a mobile-friendly ecosystem in the future. But because there is no mobile future for MS, that won't happen. The only development that matters now is "cloud."
  • no, the implication is that there is something to be gained in mobile - right now. write your apps on all three platforms with xamarin, reach a larger audience, etc. though i agree it'll not have the same impact as the announcement of what the mobile future is intended to be like and that'll only be possible with the unveiling of this phone. which honestly, the longer they wait, the more mythical and powerful it'll become in people's heads and it won't live up to the hype.
  • There are only two platforms.
  • can't tell if you're being stupid or being antagonistic. 1) iOS 2) Android 3) W10M
  • My point is that there is no W10M.
  • If there's no W10M, what the hell have I been using for the last year?  Is it Android in disquise?
  • There was, but MS wrote off the entire division for eight billion dollars and fired everyone working there. It's over.  Get over it.
  • There are way more plattforms: UWP (Win10+Win10m) WIn32 (until the wrapper for UWP is ready) iOS Android (google & amazon) Blackberry OS 10 Tizen  
  • @Urbautz: there's even way more platforms than that. however, microsoft isn't trying to increase development on those platforms. their argument is to get people to write UWP-based mobile apps in addition to iOS and Android. So,that's still simply three platforms.
  • You're trolling... Intentional trolling is grounds to be banned. If you don't have anything logical to provide what's your point?....
  • xamarin is not a magic tool that helps develop powerful apps, it has serious limitations and cannot be used for anything more than basic apps, it doesnt give you full control over customization and you are dependent on third party always. no wonder big developers still code native and hence employ different ppl for ios and android teams.
  • @techiez: i get that and never said it was otherwise. but microsoft is still trying to get people to use that as opposed to writing apps solely for those other two platforms. we're talking about what microsoft is trying to do. we're not talking about a magic bullet to make everybody happy. we're looking at what microsoft is trying to improve from their perspective.
  • Xamarin not the solution, let them concentrate on improving their UWP APIs and then focus on getting consumer mindshare, developers will come and code native, Ms doesnt have to worry abt it.
  • no one ever said xamarin is the solution either. it's simply a step. however, the state of things as they are right now, the only way they can get developers is with something like xamarin. you need to lower barrier of entry. a new language that only applies to a very small audience is less attractive than a new language that applies to 99% of the audience. it's an evolution of things. you can't just suddenly have the world.
  • Xamarin will never entice developers. There is no way it is as powerful and useful as native development. There will be a trade off and your app with suffer. Why deal with that just to have access to a handful of Windows phones? It is a gimmick. Microsoft needs to entice users, they don't need more gimmicks.
  • Exactly. MS knows the phone will go nowhere without the ecosystem. We've been down that path. If they can get desktop UWP apps in the store, selling successfully, it will be a lower barrier for devs to add a mobile layout and make it for phones - especially if MS decides its time to relaunch phones and start promoting them again.
  • My mind is killing me 😞 because I was waiting for something big from Microsoft but it sounds there is nothing to wait for so I think it's better to change into android or iOS 😢 at the end of this year .
  • Why?
  • Because I was waiting for a strong phone with a strong store to buy but I don't this is going to happen
  • How do you sell apps to people that dont even install that many full on applications to begin with. The only success i see happening for the windows store is for tablets/2in1s and maybe just maybe when business jumps on board windows 10 in 2019 - 2020 theyll use whatever is left of windows store to distribute internal software.
  • Jason, when did you come up with the reduced or no fee for dev's..???? I said that when I still had my 1020 last year. I guess that is a common thought. I said start on x date, the one full year of developing from the time of release in that year will get you 100% royalties.
  • 100% of nothing is still nothing. The bottom line, they need to get people using the app store. They do not seem to be doing anything to convince people to even try it out.
  • there's not much else to draw users to the store other than apps and sales, and they're doing sales. the biggest thing that draws people to stores are apps. this is a false chicken & egg problem. obviously the apps have to be first.
  • They need to get people using the app store. They don't even put their own apps in there! Anything they can do to get people used to going to the app store and engaging with it will help. They are currently doing next to nothing to get people in the store. It really isn't a chicken and egg problem. If they get people using the store, then apps will come, that is what Google and Apple did, why can't Microsoft?
  • Bleached, I think that if the developers start developing for windows mobile/10 that users will come. BUT they need to entice all of the major players in the appiverse. All the banks, shopping, hotels, airlines etc. This would be a tall order but MS needs to push, not sit back. If that were to happen, I think it could gain some traction. If it does not, my iPhone kicks ass!
  • Developers won't come until they have people using the store. They need to get users first, otherwise developers are going to have no reason to create apps. Microsoft even tried paying developers and it didn't help. The developers made an app, collected the cash and abandoned it. Dan mentions this all the time. They need users. Period.
  • Bleached, do you go to a store that doesn't sell what you want? You can't get users into a store without apps. That's a ridiculous notion. The best they can do is try to sell what *is* in there store and they do that through sales in the Windows Store. They create collections to try and show people you can do the same thing on the store with different apps. I don't know what you're actually expecting. Maybe if you provide an example of what you're talking about? I just honestly don't see what else they can do other than get more apps and obviously that requires getting developers, not users.
  • Microsoft has ways to get you using the store. They should only distribute their software through the store on Windows 10 for starters. Even if you have the disk for Office 2007, it should just open the store and act like it is installing from there. They could make programs and features part of the store as well. Get people used to opening and using the store. I know Microsoft can think of many other things they can do. Doesn't seem they are putting much effort in at all. It doesn't matter if they get developers first. They will only be serious about the Windows store if there are users. If directly paying developers to make apps didn't work, what else can they do? Balmer had it wrong, it is "Users!Users!Users!".
  • Hopefully devs will get on board if windows on arm(small tablets) this year proves successful. If Microsoft and OEM's drive sales with full windows tablets with lte, I think developer support will increase with the idea that these tablets will be ultra portable and always connected. I hope, anyway...
  • There are already plenty of small, cheap tablets with Windows and they don't sell. ARM support isn't going to change that. It is just going to mean thinner laptops with lower performance. It will still just be a laptop. It won't change people's use habits. In five years it will be really nice. Laptops will be really thin, cheap and powerful.
  • Hey Jason. What you consider drastic (reducing MS' cut in the app store to 0%) is now almost pointless. That may have been useful three years ago. Not any more. Ultimately, that's just another attempt at optimizing the developer's side of the equation. That's exactly what MS has already been trying to do for over half a decade now (make it cheaper to develop apps, make it easier to port apps, pay devs to create apps, develop apps for others, etc). None of that matters anymore. I've been saying it for years now, and at this point MS has no other choice. Instead of giving developers more reasons to consider building apps, MS must give users more reasons to consider the ecosystem despite the lack of apps. Giving developers a larger cut of almost 0 sales still results in 0 profits. As drastic as the idea is, it still achieves nothing. If MS can increase the user base, devs will follow. Trying to entice devs without users is a lost cause.
  • Absolutely spot on, they lost that bus already, what now they need is again launch a stream of devices at 0 profit or even at some loss and back it up for few years and let marketshare grow. but doesnt seem like its going to happen, what they will do is launch surface mobile device, with limited availability and let OEMs be inspired but then very OEMs are interested in W10m
  • It is going to be nearly impossible to inspire manufacturers with a locked down operating system. There is nothing Microsoft can do with the Surface Mobile that the manufacturers cannot easily replicate with their already strong Android brands. They may be able to inspire the OEMs, but that doesn't mean they will use Windows. Microsoft needs fantastic first party hardware and software and they need to push it hard. They need to make their product irresistible and build a following that the manufacturers cannot ignore. Or just make first party hardware and keep the hardware profits.
  • @a5cent Chicken or egg...the persistent conundrum. I think there is value of attacking both issues simultaneously...
    1.Do all that they can to attract developers AND 2. Transform mobile with an ultimate mobile device, an ultramobile PC, that has full Win32 apps(ultimately modernized to UWP) with adaptable shells that can also be a full PC via Continuum to attract consumers; while also STRONGLY pushing IslandWood to get iOS apps as well, while investing in "Tomorrow's intelligent apps" -bots- that will and are replacing SOME(not all) functions of certain types of apps via messaging canvases. It's a comprehensive approach from my perspective, not one thing or another.🙂
  • Just doing stuff for the sake of doing stuff is a waste of resources and reduces MS' chances of success, as there is a limited amount of money to throw at the problem. We want each dollar to have the maximum affect. If sales are low, the value of MS raising developers' profits/sales or reducing their costs/sale is also low! Unfortunately, those are the only two means by which MS has ever tried to solve the chicken-egg problem. They are both developer oriented approaches. The last five years should be proof enough that they are not affective. Your "reduce MS' cut to zero" suggestion would prove equally useless for the same reason. The chicken-egg problem must be solved by going after users rather developers. Most importantly, a large user base is guaranteed to attract devs, whereas more devs (and some more apps), is not guaranteed to attract more users, particularly if those apps are just ports of what users already have on iOS and Android. Invest that same money to go after users rather than devs, and MS' dollars will have a much higher chance of a pay off.
  • Xamarin etc are kid tools, serious developers wont consder it, there are serious limitations, thats why ppl code native. Only way MS is going to attract developers was by keeping the marketshare afloat(pre retrenchment) by releasing devices timely across the world, communicate their mobile strategy consistently and stick to it, show commitment to their own OS before others. Since none of them has happened, nothing magical will happen at build considering mobile marketshare is now at all time low. Now another contradiction which reflects in your analysis is that : on one side we say there need to be apps, but on the other side we say apps will die soon and web will take over. Well this is exactly the same reason UWP never took off as the only viable target users remain on desktop who are already catered via web. mobile, hololens marketshare is miniscule so no incentives for developers to develop apps there, xbox hasnt yet caught up in app usage.
  • i wouldn't say xamarin is that weak. https://www.xamarin.com/customers  there's plenty of stuff that's successful built off xamarin.
  • That's exactly what they needed to do. "Windows phone" as it's considered by everyone outside this website sucks and they are starting over yet again. Them leaving the consumer space instead of pushing as hard as possible has damaged "Windows Phone's" image even though it was already bad before that. I'm still hopeful but they do need a miracle. Everyone knows how important mobile is and Microsoft has the money to go 12 rounds, but at some point they have to turn it around before the fight goes to the scorecards. It does seem like time is running out for them.
  • If MS wants to convince developers, MS must lead by example. Has MS used their "desktop bridge" to bring any of their Win32 software to the store? Nope. Has MS used their iOS bridge for any of their own apps? Nope. Has MS, the software company that creates apps for iOS, Android and UWP ever used Xamarin to create any of those products? It seems MS should themselves be a perfect match for Xamarin's target audience. Well, No! Not for a single product do they use Xamarin. Why in the world would anyone use MS' tools that even they themselves don't? You'd have to be stupid to risk that. If build is nothing more than marketing and talk, they might as well not get on stage at all. As I've said in a few of your earlier articles, talk will no longer cut it. Actions!
  • come to think of it, your point is quite valid indeed, cause all of the Garage apps they are doing for iOS and Android, they can very well use those bridges and makes app for Windows 10 Mobile. , I always wondered why developers don't use the tools and bridge the apps from other platforms, but then Msft not even using the own tools they said developers should use to bring more developers to their ecosystem.
  • True for the apps that are only on ios but I don't expect them to Port the ios version of the apps that are already in the store even though they are considered better on ios.
  • prior to anything with "surface" in the name, we didn't see any mention of similar items in their "marching orders" so that wouldn't surprise me. especially if its supposed to be something category-defining like many are hoping. pay-as-you-go tablet PCs and laptops may be interesting and may get more "mobile" focused UWP apps out there as well.
  • That is just patently untrue.  Windows 8 launched in October 2012 and there were quite a few "two in one" devices that launched with or shortly after it, from the VAIO Duo to the Samsung ATIV to the Lenovo Twist.  Sure, the Surface's (then terrible) detachable keyboard was kind of novel, but there were already similar things available for the iPad.  MS was asking their partners to respond to this. The Surface did not "launch" a category, it just brought it mainstream.  And the reason why MS felt they needed to do it, at enormous losses, was because PC OEM/ODMs were not following their "marching orders" with high-quality products.  They wanted to spur them off of their lazy butts. It worked. But making two-in-ones was certainly something MS had been telling them to do.
