Skip to main content

Microsoft must launch a Surface phone — and get it right the first time

Still, the absence of the most personal of computing devices from Microsoft's lineup is detrimental to its present and future relevance. Microsoft must launch a Surface phone.

The personal computing landscape is permeated with technologies that became relevant to consumers by way of smartphones. Digital assistants, the cloud, smart home speakers, in-car computing, IoT and mobile gaming are an increasingly cohesive personal computing tapestry spawned by and centralized around smartphones.

Microsoft's retreat from the smartphone space removed the company's rapport to the personal computing landscape and potentially eliminated its future relevance. Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella promised an "ultimate mobile device" that will be "beyond the curve" and won't be like "the other guys'" phones, however.

Microsoft's ultimate mobile device

I believe Microsoft's ultimate mobile device will fill the gap left by its absent smartphones, and will potentially create a new device category. The iPhone's and Android phone's mobile dominance and Microsoft's need for "some type of mobile device," makes both these objectives necessary.

Microsoft needs a personal portal to its ecosystem and a compelling device that challenges the "rectangular-slab-smartphone" status quo.

Tony Stark's PDA from Iron Man.

Tony Stark's PDA from Iron Man.

A device with game-changing, context-conforming hardware which benefits from a synergy of technologies from inking, mixed reality, gaming and more may be the answer.

These are lofty goals. This device will require massive engineering resources, profound levels of inter-department collaboration to bring different technologies together and immense marketing and distribution follow-through. This massive investment is also a huge gamble. The risk is accentuated by Microsoft's 100 percent failure rate in mobile.

Not to act, however, is a guarantee that Microsoft, without that personal portal to its ecosystem and nexus point for other technologies, will be irrelevant in the future of personal computing. This can't be overemphasized: Microsoft must launch a Surface phone.

Failure should have taught Microsoft how to succeed

What the Lumia 950 could've been.

What the Lumia 950 could've been.

External forces, as well as internal shortcomings, led to Microsoft's mobile failures. Slow responses to the market, inconsistent marketing and distribution, support of iOS and Android at Windows' expense, not-ready-for-prime-time Windows 10 Mobile, and more plagued the platform.

Unless Microsoft is oblivious or simply doesn't care, experience should have taught it how not to fail. The coming ultimate mobile device, an ultramobile Surface PC with CShell and telephony, may succeed.

As a telephony-enabled, pocketable Windows 10 PC with Continuum, it will fill Microsoft's smartphone gap and challenge the "rectangular-slab-smartphone" status quo. Despite the best-laid plans, however, success isn't guaranteed. And Microsoft's fight to position an ultramobile Surface PC in the mobile space will be wrought with challenges.

Positioning matters

Positioning any "Microsoft" mobile device directly against the iPhone and Android phones in the smartphone space would be suicidal. The market has grown cold to Microsoft's phone efforts. Fans are bitter, consumers apathetic, OEMs uncommitted, the enterprise is disinterested, and many bloggers are hostile. Another strictly "phone" attempt would be fodder for more negativity.

Microsoft cannot position a "Surface phone" as a phone. As a telephony-enabled ultramobile PC it must be positioned accordingly. It must be clear to fans, consumers, the enterprise and bloggers that this ultimate mobile device is something new.

It mustn't look like a smartphone, but it must be familiar enough to be recognized as a mobile device. It must provide new ways of interaction but also be intuitive.

It must be positioned in the mobile, not smartphone, space as an ultramobile PC both because that's what it will be as well as to escape the stigma of Microsoft's past phone failures. It must appeal to consumers who are dictating personal computing's direction and be suitable for the enterprise. If Microsoft fails at positioning the ultramobile Surface, it will lose before it even gets "re-started."

Surface phone needs "One Microsoft"

Microsoft's strategy is the coalescing of various technologies synergistically in an ultramobile Surface. This is important to making an ultramobile Surface unique.

Surface lead Panos Panay expressed how the Surface team's working with the OneNote team was important to making the pen and Surface work together seamlessly. A more extensive level of collaboration must take place to bring an even broader range of innovative technologies to the ultramobile Surface.

Surface phone needs company-wide support.

Microsoft's four engineering groups Cloud and Enterprise Engineering, Office Product, Windows and Devices, and Technology and Research were structured to allow engineering heads to report directly to Nadella. This makes for a more efficient product development and product-to-market system.

This structure should also provide a collaborative environment where teams can work together efficiently and intentionally to bring various technologies to the ultramobile Surface. Panay and his team will need the folks working on mixed reality, Office, inking, AI, gaming, CShell, Continuum, Project Centennial, Cloud and Windows to make Nadella's ultimate mobile device a reality.

Marketing and distribution

Beyond the divisions building the device, other teams must ensure its marketing and distribution.

Microsoft marketing and operations.

The Corporate Strategy and Planning, Global Sales Marketing and Operations, Marketing Group, and Worldwide Commercial Business divisions must position it for success.

These teams and leaders must be held accountable for ensuring Microsoft puts 100 percent of its weight behind building, positioning, marketing and distributing Nadella's ultimate mobile device. If this doesn't happen, Microsoft's mobile efforts may fail again.

Developers, Developer, Dev … Microsoft you're a developer!

As we move toward an AI, bot and progressive web app world, no current mobile ecosystem can thrive without a strong app ecosystem. If Microsoft can't attract developers, its ultimate mobile device will be doomed from the start. Developers need to be convinced Windows is a viable platform.

Microsoft can potentially woo developers and prove its commitment to mobile by launching an exclusive suite of unique, high-quality Universal Windows Platform (UWP) productivity, entertainment, gaming and utility apps. They can fall under a "Surface exclusive" branding reminiscent of "Lumia exclusives" of the past. Microsoft must also keep its promise that cross-platform first-party apps will be best on Windows.

As the world's leading software company with resources spanning Windows, Office, Microsoft Garage apps, AI, Xbox and more, Microsoft itself is its best asset for winning developers. If it puts a 100 percent effort into building exclusive UWP apps and games before Surface phone's launch, it may inspire third-party developers to follow.

If Microsoft continues business as usual, as usual it will fail.

Beating consumer apathy requires ultimate effort

Winning mobile users requires an enormous effort. If it happens, it won't be overnight. Many consumers have a negative view of Windows phone, and after being burned, many no longer trust Microsoft.

Microsoft made a strategic (but painful to users) gamble by "purging" the market of Windows phones in hopes of purging the failed platform from consumers' minds as it prepares for what's next.

Microsoft's ultimate mobile device will be its next attempt at mobile. If it supports mixed reality, Xbox and Windows gaming, becomes a desktop via Continuum, conforms to context via CShell, has a suite of exclusive apps, has first-party apps that are best on Windows and a growing pool of third-party apps, Microsoft may have a shot at winning consumers and the enterprise.

Microsoft's Surface phone must be the ultimate mobile device

Microsoft's ultimate mobile device must be just that: the ultimate mobile device. It must be that single computing device that does virtually everything for virtually anyone. Microsoft can spare no effort and must target broad markets. It must appeal to consumers, the enterprise and gamers.

Microsoft simply must deliver.

Inspiring mobile device concepts from HBO's Westworld (left) and SyFy's The Expanse (right).

Inspiring mobile device concepts from HBO's Westworld (left) and SyFy's The Expanse (right).

Pooling the efforts of multiple engineering, strategy and marketing teams around an ultramobile Surface is a tremendous gamble. If Microsoft fails, resources will be wasted, the press will be unmerciful and the industry-esteemed Surface brand will be marred.

If it succeeds, the rewards will be equally as profound and Microsoft may well change the game.

Must Read

How Microsoft can ensure Surface phone success

Is Microsoft's rumored Surface phone a reimagined Surface Mini?

With Surface phone will Microsoft learn from past marketing mistakes?

Microsoft will release a Surface phone - but it can take a while

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!

413 Comments
  • Thanks for reading folks!!! Microsoft must launch what some call a Surface phone, I call an ultramobile Surface and Nadella calls an ultimate mobile device. It must put the entire weight of the company behind the effort and bring a synergy of technologies to the device. The effort is a gamble, but to do nothing is suicide and a half-hearted attempt is equally as void. Microsoft must go all i and position a device that appeals to consumers, enterprise and gamers, if the ultimate mobile device will be an ultimate mobile device. What are your thoughts? LET'S TALK!!!
  • Well thought out. Koodos
  • Meh, nothing that hasn't been known for at least two years. "Microsoft cannot position a "Surface phone" as a phone" How about we start by never again referring to it as a phone?
  • Yep long live the Pocket PC...I mean return of the Pocket PC :)
  • lol, 100 points for coming up with the only name that is likely even worse than refering to it as a "phone". ;-)
  • You seriously think this is well thought out? He has been rehashing this same article for more than a year now.
  • So true
  • It might be true, hut still needs to be said. Some of us still like hearing it, though I don't have the time to read them anymore.
  • If I could sit here name all of the Microsoft products I've deovoted loyalty, money, and time, only to have Microsoft sacrifice, disavowal these products for their on selfish reasoning. Feeling a sense of betrayal every time it happened. Microsoft, stay out the hardware building business. You suck at it!
  • So they should close xbox and Surface lines? Microsoft is actually pretty good at hardware when they decide to support it. Microsoft's biggest problem is that they act like total spoilt brats. If they can't be the best at something right away they decide to take their ball and go home. Zune had fans, it was niche but there was a contingent of people who liked what Microsoft was doing and I even remember people wishing for a Zune Phone. But no, Microsoft did not do that because they didn't become #1 and instead of improving their product they simply left the space. Same thing with the Band, great device  but they weren't number 1 so they said they quit and left the market, same thing with Lumia Phones, bought a promising phone device business from nokia they finally could have given them full control over how their software looked on a mobile device and they put ZERO effort into making it a success. I don't believe that the problem with Microsoft is their hardware or software it's their culture of abandoning their most loyal customers when the goings gets tough. It is your most loyal customers who convince other people to try out your products but Microsoft has burned us so many times that it's a joke to try to convince someone to switch. So Micorosft can call their next effort a phone, an ultra mobile or whatever they want, the true test will be if they show that they are committed to the device or will it be another list of headline like..... "Microsoft releases Surface Phone with terrible marketing campaign showing people dancing with the phone", "Microsoft releases new Skype and Office integrated apps on iOS and Android before Surface phone debut", "Microsoft sees Lackluster Surface Phone Sales", "Microsoft announces firing of Surface phone team says Surface phone 2 could arrive in next decade maybe and it will change the game". 
  • They don't suck at it, but they care more about all the customers they don't have than the loyal ones they have. And that's wrong.
  • I totally agree with him. Android (Google) has taken over the mobile market and soon will take over the home computing market unless Microsoft comes back with a mobile version of Windows.
  • Great and interesting article. I feel also that it needs to run full Windows 10 on Arm and have something like bluestacks so it can have android apps. I am a Windows mobile fan  but use an android device for the apps. It needs to be able to have the most popular apps such as snapchat and also he able to run smaller apps. I have some smart technology in my home such as alarm systems, solar panels and cctv that have android and ios apps but not Windows.   Without being able to support popular and lesser known apps, any Windows device will surely fail.   Other unique selling points are greater games that integrate with the xbox one ecosystem    
  • We don't want to have to run blue stacks for apps! Microsoft needs to get serious about their app (UWP or whatever they want to call it) ecosystem . They must focus on their own mobile platform instead of neglecting it for Apple & Android who piss on them!
  • Of course UWP needs to be the main focus, but let's be realistic.  UWP could be the best api out there and still wouldn't have any developers because there is no users!  It is a chicken and egg issue.  MS needs android apps to get users, then the native ones will come over time.  Android bridge is a MUST for windows on mobile to succeed.  I CAN'T come back to windows on mobile with out it.  There are simply too many apps out there that I rely on a daily basis.  I love the windows mobile platform but will never come back with out android app support or something similarly effective.
  • It isn't a chicken and egg situation. Users will always come before apps. Microsoft needs to acquire users. It wouldn't hurt to make sure the Facebooks and Twitters of the world have apps, but they really need to concentrate on convincing users to support the platform. Then apps will come naturally.
  • Agree. IPhone had zero apps when it launched.
  • At that time other phones didn't offer apps at all that people cared about.
  • Yea because 10 years ago everyone used dumb phones and there was no need for apps.  Today huge part of your interaction with the world is via a smart phone.  
  • Actually a lot of us were already using smart phones that could do a lot of what the iPhone could do...but Steve jobs did an absolutely brilliant job of selling a story and a vision to people and putting an ecosystem in place. Still agree with your point though that times have changed
  • And why exactly would new users come to Windows if there are no must-have apps?   Ten years ago there was nothing even close to iPhone so some jumped on it (it actually took a while to gain such market share).  And back then there was no concept of "must-have" apps....  The world was pretty "dumb" and you could easily get by without a smart phone. This isn't the case today.  A smart phone is pretty much a must because many apps are a must
  • Either you didn't see this statement in the article, or you don't understand the implications:
    Microsoft cannot position a "Surface phone" as a phone.
    Do we see Windows users outraged over how their desktop PCs don't run mobile apps? No. People don't think of their desktop computers as platform for running mobile apps. Despite the popularity of mobile computing, that's simply not an issue.   So, whatever MS' mobile device ends up being, it may NOT ever be perceived as a platform for running mobile apps, just like a desktop PC isn't. That's why it can't be positioned as a phone, as "phone" and "smartphone" are instantly associated with "mobile apps". That's why you're confused. You are still thinking of this hypothetical device as a Windows smartphone intended to run mobile apps, despite the author telling you not to. If other people do that too when this device is released, then it is DOA. This device, whatever it is, will simply not be for people who want to run a lot of mobile apps. Period. If you want that, then iOS or Android is where you should look. Since this device won't be a platform for running mobile apps, MS must give potential customers (likely corporate types) other reasons for puchasing it.
  • We don't need the same apps on desktop because we have a a smartphone with the apps. However, drop the smartphone and get a mobile pc and now you need the mobile apps.
  • Lol. Ure clueless. How long have we been saying "we need users first"? Stop. Just stop. Users won't come because there are no apps. PERIOD. FACT. accept it for christs sake. It needs android app emulation or its D.O.A. end of discussion. If they don't add android app amu, I'll see u back here later to rub it in your face.
  • Then Microsoft needs to give up until they have a way to get users. Name one time apps came to a platform before users? Blackberry adding Android app emulation is the closest I think and that didn't work for them because apps wasn't the issue, same as Windows Phone. They need to build a platform people want to use. It is time to move beyond Windows. They cannot be successful if they tunnel vision thinking everything has to be Windows.
  • You're confused about who is clueless here... Bleached is right. The user base must come first, i.e. MS must find a way to create one despite the app gap. That is what this device is intended to do, by providing a unique value proposition and feature set. Mobile apps don't factor into the picture at all here, and you not understanding that is the source of your confusion. Apps not factoring into the picture is why the author of this article stated "Microsoft cannot position a "Surface phone" as a phone". Calling something a smartphone or phone implies it's for running mobile apps. MS doesn't want you to think of this device in that way at all, so it must be positioned as something else entirely. If at the time of release the majority of people think about this device the way you did here, then this device is DOA. It will probably be much worse off in the mobile app department than W10M devices are now. MS must give potential customers (likely corporate types) compelling reasons for puchasing it, that aren't tied to the mass market app economy.
  • That is a dangerous road to go down on. WP and Win10M were far better optimized platforms (hence the much lower specs of phones and very good battery times) than Android. Porting Android apps will create a dump of resource hungry apps like Candy Crush. Masses reported to be able to fry eggs on their phones while playing. WP and Win10M were far better platforms than any Android variant (security for/from apps, OS API). Higher quality native apps won't come if there's the cheap opportunity porting.
  • No, if MS open for android apps, the entire UWP ecosystem falls apart no matter how small it is now. To grow MS have to continue it's focus on PC/Tablet, XBOX and even AR/VR/Hololens where they have an either large or unique market position. MS need to convince debs that need to develop for those platforms, but they also need to see how it would be useful for them to make that app phone friendly. When people learn to use the store on their PC, debs will follow. And unlike mobile phones, the potential customer base on PC is huge.   
  • yeah!
  • This is false. Android apps in containers is the answer.
  • If you want to run Android apps, just buy an Android phone. Normal consumers aren't going to buy a Windows phone to run Android apps. What is the point in that?
  • This is spot-on correct!!! They need to get over this phobia and false narrative that running Android apps will kill the UWP. The users will not come without apps. Once they are on the platform, the devs will build native apps once they know there are users on the platform.
  • I have no idea where that thought comes from...OF course Windows and UWP will NOT fall apart if the devs port android through a bridge system.  That idea is just silly.
  • Ehm... the idea comes from decades of experience in the software economy. This isn't the first time an OS has run into this sort of problem. Using an emulator to widen the selection of software has alredy been tried many times. So far every such attempt has failed for many reasons MS could not mitigate. MS' attempt would also fail. Building an emulator would be a good idea if MS' goal was to earn money by selling smartphones. I suspect that was Balmer's goal, and in that context it makes sense. That obviously isn't Nadella's goal, otherwise MS would not have sold Nokia. MS' goal is to control the technological platform. Not only is an Android emulator useless in that regard, it's downright counterproductive. So, no, an building an Android Emulator would not cause Windows and UWP to fall apart, but nobody is claiming that it would. The mobile side of UWP would just sit there, unused, forever. Not broken, but completely pointless.
  • What about the "bridge".   that was a thing......was it not?  made it easy for apps to be ported into UWP apps?  NO?  Or was that more bullshit spewed by MS?  There seems to be lots of that lately!
  • @Steve Adams I have no idea what happened with the iOS bridge (Islandwood). MS just stopped talking about it. WCentral apparently doesn't care about it or doesn't want to follow up on it. Either way, that would have been a real option, as the resulting piece of software would have been a real UWP app which could have been extended with WP specific features (legal issues with Apple maybe?). The Android bridge (Astoria) would not have resulted in a real UWP app, but in something entirely incompatible. It would have combined a lot of different technologies to get apps running, one component of wich would have been an an emulator. It was trashed for the reasons I alluded to. The Win32 bridge (Centennial) is alive and well, but despite WCentral's very misleading description of how it works, it doesn't actually create a real UWP app either. It just allows the Win32 app to be distributed through the Windows store. It does create a good starting point from which developers can port their app to UWP however, but that is a potentially long, expensive, and entirely manual (software development) process. So, in summary, yes, one of three is a "thing".
  • Hi @5cent and @Stwve Adams here is a Windows Central article where I had a Q and A with Stefan Wick who works on Project Centennial. Here it is from the horses mouth🙂: https://www.windowscentral.com/why-windows-s-and-project-centennial-are-...
  • Hey Jason, thanks for the link! I hadn't yet seen that. Probably the best WCentral interview on Project Centenial to date, but still not that great :-( I'm a software engineer. I've used Project Centenial. I think I have a very good understanding of what Project Centenial is, how it works and what it does and doesn't do. I'm glad to see Stefan Wick confirming everything I've been telling you. However, based on the questions you asked and how you asked them, it seems highly unlikely you really understand what I and Stefan Wick are telling you. For example, you asked Stefan Wick whether apps that use only compliant APIs can undergo the "full process" (whatever "full process" means). I suspect you were fishing for an answer along the lines of "yes, in this or that case Project Centenial can fully convert a Win32 app to UWP". That's not the answer you got. IMHO your question was barely coherent, and to give a coherent answer to a non-coherent question Stefan Wick had to reinterpret the question and as a result went off discussing issues that are far too technical for a site like this (HWND based UI APIs). He's definately not answering the question you thought you asked. I have no idea what you took from his answer, but I'm 100% sure it wasn't what Stefan Wick actually explained. You didn't get the answer you wanted, so you followed up by asking whether the "process can be completed" (whatever "the process" actually means) for any developer ... because non-compliant APIs can be replaced? I'm guessing that you envision porting as the process of replacing non-UWP compliant lines of code with UWP compliant lines of code... line by line. That would be totally and utterly incorrect. At this point in your interview I think you and Stefan Wick are talking about entirly different things. What Stefan Wick is telling you, is that some Win32 function calls aren't compatible with the way UWP does things, so manually porting parts of a Win32 application to the UWP might have unforseen consequences elsewhere and require changes that weren't yet planned. To me it sounds like you still assume that the removal of all "non-compliant API calls" will allow Project Centenial to then convert Win32 to UWP automatically. That would still be utterly incorrect. As I've always said, porting a Win32 application to the UWP is practically a ground up rewrite (with the added benefit of knowing exactly what you intend to build). Stefan Wick confirms that, with one exception which I hadn't yet considerd: Unity based software. Software that doesn't use the Win32 API directly, but restricts itself to using Win32 only indirectly via the Unity API, can potentially be brought over to the UWP with almost no effort at all. If the application was already based on C# and the developers avoided ever calling any Win32 API, then that likely works, because in this case there is just literally nothing to port. The C# based app isn't a Win32 app at all. It's a Unity app. Because the Unity API and runtime is available for Win32 and UWP the whole app can just be moved over unchanged. Still, even in this case there is no conversion at all (because there is literally nothing to convert). As far as Project Centenial is concerned, the "full process" you continually speak of (assuming that refers to fully automatic conversion of Win32 to UWP) doesn't exist. The entire process supported by Project Centenial, both it's first and last step, always ends when the app is wrapped and made compatible for the store. There is never any API based conversion! That is the developers job. Anyway, I could go on, but my main point remains... the interviewer didn't have the technical understanding required to ask clear questions and get clear answers. At least once the interviewee and interviewer wern't talking about the same thing. I know what Project Centenial does. Nothing Stefan Wick said here was news to me. I suspect if you understood everything the way Stefan Wick meant it, at least some of it would be news to you. IMHO you guys need someone who actually understands software technology to do this type of thing for you and then translate the technical speak into what it actually means. You guys just alwys translate it into what you think it should mean, which is rarely accurate. That is still my basic problem with technical content published by WCentral. Sorry for the long and somewhat inconsiderate post. I'm just don't feel like beeting around the bush.