  • ATIV != Surface Pro. As you said, they launched with or shortly thereafter. Same with Dell and their Surface Studio half-clone. But, surprise, we knew of neither the Surface Studio or what Dell had plans for. Clearly Microsoft told them about it. So, again, the marching orders we know of *BEFORE* the brand new device is released are generally kept a secret until close to release, or secret enough that there's still "wow" to the release. So, again, while you could theoretically be right, your reasoning isn't sound. There's zero evidence to support it. Yes, there's zero evidence against it, but that doesn't make a theory sound. The marching orders you describe would be what they are with or without a surface device in the near future, even if OEMs had plans as well.
  • Wait, are you talking about Surface, "the tablet that can replace your laptop," or Surface studio, the all-in-one, of which I already own a clone, although it says "Lenovo Ideacentre AIO 720" on it and it came out like three years ago? Sure, the Surface tablet itself was a surprise, but MS had given marching orders to their OEMs/ODMs to make two in one devices.  And yes, we all knew about them well in advance because prototypes had been shown off at trade shows already, and MS had been saying for like a year that the next version of Windows (which was to be W8) was going to be a combined tablet/PC OS.  We even knew things about their plans to merge the kernel across desktop and mobile so that it would be easier to develop cross-platform apps. The Surface Studio is just another all-in-one.  It's a "hero" device meant to inspire OEMs/ODMs to elevate their game.  But it's nothing new.  We have known for years that MS wanted manufacturers to make touch-friendly desktops. My point is that MS does tell manufacturers and the public what the target markets are at least a year in advance.  And because mobile isn't on the 2017 list, I think it is safe to assume that MS has abandoned it.
  • This has also been said of the iPhone.
  • The Twist and VAIO Duo were actually convertibles.  Samsung ATIV was a 2-in-1.
  • That's what I'm hoping for since these new ultra portable tablet pc's will always be connected. I hope developers follow suit because I think they will sell well.
  • There is NO Surface Phone.  Nuf said already.
  • This.
  • While I fully agree with you Jason, I don't see much coming from Microsoft simply repeating what they said at last year's BUILD. Talk is cheap and will not get developers to come back. It all comes down to a lack of trust. More words at a conference will not help. We need action. For starters, how can they expect developers to embrace the bridges and Xamarin when they themselves have not released a single app using these technologies for over a year? This is also why I have always believed that their retrenchment was a big mistake. While it may have made sense in terms of a money-loosing hardware business, it's a strategy that is deadly if you are in the process of building a new app platform for which you want to attract developers. If they had chosen to take a short term hit on the hardware in order to jump start their long term UWP plans, I might have believed they were serious about it. But they went for short term. So either they are not really serious about UWP (despite what they like to sell us at BUILD) or they are being incredibly naive about what it will take to get developers to come back. At times, this still feels like the old Microsoft where the PC was king of the world and Microsoft ruled it with Windows. Those days are long gone, but not everyone at Microsoft appears to have gotten that message yet. People will not follow them just because they snap their fingers. No, they will have to fight to get developers back on board. A few marketing sessions at a conference will not cut it.
  • Agreed. I wish someone inside of Microsoft would read your response, and then take up the later to someone that can reach Nadella's ear. 
  • Absolutely they need to "eat their own dogfood" and make use of their own bridges as part of a strategy to win developer trust. Show the mobile versions of Office apps built using Xamarin and working on Windows 10, iOS, and Android. Minecraft, too. And announce that this is how they will be built going forward. Same with the desktop version of Office as a Project Centennial conversion. Show these bridges are ready for prime time, and that the company is 100% committed to them. As for the phone situation, I was one of those championing a retrenchment, but not the way Microsoft ended up doing it (not even just a retreat, more like a rout). Windows Phone had significant market share in a number of countries and had some growth in the US, but neither Microsoft nor Nokia were making money, so I could see it being a difficult model to sustain. When Nadella talked about cutting back to 3 main phone categories, it made sense to me. Whether three models was the right number or not, reducing the huge numbers of models Nokia had to a few covering low, mid-range, and high end, and increasing the sales volume of each model to the point where the business could be profitable or at least break-even seemed like a good short term plan. This would hopefully allow them to stop the financial bleeding, hold on to the gains they had made, and give them time for new features (UWP, Continuum, etc.) to come online for a new push. Then came the disappointment of the X50 series phones. Meanwhile, Microsoft dropped the ball on upgrading the vast majority of Windows Phone 8.X devices to Win10M, which split the developer base for an already small market. (Shades of Windows Phone 7.X to 8.) Now going forward it sounds like, to whatever extent Microsoft has plans for mobile, it's going to be centered on Windows on Arm. Which may be great or may be another disappointment, but one thing is for sure. Since WoA will require a SD835 minimum, literally no existing Win10M device will be able to upgrade to it. Here we go again....
  • Let's be honest. They've had years and years to get developers enthusiastic & apart from a Whatsapp( and maybe 1 or 2 others) that is serious about Windows Mobile, there aren't many others. Even Microsoft is giving their apps a priority on Android and IOS. If Microsoft are showing developers that even they see Android and IOS as a priority, then how can Microsoft make developers think otherwise. I don't see it happening. Too late, far too late.
  • Prime example, Minecraft. nuff said.
  • Agreed,they need to sweeten the pot for Devs asap, offer them free services for a time but they can't go into this with their normal fee structure.
    It's now or never in mobile, absolute last chance, so if they can't entice them now they never will.
    No or super low fees, offer them a free service to create and maintain the apps free of cost for 12 months or something like that!!
    Greed might be good, but a small slice of the pie is better then none!
  • I think one huge thing that is in Microsoft's favor is 5g. I believe Microsoft (if they do change the game) has the perfect opportunity to come to market in conjunction with 5g and totally change the game. I have the patience to wait for them until 5g is here, and I believe that is what they are planning on.
  • Why, because you say so? The Surface Phone will have success if the market is prepared for it and if the market wants it. Nobody will give a **** about developers if the people will want to buy that thing. You forget iPhone was a huge success before apps. Period.
  • If we don't do something by 'X' date we'll all die!! I wish we can all step back, take a breath and stop characterizing everything in absolutes. Life is analog, not binary.
  • It really is GroundHog day!  "We'll talk about it at the next BUILD".  They needed to bring the goods back in 2010, they're not coming back, they are way way too late. "It's dead Jim" - Bones (Star Trek)  
  • ^^^^^ THIS !
    They had an opportunity ....  in 2007.  Fail,  2010 Fail, 2014 Fail.  Enough already... I like MS but this ship has sailed.  
  • Arguably, WP *did* in fact take off with the launch of the Lumia 920, which was all around high tech back in October 2012 (though unfortunately limited to dual core S4 instead of the available back then quad core S4). If Nokia would've had the 930 in time for late 2013 release and a 940 for 2014 , WP would've been full steam ahead. Nontheless, it didn't happen.
  • Windows 10 mobile IS dead and have been dead for a while now, since MS didn't push enough. Surface phone have sure indeed to stand out against other, similar aint good enough. Developers leaving, apps shutting down support, no phones to buy. Continuum hasn't had any breakthrough so far and will not be successful in surface phone. 2017 will be the year windows 10 mobile catch breath to be killed off 2018. It will sell in thousands like hololens because no one can afford it. That enterprise push is wrong way in mobile but keep pushing, I'm leaving for android.
    .....will we see a surface phone? My thoughts and answer is NO
  • I agree with you because MS stopped making Lumia phones so there isn't any new MS to buy that means there is no users for Windows Phones so how do they think they can get back the developers to work with them and If there isn't any apps that means there is no Surface Phone this means (REST IN PEACE MS AND STOP MAKING PHONE)
  • You have my attention, the day Windows Phone fans know the truth why McLaren got cancelled is the day we will solve this puzzle of why Windows Phone Marketshare in Europe and South America was higher than iOS in Late 2013.  Windows Phone did had a chance to become 2nd place and beat Apple, but something happened inside Microsoft and we have not been told the truth.  I was a big fan of Windows Phone 2 years ago and my Lumia 625 was my first smartphone, before that I had a Nokia phone with Symbian OS that was very similar than a BlackBerry. Unfortunately, today I'm on Android.
  • And to think this OS actually had some momentum in 2013. 10% market share in some countries, lots of advertising, lots of devices (maybe too many), apps being added, the announcement of the 1320 &1520, all the new features of 8.1, etc. Just don't understand how MS just blew it.
  • They were losing money on every phone, and Android destroyed their entry-level market share, the only segment in which Windows Phone did remotely well.  
  • 10% in a couple price conscious markets selling $30 phones isn't momentum.
  • Compared to where they started in 2010 I consider it momentum..
  • Obviously Microsoft and Nokia didn't see the momentum. They killed the platform for a reason. It wasn't worth continuing.
  • Nadella happened...layoffs,cheap working, mediocre quality and zero commitment...
  • I wouldnt say it took off. MS threw everything they could at it and lost billions. They proved that you cant make it work without the ecosystem.
  • Build is unlikely to be eventful, as MS has nothing whatsoever to bring to the mobile arena at this time. They're still trying to get Win10 desktop working great for enterprise, tablet and adding back features cut and omitted. RS3 seems the earliest timeline for that.
  • The discussion isn't whether an awesome device is announced at build... its just simply how will they get developers to write UWP apps that take advantage of small/medium/big/large/huge screens (mobile/tablet/pc/xbox/surface hub). Or how will they entice them to write their android apps with xamarin and compile w10m as well. At most, we'll only see hints of the "surface phone" capabilities. but they won't tip their hand before its ready if they want it to make a splash.
  • they won't get real UWP apps anytime soon as the API is still immature, support a moving target, bridges DOA, centennial only works on basic "100% auto/blind" installers, etc. UWP is a colossal failure to date. Successful Android/iOS apps are already written. No startup is going to to worry about UWP but 100% focus on largest marketshare and simplest coding. No corporation is going to waste time on UWP over HTML5 and web compliance (any platform).  
  • I don't think it's their last opportunity, nor that it would be a good moment to lose money from app fees altogether. But they could sure benefit from sparking a support movement towards the platform. Personally, I think that a clear, explicit outline of what the device landscape is going to be like would create the needed enthusiasm. That implies showing prototypes of Windows on Arm devices and to some extent the Surface Phone. Or at least a big reveal about the Surface Phone.
  • Doesn't kill what? Windows Mobile? They already did that years ago!
  • It is highly respectable of msft to even consider supporting Windows 10 Mobile for (a lot of) devices especially with 1% market share. With potential advantages (Continuum, UWP apps, OS integrated AI, One core experience) over other platforms msft can do more than the others, that I can agree but you don't want to waste another opportunity without a clear strategy.
  • Please, man. It is already DEAD. A long time ago. I have W10M on my Lumia 1520. And many features continue to be broken, feature-less and bug riddle. The Photo and Camera app are beyond worthless.
  • Change phones.
    Why do you even come to these forums. You have nothing good to say ever about MS or WM. Move on, for your sake and our sake. I hear there are discounts on Android!
  • Never said that the Nokia is my lone phone.
  • But I agree with Ricardo Dawkins I respect MS for their work but the have to know when they have to give from the WM just take a look at the store there isn't to much apps and it's all old apps then try to compare it with the android or iOS store it's like a warm standing against a big rock even no developers are coming Microsoft won't make it.
  • Got a 1520 and a 950xl.. No issues with camera, photo app or anything much else. You tried a fresh install? Camera of xl is miles better but love the screen size and colours on the 1520s screen.
  • Apps still hang and crash randomly for no good reason.
  • Nothing on mine for at least four builds on fast ring.
  • I have a 950xl and on fast insider. I have not had a problem with core apps in a very long time.
  • My camera app is fudged on my XL.
  • I agree, my phones have none of the problems people complain about here. I did have problems with my L730 running W10 when on the insider program but I reset the phone and it's work great ever since. If you have problems with your camera app or photos app maybe it's your SD card and not the phone.
  • I have a 950 (not XL) and the camera app is really bonkers. It continuously hangs with "Saving..." (doesn't matter if I save to internal storage or SD card) and the post filtering ruins a lot of low light images. 19 megapixels of oversaturated blur. Awesome. But under the right conditions (sunny days) it can produce some really nice images. Almost in the class of my DSLR (beside the limited optics). Resetting the phone hasn't helped a single time. It just doesn't work as it should, and it's 2017. Others have solved it, why can't Microsoft?
  • These articles actually show desperation of a true fan, for months Jason assumed every act / announcement of MS is linked to some secret mobile strategy but now he's probably realized all that he envisioned wasnt going to happen/wasnt going to help, so now you see these desperate calls from Jason. Still MS isnt gonna do anything abt it
     
  • Actually, the mobile strategy wasn't secret at all. What I presented has been based on publically accessible data and equally public announcements.