  • Hi @a5cent As I read your response I noticed some presumptions you made upon which we founded a "response".🤔 In some cases your presumption is missing the mark, consequently your "response" is as well.☹
    Anyway,🙂 the information Stefan understood the questions I asked and gave the response to the questions providing readers with accurate information about the full process for getting a Win32 app to the UWP. Stefan reiterated the Convert - Enhance - Migrate - Reach All, process I explained in this article long before the Q and A😉: "Windows 10 on ARM makes sense of Win32 apps on Nokia phone"
    https://www.windowscentral.com/microsofts-centennial-bridge-key-making-w...
  • You sometimes correct a person in the comments who didn't grasp some aspect of your article. I've never encountered such a comment where I wouldn't have corrected the person in the same way you did. That is to say that in general, I get your drift. In this particular case I had no issue at all with anything Stefan said. I don't think he always give an answer to what you think you asked, but the answers he did give were flawless. If anything was sub par, it was the questions. That was the only thing I had trouble understanding. I don't think that has ever happened in any of your previous articles. Like I said, I usually have not trouble at all understanding your point. In this case I think it's safe to assume that your (or anyone's at WCentral's) poor understanding of software development allowed you to frame questions in a way that don't really make sense. I think I'm qualified to determine if a question related to most software development related issues makes sense or not. If I misunderstood or made incorrect presumptions about the subject matter, I'm pretty sure I'm at least not the only one to blame here ;-) Really, I'm not trying to get under your skin. I'm just trying to get accross that WCentral generally fails whenever it comes to technical issues (this criticism isn't specific to you at all). This article was, IMHO, no different. TBH, I'd also be very surprised if what you took away from Stefan's explanations accurately reflects reality.
  • You sometimes correct a person in the comments who didn't grasp some aspect of your article. I've never encountered such a comment where I wouldn't have corrected the person in the same way you did. That is to say that in general, I get your drift. In this particular case I had no issue at all with anything Stefan said. IMHO his answers were perfectly fine. I just don't think he was always giving an answer to what you think you asked, but the answers he did give were flawless. If anything was sub par, it was the questions. That was the only thing I had trouble understanding. I don't think that has ever happened in any of your previous articles. Like I said, I usually have no trouble understanding your point. In this case I think it's safe to assume that your (or anyone's at WCentral's) poor understanding of software development allowed you to frame questions in a way that don't really make sense. I think I'm qualified to determine if a question related to most software development related issues makes sense or not. If I misunderstood or made incorrect presumptions about the subject matter, I'm pretty sure I'm at least not the only one to blame here ;-) I'm not trying to get under your skin. I'm just trying to get accross that WCentral generally fails whenever it comes to technical issues (this criticism isn't specific to you at all). This article was, IMHO, no different. TBH, I'd also be very surprised if what you took away from Stefan's explanations accurately reflects reality.
  • Exactly!!! The main problem are the apps.
  • No, apps are the symptom, not the cause. A lack of users due to an unpopular platform is the cause. Microsoft needs something new that can bring users back to their platforms. I doubt that such a thing can ever be called Windows. After decades of poor experiences it will be tough to successfully market anything called Windows.
  • Windows is a better ecosystem than Android, it's shouldn't have to emulate Android. Apps should be made for Windows, period.
  • As always, very good read and really well put together. This is how I see things. I agree with many of the points you made about the effort this will take from all of Microsoft to pull off without it looking halfhearted or anything less than all-in for them. But, with that said, I feel like Microsoft has made their mobile strategy clear with offering an extensive list of first party developed apps for Android and iOS and fulfilling many consumer and enterprise users needs that have come to rely on MS services. It's hard to believe that the effort they have put into these apps is for nothing and that ultimately they are still going to develop another Windows variant to run on a more mobile device and a whole new set of apps replicating the Android/iOS versions at the very least. As an OS and a device, this new Surface device will have to provide something so remarkably different and useful that pulls away those already comfortable using Microsoft's apps already on offer in those other OSes. What I think will likely happen is Microsoft is making a forked version of Android, with a skin that is uniquely Windows, be it the tile interface or something new but still have Android underpinnings and with full access to the Play Store but the device will also have some unique hardware characteristics like further advancement of Continuum or other 2-in-1 functionality with external peripherals. Also we have to be careful how we measure success of such a device. The Surface line is not targeting the general consumer the same way Apple products (computers not phones/tablets) also have a key demographic that regulary buy their stuff so marketing strategy will be key to getting eyes on this device and its capabilities and how it sets itself apart from anything else on the market. One thing is for sure, I don't envy Panos or his team and anyone else within Microsoft that is responsible for planning out this device because it is an extremely tall order, more so than any other Surface device or piece of hardware put out by Microsoft and if it fails horribly then it could easily be the end once and for all for them in this mobile space.
  • I don't quite see how they are going to make money from/through all these Android apps or how they can gain markets or market shares.
  • It's a bridge to native windows implimentations.  Get people on windows first then get the developers to make native versions.  Chicken and Egg.  Developers will not devolope with no users.  Users will not come to a platform with no apps.  Android solves these issues.
  • Users will come to a platform without apps if it is sufficiently superior to current offerings. No platform has ever had apps before users. They isn't how it works.
  • What you're going on about applied in 2007... This is 2017. Don't fool yourself. People need their apps from day one now. Yes, need.
  • Exactly - without apps there is no hope of success. I love my 950xl. Love the Windows mobile operating software, but I struggle without app. The average user, as opposed to the Windows fan, will not turn away from iOS or Android if they can't have their apps.
  • Like who's gonna go to your party if you don't have any beer?
  • I like beer........
  • LOL. delusional
  • No. MS have those users. They need to make devs make true UWO apps for pc/tablets, and thus the base line for mobile apps will be laid as well.
  • MS can't make developers do anything. The only thing Microsoft has control over is what they bring to the table.
  • Truth.
  • Growing the userbase of any "free" service has no obvious downside and it's one way to ultimately expanding marketshare in any number for those specific demographics that the app is targeting. As I said before, if they do not offer anything unique or worthwhile be it their OS UI or hardware, it will be extremely tough to be just another mobile option. We can see with what Blackberry has done with their Android offerings. Leaving Android stock for the most part but a few unique touches in software and some old fashion Blackberry hardware traits with a varying level of success. For Microsoft I don't think this will be enough. Offering a totally unique not yet seen layer on top of Android with full access to the Play Store I think is the safest way to not only put potential buyers at ease since it's built on Android but also offer a genuine software experience not seen across the mobile space be it Android or iOS. I appreciate all the work being done with UWP apps and the underlying tech to make that work and be a viable option going forward but I just don't see that going anywhere. Ever since it's been made known, it's only gotten a handful of recognizable developers to take full advantage of that setup and the Windows Store is still mostly a disaster as a means of getting legitimate worthwhile apps.
  • Although your message comes clear, and it makes sense,, I don't agree with the forked Android par... I doubt if that's what they're planning for a "Surface Phone''... That definitely would be death.
  • And, that totally defeats the purpose of Cshell.
  • The ultimate question is "will they do it?""....
    Will they do it right this time?
  • The 'problem' with Cotinuum is that, even if Microsoft could build that ultra mobile cellular PC of our dreams, it will always be for basic light computing and that Samsung has proven with it's Dex Dock and the Galaxy s8 that Android is a capable platform for this kind of concept. Samsung win probably build on this further with the note 8, stealing Microsoft thunder even further. As that phone's audience is perfect for a concept like this...
  • The Continuum on the L950 & L950XL is not the same as being able to run full Windows 10 Pro from your phone. That would eliminate a need for a laptop and so save a lot of money.
  • Right now Microsoft has a the strongest card no company can beat, at least for now and it's called x86 apps. Microsoft just need to bring a Surface phone hardware to the market,  ARM with windows 10S + phone capability. This surface phone must be able to run any x86 apps from the store the exact same way we can do on any Windows 10S device. This way gives devellopers a reason to port their existing x86 apps to the Store and even "if they want the best user experience" optimize their apps for the screen size / UWA.
  • Sorry. Most consumers just don't care about x86 and even less about x86 apps which are from last century.
  • Don't write such articles Jason, it just hurts.
  • As much as I've been a fan of Windows Phone/Mobile, since the beginning, MS definitely has to get this right. Some of the visual inspirations from film that you've pointed out would be great, if it can be done right. A transparent screen ultra-mobile PC would definitely catch attention from all factions of consumer market. Cortana will have to be extremely personable. When you say, "Hey Cortana," she should be able to acknowledge you audibly by name and ask how she can help you. For an AI that is so cloud based, this should be a no brainer. A visual upgrade to give a more immersive interaction would be nice, but I'm not sure what that would look like. I think a 5.7-6 inch screen will be necessary, at the very least. Now, the issue here becomes, what new or eye catching form factor should an ultra-mobile PC be? I like the idea of a transparent screen. However, I'm not sure how well that would work with current technology. So, a foldable or dual-sided screen that folds out might be more of an answer for a new form factor. Size and thickness will be a huge obstacle to overcome for any new form factor. So, MS will have to push boundaries create new tech or working closely with companies involved with new tech to get something that is new, unable and dependable. The quality has to be on point. Another form factor that comes to mind is an ultra-mobile PC that is a wearable. It will have to have a flexible screen that can clasp the wrist from the inside out. The screen would wrap from the top to bottom of the wrist. When taken off the wrist, it can be flattened out to a 5-6 inch screen. While wrapped around the wrist, the user should be able to configure whether or not they want the time, date and weather to show on the inside or outside of the wrist. The opposite would be used for phone, text and notifications. Such a device could have sensors built in and it could potentially kill two birds with one stone, by also picking up a running with where the Band 2 and any successor had hoped to be.
    When it is folded out to full screen use, it would act as a small tablet that has pen use. A TRUE all in one. This type aspires to be a lot but, if it could be done and done right...man oh man! This is just something off the top of my head, but you heard it here first. Lol Even if such a device could be created and done well, will MS actually promote it enough to get people interested?
  • Can't agree more.
  • This should be a backup strategy, not the main strategy. Microsoft already made the ultimate device (Surface Pro) but after the time they realized that something more conventional sells better so they went after Surface Book, but then they realized that they need even something more conventional to sell better and then they've released Surface Laptop. So they've spent 5 years to realize that the previous product form that they tried to make obsolete is actually the best for most of the consumers. It is the same with the Surface Phone. It will be probably the fastest growing category for some time and they'll get some traction, but at the end they'll probably see that most people don't need it (or at least don't think it brings value for its higher price). At that point they'll need to launch a good old smartphone. The one that they have abandoded 2 years ago. Hopefully at least Surface Phone might attract some developers, so the Surface Smartphone that comes after the Surface Phone might do better after all.
  • Hi Jason, thanks for the article and your ongoing support for Microsofts mobile sector. I agree with you. One question not directly related to the article: what apps do you use on your Lumia and / or which are on your  homescreen? 
  • I would like to see an article on that itself. I would like to hear what other people here are using on their start screen too. I follow people on Instagram that just post photos of start screens. There are actually more than a few. For iPhone and Android uses it's kind of not interesting.