  • I really don't care, and I don't mean that in a negative way.
    I am very happy with my Elite x3.
    Whatever Microsoft does with the underlying code, as long as I can get a phone that gives me the same user experience, I'll take it.
  • Couldn't have said it better. Thx!
  • Ma man...
  • Oh.. What's the x3 like, have a 950xl and feel the need to upgrade but worried about the camera.
  • The camera is quite good, not GREAT like the xl (we have both) but for me the other parts of the phone pushed me over the line. I'm still eagerly waiting for the Wharton Brooks phone though. I will be first in line.
  • Has anyone actually seen the Brooks phone yet? Thanks for the feedback mate.
  • Don't think anyone has. I think it may look a little drab compared to the HP, but then again it may be half the price. The screen on the HP is awesome. Speed is very good, runs smooth, very stable, Bluetooth stuff all good. Only gripe is the double tap to wake isn't reliable. Also, miss glance more than I thought. Sound is impressive, little low in bass but that's being picky. Storage awesome, feels great in the hand, thinner than you think. Much better in person than seeing it in photos. Once you pick it up you'll want it. Feels super premium. Finger print scanner is fantastic, hello works very well. Very hard to find fault with this phone, also, the battery life is a day and a half🤓, heavy use, one day.
  • Agree with Aden. The camera is ok, but not 'Lumia' great. However, other than the okay camera, the build and performance of the Elite X3 is excellent. Battery is an all day affair with heavy use. The water and drop resistance has proven valuable and effective. I have found it to be an outstanding business device i.e. All core functions work at a consistently high level. Really soild first foray into W10M by HP.
  • x3 is great, gladly gave my 950XL to my wife. Camera on x3 is not that far behind really- some make out that there is a massive gulf between them but there isn't really. It's subtleties that differentiate them. Coming from 950XL, i'm perfectly happy with the camera. The x3 has more raw power and with this weeks firmware update improves the overall user experience notably.
  • Not sure if I've missed a post about this, but doesn't Windows on ARM make UWP apps pointless? UWP apps really only target Windows 10 desktops and Xbox since the W10M marketshare is so low. The only apps that make sense on both desktops and Xbox are games and media apps like Netflix, Hulu, etc.  Meanwhile, Win32 apps will target everything except Xbox. Yeah, Windows 10 is the future, but Windows 7 and 8 still have a large enough install base that they can't be ignored. 
  • Nope, UWP's gonna stay for a while and with Windows on ARM, UWA will run 10 times as effective than ever. A full blown OS (in a pocket-able and expandable device) will never really replace the compact nature of a mobile device and a compact ecosystem it can provide, at least when you need the device in a busy environment.
  • Win32 on ARM will fail if software which is not hosted on Windows Store cannot be run, it will be another WinRT failed experiment.  I thought Win32 on ARM could let me copy my executables (exe files I have in Windows 10) in a SD card and then internally the Emulator technology of Microsoft would translate the win32 instructions into ARM instructions. 
  • Microsoft would love to ditch Win32 in favor of UWP. Too bad not even their own apps are worth a damn most of the time. And they should be shining beacons for devs to follow. That again, never happened. Not for WP7, not for WP8.0, WP8.1 or W10M or W8.x/W10
  • Absolutely not. UWP allows for their composable shell. Emulation is simply a stop gap to provide something like the Surface 3 or to maybe help give w10m a leg up (imagine running legacy apps in continuum or if its a folding phone, in tablet mode. But it's pointless to discount mobile entirely in their UWP vision just because it isn't doing well now. Why would you assume that they're planning on never breaking past 1%?
  • Is it actually going to be a stop gap though? We still have three more years of Windows 7 support, then a few years after that of Windows 8 support. It's going to be a long time before Microsoft can ditch Win32. If a Win32 app is going to work for the vast majority of Windows users anyway, why spend the money to build a UWP?
  • Another major issue MS have is the devs already have 100% of the market. They just don't need MS especially considering their abysmal track record.
  • Agreed, UWP is pointless if no big software companies are using it.  I read in a forum in The Verge that Adobe Photoshop Elements could run on Windows 10 Cloud edition since it is based on UWP, and that's what project Centeniall is all about.  But outside of Adobe Photoshop Elements, all apps in Windows 10 store are garbage, except for some AAA games.
  • I thought a Centennial app in the store would still need the Win32 API's? Therefore only UWP apps would work on Windows 10 Cloud. This is all speculation of course. 
  • It depends on how much work the developer does.  The lowest effort conversion still relies on Win32.  A full conversion to UWP does not.  
  • I totally agree with the assessment that the store needs to become a no brainer win for devs to even consider UWP.  Make the barrier to entry so low you could trip on it.  Remove any costs associated with becoming a submitting dev....this is the cost of saving the mobile platform and now the cost of doing business as a third place distant runner up.  Offer a more attractive split or even 100% proceeds to the dev for the first year an app is in the store.  Apps aren't just attractive because they are put in a store, they are inherently more attractive when they get updates.  100% profits to the dev give a ton of incentive to not only deploy, but keep the updates rolling.  GET DEVS EXCITED....this means MS needs to not only show devs they can make money today, but that the platform, and by extension the store, will be available to mobile users 3, 5, 10 years from now.   Who wants to develop for an OS that MS has basically said "meh" to?  Hell why do you think Joe Belfiore was able to go away for a year.....he knew the strategic vision of mobile involved very little to be excited about during his time away.   Get a sexy design language that extends from the most to least expensive hardware.  A Surface 3 looked (more or less) exactly like a Surface Pro 3 from the outside.  Even the "cheap" model in this case showed off the same premium aesthetics of the most expensive model.  Start with the assumption that affordable does not have to equal "cheap" quality.  Have three and only three (max) phone levels ever.  All should effectively share the same design language.  A Civic looks like an Accord looks like a CRV.
  • If surface phone can't resurrect Windows, well maybe something else can....a flagship Samsung running W10M, that would be a game changer
  • Samsung wouldn't notice the platform (again) until or unless msft changes the game like it did with the Surface line of devices. Samsung's looking to cook an OS of their own, after all...
  • But it ain't gonna happen based on what the state of the OS is right now. Surface phone has to do quite a splash for other companies to be on board again. Still treasured those days when HTC, Samsung and more somewhat believed in WP7...Heck, my first windows phone was the Samsung Focus!
  • And what does a flagship Samsung give that my 950xl doesn't? Agreed a better housing on the rear but not a lot else tbh.
  • Name any Samsung device that was a failed to gain popularity people labelled not what the OS it running
  • How were the sales on the Samsung Galaxy TabPro S?
  • Their washing machines sold like they were on fire as well.....oh hang on.
  • A flagship Samsung with Android or with W10M? With Android you have: apps, a more polished and capable OS, games and a future ahead of the OS. W10M has ... It's unique interface ... The end.
  • 85% marketshare.
  • A Galaxy S8 running W10M? It still wouldn't sell more than maybe a couple thousand units in a year.
  • The game changer is having the OEM make all the phones dual boot
  • Never going to happen, Shamedung want nothing more than to see MS fail. Support will only ever be as a token gesture.
  • BUILD WHAT THEY SHOULD HAVE BEEN BUILT IN 2090.
  • Unless the "Surface" phone is a real break from what W10 is, I don't see it being successful. MS's next move must be getting developers back. Maybe there apps must be simple to port or write, but even then, the next W10, or whatever it is incarnation, would have to much different than the problems with app writing/porting today which MS have tried so hard to implement. 
  • what? what's so difficult about it today?
  • Something about the size of BlackBerry Passport, that folds out to twice that size. Business oriented. I'd get a Passport right now if it ran W10 or Android.
  • The biggest obstacle MS must get over with its final push on mobile is the same obstacle it has never been able to get over. It's not the lack of apps. It's carrier support. Apps could come if people get their hands on the device, but all four major carriers will need to not only carry the device but also offer pay as you go/financing on the device. If release is relegated to one carrier or gsm only, it is over.
  • They are going to have a hard time getting all the carriers on board. No one starts with all the carriers. You start with exclusives and prove you deserve to be on all carriers. Samsung, Apple, LG, HTC all started with exclusives and proved themselves. Microsoft will need to do the same. They also need some sort of value-add for carriers, they need to do anything they can to make the carriers happy. Otherwise, they will not push Microsoft's device and it will fail.
  • I cant see them doing anything that will remotely interest the developers they're trying to attract. The ship sailed a few years ago.
    I am still using a WM10, and I am waiting for my contract to run through, if by the end of the year I've heard or seen nothing about what MS intends to do regarding their mobiles I will jump ship. Been loyal to this since WP7. my patience hasn't been this tested since the Original Xbox.
  • I can join you jumping ship? Proudly bought wp7 lumia 800 at highest cost, become nerd when purchaising lumia 920 at highest cost. Bought my best wp device so far lumia 1520 at the highest price. Market rising..no rocking a lumia 950XL and we are back to zero...no support, no flagships, declaining market, no apps, developers quit supporting. Jesus how much money I have spent on this platform with early hopes of "this is the future". Besides those devices I have purchased two new 520 and a lumia 830 used one. I broke😂
  • Honestly, you can't say anything remotely realistic on this comments section without a load of thumbs down. I came out of the hoping MS will turn the mobile thing around some time ago.
    They're right to want a paradigm shift. I feel they will shift it, and iOS and Android will build on it and do it more successfully because they have an existing market share. I cant see anyone who has invested money and time in an ecosystem like iOS or Android to suddenly think Yeh I want that new WM.
  • I was reading the article and all I could think of was that MS should remove any barriers in terms of fee's, etc at least temporarily. I really think it's a great point Jason. Dev's don't want to pay to publish apps that may or may not get used by a very limited audience. Now if it were free and they could use existing code base to publish for Windows mobile, I'm convinced that would also be a game changer.
  • too late for that they should have done it 2 yrs back, now with Lumia dead, marketshare almost 0, unless MS just pays hard cash to develop apps, its not gonna help.
  • This ^^^^
  • I appreciate this article, thanks for that. Although I do believe that the article does forget to address the very thing you mention - the emotional being. It's all very good to discuss the technicalities, as some of us may understand them, but the average dude in the street wants to know how it's going to effect him/her, not how the thing works. Yes, many of us MS fans love to look under the hood, but when you speak to someone about WM who owns an iPhone or owns an Android, all they hear are dots and dashes. They will literally pass out with boredom.
    I agree that 2017 is a massive year to build on the great momentum of 2016 with the Surface line doing so well and being ingrained into peoples ecosystem. They are everywhere now, and of course they should be. MS is doing a great job at showing the way, and it is NOT true that things don't improve with Windows 10 desktop and mobile because they do - everyday. I also see new UWP apps, and old ones getting better all the time. Maybe some focus should be on what's new and better rather than all the time - what's been dropped. Just saying.
    Microsoft Build would be a great opportunity to take a look at the Surface Device (phone thingy) whatever stage it's at, whatever stage ARM is at.
    What MS is doing with changing the entire ecosystem path is exciting, it's NEEDED, and it's HAPPENING.
    Windows mobile isn't dead, it's evolving for the better, and I believe that the foundations that have been laid since 7, 8 and 10 are GREAT foundations that the others are only lately starting to realise (iOS & Android).
  • Thanks for the feedback Aden🙂
  • Surface Fold. Not phone. :)
  • Microsoft obviously needs new leadership in the mobile space. A mobile Czar is needed with enough of a free hand and budget to prevent enterprise-focused senior management from continuing to make strategic and tactical blunders on the consumer side. Jason has my vote for the short-list of candidates. ;)
  • when Hugo Barra left Xiaomi, MS should hv  poached him.
  • what ever they are going to do they can't use their feet to run in a running race they need a rocket to ride. hey Microsoft snap your figers at developers they need to see you and hear you.
  • Samsung will have a Surface type phone released, probably before MS announces one, if any at all. Wait and see and stick with the 950xl for another year.
  • Samsung can make the next Windows Phone on ARM if they want. They are not a MS competitor like Apple is. There is no reason their next S8 can't run WM10 or the new W10 on ARM. I think MS should partner with them and make a Win version of all their mobile devices.
  • They tried that. They all flopped.
  • By providing developers with the tools to essentially write code once for all platforms (iOS, Android and Windows), Microsoft strategically elevates its platform to the same priority level as the two leading platforms. This single development platform that target's a single "mobile conglomerate" rather than individual platforms can help to change the way developers perceive mobile.
    This is Micorosft's only hope.
  • They need users, not gimmicks.
  • I'm honestly interested in why people are looking for or hoping for a Windows phone at this point? What does/would a windows phone offer to you that you can't get with another type of phone? I am fully immersed in the Windows/Microsoft (Office, Groove, Outlook.com, OneNote, Office Lens) environment and I am getting along great with an iPhone, as Microsoft has very good apps for iOS, and I'm assuming same applies for Android.
  • "What does/would a windows phone offer to you that you can't get with another type of phone?" A better UI and UX.
  • I prefer the user experience on WP a lot better than IOS and Android. I really like the live tile approach to app interaction and providing information. Personal choice.
  • WM OS is just better.
  • I agree. That makes 2 of us.
  • Live tiles, and the over all look of the start screen. I can customize my phone to my liking more, make it colors that I like. Live tiles also let me see more info without having to open an app. iOS and Android look pretty much the same (boring) but WM makes you want to look at it. It's moving and alive. I get a lot of compliments on how beautiful my L650 looks.
  • Ohhhh, you can choose colors and use gimped widgets! So much customization! Widgets are Live Tiles that can be any shape and are interactive and chaseable. Live Tiles have no advantage compared to widgets.
  • You've established you hate live tiles but that doesn't mean everyone else has to. Widgets are more useful when done right but it's not like they are all good, useful or visually appealing(which is my biggest issue with them). They don't always look good on the home screen and not every app has a dedicated great widget that everyone will use.
  • i know theres alot of apps i want but if microsft can get all the google apps that ion itself would be huge and improve there chances imeasurablely.  Everyone and their dog use google.  Also suport your own apps.  gestures beta is still not back on windows 10 with a speaker option and skype doesnt have all the abilities android has, groove doesnt read s7 edge the best selling phones sd card so im forced to us play.  These are the things microsft needs to do oh and wireless pay.  The rest will come but microsft cant keep screwing up like they still are but leaving gestures out or by not alowing users to open a new tab in edge and it open to their home page of probably google lol.  they need to sort these small things out cause its the small things hurting them.  Windows 10 itself is great on desktop and ok on mobile.    phones dont need keyboards its that simple, its a different device, a phone with a keyboard was my prefered option back in 2015 10 years later the finger is the best tool.  Even apple has forgoten that.  I built in stand on the phone would be cool though.    
  • I don't understand why everyone claims Microsoft did not push WP enough.  WP7 release with plenty of hardware vendor support.  HTC, Samsung, LG and even Dell all had devices.  Eventually Nokia came to the party.  Back then Android still had a significant App gap with iOS, and was not established as the de facto alternative to iOS.  Palm with WebOS were still around back then.  You could get a phone on every carrier, and the devices/OS were generally well recieved and won a few awards.  At the time MS was hosting various developer events all around the world to get people interested.  Once Nokia came on board, this was significantly ramped up.  When WP8 launched, Dell and LG dropped off, but HTC, Nokia and Samsung released very nice devices.  Including the beloved 920.  And at that time, MS/Nokia were practically giving phones away to just about any developer who was interested.  A Nokia rep told me that if I needed to test my app against another phone, they would happly ship it out to me for an extended test period.  Many were given devices straight out.  I feel MS/Nokia courted developers very heavily... So what happened?  First off, Google.  WP never had a decent YouTube app.  We all know how Google killed the MS developed one.  In the beginnin this was important because both iOS and Android had YouTube apps, and users just accepted that all phones should. Google Maps in the same story.  Sure we had Bing Maps, and the excellent at the time Here Drive app, but again Google Maps has become the standard, and both iOS and Andoird had Google Maps. Then came the extremely late arrival of the Instagram app.  The WP8 app was ok, but lagged behind the iOS/Android counterpart, and updates were slow to nonexistant.  If I remember correctly, Nokia had to damn near bribe Instagram to create the original app.  Next was SnapChat.  This has become the defacto standard messaging app for anyone under 25.  Snap's CEO is just as hostile to MS as Google, so there is little chance that app will ever appear on Windows.  Another example is Pepple.  Maybe not that big of a deal in drawing in users, but Pepple's CEO was also hostile towards the platform.  MS even developed a fully featured Pepple App and was willing to give it to Pepple.  They instead killed it. If these companies are openely hostile to MS, what are they to do?  They cannot force them to make apps on their platform?!?!? Sure MS made mistakes...  The WP7 phones were not able to upgrade to WP8.  WP8 phones were all promised upgrades to WM10, but even that did not happen.  Nokia made the classic mistake of carrier exclusives.  The 920, was ONLY released on ATT.  The 1020, which due to its camera, generated a lot of interest.  I know 2 iOS users that bought that phone for the camera, but again, it was only available on ATT.  I'm sorry but the 1020 was no iPhone, very few were willing to jump carriers just for that one phone.  A MS rep once told me that was the dirty game the carriers played.  Either you gave them the exclusive or they would not carry the phone at all.  Not sure how Samsung got around that, but the galaxy was damn available on EVERY network.  Heck you could get a Galaxy at 7 Eleven on some prepaid plan...  Updates were also a MS issue...  I've said this before, I walked into a MS store when Cortana was released, and the entire store was filled with Cortana ads, yet none of the phones were updated to have Cortana.  So if a customer walked in and a) wanted to see it, they could not, and b) wanted to buy it, they could not.  The Nokia Icon on Verizon did not even get the Cortana update for 9 months if I remember correctly. Honestly, I believe that Windows Phone failed because a significant portion of the industry activly decided to stop it.  Maybe it was karma, and developers did not want MS to grow to dominate the mobile space as well.  Windows 8 on the desktop did not help either.  We all know the reputation Windows 8 got in the media, so people accepted that it was "bad", so why would they want a phone that ran a "bad" OS. Finally store clerks did not help.  There were countless stories of customers walking in expressing interest in a Windows Phone only to be showed an Andoird or iOS device instead, being told Windows Phones are crap.
  • Everything you said is true. But the real issue now is that Nadella's phone strategy is myopic. It killed any momentum in hopes of creating something better later. I believe he made a mistake doing that and it will also affect the rest of the adaption of Windows on other platforms. His saving grace is offering the individual services on all the platform, but what I see trending is the sliding away from Windows as an OS. The reason being that the computer is no longer the lead hardware, it's the phone. It use to be the computer, but the apps have changed how people compute. I think the idea of w32 software working on a phone in a continuum format is great, but it's window of impact has already passed. It is now regulated to the niche group segment because the competition already has the apps and WP doesn't. But I don't think MS is out of options, but I do feel they need to change their approach. But I have a nagging itch that tells me that MS isn't really that interested in being successful with a phone product, or at least not Nadella. They said that 2017 will be the year of the WP development. So, I'm just going to wait and see.
  • The problem with Windows Mobile is twofold: digging itself out from under the horrendous mess in which Ballmer left it, and the terrible execution since Nadella took over.  Win10M was late, buggy and very feature-impoverished.  It's hard to imagine that Microsoft doesn't want to dominate the phone as they do the desktop.  Unfortunately, it appears that the wrong people have had decision-making power since CE. On the Windows OS front, Microsoft is facing serious challenges both in terms of competitive features and in pricing pressure.  It's apparent that under Nadella, Microsoft has been diversifying its major revenue streams and diminishing the importance of Windows to the bottom line.  Just look at the stock price.  It has doubled since Nadella took over (after being basically flat for over a decade under Ballmer), while PC sales have languished.  Had Nadella not pushed cloud-first-mobile-first, Microsoft would be in a much worse position than they are now.  
  • one word. "Retrenchment"
  • Re: aka Marekt77,
    What is going on with your LONG posts and their odd display?
  • Good post.  I'd argue the the problem goes back prior to WP7, to the decision to drop the CE and .NET platforms, and instead go pure Silverlight, a significantly hampered platform with no backward compatibility to CE/.NET.  It's astounding that Microsoft did an OS "upgrade" with no app compat story.  We had a full featured Outlook, and some really good .NET apps on CE.  In WP7, an infantile email app in comparison, and none of the apps that worked in CE.  Horrendous.   And before that, there was the poo-pooing of the iPhone, and then a realization later on that iPhone was going to eat Microsoft's lunch, and the ill-concieved decision to go with an OS that somewhat mimicked iOS look and feel, while being years behind in feature set and apps.   Finally, the metro design ideology was poison to Microsoft.  Zune went Metro and died.  Windows 8 went Metro, and had serious adoption issues, especially compared to the excellent Windows 7.  Windows Phone/Mobile went Metro, and never really got going before tanking.  
  • I agree... I think the main problem Microsoft got caught in a copy-cat of Apple's philosophy which didn't make any sense whatsoever and we mostly stated this back then in wonderment and then followed up with WinRT by charging as much as an apple on a ARM chip. There is more to say but this thread is kinda old to this point...
  • Seeing this instant apps we see that MS is very behind google. My Lumia 950 is waiting in the drawer for a Windows Mobile revolution
  • I am a developer and I would be happy to pay to develop for UWP as long as Microsoft finishes its ambitious but incomplete work on the platform. Currently I cannot develop for UWP because it the only .NET language it allows is C#.
  • Just curious...what language would you use if they included full support?
  • I just want a 10 inches tablet version of the Lumia 650.  With 3:2 ratio screen.  And better Edge.  lol
  • It's about the future, it's not about upgrading the current state of mobile era. Going beyond limits. Aren't you all pissed of the boring android and ios interface. There is no future in developing apps without putting them on a live platform. The OS matters and it gives the experience we all need. I'm sure you all like the live tale interface, the smooth and easy navigation - that is what WP OS can do even with 1 GB ram and android needs 4 for this. Sure, a clear vision and details are needed. They can not engage the developers only rumoring about it. Cost cutting, creating  tension and presenting the new products and experience I believe is the right path they should follow to get to the top. Do not forget the business, that is what drives the tech. Continuum, it's mobility, cost, efficiency. So to put it in a nutshell - the future is to change and innovate and that's what windows does.
  • It isn't 2011. Android is smooth even on the cheapest hardware. Android didn't get to 85% of the market because it is a bad experience. Window's phones are a bad experience, that is why they are only 0.3% today.
  • MIcrosoft NEEDS to do a deal with the OEM and make all phones DUAL BOOT. Droid and Windows
  • We do not need that.
  • Agreed, no thanks
  • I don't need it and Android (Alliance) doesn't allow dual booting.
  • Build isn't about phones... so... yeah.  F.U.D.
  • Hi Sean you're right BUILD is not about "phones" it's about the ecosystem that supports the platform, (thus "phone") which this piece is about. I mentioned several areas in the piece that MS can address yo bolster it's ecosystem Project Centennial, Xamarin, Bots and AI and even cost to developers for developing apps - Each of these area had announcements' or discussion at BUILD in the past. 🙂
  • That being said, again, why does it have any legitimate bearing on a phone? Fact is almost every event over the past couple years has addressed phone's in some capacity. Folks in MS have talked about it. yet people choose to ignore it as if MS has a reason to lie about it.
    So, there's no point to this other than to get these brainless, child-like lemmings worked up... Again.
  • Sean it's ok to have your own opinion but there's no need to insult the other readers and commenters who are voicing thier thoughts here. You've joined your voice to the cacophony of others after all in response to the piece just as other have. Also I think I made clear in the piece why BUILD has legitimate bearing on phone. With Windows on ARM Centennial is important to phone as Won32 apps go to "phone."With the need to get developers who see Mobile as only iOS and Android, Xamarin is important. In that Wand allows use of apps that are not on a platform, Wand is important for the app gap and "phone".In that web is deferred to above apps, bots and AI and a possible Instant App solution is important to "phone". And developers who will be at BUILD might find a reduced or temporarily eliminated fee to building UWP apps that will appear on phone as relevant. These are points that show a legitimate bearing of BUILD on phone. Thanks for the input Sean.👍🏿
  • Well, the truth is that after the ARM port is completed...Win10 isn't about phones either...its about devices...regardless of size, with or w/o Cellular hardware...it all is supposed to be truly 1 OS that dynamically changes its UI based on the screen size.  That is not the case today.  So Build had better be about showcasing that tech...and how you build & deploy those apps for 2018.
  • If the surface phone is only about full blown windows 10 on phones then it's dead on arrival. Desktop apps just suck on a small screen and the app store will die completely. Nobody will make apps for windows. They must find a solution to the app problem. That's everything and the only thing.