  • All well considered and correct points - as usual, nicely done! It just doesn't seem to Microsoft is in the position it needs to be for all this to happen though - Windows 10 on desktop is getting better each release but it's still not there - and that their new design language is currently embryonic doesn't help.  You're right about the UWP suite of awesomeness they need to build - that they've hidden their (imo excellent) UWP versions of Word, Excel, and PowerPoint in favour of desktop ports terrifies me that the company doesn't realise they're shooting themselves in the foot here. The OneNote and Groove team seem to be the only ones that know that they're doing - and even Groove has slowed down recently while OneNote has essentially just gone fully universal in design and features and now is a better overall app than the desktop version bar a handful of still missing features. But even then, if consumers and businesses (and enterprises) can't get their existing apps on the device it's still DOA, unfortunately. Consumers want Snapchat (still!), they want the latest fads and crazes, they want the apps for their local stores and the services they use every day. Businesses already have apps on iOS and Android and it's still a pain to convert them to Windows, same for enterprises.  I was travelling to the states last week and was thrilled that British Airways still have a functioning Windows Phone app (not a UWP, alas) but it allowed me to check-in and get a digital boarding pass all using my phone. This shouldn't have felt so high tech as people with iPhones and Android devices have been doing this for years on almost all airlines but for me it was the first time an airline I was using actually had an app for my phone, lol! On the flight back American Airlines did not have a Windows app so I had to get a printed one. So many other things throughout my trip made me realise just how much better I'd have it with an iOS or Android phone - and I love Windows 10 and my Windows phones, so there's no way anyone would be willing the change when it means they'll lose access to all the apps and services they use daily. The Android subsystem from the Windows 10 mobile beta needs to return - if companies literally can't just hit one button to upload their exisiting Android app to the Windows store, it's unlikely they're going to bother - no matter how cool a device it is. Once they have them though, and they have a sizeable user base - *then* there's a future for the platform to grow. Right now it seems Microsoft still expects developers to just flock to them, and Windows 10 has proven that just doesn't happen anymore.    
  • i personally believe MSFT can destroy the mobile market with one device. As you look around you realize something, outside of the new Essential Phone, everyone else looks and basically works the same, but do people wish to use their mobile devices in other ways not currently being used ? I strongly believe so. The app game is DEAD, it's VR, AR and AI now, MSFT is at an advantage in this area.The have Xbox, and the Hololens to begin with, making a phone encorporating all of the key technologies will make it the ultimate mobile device. Too many people are focusing on "the name" and "the specs" and missing the bigger picture "The use". It's still early days yet, let see what the rest of the year brings us from MSFT. Nice balanced article as well, good work. Cheers !
  • No. Thank you Jason. I always enjoy reading what you write. The way you express your thoughts is similar to mine. The points you make in this article, are well, on point. I believe in Microsoft and know they can succeed in mobile but they really must nail all the points you've laid out. I'm patiently waiting for a Surface Phone to take the place of my Lumia 650.
  • I feel your pain Jason
  • First off, this is a good editorial opinion of what the hardware should look like.  However it misses the key element of apps and software.   On Desktop MS rules them all.  Impressive new hardware has made them exciting again in this area.  MS has positioned itself well for mobile as a software company.  Cortana integration across "desktop" and mobile platforms is chugging along well.  As a former Lumia 950 owner I was extremely intrigued by Continuum and the concept of UWP and one device to rule them all.   The reality is there are 2 worlds.  "Desktop" (Full PC OS)  and Mobile.  Google is struggling to plug this gap in its ChromeOS/Android world and Apple is walking a thin line by slowly redesinging its Mobile OS to be powerful enough to run mainstream apps. As consumption devices, Mobile is really dependent on the app ecosystem.  No matter how cool the hardware, how many product placements on TV shows and Movies, until you have the apps people WANT and NEED you will not have any movement in the needle.   For me I see the future for MS is returning to a core focus on in house developed cash cows such as Office 365 and its Enterprise apps. However seeing the Samsung DeX with the MS Apps running on Android with a full array of consumer & business apps, its clear if MS wants to be serious on Mobile it needs UWP to have these apps. As 1st world kids start their mobile journeys at 13, if you can't match having Snapchat, Instagram, Pokemon Go you miss out on a generation.  As adults if your Salesforce, Travel Apps, and Expense apps don't work, nor do you have Auto integration you are facing a losing battle. While you may hold out hope (or some NDA information) that causes you to continue to write these pieces, the world is moving on with no signs of coming back.  
  • Thanks for reading blaze...But your reference to this being exclusively an address to the hardware aspects of an ultramobile Surface are accurate.it is abundantly clear I reference the needs of multiple teams to bring software innovations such as mixed reality, inking and more to the device. But that is just one address of the software aspects I clearly point out. It seems you missed the entire subsection dedicated to Microsoft being a first party developer of exclusive apps for Windows to both populate its ecosystem AND to inspire the much need third party support you reference. Here's what you missed 🙂 : "Developers, Developer, Dev … Microsoft you're a developer! As we move toward an AI, bot and progressive web app world, no current mobile ecosystem can thrive without a strong app ecosystem. If Microsoft can't attract developers, its ultimate mobile device will be doomed from the start. Developers need to be convinced Windows is a viable platform. Microsoft can potentially woo developers and prove its commitment to mobile by launching an exclusive suite of unique, high-quality Universal Windows Platform (UWP) productivity, entertainment, gaming and utility apps. They can fall under a "Surface exclusive" branding reminiscent of "Lumia exclusives" of the past. Microsoft must also keep its promise that cross-platform first-party apps will be best on Windows. As the world's leading software company with resources spanning Windows, Office, Microsoft Garage apps, AI, Xbox and more, Microsoft itself is its best asset for winning developers. If it puts a 100 percent effort into building exclusive UWP apps and games before Surface phone's launch, it may inspire third-party developers to follow." Thanks again!🙂
  • I call it a drug laden dream!
  • Once again, amazing article Jason. Well thought out, and elaborate. Love reading about this stuff.
  • Its dead Jim.
  • For me it is per se, can't see giving them another honest go. We will surely watch but now it'll be "look but don't touch".
  • Yes it dead, with a marketshare of under 1% there are no future. MS have blown it so big abandoning mobile that there are no use making a surface phone for the few W10M users left. Android and IOS is for consumers, enterprise and education.MS shall continue make great apps for other platforms and its sadly the only cash they could make what it seems. .....and of course expensive surface devices for those who got 2000$ extra.
  • Yes, because we all know that in the world of tech, nothing ever changes. However it is today, is exactly how it will be forever and ever. Amen.
  • Its dead for me. Left for Android and while loved W10M. I will don't think I will ever be back.
  • Yes, I will do the same. W10M is great but there are no support or has been last year. Gonna keep my 950XL though, but I think too I will not come back.
  • Such an original insight.
  • More original than the article.
  • Actually, no.
  • Actually, yes.
  • LOL poor author in eternal denial
  • Why?
  • But...but...but... The ultimate mobile unicorn is "Coming Soon". Shouldn't we all just keep waiting? Eventually we'll die just like MS mobile and then you won't know what you're missing.
  • Will it be magic or miracle?!
  • Revolutionary & Brave as well.
  • It'll be.... Reimagined™!
  • One thing is for sure in order for MS to go further in the cell phone arena, they HAVE to release their phones to ALL carriers. It can't be on certain ones as many people aren't williing to switch carriers just to get the phone. I think that is one of the reasons why the Microsoft 950 line didn't do so well. Again, just my thoughts!
  • That isn't up to Microsoft. They cannot force carriers to support their phones, especially since they have proven to always be flops. Everyone started with exclusives, even iPhone. Not everyone was able to prove they are worth universal support. Apple, Samsung and LG are the only ones who can get universal carrier coverage. Microsoft cannot. They first need to prove themselves through exclusives.
  • this whole carrier thing is such an old system, phones should be sold separately from the carrier contracts like pc's have nothing to do with your isp
  • I agree. It isn't our reality though and won't be for quite some time if ever. The carriers make too much money with this system.
  • The carriers have also invested billions upon billions of dollars building infrastructure & purchasing spectrum. Plus, unlocked phones are already available, I bought my unlocked Android device at Best Buy, something that was unheard of even just a few years ago.
  • Ha... that's what they want us poor consumers to believe. Some of the "infrastructure" was/is heavily subsidized by guess who? That's the good old and faithful American taxpayer.
  • Really, I didn't know phones were "locked 🔒 until a year or two ago. Where I live it's unheard of. Anywho, I thought Microsoft was coming out with programmable sims built in the phone and you will activate them from the Microsoft Store? Seems like a nice idea. I would never like to be stuck to a contract, though I have had the same phone number on the same carrier for 18 years now. I have an app that will allow me to change plans anytime I want. I can turn on or off internet many times a day. Live tile shows how much money I have on it too.
  • Phones can already be purchased separately from the carrier (that is how I purchased my last phone). The problem is too many consumers in the US rely on that pay per month carrier plan instead of an outright purchase.
  • Pay by the day is better. If you're not making a lot of calls.
  • Pay by the day is better. If you're not making a lot of calls.
  • And Surface Phone, if it happens, when it happens, will definitely not go through carriers. Digital SIM card (E-SIM) is the near future (at least in EU; US is often behind) and Microsoft will definitely wait till they are reality.
  • Hasn't Apple been using eSims for years in the iPad?
  • They have - though I'm not sure if it's some proprietary tech or E-SIM standard. However, AT&T and Verizon do not participate in it so it's kind of useless. In the future I hope for E-SIM to be fully capable tech in every part of the world and that's when a phone shipping with it will be actually very useful.
  • Canada is also starting to push for eSIM technology.
  • In Europe all smartphones work with all carriers and you don't have to buy them from any specific carrier. You can buy them from Amazon if you like, you can buy them in any country you wish.
  • I don't mind buying a phone - that's how I got my 950XL, but it has to work on all carriers. There's no reason the 950XL couldn't work on Verizon's CDMA network. I won't play the blame game, either. It has to work on ALL carriers or it's screwed.
  • Did you fail to comprehend? Sure the 950XL could have included the CDMA bands needed by the networks (Sprint and Verizon). But it is not as simple as that. Sprint is a little easier since you can essentially bypass a lot of the system and they do not monitor very closely, so could probably force it onto Sprint's network. Verizon though uses a "whitelist" of sorts to determine what is allowed to connect to their network. There is no way that anyone including Microsoft would have been able to force them to let it onto the network. And in fact you can get the 950/950XL onto part of the LTE network on Verizon because it is not part of the CDMA being used by Verizon. CDMA is Verizon's way of controling a lot of their network. Try to think and comprehend before you respond with something crazy like "I won't play the blame game, either. It has to work on ALL carriers or it's screwed". They, Microsoft, tried and Verizon said no and that was that.
  • It has to work on ALL carriers or it's screwed
    Definitely. As it does in Europe and many other countries. The ultimate goal of mobile communication is that you can use your phone in any place and which a maximum of coverage. 
    I can use my phone in any European, African, Eastern and Pacific country. I'm not bound to any carrier and I can use any carrier available.
  • /sigh  aren't most country's carriers GSM? I don't think you even comprehended what you quoted. The 950XL already supports international carriers worldwide by having most of the LTE bands needed and the GSM frequencies used. CDMA is hardly used (according to Google approximately 20% total carriers are CDMA, the other 80% is GSM). The person who stated what you quoted from was complaining about Verizon specifically, a CDMA carrier known for being pretty anti-competitive and refusing to work with Microsoft. The 950/950XL is already supporting 80% of carriers worldwide. So what you are stating of traveling between countries and using any carrier is already true, most countries don't even have CDMA carriers. This is not a hard concept. Read, comprehend, reply.
  • Verizon is going all in on LTE this year.  All new phones will be LTE only with LTE voice for the Voice portion instead of CDMA like in the past.  So CDMA should not be a hinderance any more.
  • You guys have such an odd setup in the US with carriers having to "whitelist" a phone, to allow it to operate. It sounds like something from about 10-15 years ago in every other country in the world.
  • it really is, we are 15 years behind everyone else and our LTE is not true LTE. But we have so many people here who refuse to believe that they are getting ripped off to be able to change the system. Also fwiw, Verizon is the only carrier in the US that does the "whitelist". It's stupid, but everyone on Verizon claims "just get a phone supported by Verizon then". Anyways, you are right, it is such an odd setup, ridiculously priced, and no one sees through the bull sh*!
  • As long as Microsoft submits devices for CDMA certification, US based carriers such as Verizon Wireless, Sprint and US Cellular would have no choice but to let said devices onto their networks...or risk getting slapped with fines by the FCC and potentially lose licenses to operate at certain frequencies. Microsoft, HP and Alcatel, have not been going the CDMA route, thus, their devices are not on the radars of the above mentioned carriers. The only Windows phone available for Verizon Wireless users is the discontinued Lumia 735. It is believed that Microsoft and others are waiting for current CDMA carriers to activate their next generation networks before new devices will be made.
  • http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2407896,00.asp    
  • Under Block C rules, a CDMA carrier like Verizon Wireless cannot stop a device from being brought onto it's network if the device had passed certification. Costs for CDMA certification are higher than GSM. The problem with restricting devices to GSM networks is that the units are not available for customers of Verizon Wireless  (largest mobile service provider in the US) as well as Sprint and US Cellular. Microsoft admitted that it was taking a restricted stance with it's mobile phones and avoiding CDMA carriers appears to be part of that process.
  • Fair enough, dexman. But considering how poorly Verizon treated the Icon, including lack of OTA support, can you really blame Microsoft? I really think the 950s were the last of the Elop-era devices. They knew there'd be a huge gap between those phones being RTM and whatever new Redmond is building from scratch. Maybe they didn't bother with the CDMA certification because they weren't heavily invested in the 950's success. I know Verizon is the largest carrier in the US, so when will VZW join the rest of the world and make their entire network GSM? And since LTE is based on GSM, they could probably allow GSM devices on their LTE network, scrapping CDMA along the way. I was a Sprint customer and service in the LA metro area (of all places) was spotty. When they told me I couldn't take a phone I loved to any other carrier because it was flashed for their CDMA network, I swore I'd never sign up with another CDMA carrier.
  • I've been a Verizon Wireless customer for as long as I've owned cellular phones. The reason being is that I live in a Verizon Core (Ma Bell) territory, so I have a single bill for all of my services...FiOS & mobile. From what I can tell, Verizon Wireless is in the process of installing equipment for its new 5G network Once that is in production, the company will close off the existing CDMA network to new activations. At that point, once the CDMA network is closed off, Microsoft, HP and Alcatel would be more likely to consider supplying devices for VZW's customers because new devices would be going onto the 5G network. The same would hold true for Sprint and US Cellular. At one time, there was talk about Microsoft wanting to bypass carriers and direct deliver updates to mobile devices. I don't know if that is still the case or not.
  • I've given up on relying on major carriers for purchasing a phone, the ROI isn't appealing. Give me an affordable phone that I can unlock and choose an affordable MVNO as a carrier and I'll be a happy camper.
  • My lowly Lumia 550 works well with 7-11 and since I am not a busy user of a mobile telephone I only pay for the moderately rare phone calls I make with it. 
  • I'm right there with you Francisco Dan. I've know of the prison that is a CDMA device since my very first Nokia phone in the late nineties. Unlocked GSM is the Only option in my opinion. I've also been using NVMOs for years as it really doesn't make sense to me to use a big name carrier when I can use the same network for less money.
  • Lol, how shall MS convince carriers that this will sell with under 1% marketshare? Except that IT will be veeeerrryy expensive👍
  • Perhaps they should try to look outside America and push this thing worldwide, also, make an affordable model. They need all the help they can get to get over this mess they put themselves in
  • The problem with affordable models is they don't make profits for the manufacturer. Microsft's problem has been that their affordable models were the only ones that ever sold in reasonable quantities. Without some portion of the high-end market (à la Samsung) mobile is a money looser for device makers.
  • Not much has been made of it, but MS just launched the Surface Pro and Laptop as well as the Studio in multiple markets at the same time. The Studio went broader. This is something new. If they are making a Surface Mobile device they have the pipelines sorted to do so.
  • The only way to do this is to launch it on NO carriers, through the Microsoft online store, unlocked. The first iteration of the Surface Phone can only possibly be launched similarly as the HP Elite X3. If there is any direct attempt to go after the consumer market, this will put them in a worse position than ever before even if it's the perfect device, which by the state of the App Store, could never possibly be. Windows 10, although better than it has ever been, is still not as refined as IOS let alone on a mobile device. It will be a mistake to try to win the consumer market by going after consumers. There needs to be a reason to change and their best shot is at making a compelling enterprise product that has a chance of actually getting into people's hands. This is a decent article, and I know what you are thinking regarding carriers, but this is exactly the wrong direction to take, let alone completely unrealistic to achieve. It has to be an under the radar success, the key-word being success.
  • Why not both?  You can sell it on carriers and unlocked in MS stores.  The carriers are a big problem but not the main one.  The main problem is the App Gap pure and simple.  Solve that and the rest becomes easier.
  • They"ll just sell it on Amazon.
  • The current smart phone has to evolve. Small iterations of the current format is not sustainable. What that new form factor looks like is the million dollar question. Oh yea, Verizon!
  • " Small iterations of the current format is not sustainable. " Barring some sort of disruptive technology the current format is absolutely sustainable.
  • Fact
  • was'nt Wharton Brooks' amazing phone the "disruptive technology" that was supposed to push windows mobile forward????  Love that line!
  • Small iterations have been fine for the PC market for decades. Why not mobile?
  • I think that a new device is only part of the requirements.  As for the rest, Microsoft needs someone at the top who is committed to becoming a presence in the everyday lives of users.  I think the OS is capable, but the marketing and most importantly the leadership must completely buy into the end goal.  Unfortunately, I don't know that exists at this time.  If, however, there is a SIGNIFICANT change at the top... and, from the top all the way down....  the real committment is there, it is a long shot but relavence is possible.  .
  • M_A_Adams,  My thoughts exactly.   But...I dont think MS have the intestinal fortitude to do it.  They need to hire,  not fire moible teams.  They need a person or group of people to Be "talent scouts".  Meaning all those apps for IOS,  need to be on the windows platform,  they need to give Royalty free timeframes where said developers and companies get 100 percent of profits from the Windows based apps.  If they do not do this,  DEAD iN THE WATER  
  • Yep exactly.  This will be a money losing push.  And it won't be a 1 year push or set of losses either.  And it may still not succeed.  And developers will need golden carpets and golden blankets to make the ecosystem what it needs to be.  I doubt the "every division must be profitable" hawks are going to be able to let it happen.  And then to not only let the losses be, and still keep the enthusiasm in the delivery, they must make this a truly fantastic place to be.  But much like the education sector they may well find out 10 years from now that failing to make it happen no matter what will result in a loss big enough to sizably reduce the value and relevance of the company itself.  The OS is very, very good.  But retreating had a huge price, huge.  Now can the write the check to make it up?  At a time when Apple is making a huge push to stay relevant and Android is pushing big to bring the whole OS under a standardized control and fix itself?  We'll see.
  • "Intestinal fortitude" ROFL!!! :D You are correct Steve, they need to hire not fire. And they have to be fully behind it and actually support the platform.
  • I agree that they need to hire at the team level.  I just doubt that will happen without a firing at the very top.  I don't think that anything that isn't 'cloud first' will gain any support from Natella, rather it will wind up in a horrible death.   As far as MS apps, yes -- WIndows mobile should get the apps long before ios and android.  This should be an advantage of using the platform.  Instead, if we see the apps at all, we are far behind.  That direction, that MS must support Windows first at all levels, has to be something pushed down from upstairs.  
  • Most of the needed apps are not ones people are charging for and they often are very niche.  That is the problem.  You can't just say here are the most used 100 apps.  Get those and everyone will be satisfied.  Most people will have at least one app that is an absolute nessesity that is in some niche.  Examples can be banks, especially local (NO, web pages do not address this, because of mobile deposit and wallets), airlines, professional tools and services etc..  The ONLY way to get decent coverage in these areas is the Android emulation layer.  Paying off developers might work for social apps, but not many people are staying on a platform for a particular social app, at least i'm not, but then I hate people, so that might just be me.
  • If they have apps that work on a computer then they should work on a phone running full Windows 10.
  • Marketing seems to get blamed a lot, have you considered that maybe the product just isn't that good? 
  • agreed bub.  The bones of windows mobile was awesome....the biggest issue (and fanbabies will argue this point),  is the fact that no apps were available.  I mean,  APPS not third party crap **** apps.  I mean offical full supported apps.  RBC banking app on windows moible is a web wrapper.  On IOS and android its a fully featured app with deposit via camera etc.   For one example.   But most every "app" on windows moible is a ****** web wrapper which is NOT an app...its a sticky link to a website.  and **** user interface.   
  • Hey Steve, you are correct it does need to have apps (first party apps, fully featured). Did Microsoft not try their best during the early days of Windows phone to bring developers in? They were even giving money away at one point. How can you attract developers if there are not that many people on the platform and people will not come to the platform because there are no developers with their apps? I think that is what needs to be solved first in order to be successful. One of the two groups (developer, users) has to be swayed to come on board even if the other group is not there. How would a company do that? I am genuinely curious if you have a suggestion.
  • Users come first. They need to create a device so compelling the lack of apps won't matter so much. Once users start buying into the platform, then developers will follow. It never goes the other way around. Users always come first. Developers will never take it seriously otherwise.
  • I agree, the users need to be there first. Microsoft spent a long time trying to sway developers and not so much on the users side. Think it is time for them to try the user approach. Obviously, just another device that looks like everything else on the market and tries to imitate what everything else is doing is not compelling. So what device would be compelling enough that the lack of apps won't matter?
  • I have no idea. That is Microsoft's job. Apple did it in 2007. I think Microsoft can too. Hopefully they figure something out.
  • They sort of have to lean on the UWP app idea a bit more with the developers and companies....Sort of push them to doing it so that their apps are available to tablet and phone.  And summer_moon...I do not think they tried hard to entice developers.   They need an entire team Just to PUSH THIS idea forward.  They need to hound,  give assistance etc.....They need to be aggressive...not just an Oh well..we tried...
  • What leverage do they have with delvelopers to lean on them? UWP has been a joke, that whole idea needs a re-branding. 
  • It is not a put pressure on devs....it would be more like aggressive begging....We are doing things...please come and put your software on our system.  Then,  give them the benifits of what you are doing.   
  • ANDROID EMULATION!
  • not going to happen with possible lawsuit from Oracle and maybe even Google pushing back.
    .
    Plus Android emulation means the end of the Windows Store because Android has so many different app stores available.
  • MS should use the surface phone be the core of everything. With Windows on ARM and continuum, the new surface book should be a shell. The shell can expend the functionalities of the surface phone core. Same idea for PC. It should served a core, replace the the neediness of the CPU tower. Xbox should have slot /dock for the surface phone core, so it can bring personalized experience, include ID, ownership of the game, etc. Surface phone core can use it as a home automation hub, bring all the smart devices together.
  • Yeah, but then when the surface phone gets discontinued I'm going to have this stupid useless slot/dock on my Xbox...
  • Very well said, everytime I read Surface Phone + Windows on ARM and think about Continuum I see bright future for Microsoft.
  • While I agree they need to be more coheasive with thier services, making a phone the core of them is limiting when processing power is so cheap.  All those devices should be smart on thier own and use the cloud to bridge and enlighten them.
  • What you ask of Microsoft is that they throw everything and the kitchen sink into this. Can such a fabled device actually exist? Doubt so. I like Lumia, I've had three of them, but after all this, unless Microsoft pulls a miracle out of the hat, I'll be done with them and switch to iPhone. I already own a Mac so it'll fit right in.
  • What the hell are you still doing here?  get an iphone and be done!  it's way better than w10m.
  • If such a day come, I will definitely go back to MS. I am devoted to MS since WP7. But the day of departure is there.
  • Microsoft needs to build a premium device which could compete with Samsung S8 and iPhone 7 plus. The marketing strategy for Windows phone has been terrible they need to have a strong marketing campaign to promote their phones and build trust with consumers.
  • But firs they need apps and a wonderful device for half the cost of iPhones or Samsung...
  • What about porting windows mobile directly onto the S8. That would work for me as an interim measure.
  • I'm afraid I've bailed out. Got a Blackberry Android now, but extensively use One Drive and other Microsoft services. 
  • Please STOP already.  
  •  what microsoft need to do is to stop kissing ATT's ass and put their phones on every provider on day one.  
  • You think Microsoft has that option? You think they have the mobile presence to force their phones into carriers? They are lucky even one carrier is willing to support them.
  • They need to push hard in markets like Canada, UK, France, Italy, India, and Brazil where they used to be very popular. Bring to these markets FIRST before going to US or some other random country
  • Microsoft Phones weren't popular as much as Nokia Lumia phones were popular in Europe. Nokia carries a LOT of pull in the EU. There's quite a few people here who ONLY bought int WP because it was Nokia pushing it (I may have been one of those people. The Nokia 920 was by far the best phone I'd ever owned.)  
  • I see we're still searching for the unicorn huh. Let it go guys. #StillRockingLumia
  • What do you have against unicorns😄.
  • Surface phone should be released as soon as the phone is launched. Like 'pre orders begin today'. Should be available for all carriers and should be launched world wide with a reasonable price.
  • Don't really understand why anyone would think they'll succeed when all they've done in this space is fail, fail, fail. And please, no "well the surface pro took a long time to get right blah blah". There are established players in this space with billions of users, it's an invalid comparison.
  • Until they can get decent apps in the Microsoft Store, they are dead in the water. Even microsoft's own Mail app in the app store is crap. They are dying a slow death. I'm a huge fan of the Surface and I still even like Windows Mobile on my Luma 950 XL, but unless they get thier act together, my next computer will be an iPad Pro. I've already had to to limit my use of my Lumia, because many apps no longer update, work, or are just not very good -compared to Andriod and IOS counterparts. As for Windows OS, it's getting that most apps work better and feel safer on IOS. Although they still have business somewhat locked down, for a while anyway, this feels like a critical time for Microsoft; and, I feel that unless they can conquer mobile, they are finished in the consumer front, and business will soon follow.
  • Safely to say, no matter what is released there will be complaints.  I don't need some magical phone.  What I need is a solid phone with One Name that is recognizable and has the ability to add a 2, 3, 4, 5, etc... (ie. Surface Phone1, SP2, SP3, etc) for each iteration.  And with each iteration it gets better.  A phone that is released in the same month every year.  That way I can plan and know exactly what and when to expect its release.  There will never be a device that has all the bells and whistles on the first iteration.  I just expect something new on each and every annual release.  That's the direction I hope Microsoft takes.
  • Weight? Microsoft simply has no more weight in the mobile arena. And, to be objective, Microsoft's weight as an ecosystem is getting weaker as never before. The company now has a terrible relevancy problem in hands, developers completely ignoring the platform since the market is now importantly shifted toward mobility. Though times ahead.
  • Its not weight with microsoft,  it's WAIT!
  • followed by, Soon™
  • I know I said it in anticipation of Windows Phone 7, Windows Phone 7.5, Windows Phone 8, Windows Phone 8.1, Windows 10 Mobile, Anniversary, Creators.......but THIS time, Im very positively sure MS might possible break through the mobile market......maybe.
  • They had a chance with WP7, but they had to play it perfectly even then. Today they have no chance unless they have a device as revolutionary as the iPhone in 2007. No way they have something that impactful. Docking and turning into a desktop isn't revolutionary and won't be sufficient.
  • For you. I'd go back to WinPhone with thosd types of features.
  • You are one person, everyone else has already decided they don't want Window phone. I am sure you don't really believe Microsoft can make a comeback with just another Windows phone?
  • You are also one person, who does not speak for the masses. Your idea of what must be done or even what is "revolutionary" is yours. There is no indication that it will be just another Windows phone. You are just setting it up that if it doesn't cure cancer, it'll fail.