  • Not for me, I carry a Netbook with Windows XP with me since I have software I use there to build code Dev-C++, Excel Solver, RStudio, Eclipse, Weka, etc. did I mentioned my netbook only has 1GB of RAM and has Atom CPU 1st generation? I'm sure phone hardware from 2017 is 10 times better than my netbook, but problem is no phone runs this software, so I'm forced to carry my Netbook.  You get my point right? If Surface phone runs Windows 10 (win32 or x64) software then It will make my dream come true.
  • Do you think there are many people carrying around 10 year old low end hardware? No, these days there are Surfaces and Ultra Books with way more power then any ARM device. It is going to be a tough sale compared to a powerful Ultra Book and iPhone.
  • i have to agree.  the surface phone to suceed needs the apps in particular google to get behind it.  a windows 10 32 is not enough, a surface phone is not enough, hell the best mobilke phone in the world is not enough..  And microsft need to suport its own products by not removing and restricing them with lack of features and barriers.  Edge new tabs for example cant open to a default home page of your chooseing,  groove doesnt read the s7 edge sd card, isnt the s7 and edge one of the top selling phones.  Looks like thats alot of people using play who might have been using groove.  shame.  appd has and is the bigest issue, microsfts stupid marketing and methodology is second.  Thingsa like one drive doubling prices and removing free storage 2 weeks before selling a 950 mobile phone isnt what id call a good idea, removing features like gestures that people loved in 8.1 and then completely ignoreing it in window s10 is not a good way to win over your own customers either.  Hell sdesktop is haveing the same issues.  only the last few months is skype preview able to send pics and videos, oh wait couldnt i do that back in 2006 with skype?  see if your giving us a new or revasmped product then dont release it even in beta form till you can at least give it the basic features of old.  Microsft has more issues than just mobile but all these issues is and has killed microsfts reputation, most people i know dont even have windows products in their home anymore and thats only gona grow until microsft stops these monumentally stupid choises and desisions.  Hiding them and blaming mobile for the woes is truthfuly just a lie.   I love windows 10 and mindoes mobile truth is they are great, my lumia 930 in alot of ways beats my s7 edge, the keyboard is the best ive ever used, the scren is one of the best touch experiences ive ever had and still my s7 edge gives me something else that my lumia 930 cant give me, apps, apps and apps.  Even netflix on my s7 edge casts to my tv, a feat my 930 and 830 has never been able to do, netflix blames samsung, microsft blames netflix, samsung(tv) blames netflix lol, who cares it works on a s7 edge to a samsung miricast tv.
  • Surface Phone needs 2 things to succeed iOS Bridge ready Windows 10 on ARM If this doesn't happen, I may still purchase it if it accomplishes 2) for 1) I'm not so interested since I want to substitute my netbook with my phone, but I think for Carriers and OEMs, 1) is a must.
  • Whatever they do, they will need to provide out of the box conversion tools for already existing apps to support loyal developers.
  • I appreciate the novelty and importance of Build, but as a general consumer, it is the very definition of "coming soon..."
  • The solution might be this: Having both the ios store and the google play store and the windows store. Then it will have the most to offer. Developers won't make windows apps anymore you say? Well they wouldn't anyway... So.. Once all the users are brought over, make the windows store appeal more...
  • I have never in my life seen vaporware discussed so vociferously as this damn "Surface phone". Let's say it all together: It. Does. Not. Exist. Just move on.
  • It's called passion. The thing that Android robots and Apple sheep don't have or understand.
  • at least we are not that stupid to believe all the MS's crap lies...ups sorry Microshit mediocre quality
  • Why would you have passion for a platform even the manufacturer doesn't care about? People are passionate about iOS and Android, and you know what, Apple and Google are also passionate about them. That is the difference.
  • So the 'Surface Phone' and the great hopes are next year now?  *sigh* Hasn't this always been the way with Microsoft lately, everything is always coming soon, or in the coming months, or next year. And when that inevitably doesn't work, it's back to square one all over again. Meanwhile users and developers are jumping ship left, right and center.
  • Once the retrenching got the ball rolling down hill, it's going to be very hard to stop it now
  • I want Windows Mobile to succeed I like it a lot, but lack of support and now the Facebook app being completely unusable on the Lumia 640 is making me thinking to jumping ships
  • FB on my 640 works pretty much as advertised.
  • Mine works fine. There are 3rd party FB apps as well. Maybe you just need to reinstall. My 640 still runs like a dream.
  • "Microsoft should reduce or temporarily eliminate the fee it charges developers." If the do this, they would also need to increase their standards. Otherwise the store will be flooded with tons of garbage/fake apps in no time.
  • Standards don't need to change, current standards just need to be enforced.  There is a difference between a ****** app and an app that does something malicious.  ****** apps tend to police themselves anyway through low download volumes (never get top app positioning) and bad reviews. 
  • So, MS has told us about the project Scorpio, which is still in the making. I see two reasons why -
    1. They are confident that they will deliver was they are promising
    2. They are serious about gaming consoles. Sadly, both the reasons do not seem to apply for mobiles. More so, when you look at the features being added to the latest mobile builds :-(
  • Microsoft, when are you going to understand that it's all about the apps and services? It's all about what people can do with their devices. I don't understand how a company who dominated for 20+ years in basically a monopoly due to all software makers targeting their platform out of popularity can fail to grasp this basic notion. It doesn't matter to reboot things once more if people aren't going to be able to perform something different, better and more efficiently than what they already do. Running Win32 applications on phone sized devices? Who cares? It will be a niche thing all over again. Focus first on making your software ecosystem the best it can be and make it actually work flawlessly, things that still have a long way to go, from the AI (Cortana) to the communication service (Skype) to the browser (Edge) to the Digital notebook (OneNote) keep adding new ways of interacting with this software (natural input, augmented reality), create a ecosystem where people actually feel they are much more productive than the competition, forcing developers to pay attention to this userbase, and then worry about creating this "category revolution" or whatever.. The software ecosystem must be flawless before the "new category" or else it will fail once more.
  • I see what MS are trying to do but it's not appealing to the masses. I'm a fan of Windows but even my wife has switched back to Android mobile... Her reason... Apps just kept falling plus she prefers the look and feel of Android. Apart from Enterprise uses I reckon that most general users would choose their phone based on this sort of thing. And all the while Windows Mobile's market share is shrinking and day by day I read of apps being pulled from Windows store because the companies who own these cannot justify the Support cost vs the low user numbers. We've known for a long time about UWP Xamerin etc yet development and support seems to Be a big barrier. Maybe MS need to show the world their big plan to encourage more than just die hard fans to take an interest in their vision and how it would work for the masses. Until the masses buy into the idea I don't see companies spending time, effort and money to develop and support apps for W10M how ever easy it may be. In short, developers work for companies and it's the companies who hold the purse strings.
  • A Strange thing happened when T-MO didn't have a high-end WP to buy. after all the years of wishing and hoping that we would see a high-end WP outside of AT&T  Well, I bought an S6 EDGE PLUS. wow! it was nice to have a high-end device I liked it but it got me to try other Google products in my house instead of having 5 low- end WP we now have 5 high-end Androids and everyone is happy. though we still use WIN10 on the family machine  we bought a Samsung tablet that jives with our TV to me I use to have everything Microsoft from the mouse to the keyboard to how we did our book. it's all changed now Microsoft was too slow and to me, they didn't do what i was hoping to put the effort into PH like we did supporting it . I gave up on them I figured Microsoft left us we didn't leave it.so Frankly I really don't care anymore about a surface phone it will be half baked anyway and what was the reason for buying Nokia? no i'll stay with what works lest with Android i'll always have a top of the life device that will do anything i need it to. this holiday rather than buy the xbox one we went with the other guy I lost too much faith in Microsoft to buy any more of their half baked products                
  • Re: aka jabtano,
    Respectively, your comment is very difficult to read.
  • It's over. My 950XL is a backup at this point. Oh well.
  • Re: aka coolbreeze78,
    Don't be part of the problem. Step up, and work, to be counted as part of a better future.
    Just my thoughts.
    Best Wishes
  • Shouldn't you be saying that to Microsoft? It isn't up to this guy!
  • I think the most telling point of Microsoft's venture in mobile was the article that Dan wrote about talking with the lead design engineer for WM 10 and he was still using a nearly 7 year old Nokia 1520.  For me, that was the problem. I bought the 920. Loved it.  Dealt with the app gap. Dealt with the fact that most browsers didn't support Edge.   And then..a year later - no real upgrade. 2 years later. No real upgrade to speak of either.  My battery life was being measured in minutes.  Between 2010 and 2013 users BEGGED for an upgrade, 'the next thing' and...crickets.  Fast forward 4 years later ... and users are STILL begging for that 'next big thing' .   And honestly, I think Microsoft is just looking for a buyer to dump the rest of their mobile division to.  I think the shareholders are done with this experiment.  (disclaimer: I AM a (very very VERY small) shareholder in Microsoft)  It's been a revenue pit, a series of one either bad decision or case of bad luck after the other, and a lot of the larger shareholders want them to spin it off into UWP and IOT, and let mobile just fade away.  Shame. Maybe they can license and sell the UX.
  • The 1520 came out November 2013 FYI..It's not "7 years old"
  • Microsoft should bring a change in their mobile phones and should show the potential for continuous development. I think this will hold the key in holding on to developers
  • Thanks for the submission Jason. Always thought provoking and well written.  I've gotten to the point that a "Surface" phone from Microsoft is like waiting for Sprint to finally get LTE in Las Vegas. Its been coming for years. But here is my question that have not seen an answer to yet.  Is MS building this Surface Phone? I have not seen this anywhere officially from Redmond.
  • You're welcome Jazmac...and I believe that they are. 😉 Now as we know ANYTHING cam happen. The Surface was Mini was cancelled at the last minute. The McLaren was geared for an announcement and was cancelled within months of that. So thinks can actually be built, and announcment and launch dates actually determined and things can simply change. Also the Surface team is very secretive, we must be careful not to let a lack of official info say that its not going to happen(not saying that you're saying that, just something I've seen). The Surface and Surface Book, launched from a position of secrecy. Thanks again🙂
  • Wow, I admit, I'm seriously concerned.. We may be on a precipice.
    Microsoft needs to seriously, seriously, step up it's efforts.
    The future goal is, ... just like the past goal, ... has been,
    ... to seriously add more "features" and power, in even "smaller" form factors! ie. Mobile. Windows Mobile Phone.
    . Is Nadella totally ignorant/clueless about this, or is he truly just a "corporate raider" firing intelligent and knowledgeable people for his short term stock gains, with no long term strategy beyond his retirement / exit plans?
    Best Wishes to the rest of us.
  • Since Windows Phone 7's debut in 2010, Windows phone fans have been waiting for Microsoft's mobile efforts to take off. That never happened. Even if it did happen, Microsoft would abandon it as they do everything they create with few exceptions. I predict in the next two or three years they will tire of the Surface product line and abandon it as well. I am throwing my Windows Phone in the trash and moving to the Android Phone, probably a Samsung S7 Edge, some of them may have blown up, but, Samsung didn't abandon the product line. Microsoft create great stuff only to lose interest in it, Maybe if they called them Xbox Phones, they'd get more support. It's a damn disgrace the way Microsoft treats its loyal customers.
  • Re: aka Xeongue,
    Microsoft, please listen to the tone and feeling of this anonymous, voice. There is value in what is said.
  • h Yeah, and this guy ... Microsoft's CEO Satya Nadella, what a freakin' joke he is.
  • WC has come a long way, from days of defending retrenchment to finally admitting desperate measures are needed.
  • Hi techiez, actually if you go back to my Wimdows phone isn't dead series you will see that the narrative was an analysis of Microsoft investing in it's ecosystem to support thier eventual return to the Mobile space with a Surface "phone". This piece is consistent with that narrative, "Microsoft's investing in it's ecosystem in preparation for the Surface phone" but since the timetable is shorter and the time that MS has been investing hasn't yet yeilded the needed results, yes desperate times need desperate measures. Check out my Windows phone is dead series again if so inclined or the retrenchement series and you will see how certain installments addresses a different area of ecosystem investment. Docs.com/jason-ward
  • Jason, my comment for for WC overall, for a long time WC, especially Dan's articles and comments supported retrenchment and while many of us thought otherwise. Also I remember are of your articles, but there investment in the ecosystem was counterbalanced by shrinking marketshare in mobile, the 1billion potential devices narrative failed to catch mainstream attn. you also bet on bots heavily, now let me say this again bots will not replace apps, companies are investing in bots as tey are useful for certain purposes, for example look at the new AI assistant Nokia launched - MIKA, it is a niche AI assistant targetted at specific audience, here's whr bots will help, and thats y google, MS ,FB etc are investing in bots butapps will still stay here.
  • Hi techiez thx for the response, but I have also been specific to say that bots will replace certain types not all types of apps.
  • Sadly I think this year's BUILD is when I will finally and completely let go of the dream that was WP. I just have no faith that W10M will go anywhere. I'll probably buy a Surface Pro 5 this spring and that will likely be my last PC as well. As much as love what MS has been trying to do the last five years, the writing is on the wall.
  • The Surface Phone will be dead on arrival no matter what. And that's if Microsoft is stupid enough to even release it, which I doubt. Nadella fortunately isn't Ballmer.
  • it most likely would be a surface mini with cellular capabilities, MS made it clear they are not bringing a phone to the market, it will only complement existing phones. still WC keeps the myth alive.
  • @techiez question...with your last statement are you saying that "WC keeps the myth alive"regarding the existence of a Surface"phone"? or are you saying we report it as a phone and not a PC with cellular capabilities. Just looking for clarity on your statement.🤔
  • Well it is shown as a hope to WP fans looking for their next mobile. while in actual it is most likely going to be a mobile computing device directed at niche target audience/specific purpose(like surface studio)
  • What will be really funny is if they release a Surface Phone then manufacturers just copy it with Android. Why wouldn't they? Android is much more flexible and already has all the apps. I am not sure there is anything Microsoft can do at this point.
  • @techiez I think that it, like the Surface, will be a category defining aspirational device, (beyond the smartphone) that will be a progression of the mobile computing "narrative" currently being facilitated by smartphones. I believe that OEM partners are strategic assets to bringing Surface phone-like devices, once it launches, to the masses. This new category of ultramobile PC, I believe, Microsoft sees being for everyone, not just a nice market. Will it succeed. I don't know. But I don't think Redmond's plan is just a narrow niche space.
  • It is obviouslyy in MS best interest to get back in the mobile game. The surface will allow them to do that, but software wise they have to let one of the bridges to come back and be wide open to any ios or android apps If it wasn't for app availability, I wouldnt even care about the other phones, as W10M is such a great experience.....
  • Microsoft doesn't need gimmicks like bridges. Microsoft needs sales and engaged users. That is the only way to truly bring developers onboard. Otherwise, developers will never take the platform seriously.
  • This article makes it sound like a Surface phone is a real product. Companies patent ideas they have no intention of bringing to market. Windows on mobile has failed. If a Surface phone does exist it won't be able to reverse declining market share and sales.
  • If Microsoft is waiting for apps to come to the surface phone so that the initial reviews will say Surface Phone has all the essential cool apps, Microsoft will be waiting forever. What I think Microsoft is doing is letting it's Windows 10(PC/Tablet) store to be filled with those said essential apps and position Surface Phone as something that can run all these in continuum mode. Windows 10 Mobile is, right now, not an after thought for the mobile app developers. Basically, it became a fan only developer platform or a platform that is supported because the app company supports each and every platform. Reducing the developer fee might be a good idea. But it might also send the message that Microsoft is too desperate to have developers(which is to an extent true for all platforms) and might be perceived as a failure from Microsoft side as well. As for any company that develops apps, the developer time is the costliest part and not the store fee.
  • everyone knows MS is desperate and there is no perception of failure, MS has candidly admitted failure, Nadella and other executives have foolishly time and again stated in Media that WP has failed, and then they expect developers to come.
  • I meant failure in a different way :-) Microsoft until now admittedly telling that they are not yet focused on mobiles as a reason for not pushing out mobiles. However, when they seem too desperate for developers, it will be seem that they are trying with mobiles and failing. Remember the time when a few developers were like let Microsoft pay for me to develop an app for Windows Phone? It might come back again.
  • As the saying goes, last step is the most difficult step. This is the last stage of integration. Microsoft needs to nail this time.
  • They need Phil Spencer to absorb and take over the mobile division. Xbox has been MS's only true success story in the hardware space. Spencer has proven himself as a leader. An Xbox phone would make great sense. Mobile should separate from PC. And having used surface,I feel its just to clumsy having two modes. That's why since I bought one hardly ever use... 
  • What would an Xbox Phone do differently? Play Indie games? Android and iOS have a bucket load of games. The Xbox thing on these current mobiles just served to be a gimmick.
  • MS had better demonstrate and produce something soon in the way of class leading hardware for phones (or phone tablets) or there will be little to no faith left to be kept.  I'm tired of months of "it's not ready" "it's not class leading" "it's got to be innovative".  Build something, make it work, right, polished and the first time like a multibillion dollar firm is supposed to be able to if they are pros and get it out there.  We do like what you do.  This is not condemnation but rather a stop messing around.  Software needs hardware and vice versa.  Get it made and then tell people "that's what you can believe in".  This "someday" exercise got old months ago.
  • Surface phone is DOA anyway. With the pathetic app store, MS's well know past of ditch and run, their mediocre quality in mobile, and horrible support the mythical surface phone will have the same fate as the current X3: fanboys spending a fortune on a useless device.
  • All that is needed to totally destroy Continuum and W10A is for Samsung and/or Google to release a Continuum similar experience. They'll quickly crush Microsoft with their already existing huge user base who couldn't care less about Windows (beside maybe being forced to use Windows at work - but that can change). Android could quickly become the defacto standard for cell phone hybrids (and laptops and desktops). It's going to be interesting to see how the computer and mobile landscape looks like by 2020. :)
  • Common developer:
    1) developer is always lazy
    2) developer don't want to spend money
    3) developer scare to break things that already work well
    4) developer hate waiting
    5) developer hate betrayal
    6) developer don't like small market
    7) developer hate windows store ( not a single 3rd party app get the front page)
    8) developer hate push around like m$.
    9) developer dont like to develop app twice on same platform ( for instance spotify, it already has exe, why need uwp???)
    10) developer already feel comfortable at home #build 2017 going to be another waste...
  • (x)
  • My take on what MS needs to do to bring Windows to the mobile masses. Get Developers on Windows Consolodate Xamarin and UWP to make UAP (Universal App Platform) One code, One adaptable UI (with minor cosmetic changes to work with all OSs), Multiple OS's Make a Java and Swift Interpreter for .Net, so that .Net works with C#, VB, F#, Swift and Java.  This is so developers don't have to learn a new language to get on windows. Develop Native APIs for UAP that work with C, C++, and Objective C. Bring back Android emulation to Windows mobile as a first step to UAP.  At this point there is little to lose in this strategy and would close the App Gap quickly.  Windows Mobile with constant feature and security updates with Android apps could be the best version of Android. Bring in iOS emulation to Windows mobile as first step to UAP (Assuming this doesn't break any laws) Win 32 bridge (Done). Get Users interested in Windows Fill in the missing app catagories that are weak or non-existing with first party apps, like MS Money, eBook Reader, NewsFeed, PodCast, etc... Bring windows first party services like Groove, Movies and TV, Edge, Bing Maps, and Books to other platforms (Android, iOS, TVos, MacOS, Chrome, Roku, Amazon, PS4, Etc).  This broadens support for the ecosystem of support services. Make all Microsoft properties Platforms.  IE. Instead of full fledged apps work with plug ins or service links that would target Microsofts popular first party products cross platform.  This is like the plug-ins for Outlook or Excel or Edge that bring 3rd party services natively to Microsofts properties.  This would create a back door for developers to target Microsoft but also get them in to windows as well.  So they could develop a new MS Money app that is cross platform, that could allow third party banks to plug directly into their interface to provide native interactions like check deposit and eWallet support and cross banking transactions.  This would negate the need for multiple banking applications from 3rd party institutions.  Smart home app that works with multiple standards, negates the need for dedicated apps.  Travel app could have plug-ins for rewards flying and hotel as well as travel search provides from Hotels.com, yelp, etc...   Fill in the missing pieces of the ecosystem.  IE smart watch, It doesn't have to be successful, just fill in the Gap.  Low cost TV box that could stream games from a full fledged xbox.  They could even license a paired down windows for TV to tv manufactures.  Car, they need to build a auto interface and make it compatble with Andriod auto so that they will be usable anywhere android auto it.  Mobile VR. the surface phone needs to have robust Mobile VR capabilities. Make Microsofts properties services.  Allow third paries to support the services natively in their apps.  IE let Plex stream movies that users have purchased from microsoft throug plex.  Allow companies to integrate Groove into their app, etc Make all Microsoft properties available world wide as much as possible (Maps, Bing, Groove, Movies and TV, Cortana, Books) Make all Microsoft properties best in class individually, make even better togeather. Make great hardware Suface Phone (ARM 64 and x86, Android Emulation) Low cost windows mobile phone (650 class) to fill the market (ARM32 no x86 emulation Android if it can be done effectively on the limited hardware) Watch (this will be a loss but will fill the ecosystem) SurfaceMini (8" surface with pen, ARM64, and x86 Emulation) Surface...(Rumored foldable PC) Alexa Competator Chrome Competetor (ARM64 based PCs with X86 emulation)
  • Anyone who thinks Surface is going to be a world beater is showing blind loyalty to a company that has let them down on so may occasions before.
  • Look if Windows 10 can now run in ARM Snapdragon 835 without lag or problem than its easy to run android emulated apps right?  Also, I don't think MS should focus on the apps at this point.  They should announce a really good device that people want.  If many people want it then its easy for developers to get on board.  Remember, its not that the apps attract the phone its the other way around.  When iPhone was announce it had little apps but many people wanted it so bad and that's why its ecosystem grew drastically.  With Android its just a copy cat game that MS lost because they were too slow.  Android was a solution for the poor man to have what apple have because before iPhone was very expensive.  Surface phone should be desirable irregarless of the apps because if its really good like night vision camera, zero fingerprint marks on screen, 16GB RAM, 256GB Storage, 3 days battery life (phone), 2 days batter life (tablet). PureView 40 megapixel back 16 megapixel front with windows hello camera and Surface Studio screen..I don't know I'm just pouring in what I can think off.  Bottom line it should be a desirable phone.
  • I don't care how good the surface phone will be. If Microsoft ain't gonna work on closing the app gap im afraid the Lumia 950xl will be my last windows phone and I will make the switch to android.
  • Very simple, there is no faith or future on this if satya itself doesnt use MS Mobile.
  • Hi Jason. Thank you for this well thought out article. I hope that Microsoft can really pull of a fantastic Build. They have the pieces in place, they just need the salesman to get developers on board.
  • You're very welcome and thank you johnny🙂
  • Microsoft does not have to kill anything. It only has to build the correct device. I would imagine something like a symbiosys between Moto Z and Surface Book. With Win10 on arm you can technically run any Win32 application on phone. Make a base to be similar to Surface Book base with GPU that is detachable from phone, put there gamepad buttons, GeForce or Radeon GPU, storage and battery. This will ensure compatibility with all games on steam. (a huge collection by the way). The second part - make a phone that is thin enough and can be attached to that base (Moto showed to the world how this can be done). Implement Thunderbolt 3 interface between base and phone, develop drivers. Team up with NVIDIA/AMD to produce a new driver or at least make sure existing drivers are compatible with the new WinAPIs and you are done. Produce another base with qwerty keyboard and battery without GPU, make it thin enough. Construction would have to be a qwerty slider in that case. There's no need to kill, there's a need to produce something, that will blow us away. Win32 on ARM already is a significant part of that. Just finish it to the end at least once without half-assed approaches.
  • Every time the SurfacePhone is mentioned on this site you appear to imply it is even later. Last month it was 2017 and now 2018? Really? Where is this coming from or is the date being picked from thin air? 2018, Might as well give up on WinPhone altogether.
  • The impression I have is that microsoft is providing enough incentive and buzz for developers. What I see a lack of is a sense of priority to get windows 10 ready in a well rounded, stable and relevantly bugfree release candidate. In my experience I have not found windows 10 updates as stable with every successive updates, with features and system functions incomplete or even things still a buggy and issues and (partially) unfinished features being pushed to the next project. It has now become the new philosophy for windows 10. But I find it distracting in the long run which also distracts from thinking about stuff like the surface phone and needing more uwp and legacy apps supported on the platform. I think that if somehow microsoft could allow themselves some breathing room and get the big backlog of feedback, issues, bugs and problems with windows 10 fixed, I think there would perhaps be a greater voice for change and the wish for a surface phone and insight for more uwp apps, project centennial to come to fruition. The recent insider build changelog fixes have a mindboggling array of some old issues and bugs that span the last 12 months only now fixed, and I can still think of a few relevant issues that still need attention. But then new features get added that need their undivided attention, only increasing the backlog of remaing issues. windows 10 is getting better, but its a mess. And then we also have to think about UWP, project centennnial and the surface phone simultaneously? Oh my? Does microsoft have enough staff to take on this? Is Trump making things any easier?