  • I don't speak for the masses, they spoke for themselves, loud and clear. The Surface Phone will need to cure cancer it it wants to have a chance. Being a dockable desktop won't do it. W10M has shown Continuum isn't a compelling feature.
  • Honestly, that might not even be enough for a chance.
  • Says you. The masses haven't spoken about what's not invented yet. Also, poor sales doesn't tell the story. You like to present your opinion as fact and then reference sales. You have zero data indicating that people didn't like the OS. My guess is that sales suffered because of a lack of marketing commitment which was met with a lack of enthusiasm by developers leading to a lack of apps. That is my best, observational conclusion.
  • You ignore that Microsoft marketed WP7 very heavily. They spent half a billion on it themselves while Samsung and Nokia also helped with their own marketing push. Marketing doesn't make up for a bad product though. If WP was that good, word of mouth would also help. Microsoft stopped marketing only after it had proven to not be working. It is just an easy scapegoat now. It allows you to ignore the true issue. WP just wasn't competitive.
  • Some context is required. Compared to what Samsung has used to market the Galaxy line, I don't think a half a billion compares. Regardless, the quality of the message of the ads counts. The ads were never compelling and were either a hodge podge of feature blasting or some vague concept thing. They could have used more Ben The PC Guy stuff. They sure didn't do the underdog, come from behind, kind of effort that is kind of standard. They were too conservative. Regardless, your conclusion that the product itself was inherently bad, thus low sales, requires a bit of extrapolation on your part. You present it as though you have some verifiable data supporting such a claim. You don't because it doesn't exist. The complaints I heard from people were always app-based. "The thing has no apps" - "My bank isn't on there" - "I need (xyz) app for work". That's why people still leave. That's why I left. Please backup your claims other than repeating "the people have spoken".
  • Yes, they did som marketing for WP7, but WP7 was not that good in it selfs. Now Windows 10 mobil is pretty complete, very stable, maybe not perfect, but ok. But apps dissaper every day. Now our favorite payment app (MobilPay) will be gone by the end of this summer. And even as both me and my vife are pretty happy with our Lumia 950 and 950 XL, it is likely that we will switch to Android sometime this year.
  • I just want a high end phone that works.  For me, it doesn't need to cure cancer.  Although that would be a nice benefit.  I'm still happily rocking a L950... W10M is not failing because it's not revolutionary.  It's failing because app support sucks for those who need them.  Fortunately I'm not one of them.  But I understand there are alot who do.
  • i'm very hopeful also. I think it's interesting though how google and apple are investing in the ultimate connected device, the car, whilst MSoft proclaims to be looking at the next big thing by trying to out do its competitors in a field it's already admitted is dwindling and not going anywhere. (very mobile computing)  
  • Ha ha its halfway 2017 and still no sign of this magical device everyone is talking about since lumia 950. It was supposed to arrive at the end of 2016. I bet we'll be talking about it even in 2018 while Microsoft keeps delaying everything
  • Actually I've read where they are talking 2019 now.  Who really knows?  I just want to see something unique and great soon.
  • If Microsoft knew that such device wouldve taken so long, it should've had atleast some presence in smartphone industry until then. Firing the Nokia staff and closing the Lumia lineup was a dick move.
  • I agree, they should releese an ultramobile Surface, BUT I also think that the traditional phone form factor is here to stay. I think they should make both. This is what I think thay should release:   1. foldable ultramobile Surface 2. 5.2 - 5.5 inch Surface phone 3. 5.8- 6 inch Surface phone Plus  
  • Three expensive flops. No more devices unless they have something truly revolutionary. Otherwise they are wasting their time and should just concentrate on making desktop Windows better.
  • Do you anticipate them failing in that order as well?
  • I think they should have kept windows mobile development for low end phones and kept the specs as low as possible.  Then use proper Windows on Arm for the Premium mobile devices.  This would have allowed for a much deeper market.  As of now WoA will be only premium devices because of the cost of the silicon.
  • Windows 10s ( or basically 8.1 RT) that can make calls job done, can't be that hard
  • This is Microsoft we're talking about; if it's easy they'll make it bloody impossible. 
  • No Windows 10 on ARM?
  • Needs to have apps or dead in the water.
  • I've been a windows phone user for many years. I had a nokia 820 and at this moment a lumia 640xl. But soon i will move to iphone. Because Microsoft have done a demolotion job on windows mobile. Since the creators update a lot of apps don't really work well. The lack of apps is also disturbing and that creators update on mobile is a complete failure. For me windows phone is dead.
  • I agree the app problem is all that's holding windows back
  • They were late to market with a sub-par product that failed miserably. Even if a viable app store magically appeared overnight, what incentive is there to switch for the billions of iPhone & Android users to a new OS? People use Google, Apple, Samsung, etc. services on their phones, why start over with a whole new ecosystem when the device you already have works just fine?  
  • Reset your phone, then reinstall the apps.
  • A fantastic article, and I believe you are right on the mark, it must happen or the slippery slope will start getting steeper !!!
  • it lives in the minds of fanboys and fangirls here...NO where else. 
  • Guess it is an expected comment from an Apple fanboy. I personally would not own an Apple product. The phone is not waterproof and has no headphone jack and no memory expansion. I hate what has happened to Apple since Steve Jobs is no longer there. Tim Cook is a joke. Although, Microsoft is also running without much inspiration either. It has become an Android /Google World sorry to say.
  • Personally they should of continued to support the 950/XL and provide them to the carriers until the phone came out it was a mistake to leave the market entirely then expect people new genre or not to jump right back in again. 
  • I think they will try to create a new niche market for the next handset, so not bothering with mobile but the handset/ mini tablet will make calls
  • my own commitment to windows phone has had almost everything to do with efficient performance on minimal hardware, allowing for excellent, budget devices that Android couldn't possibly touch (cheap Android devices have long been terrible - but they're improving a lot with the latest OS versions). I have recommended to similarly frugal friends and family the Lumias 520, 535, 640, and 650 - all of which I found at great deals. I may still recommend the 640 if I could find any more unlocked for the $50 or below range. However, the approach recommended here, for a game-changing device from Microsoft, seems it would mean the abandonment of the budget device - the only phones that seemed to be allowing MS a foothold in the market. I don't see how this could be anything but a rarefied, extremely niche device. Maybe, priced right, it could be somewhat profitable to sell, but it's not going to substantially change market share. I still think the retrenchment strategy was a bad decision. MS should have doubled down on cheap devices and marketed the Lumia 640 for being the best bargain in computing of all time and flooded TV with ads and mass-produced the heck outta that thing. I don't see any path forward from here, including a perfect, lustworthy Surface phone. I'd still love to see one made, but I won't be able to afford such a thing and I can't see why it would sell well, no matter if MS got everything made to the lofty expectations of this article.
  • It's pretty difficult to justify sustaining the losses from selling sub $50 devices, even for a giant like MS. Also, your brand then becomes associated with the low end of the market & is judged accordingly.
  • Agreed, public image of the Surface line is actually quite high. As in high quality at high prices.
  • That's where Samsung and LG came from. Over time they made enough money to make better products.
  • My thoughts exactly
  • I also like that the Lumia 640 was a very affordable phone. I would have never tried it had the only phones available were all $600 and more. That is why Android is so popular. You can find phones in all price ranges.
  • There is a market need for a Windows phone. It is a small, growing trend of people who are tired of both Apple and Android. Android phones are really too hit or miss in one major thing that Apple has them beat at and that is longevity and it seems to be getting worse with newer phones. Many times I am hearing people say that Android phones they had 4 years ago are still around, meanwhile their LG or Samsung phones from less than 2 years ago are crapping out before their "contracts" are even up. People who are tired of the Apple ecosystem of limitations do not want to go to Android because they really want that ease of use and also are worried about the splintering of so many phones, not to mention the here today, gone tomorrow of Google's newest product lines. A 3rd option in the marketplace with something along the lines of their Surface line could be very attractive to those people and I am one of those. Give me a Windows 10 phone that runs smoothly, has a good UI and build quality and I am totally there. Allow me to get my Google apps that I like easily with it and I'm even more there.
  • Agreed with everything you said except for Google apps.
  • DOA
  • As Apple celebrates 10 years of turning their whole business focus to mobile Microsoft is in the opposite direction. From Windows Mobile 6.5, which had 30% of the mobile market, they have shown a consistency of purpose in never understanding mobile and failing more dramatically with every reboot. Finally launching a Lumia 950/950XL with little more than a beta OS. Some 8 months later, when the bugs had largely worked through, Nadella famously killed mobile by saying no more would be made. Getting sales to zero means that there is only one direction to go. However they have destroyed their potential market. Buyers of Windowsphone with no phones to buy for the last year means they have abandoned the platform. Customers burned by Microsoft's non-announcement announcements are thin on the ground. Readers of Windows Central read articles of "what could have been" leaks found from time to time.  Microsoft have no device strategy for the mobile device consumers use - the mobile phone. Even if the "ultra mobile device" turns up the Surface brand is premium and usually enterprise. There is no phone on the horizon. 
  • Whether or not they nail the Surface phone MS have to stick with it. With Windows 10 on ARM we are looking at the third reset for Windows "Mobile" in as many generations. These resets killed WM. Apple and Google didn't release a killer OS overnight, they consistently evolved them over 10 years to get where they are today. Is it any surprise that W10M is a very distant third when the OS is only a few years old, MS don't seem to learn from these resets and keep making the same mistakes.
  • Windows ARM on a phone is a new category of a 2 in 1 device that Apple and Google are years behind to complete since Chromebooks and iOS are far less interesting on the desktop, that's whay Chromebooks and iPad Pro are a flop. With that said, the price is very important, if people in low income countries can get their Surface Phone as their first PC at an affordable price (less than purchasing an Ultrabook + a flagship phone) ($999 + $700) = $1700 Surface phone can be a success in many governments and they can order hundreds of thousands of these devices to make public administration less expensive
  • Why do people in low income countries need a PC? Won't a modern, $50 phone do most anything they need? The Surface phone needs to be really cheap if it is going to compete with a $50 Android and a $150 WoA laptop.
  • Why the heck would Microsoft tarnish the Surface line by introducing a budget device?  If a Surface phone were to materialize (Big IF), you can be rest assured that it'll be a high end device.  Something I've been waiting for.
  • Yes, Microsoft has to make the ultimate device and then work their way back to the lower end. Working from the bottom up takes too long. You gotta show them what you can do and then others will start making the cheaper phones.
  • Well I think they should release something revolutionary, if not then don't bother. Now that being said, Apple was in this position many years ago and look how things have changed. It's definitely possible if they can get the app support and come out with a revolutionary product.
  • Agree completely. The Lumia 950 was a massive missed opportunity to produce a benchmark device to demonstrate the opportunities that Windows Mobile could offer, just like the Surface line has done for the traditional Windows environment. It's pretty pathetic that a company as large and with as much talented employees as Microsoft hasn't released anything top line for 18 months (and even then it was pretty underwhelming). 
  • it is not about the device... I so want to use my Lumia 950xl but mainstream companies dont make apps for windows os, surface or mobile! i want to run similar apps across phone, surface pro 4, xbox, sony smart tv. 4 months ago i sadly switched to samsung s7 edge for this one reason!
  • It's pathetic they have to be told that.
  • Microsoft is a pathetic company of people
  • It all depends on Microsoft. If it comes up with something compelling enough, that ties into Microsoft hardware and apps, they could attract users. But so far, it's not been good enough vs. iOS or Android. I think Microsoft has to try, especially because Windows 10 and the Surface HW are very good.
  • " It must be that single computing device that does virtually everything for virtually anyone." If that's the standard in order for MS to suceed, they may as well not bother.
  • Windows 10 Phones is like a Zombi, is dead but still woking! Microsoft Doesn't design CPU for mobiles like Apple or Qualcomm, Micrososft doesn't have a big team for do better OS for mobile (apps for everybody), Microsoft lost here faith on Windows Mobiles hardwere and fired almost all... So how do you thing that Microsoft star to make a Surface Phone like look better andever .... No!!! the big things doesn't do alone! sorry for all us Windows 10 phone fans, we need to move and other mobile tech.
  • I think they need to just allow free calls from your PC with Windows 10. Use skype like system but make it free. GIve people a phone number and then when they release this device they can just use it as a mobile PC. Add Texting options and everything. Internet is all we are going to have to pay for in the future anyway. Cell Phones eventually will be irrelevant. 
  • I moved on to iPhone, and doubt I will ever look back. I loved my 1020, and later my 1520, but MS’s opportunity to reinvent it’s mobile strategy in regards to a dedicated device has long since passed. Unfortunately this effort to create a unified ecosystem (a la Apple) has introduced a level of chaos between their platforms which relays heavily on the need for apps, but again MS is waaaay behind the curve here.   Given the past couple of years of misfires and a lack of clear cut vision how to address these issues I suspect I’ll finally jump over to Mac OS.
  • I've been looking at the Samsung Galaxy 8+ a lot lately. I am still on contract with my 640 XL and will wait it out before making a move.
  • This describes where I am at as well.
  • 👍
  • After a weekend of dealing with crashing apps, black screens, and sick of seeing "resuming" I'm going to see about paying off this phone and upgrading to the 8+.
  • to succeed on the next wave MS needs a product placement that will show the product to the masses in a super cool way. in one of the pics in the article we see a very modern and cool device used by Tony Stark, clearly branded LG. Now imagine that was a Surface ultra mobile device with clear branding and we see Tony actually using it in a way that makes the audience say "wow that's really cool!" and even have Tony mention it by name, AND the device is actually available for purchase, I can guarantee you the masses will buy it. yes it would cost MS a lot of money for such a prominent product placement in such a high profile movie like Iron Man but the rewards will be worth it.