  • And there we go with just a new speculation, and advice to Microsoft on what to do with their Mobile strategy. I think Microsoft know better than anybody what to do. And to claim that it's to late if it’s not happend this year, is just plain stupid. It's never to late to come with something new, that everybody wants to get. I do not think that Microsoft care that much of the 1% (or is it 1/4% now?) that is using Windows on phone. They want to get 50% or more of the marked. I don't think this is relalistic this year or the next year, but in the long term, that is what Microsoft is aiming for. If you need a new phone in the mean time, you can use your old Luma, og maybe get a used one. Or you can buy an Android or iOS phone to use in the mean time. Windows 10 on mobil is on it’s way to be the best mobil OS. But they have to wait to the time is right, to push it. They begin to push Edge long before it was ready, and now they have to strugle to make people try it again. So I hope the wait to the time is right before begining to push «The Surface Phone» or whatever it will be called. Sorry for my bad English. (Norwegian is my main language.)  
  • Hi Abel46 thank you for your contribution, but please reread the article. You state: "And to claim that it's to late if it’s not happend this year, is just plain stupid. It's never to late to come with something new, that everybody wants to get." In the article I never claim that if Microsoft doesnt do something new this year(ie launch a new device) that it will be too late. What I DO posit that if a Surface phone is going to launch BY early 2018 then Microsoft needs to do some things to get developer support on board to bolster it's ecosystem for the device that would be arriving. The claim is that window to improve it's ecosystem is small and theres a lot of work to do in that brief to get it's ecosystem in order in order to optimize the chance of success for the Surface phone. In order for Microsoft to have maximum game-changing impact with the Surface phone it's going to take more than powerful innovative hardware as this piece and the previous piece, Is early 2018 too soon for a Surface phone" lays out. Thanks for your passion and you contribution to the conversation.🙂
  • You write something like: "BUILD 2017 is Microsoft's 11th-hour opportunity win developers before the Surface phones debut." I interpret this to mean that if they don't get developers over at BUILD this year, it would be to late. If that was not what you ment then sorry for not understand what you ment. It may well be that this is the year when Microsoft win developers over, but I don't hold my breath. One can hope that I'm wrong. But unlike many others, I don't think it's ever to late for Microsoft to come back and dominate in the small device market. When I brought my Lumia 920 back i 2012 it was better than most other phones that I have seen or tried. But at that time Microsoft was not popular. Every tech paper praised Apple and always found negativ angel for most thing from Microsoft. The change start when Microsoft shows a glimpse of the future with Hololens. And since then they have gradually build goodwill for Microsoft. Since most developers are a little lazy, it no benefit that Microsoft's tool for building for mobil changes all the time. If I have a project, but has to put it on hold for several month do to other priorities, when I come back to this project, I expect the program to run as it did when I leaved it. So I can just continue to work on it. But that is not how it is with Microsoft mobile development at this time.
  • Hi @abel46. Thanks for your response. You're correct I wrote: BUILD2017 is Microsoft's 11th- hour opportunity to win developers before the Surface phones debut. You then wrote: I interpret that to mean if they don't get developers over at BUILD this year it will be too late. Abel there's no interpretation necessary my friend. 🙂 My statement is clear, if they don't get major developer support at their annual developers conference this year, BUILD 2017, then it is thier last real opportunity to make an appeal to a captive audience of developers BEFORE the Surface phone debuts BY (an estimated) early 2018 debut. You continue your rebuttal on a false assumption that my "too late" assessment applies to Microsoft's potential future success overall, when the statement is clearly directed toward being too late to have maximum impact with a Surface "phone" based on great hardware AND a ready, developer supported ecosystem. Thanks for your response, and I can see you're passionate, like many of us, about the platform. I hope this clarifies what I was communicating for you.🙂
  • "Abel there's no interpretation necessary my friend. 🙂 My statement is clear, if they don't get major developer support at their annual developers conference this year, BUILD 2017, then it is thier last real opportunity to make an appeal to a captive audience of developers BEFORE the Surface phone debuts BY (an estimated) early 2018 debut." I was not aware of that Microsoft has said that they will release Surface Phone i 2018. My understand was that they will release it when the time is right. If they at all has confirmed a Surface Phone.
  • Stopped reading the article due to the number of errors. Man, get a grammar book, or go hire a proofreader!
  • @jmigda thanks for the constructive criticism. Sorry you missed the rest of the article. Hope you revisit it. 👍🏿
  • You talk as if they know what they are doing. I bet right now everybody is ready to leave tbe ship, looking anxiously at the first sign of failure from Nadella. There are no ambitious plan for phones. It's all over.
  • Yeah, I mean Satya has only doubled Microsoft revenue in Cloud and Enteprise services etc. Microsoft is in great shape financially and in cloud services.  Windows Mobile (devices and platform) are irrelevant to Microsofts bottom line.  It is the services which are far more important. Satya is bright enough to recognise this, even if you cannot comprehend that.  
  • If they want to sell their Universal Windows Platform to developers, on which they rely for the future, they need a present mobile OS on the market. Killing-off Nokia was an horrible mistake, if they don't come promptly with another solution. And my grandmother could have doubled the revenue for business cloud services too, since it's the "new thing" in enterprise. Even Google will get a good chunk of it. You just have to have the financial strengh to be there.
  • Easiet fix would be Microsoft investing in or creating a bunch of Windows devices with similar specs to the one plus X but add windows hello, and NFC and literaly give these devices away from build all the way until back to school with the purchase of any Hi end PC, Hi end Windows Phone, Xbox Console, VR headset, and every business sale. While doing so work on that "Ultimate Device" if it is a late 2017 realease if not restart this mass give away program again during the Christmas season. Yeah it sounds Crazy but think about all the Windows Phones they have sitting that are going to be written off those are alot more expsenive then these budget phones. Also lets not forget Microsoft did something Similiar a couple of times with the 950 and 950XL. These hi spec budget phones can be created by Microsoft under a temporarly reseurected Lumia Brand, or what might be eaiser at this point invest in a company like BLU, One Plus, or HTC to build these devices to give away. They can even create insentive for PC Manufactures to create well speced budget devices to bundle with their own devices without expecting to make much on the device. They key is oversatutarion but without sacrificing quailty.
  • Surface Fold, big enough to use web when no app available - such as a home security video app unavailable for windows phone.
  • This article is a bit foolish, as a little more research would tell you what the development landscape looks like. Currently Microsoft is merging .NET via Standard and Core. You can read about this on their development blog about .NET Standard unification. Once this happens, a lot more APIs will be open for Windows 10 Apps. Then hopefully it will be but minor changes to their x32/x64 applications to use the UWA platform.
  • Hi @itsadog I wouldn't say the article is foolish because it didn't include the fine point you contributed to the discussion. Thanks for your contribution. The point of the article was to point out the need for Microsoft to do something, and and not just necessarily one thing at BUILD to excite developers and draw them in. Thus my closing with it's not just an intellectual appeal to devs but an emotional one as well to get devs "wanting" to develop for Windows rather just "knowing" all of the great and easier ways to do so. Thus my point that maybe a reduction or temporary elimination of the fee. It would get thier attention and might change how serious they see MS wanting their support since MS would be foregoing some revenue. The points about better and easier tools, is like telling a carpenter that is using a hammer, "here's a nail gun. It's quicker and more efficient." Sure that's true but if he doesn't want to build a structure for a particular entity, the efficiency of the tool means little. Microsoft has great and improving tools, as you point out, but they need to convince developers to build for them by appealing to them on a deeper level than "look how great our tools are and what you can do with them." Devs want to know, what will building for you do for me? That's what MS needs to appeal to.
  • the need to get egde working properly on mobile, or allow for other browsers like chrome, and then just add an android converter/wrapper hopefully built by them and that would do for now. My problem right now isn't apps it edge, im on a lumia 640 and it literally sucks, edge refreshes and crashes constantly its unbearable 
  • Are you running Production? If not, stop running insider releases. Are you running apps from SD card? If you are, move them to internal 8 GB storage. If they don't fit due to lack of space, change to a phone with at least 16 GB.
  • As a long time developer and MS user, I hope that it isn't too late.  When Bill Gates made the decisions, he really took care of the developers.  Balmer talked about developers, but the ship was all over the place...  Absolutely inconsistant.  Now, I am still hearing a good game in words from Satya Nadella -- but I hear​ the words and am waiting to see what actually happens.  From what I've seen for a while, confidence is waining quickly.
  • great article.  personally i think microsft has its job cut out.  when paypal left, here maps gone and myfitnesspal, it was and still is obvious the new stratagy certainly is none existant at this time.  But microsoft needs to suport its own apps noit just gestures on windows mobile which doesnt and hasnt existed in windows 10 or even the touch setting but also groove for ipad and groove for android.  Ipad doesnt have a groove app and well the ios one is the wrong way round lol.  Groove doesnt even read one if not the best selling phone of last year samsungs s7 and edge, Groove doesnt even read their sd cards, a place music lovers would store their own and newly bought music.  Im forced to use play which i hate but at least is sees my sd card and alows me to store the albums i buy in play on it too.  Microsft is hard to take serious at this stage cause it wants people to buy music and videos yet at the same time alienates so many by simply not giving use the simple things like a groove app that sees my s7 edge sd card.  I wonder does anyone else think this is probably a area they need to sort out before they even move forward with bridges or a surface phone, hell i think personally they should sort out their own apps before asking developers in.  12 months for outlook to get linked inboxes, 2 years and skype is only now passable and well edge took 12 months to do basic stuff ie has done for years but you cant open a new tab to your default home page cause microsft wont let you.  Its not looking good from my poiunt of view and i love windows mobnile and desktop, but times rubing me up now too.
  • I've give through many of the comments and the underlying theme is no hardware at BUILD means no emphasis on mobile or Microsoft has abandoned mobile. Look, BUILD is a software conference. Microsoft has already moved hardware to its own conference. Contrary to what many had said, Microsoft is super serious in mobile. As a developer, I wanted to make awesome apps for WP7. But I discovered Silverlight only had a small numbers of API. Every BUILD, Microsoft will always enhance mobile API but it always seem inadequate from a dev POV compared to IOS & Android. The wish of a Windows dev is the Windows mobile device can just handle Win32. Well, with Windows on ARM, desktop bridge, we are one step closer. When I develop for WP in the past, I always run into API limitations. And because Win32 doesn't support cellular API natively, I have to use arcane AT-commands to interface to modems directly through serial protocol. Now that RS2 is slated to support Mobile/Cellular API in full Windows, it finally makes full Windows a mobile OS which dev can target and Telco will help to market Windows mobile, tablets and even hybrids. Removing Windows 10 mobile SKU will let Microsoft concentrate on full Windows in competing with Android and ios on tablets and mobile since CSHELL can adapt to the screen. I can't wait to see how mature the cellular API will be at BUILD. If it costs next to zero effort for dev to use cellular API in their Win32 programs and it can be repackage as a UWP app with Live Tiles and other UWP goodness, Microsoft can attract mid to large size devs into the Windows Store. Many people has switched to ios and Android from Windows Phone because their companies' Enterprise apps only target IOS and/or Android. They are only vaguely aware of the OS. This means that the author is right. You need dev onboard and it doesn't matter if the platform is new. You just need to show these a strong momentum to push the platform forward while making the devs jobs easier. Windows phone/mobile has rebooted the development platform So many times, devs feel betrayed because they have to rewrite tons of code every time this happens. The transition on the IOS & Android is much more progressive than disruptive allowing devs to ease into the upgraded API slowly with less rewriting of code. UWP promises that. Now Microsoft just have to deliver on that promise. As for the hardware, people will come buy and try the platform if it has some gimmick that others don't have. Surface Pro is a great example. The iPhone 3GS has that. Microsoft needs to create something just 2 steps ahead to gain an advantage. A foldable phone with flexible screen that can turn into a full on PC by connecting a dongle? Hell yes! But they need to continue the momentum. A new phone a year is a given to get mindshare. People in developed countries don't like to buy yesterday tech. Anything more than 3 months is old tech. Sales people will always push the latest and greatest. Continue support of the hardware is important. Windows 10 has got that going for it. There are many users who don't appreciate planned obsolesce. With Win mobile gone, it's just Windows 10 and patch Tuesday. I think many users can live with that.