  • Apple and Android make people think they are getting the future today. MS needs to do the same.
  • The only way MS gets back in the phone game in the US is if they create their own MVNO (perhaps partnering with AT&T or T-Mobile).  A radical re-think of the cell phone, combined with a dedicated network, could change the dialog; otherwise, they shouldn't bother if they're not going to address the marketing lockout from the current established wireless players.
  • I'm sure that Surface Phone will not be alone on being the first Windows ARM device on a phone, HP and Samsung will be interested too as this category of a device that can convert from Phone to PC is something which Google and Apple are years behind in tech. 
  • I don't believe the 'Surface Phone' has to be unique. I think it would alienate many people much like what happened with windows 8. I do think if they can get hardware and software working right from the start out of the box and works seemless with the windows and xbox ecosystem they've done it right (no half baked experiences at launch). To do I don't think they have to change much on the hardware side.  I think all that is necessary is to do: 1. Support the new continuum features as a surprise update to current devices on the market, dating back to the Lumia 900 and 1520 and icon series (reasons: Restore trust in windows fans, imori e marketing and brand satisfaction. Shows dedication ti current users, and shows support for futureproofing future devices, cutting the cord of a negative image of early rebooting at the cost if the user. I think this could help with willingness and trust to invest more safely in future Microsoft products and services). 2.  Make the next device the best of the icon, 1520 and 950 series. Only upgrade the arm processor and screen (to support pen input via digitizer). Add a bigger (swappable) battery 3. Make the device work seemless out of the box with hardware and windows ecosystem 4. Have at least double the UWP apps compared to the 2017 benchmark. 5. Have microsoft incentivise the current top 50 high profile apps to come to the windows UWP platform. 6. Have microsoft incentivise the current top high profile high end and liw end games to come and work optimally with arm, possibly make high end high resource game extensions to the xbox game in order to have an acceptable level of gameplay on ARM.  
  • Getting the apps onto UWP isn't the challenge; getting folks to use the platform and thus incentivise the app developers to support the apps that will be the struggle. MS managed to get a large proportion of the top apps to develop for WP8, many of which were superior to iOS and Android thanks to the much missed Metro design language. How many of them are still available now, and how many are just nasty Web wrapped apps? 
  • I see some truth. I think it would be best to incentivise developers again to develop for the platform. They actively need to create the market. A bit more marketing the people will flok. Microsoft is too far behind to continue watchful waiting.
  • Well, if they can't get Snap Chat on board, it won't work and it will be another fail. Not just Snap Chat, but all of the hip and trendy apps that the kids like to use these days. Along with apps from banks and airlines. Alaska Air stopped supporting their app on Windows Phone and that list grows longer all the time. Developers won't build for the "Surface Phone" if people are not buying it and people won't buy it if the apps they want are not on the platform from day one that it goes on sale. It is just that simple.
  • Alaska Air dropping their support was huge, to me.  Seattle is the main Alaska hub; everyone here has Alaska Air credit cards--you see them all the time.  Every Microsoft employee who flies anywhere is probably on Alaska.  If Alaska can't even be bothered to update their app, no one else will.
  • I just can't envisage or trust the current Microsoft to nurture another iteration of Windows Phone/Mobile. The last product they showed any faith with was Xbox, and they had a pretty good stab at mucking that up with the launch of the Xbox One. It's such a shame as Windows Phone 8 was pretty amazing to use and it was only really the lack of apps that prevented it from being a success. I still look back on my Lumia 920 as being the first modern smartphone, what with its excellent camera and feature set that was truly class leading. 
  • One carrier agnostic Microsoft supported phone. US carriers will go out of their way to kill it like they have for the last 5+ years.
  • They need to push it on television as well!! People need to learn that this device can be their phone and their pc at the same time.
  • They need to cut board member salaries and start a world wide add campaign...
  • They do product placement in TV shows all the time. It's part of the reason Scorpion is my favorite tv action comedy.
  • I have an uneasy feeling about this, that Microsoft won't announce something before Fall of 2018 :(
  • It must be torture for you guys who are still holding out hope that MS will announce a new device anytime in the near future.
  • Yeah it is :'(
  • Microsoft got rid of Nokia Mobile but they kept the "Soon" (tm) ... Well, for me, soon wasn't soon enough anymore, after waiting for a long time... I have been a MS Fan since the WinCE and PocketPC days, but I got tired of this "Soon" waiting game... Why imposing self-inflicting frustration when I could enjoy something more up to date on another platform, sure, not as good as MS, but at least something tangible, not a dreamed "soon" supported by demo of technology never to be released (3D Scan on the phone, etc)... Even if MS release their "ultimate" mobile device "soon" (2020 perhaps, which doesn't match my definition of soon, measured in months rather than years?) there won't be a large app support, nor a strong developer community for it... I lost hope.  
  • Microsoft should not follow errors like on this year Build during key note - almost no Windows device on stage, Azure mobile app for Android/iOS without mention abou UWP (when people complaint they stated "soon" but it looks that it is not available yet) and also they have to reconsider their releasing. They should distribute English versions of app to international markets by default (local store are lonely place, really) and they should start selling Surfaces on other markets too. Or at least give people free delivery if they decide take it from somewhere else. Surface mobile will die without users and apps. And lot of developers live out of US :-)
  • Yeah, I am absolutely certain Microsoft will do ALL that and will release the ultimate mobile device.... In 10 years time at that will be too late... Again...
    They already have missed the train... . .No consumer data gafhering mechanisms
    + No devolopers
    + No apps
    = No adoptions The train has gone, MS missed it...
    The ultimate device is likely to be expensive/unaffordable and only appeal to fans, like me rather than mass consumer market...
    If this is a new category, it will take time to convince buyers to adopt it
    Why should iOS and android users change, after so much bad press on MS failure in the mobile space and consumer market (Band 2!), despite having excellent products...
  • Agreed there is no incentive to change platforms & that's not going to change.  MS may be able to come up with some niche device that's suitible for enterprise or business markets, like that ridiculous studio PC they sell for $4000+. That device is a no-go for the average consumer who makes up 98+% of the market, but for the people who need & can afford a PC like that it's well designed & built.
  • My 950 XL has begone a slow decent into completebrokenness state, so what ever MS will offer under a 1,000$ I'll snack up straight away! But I really hope that 90% of all the cool features they have talked about will finally be brought forward. And if they would please bringe back the SMS and Phone integration with W10 and NOT via Skype! Then I would be a happy customer 😊
  • Is that emoji available on W10M devices?
  • <p>My 950XL also died recently. (became slow, camera couldn&#39;t focus, etc etc).</p> <p>Can you wait for another 10 years before you get a new Win10 phone ??? &nbsp;Unlikely that MS will release any affordable consumer mobile devices before a while, 2020 perhaps???</p> <p>MS is&nbsp;great&nbsp;a creating and demoing superb technologies, but rubbish at turning&nbsp;it and marketing it into consumer products... They just hope that their OEM partners will share their vision and invest into MS technologies... Which doesn&#39;t happen that often sadly, given MS track records (MS band 2,&nbsp;which I love, etc)</p> <p>Sadly, I had to move to Android recently (with the excellent Xperia XZ Premium) and change ecosystems... If and When MS reboot the mobile device once again, maybe I will come back, it all depends on how deep my ecosystem migration will be at that time (ie moved my data, contacts, etc to Google for better integration with the device)...</p> <p>It is very very nice to find all the apps you need on Android (my bank, my utility company, etc) which are constantly updated (not an app which was developed at the time of Windows Phone&nbsp;8 and never&nbsp;updated thereafter!)... For instance, I used Windows Maps for my daily commute and Google Maps, with real-time traffic and rerouting, is sooOOOO much better than the Windows Maps, which has received new features (other than cosmetic changes) in years ...</p> <p>I still don&#39;t like Android, but I am getting used to it...</p> <p>Dream scenario for me, XZ Premium running Windows 10 Mobile (or Cshell on ARM) + the Android apps!</p>
  • Another good article Jason. Micorosft needs a revolutionary, paradigm shifting device the way the iPhone was 10 years ago. Without something like this, they might as well give up. Microsoft in general is very strong in the enterprise market, they keep thinking that they can slide in through the enterprise door and get a foot-hold. That doesn't work. They think that they can sell by word-of-mouth through their fan base. Obviously, that doesn't work. For some reason they don't seem to understand who their customers are in this particular market. Create a mind-blowing product and advertise the crap out of it as a lifestyle change for the users. Stop trying to sell the specs to everyday users - they don't give a crap which chips are powering it or what type of graphics card it uses. They want to see the iPhone or Samsung type ads that show how great their life is going to be when they purchase this device. Also, make it good quality and give us multiple price options. Unfortunately, I don't think they can deliver. For too long they have had an attitude of "if we build it, they will come." That hasn't worked for them and I don't see them changing that attitude.
  • From what I've heard, it took Panos and his team 3+ yrs to create the first Surface. With the departure of Elop in 2015(?), Panay got his mitts on phone engineering. Simultaneously, the Windows division has been scrambling for the past 2 yrs to make UWP an engineering product as well as a marketing promise. I think they can create mind-blowing. And I think after the reception that the Surface Studio got from tech journalists, with many articles arguing that Microsoft is now the innovator and Apple is not the company Jobs built, Microsoft could get some buzz going. But they've never understood consumer marketing. Geeks and Nerds. They need to hire the agency that created Kia's Hero ad (with Melissa McCarthy) and give them creative control and a HUGE budget.
  • Okay, I don't think most disagree.  But this is just another "this is what Microsoft needs to do" article.  It's a lot of wishful thinking in the face of historical data from Microsoft that confirms that they just don't get it, and never will.  They make up lofty ideas that look great in CGI but never come to market, never TAKE HOLD of the market and, ultimately, disappear from thought.  After hanging on through PocketPC, Windows Mobile, Windows Phone 7, Windows Phone 8 and, as much as it disgusts me, Windows 10 Mobile, I am now fully convinced there is no reason to hope Microsoft will do anything different.
  • I can't help but think that most of this could have been written about any company competing in the mobile space. Everyone would like to design a game-changing mobile device. If only it were that simple. 
  • Hi Koosh most companies:
    1. Don't have a universal platform that can run a full PC OS on ARM. 2. Don't have an OS with built in Holographic computing API's. 3. Don't have a OS with system wide inking. 4. Don't have a technological lead in AR and VR. 5. Don't have an OS with an intrinsic feature, Continuum, that turns a mobile device into a PC. 6. Don't have an Xbox and Windows gaming platforms. 7. Don't have CShell that enables an OS to conform to context. 8. Don't have 3D content creation via Paint 3D integrated in its platform. 9. Don't have a platform to run universal apps across different device types. So I disagree, most of this article could not have been written about any company competing in mobile.😎
  • Thanks for the reply buddy. Sincerely appreciated. I'm not going to go point by point on these, but some of these advantages have been present and implemented in their mobile OS already, and it hasn't helped one iota. Others are things that are nowhere near ready for implementation on a phone sized device. Hell, even their monster new console isn't really ready for their VR technology.  I stand by what I said. Most of what was written here could be said about Google, Apple, Samsung, etc. I didn't say all, just that most of what you wrote could be said of the other major companies. The article wasn't really about what technologies MS has that others don't. At least that wasn't what I read. Thanks again for your reply. :)  
  • Microsoft doesn't have most of those things 1-9 either, but as long as we're living in fantasy land, sure whatever.
  • I just pray that they hurry up! The longer they wait for all old Lumia phones to die, the harder it is going to be to get customers to come back. I'm going to hold on to my Icon as long as I can (get it repaired as needed) as I do NOT want to have to buy an iPhone or Android. And, YES, any new device is going to have to be useable across all cellphone carriers ... leaving anyone out is NOT an option, if you want this to be a success. And please, please hurry up! This has gone on too long x 2!
  • I think more people have Polio, than carry Window's Mobile.  My daily driver is the Lumia iCon, still - so I must be near my deathbed? Yes, I would like to see Microsoft actually try.  We have been lied to - too many times.   I'm just waiting for the letter from VZW that tells me I have to downgrade to IOS or Alphabet - because they no-longer want to support the hardware.  =( (db)
  • Dont dismiss Windows Mobile and Microsoft Phones.
    Better fire Nadella.
  • I'll believe it only when I can BUY IT from any phone network, for use anywhere. I HOPE they put out a CSHELL/W10SM/Pocket-able "Cellular Computing Device" a la Westworld, but I won't hold my breath. Even if they do, it will be tied to JUST ONE Phone network (AT&T) and will be aimed directly at BUSINESS, not Consumers. Microsoft will do as they always have, and leave the Consumer Market to their OEM partners to define and expand, which will mean at LEAST a 1 year lag in availability, which means they have already lost the race.
  • This sounds really expensive and not very convenient to use. Even if introduced, it will be a small niche market. How does this help Microsoft or the majority of its users? I need something that looks and works like a smartphone and doesn't cost a arm and a leg.
  • Windows Phone could have easily been competitive. It's a good platform. But when your leadership talks and responds like this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eywi0h_Y5_U&sns=em You're doomed....
  • Microsoft needs to put visionaries in position of leadership. That previous MS CEO did a number on MS Mobile brand. What was his name? Balmer or something like that.
  • As much as I wish it would succeed I don't see anyway that it can. I finally got fed up myself and made the switch to Android last year and haven't looked back. Microsoft would need to rely on way more than just cutting edge hardware to get sales. If the experience is subpar and the app offerings are slim to none, no fancy hardware will fix that. The Windows OS on a phone experience is sloppy at times and too basic the way it is. I feel like they would need to start from scratch yet again to make something that is slick in comparison to Android and iOS. I hope they succeed in a Surface phone because solid competition is what we need.. but nothing makes me believe it will based on Windows Mobile over the years.