  • Microsoft is not desperate at all. It is we who are desperate. Windows is a dead horse, MS clearly shows it. Everybody knows what to do with such horses - stop beating them. And the desperation goes away easily.
  • Surface Phone doesnt need a smartphone like device, it should have a technology breakthrough in communication thats it... eg: Holo Lense 2.0 in a regular "google glass like" frame with a 4g sim card in it + a transceiver  will be game changing enough for the next generation.  
  • Microsoft will have their work cut out for them trying to win Developers over.  Developers have been burnt by Microsoft.  Quite a number leant support with Windows Phone 7.  They got burnt by lack of promotion of the platform and then when Windows Phone 8 had virtually no backward compatibility.  The few developers that stuck by and tried on Win Phone 8 were burnt with the Win Phone 8.1 update.    I own a Lumia 950XL.  I love the Windows Phone Platform and will perservere with it rather than go back to Android and I would never use Apple devices (no offence, but I can't stand iOS/Apple in general).  This may be Microsofts last chance with Developers.  They need to prove the support will be ongoing.   The other side of the equation is Windows 10 itself.  As much as it is One Core and quite stable on Intel architecture, even on Lumia (Microsoft made) devices, Win 10 Mobile has issues.  Enough bugs that if I was not technically savvy, I would have given up.  Even basic stuff, like Bluetooth being unstable or Cortana not responding until she asks the second time what to do.   This sort of instability makes the platform feel experimental still and not ready for public.  Note that, although I am in the Insider program, I am using only Production releases on my mobile devices.  I know Android and iOS have bugs, but they do have a less beta feel than Windows Mobile. It is more than just Apps that need addressing, it is stability and functionality on Mobile devices. 
  • The final solution you cited is one of the best leverage they could implement... They could even scale it so that it goes fast... For example if you release your app to the MS UWP eco system in the next 6 month you have zero entry fees for life and zero royalties to pay for X year... Within 12 month 0 entry fee and a little less time on royalty fee... Etc... Well a model where the faster you are the more you earn or at least the less you payback... To that you add a month extension for every update that put the app on par with their android/ios counter part double that if it's in advance... Combine that with the rest of your ideas and if it doesn't pick up it means there is no hope... Then again apps are on death row for the most part in the long run....
  • If this article is accurate and describes microsoft's intentions going forward... then Surface Phone is already a failure IMO.   If Microsoft intends to catch up with the Snap-Chatters and Pokemon-Go users and win them all over... they're going to fail, but if they define themselves as the essential phone platform for serious business types, corporations, IT developers... then they'll ultimately win. The killer app for Windows phone is windows desktop... period.  I thought that's why they were going through all that hubub to make the windows desktop experience touch friendly right?   If microsoft presents me with a "Surface Phone" with an Intel Chip, or at least an intel emulator or clone chip, that runs a full desktop experience... then I feel like every single company in the world that has decades of development time invested in their databases, methods, and systems for running their businesses willl switch over to the "Surface Phone".   I'm sick of snapchat... I want a REAL TOOL in my pocket, not some stupid netflix watching, pokemon catching, piece of junk.  
  • This nails it.  I love the Lumia 950 because its just such a powerful computer.  If they could put a Intel processor in the next one and perhaps have a folding screen then it would be perfect.  At this stage the phone itself has reached the end of the line in terms of features, screen res, camera etc all are as high as they need to be. Not bothered at all about downloading various apps to do things I would use a web browser for on a PC, that said I think Microsoft could afford to pay/self develop to make sure there are not any critical ones missing, fortunately fitbit support Windows Phone, but companies like that are the ones worth making sure are onboard.   The processor technology is there, if Windows can finally get full compatibility with the desktop PC then I think we will have arrived, and I'm skeptical here that ARM support really makes any sense, too low performance so why bother.
  • Oh Just please stop it with the "Surface Phone" guff.   You appear just like another deluded Windows Fanboy (and yes I own and use a Lumia 650 myself) The mythical "Surface Phone" will not change Windows Phone fortunes, only a vibrant Apps ecosystem will, and that means the ability to Run Android Apps.  Period.    
  • Hi @Jules, I assume you read the article you're commenting on, where I made multifaceted argument about Microsoft's need to get developers on board at their annual BUILD developers' conference to build the ecosystem because Microsoft's success in mobile does not rest on Surface "phone" hardware alone.
    A revisit to the text will clearly show that I make as a central argument that a developer supported app ecosystem is key.
    Thanks for reading🙂
  • Now a days the people doesn't know to read a full article.
  • I think MS well have to launch a new device before developers will pile in. They should pay key companies to make key apps before launch, or as with FB make them, themselves. They should also make a long term commitment to the platform, and promote heavily.
  • Jason, I know you (and Zac) are well intentioned with your articles. And I get that your job description requires you write about "something"... I truly understand. But please, for the love of Windows, drop this incessant revisits to this tombstone of a disaster that was M$'s decision to shoot itself in the proverbial nuts. The four boxes you see on that Centennial truck crossing the so-called Desktop bridge to UWP-la-la-land are actually the caskets within which Windows Mobile's very dead remains lie. All you should really be doing now is praying (or at least hoping if you are atheistically inclined) for some miraculous resurrection. And if your prayers are answered or your hope rewarded, it may just add "something" back onto your retinue of things to write about..
  • I suggested years ago that Microsoft should've created a 3rd party app team. That teams primary role would monitor what apps are hot and if the apps are hot and they aren't on the WindowsPHone platform then reach out to said developer and get access to their API Code for a small fee or free server space. They could even call it "3rd party apps by Microsoft" they proved it when they created that awesome YOutube app even Google made them pull it. So it can work. 
  • I've never understood why they didn't do this also. If people won't develop for the MS platform, then why doesn't MS do it, pay a fee to developers (like MS has been charging forever) and create a base of apps to provide legitimacy to the platform.
  • Here is my comment, after reading so many emotional, but non practical posts. It is simple and easy to fix, but on many levels of WP experience, which I am listing below.
    1) The famous Tiled interface needs to be changed. We need only middle size and subfolder Tiles. All Tiles should have well visible titles, again iOS and Android do have them. They can be part of the Tile. Icons are not enough as we all know! Tiles should be a little smaller and further apart, similar to iOS or Android. Then, tiles should sit in one place, now they change place too easily and it takes too much time to bring them back in their original place. In result, at present WP interface is unpalatable and unusable for majority of people.
    2) WP color offering is really bland and given the fact that even if I chose nicer lighter colors, my fonts stay invisible WHITE, makes the whole WP experience really unpleasant, again basically unusable for visually oriented people (most of us). Is it so difficult to allow for the change of font colors to black, when needed? Even Subtiltes in NETFLIX can do it!
    3) Start Menu. There is millions of Apps, way too many, they are frequently redundant and in effect, as I see it, everyone uses only couple of them because it is too difficult to find them. I have around 200 on my Lumia 950! I wished I could pin more of them to the Start, but then, how I will ever find them again? See point 1 and 2 above? Scrollable Start is kind of a nightmare. It does not give me a chance to remember the position of the Tile, like pagewise scrolling on iOS or Android do. Let's scroll Start pagewise from now on.
    4) Apps. There should be more of them for sure. MSF should hire developers to do the important missing ones. That would be much smaller investment than Nokia or LinkedIn or Skype was. Second, majority of Apps are easily replaceable by well working browser. The present browser is not working well and many banks e.g. do not support it, only Chrome.
    5) Hardware alone is not the total answer although it is an enticement to someone who likes the system already . Recent one was great, Lumia 1020, 950 and 950XL, not saying of few phones from other manufacturers. That's the software which needs to be improved to transform Windows Phone into Windows Surphace Phone...
  • I would love to see a successful Windows phone.  Preferrable a surface branded phone.  A pc in a pocket.  I think Microsoft can succeed in mobile if it stops trying to imitate Apple and Google and play to its own strengths.  Microsoft is a "productivity" platform, not a teenie bopper platform like Android, and not a hipster platform like iOS.  That's why I started this petition for Microsoft to fill its "app gap" when it comes to productivity apps like personal finance, banking, credit cards, etc.  https://www.change.org/p/satya-nadella-bring-back-microsoft-money-as-part-of-microsoft-office
  • Microsoft needs to play to its strenghts, particularly "productivity" apps.  It's not a hipster platform like iOS.  It's not a teenie bopper platform like Android.  It's a platform for adults.  That's why I started a petition for Microsoft to focus on productivity apps like personal finance:  https://www.change.org/p/satya-nadella-bring-back-microsoft-money-as-part-of-microsoft-office​
  • Let’s break this down to simple realities. There are currently 2 Worlds we all live in - corporate and consumer.
    The two worlds are dominated by 3 OS’s for personal (used by people, not firmware stuff) use.
    Corporate – Windows (PC’s and Laptops)
    Consumer – Android and iOS (Smart Phones) Yes other personal devices exist that run other OS’s, but the vast majority are covered by the 3 mentioned. There is a reason why Apple never broke into the corporate world – they were late. The ecosystem was in place and they couldn’t break it. The same can be said as to why Microsoft never got traction on mobile. These platforms have and will continue to have longevity. Apple and Google have enjoyed near a decade of consumer dominated OS control and that isn’t likely to end. Will the App Store / Google play be around in 5 years, 10 years, 15 years – probably very likely. Windows has enjoyed 25 years of corporate dominated OS. That alone shows just how enduring ecosystems are. So where do we go from here ? I think Microsoft best play is to attempt to have the corporate world supplementing PC’s and laptops with smart phones. They have such a strong foothold and are so knowledgeable in that world it would be playing to their strengths. To do that they need to view the phone as just another PC like device that has different hardware. People connect their laptops to their corporate work networks every day without thinking twice. This should be no different for a phone. The corporate network should treat them equally. I mean totally equal – down to having access to all files / folders and ability to push updates and software etc. Bundle phone and laptops. When an employer on-boards a new employee they are usually provided a laptop. Microsoft should work hard to change that to a laptop and phone. I can’t recall when I actually purchased my last laptop. If people are given a phone provided from their work they may not chose to purchase one themselves – I mean do people really want two phones? Employers should provide phones (just like they provide laptops) because it’s just another tool to do your job. Most people use their phone for some work tasks, so having employers provide and pay for it isn’t really unreasonable. Phones make people way more productive, so this shouldn’t be a hard sell. But wait… phones are much more personal then PC’s ever were. How many people share a single phone? PC’s are sometimes shared. So with the phone being all personal do we really want our corporate overloads having control over it ? Bottom line, we do some pretty personal stuff with our phones – and NO!, people don’t necessarily want their photos, videos, chats and browser history accessed by their employer. So what is to be done?
    The phone needs two systems plain and simple.
    Login with work credentials and you are in one system, on the corporate network and IT has access to that system. Login with Personal credentials and you are on a second system. Never ever ever ever shall the two systems meet. IT should never be able to access the personal system in any way shape or form. With that people get a phone they can use for both work and play. They eliminate the cost of the phone along with eliminating the monthly cellular bill (YES Please!) and reduce stress if the phone breaks. Hold up there just a second… What about my XYZ App on my iPhone or Android? I can’t give that app up!
    And there it is, the Ecosystem Strikes Back. Even if people are given a Free Phone, and Zero Cellular cost and Free Replacement if broken, would they give up access to their current ecosystem? Some would, some would not. Some comments above address the fact that the current mobile ecosystems are so entrenched it may be near impossible to get some people to move away.  Ideas like, support for android apps and a 3rd party Microsoft App department that works with vendors and creates apps are all valid options.
    Bottom line is if Microsoft wants to move the “Some would not” people into the “Some would” people they are going to need to do “Something”.  
     
  • They need to get their **** together with Windows 10 as a mobile OS. It's buggy and performs like crap. Windows 10 wouldn't be in the position it is if they had released windows 10 mobile in a stable state. The 950 xl was running broken software on release. Windows 10 for desktop had a large majority of its problems fixed within the first month. Meanwhile mobile is still buggy as hell. At least on the Lumia 950 devices. I've heard better things about the HP elite and alacatel. Maybe Microsoft just doesn't know how to write firmware for phones.