  • The apps are 100% the issue.  People don't have time to find workarounds and no successful software business is going to prioritize uwp because no one uses apps on their laptops and desktops and they'd rather make the products better no matter how easy it is to port.  I don't know what the answer is I only know that until the app issue is resolved I won't go back to a Microsoft phone and this is coming from someone who bought the 920, 930, and 950 XL.  I'm an enthusiast and a fanboy but honestly Microsoft is starting to lose me.  Sad days...
  • Superb article Jason. Much thought went into writing this.
  • Lol he has been rehashing same concepts since last couple of yrs
  • I'd like a Surface phone, but I don't think there is any way in hell MS makes another phone.
  • Nice article, not trying to slam you, but how many times can you write the same article in different ways?
  • They get clicks and comments. Dude gotta make a living somehow.
  • Microsoft would have been in a better position if they had stayed in the game with their 5 percent market share. They are pretty much locked out of the game now unless they come up with something totally revolutionary.
  • To awnswer the healine directly; Microsoft must launch a Surface Phone and stand by it. Apple didn't get the iPhone right the first time. The first iPhone didn't even have an option for cut and paste or 3g, among other things. But Apple stayed true and worked on and refined the product into what is probably the smoothest most trouble free smartphone you can buy. Microsoft keeps hitting the reset button. I moved to Microsoft from Apple when Windows 7 came out for the PC. I then bought into Windows Phone 7, then 8 and 8.1 and now 10. Before those I had the first iPhone then a Palm Pre (awsome) and a Blackberry Bold. Inbetween I've tried various iPhones and Androids but I kept returning to Windows Phone. I even bought Bands for my wife and I and then a year later we upgraded to Band 2's. I had a Zune HD! I loved it. The build quality was great, sound excellent and interface was wonderful, but the apps never came and MS gave up on it. 2 weeks ago my wife lost her Band 2 and we can't get a Band 3 or even a new Band 2 because MS gave up on it. I can't buy a new Lumia because MS gave up on that too. I currently have an Alcatel Idol 4s. I like it ok but I have no options for screen sizes of waterproofing and MS doesn't even support things like Glance except on Lumia. We have been watching Windows Phone go from maybe 8-9% of the market to less than 1%. Supposedly this is why they gave it up but by my calculations 1% of a possible Billion is 10,000,000. It seems like 10 million useres could provide some justification for a user base. I'm not a big Apple fan (they don't play nice with others). However, if I buy and iPhone and an iPad and an Apple Watch and an Apple TV and a HomePod I am totally convinced that I can get new Apple replacements 5 years from now. Consider this, you can still buy iPods! I have always liked the MS business model. MS makes sells software, Apple sells hardware, Google sells you. MS made it possible for so many people to afford a PC. Office is unrivaled, I need OneNote/OneDrive as much as I need any other Business tool at this point. But I also need consistency. I will NOT be buying into another Windows Phone platform, I simple do not trust MS to be there for me. For the first time in years I walked into an Apple store. I saw a phone, a tablet, a watch, a TV system. They were all very refined and I got a demo of them working in harmony. I will stick with MS for software, Office 365 is working great for me and I believe it will be there 5 years down the road. But by end of day I will be an iPhone user and by end of July I will swith from Surface Pro and Band to iPad Pro and Apple Watch. I didn't leave Microsoft, Microsoft left me. Thanks
  • Right, but Apple was basically first to market with the modern smartphone concept. 10 years later the market is mature, introducing a new device & "standing by it" isn't going to incentivize people to switch to an entirely new platform and new services when they're quite happy with what's already available.
  • I absolutely agree with you. However, iPhone wasn't 10 years old when WP7 came out. iTunes was dominant when Zune was still a player. But now look where Google Play is and they didn't exist back then (i think). I can't remember but I think Band came out before the Apple Watch. Of course Apples best answer to xbox is Apple TV, so thats one in Microsofts favor. And I agree that MS can't support money losing ventures for very long. But by dropping the ball so many times I can't trust them on hardware. Software is another thing. I WANT to be all in on MS but even now all this 'Surface Phone' talk is just speculation. I keep throwing my money at MS and half the time they don't want to play catch. The larger point is this. Even if the Surface Phone is anounced and released this Fall how many people have faith that MS will update it in the Fall of 2018? On the other hand Apple is set to relaese the iPhone 8 (or whatever) this Fall and EVERYONE knows that in the Fall of 2018/19/20 something like an iPhone 9/10/11 will be offered. So any investment in the Apple ecosystem is a good investment. I think MS can do software and cloud like no other. I enjoy using their products. OneNote is my number one app. However, I haven't used anything Apple in years. But after being back in the Apple ecosystem six months from now will I still use other MS services? I don't know. I just buy whats best for my needs. I don't see another OneNote replacement. But in six months will I have left Office for Pages or moved from OneDrive to iCloud. Again, I don't know. The failure of Windows Phone has created a loss in faith of Microsofts ability to deliver and, in turn, has created a huge Customer Service crisis for them. It kills me to move over to Apple because I find them to be tyrannical in their use of new tech. If its better they want to adopt it. If they create something better they don't want to share it.  Last note: This doesn't mean I will stop reading Warditorials. This guy is optimism personified.
  • Fascinating! I could have wrote this almost word for word. I abandoned my Apple stuff to go all Microsoft years ago. I had WM 6.5 phones, a custom gaming PC, Windows media Center, 8" tablets, surface pro 1, Lumia 920, 1520, 950xl, bands 1 and 2, several xbox 360's, Xbox one and One S, and a zune. The only one that I still use is my custom gaming PC and xbox. I will never understand how they messed up everything so badly with all the right pieces, especially with Media Center. They could have ruled the living room 10 years ago if they would have just kept refining it. I'm sticking with Microsoft until this fall holiday season. If they can't wow me by then, I'm out.
  • I wanna cry! Its so stupid. If you have something good you need to support it. I was at the Apple Store talking with a sales person about how awsome the Zune HD was! And how I could send a text and interact with Cortana with my Band before there was an Apple Watch. I think one of Microsofts problems is when they try to out 'cool' Apple rather than inform people to the MS advantage. When Zune HD came out you could: Buy all the music you could listen to in a year and own the rights to 120 songs for $100 -or- buy an ipod and for the same $100 own 100 songs. How can you even compare the two? AND Zune software was so much better than iTunes. Ugh... I wish I could join you and wait till the Holidays. But my Idol 4s has been giving me problems (preview ring) and I need to buy a phone I can count on now. Oh, and btw. Thanks MS for buying Nokia and killing it and the MeeGo OS (that was stoopid)
  • yeah I had thought of buying the Alcatel IDOL 4S when it came out but then I've thought that after 2.5 years of being burned over and over it would be better to stay with my Lumia 950 and my 8 yr old android phone (as backup)
  • Good call. It's not a bad phone at all but you would give up some Lumia stuff like Glance. Why go backward. My phone is most likely giving me issues because of the abuse I have put it through (construction worker. The glass back has been broken twice. Why does a phone without wireless charging need a glass back. I should have thought about this before I bought it.
  • Microsoft is the worst company when talking about mobile platform. They have no commitment, no plan, reboot every 2-3 years and more. That's the problem. They think enterprise people need something futuristic. No. In the end of the day everyone do the same thing, checking emails, social media, calendar and calls. Yes there are people who need more but they are even less than the current windows phone users on the planet. If some time they have a STABLE and feature complete (in compare to other platforms) OS, with compelling price and specs of course people will buy it. If developers see that MS is finally care about mobile they will write apps. They think that developers will write apps for MS because they love it. No, that's a huge mistake. At Windows 10 Mobile start everyone wrote an app. But that's it. MS didn't care for it's Mobile OS so they pull away their apps, one by one. I don't know what the heck they smocking in there but seriously come on. You're not a noob but somehow you managed to be THE worst company in mobile world. It's not easy, I know! But come on!
  • Perhaps they should try launching the Surface Phone in other markets at first (as ex. China, India, Japan, EU, Aus, LATAM). The US market is already catched by iOS, Android. The Developers/Bloggers/Trollers (paid or sponsored by nobody knows) are doing their best to ignore any MS attemps of Windows Phone. Also happens on any MS branch, if not look at the Xbox X first impresions. Lot of PS Developers/Bloggers/Trollers are doing exactly the same.
  • As for a mobile personal assistant... Please open up Cortana to the world! Without that, it will surely fail again.
  • Cortana even in English in Canada doesn't work properly. Keeps saying "cannot connect try again later" or when I am connected it types in some garbled text. I say "what is the weather tomorrow"
    Cortana searches for "Witch in the dog bones be gone tomorrow"
  • Unfortunately Microsoft is not quite good at «getting it right the first time». Plus it's definitely NOT the first time... Still hoping though! 🐱‍🏍
  • As the Surface product, Micrsoft got it right on the 4th time. So it took them 3 failures to finally learn.
    .
    Let's see: WM6.5->WP7 FAIL
    WP7->WP8 FAIL
    WP8->W10M FAIL
    okay may be this time they will finally get it right after causing so much harm to their "loyal users"
  • Honestly I think that the horse has truly bolted and that Microsoft should just concentrate on their apps for Android and IOS. They had their opportunities to make Windows phone a far bigger success if they had followed through with projects as in Project Astoria allowing apps from competing OS's to work on Windows phone.
    People have stated that their would have been a performance hit but hey better a performance hit and have access to an abundance of apps rather than what we have now. Microsoft has made a habit of failing at mobile, Just my take on it.
  • I sure hope it works out. I had to switch to Android about a year ago because of the stupid apps situation and I can't begin to describe how much I've hated to Android experience. Had a LG G4, was ok but shortly traded it for an S7. Boy what a laggy, POS it has become since I got it. Never have I been so disatisfied with the function of a smartphone than this one compared to my experience with WebOS and Windows Phone 7-8.1. From my HTC Arrive to my Lumia 640, I enjoyed my epxerience with all those way more than what is supposed to be one of the best Android phones out there. Please MSFT get this one right!
  • judging andorid performance using samsung is not the way to do it....Samsung is terrible.   their touchwiz OS layer is horritble and bogs down the system.
  • Nope, they've spent 7 years proving they won't fully commit. Bad, half-hearted marketing and terrible strategies and product cuts are mountains of evidence that Microsoft was only interested if it was going to be easy.
  • First: Doing comment in WinCentral App - like legacy text versus Disque (MSPowerUser and AAWP) with picture, links. Suck!!!!! The article is fantastic. The comment edit features the App restrict one to 80s.
  • then just go to Windows Central website to comment
  • Hmm it seems to me that Microsoft is still working on the Windows 10 Mobile OS because 1= they are still issueing NEW builds to the Windows 10 mobile smart phones that are in the Windows insiders program and  2= They are making a special version of Windows 10 mobile for a new Physical Mobile device they are testing inhouse.  3= Microsoft's Execs say Microsoft is going to make a smart phone that does not look like a smart phone. I think tht Microsoft is going to make  a "Surface"- Dual screen Mini Tablet Smart phone hybrid Device. I would buy on one and think Microsoft would sell enough of them World wide to make a profit selling them but this type of device wont suit everyone.  
  • What prevent WinCentral app from using Disque? If surface phone restrict me to old way of expressing myself, it should die immediately. I hate this Text only comment feature. Windows 10 is moving towards fluent design, etc. When come to gathering user feedbacks and comment, we are forced to go back Windows 3.1 I hope someone in MSPowerUser or AAWP go through the GREAT ideas discussed in this article. Very thoughtful and comprehensive. "As we move toward an AI, bot and progressive web app world, no current mobile ecosystem can thrive without a strong app ecosystem. If Microsoft can't attract developers, its ultimate mobile device will be doomed from the start. Developers need to be convinced Windows is a viable platform." There are still many basic libraries we need in UWP that are missing to make Surface phone UWP works. No OpenCV .Net, no AI CNTK.Net , how the developers could be creative without these core libraries to do something similar to CoreML without relying to Azure cloud?
  • I work with a developer company. They told me since developing for windows mobile 6.5 to android they would never go back to microsoft as the market share is not there and is not worth their time or money. Regarding apps, don't think there is nothing Microsoft can do about this.
  • Microsoft can only reboot in a 'Post App' environment. Possibly some kind of Cortana based system that can essentially do everything you would need but this tech doesn't exist right now. I think they need to work in that direction and forget the phone for a few years and just develop the best android/apple apps they can. This would give people time to forget
  • "Microsoft cannot position a "Surface phone" as a phone. As a telephony-enabled ultramobile PC it must be positioned accordingly. "
    ------------------------------------------------
    Next next generation Cshell, beyond what we have now for Continuum - multi windows etc. Need to be on rapid R&D. Xamarin SkiaSharp support animated gif. This app does not support animated gif which edge support. If winCentral app does not learn ! What future do we have for surface phone. So sad. Good enough is not === excellence needed to stay competitive. Pls shows us a proper comment UWP pages that Win10M deserve.
  • Windows Central has only made this app for regulars of the platform and one point would cost $1.99 to get the app. I made the purchase and enjoy it. This app is for tech news only. Not for satisfying your wet dreams
  • Most Wondows smart phone fans want a classic type smart phone so I hope Microsoft will makes one but do not be shocked if Microsoft just has it's OEM partners make standard shaped Windows 10 smart phones.  Get ready Folks Microsoft is going to the nexr new thing= Tablet smart phone hybrid device. "Surface" devices are supposed to cutting edge devices to show MS OEMs Partners and people the Glory of the Windows 10 operating system and New exciting form factor devices that use it
  • Without push notification, without like or dislike, who ever come here to write is one way. Dump some writing, who care if they are read. What wrong with one of major Latest Windows News channels.
    No customer centric. No features to help users learn from each other. All ingredients to doom.
  • George has no arms so it's doom!
  • let's be for real Microsoft does not have to make it's Own smartphones.  Microsft mobile devices billon dollars success is in it's Surface Pro Tablet/Laptop hybrids. Surface book hybrids. and the new New Surface laptop which will be better in the next model. Microsoft should let it's OEM partners make Windows smart phones if they wish to and just support Windows 10 mobile's OS  
  • I don't need a new device. I need quality apps. The windows app store is a (bad) joke. Good luck with that "game changing" snapdragon 835 device. I'm sure it's the best feature-phone in the market.
  • The Westworld phone is the answer. Yes, it's sci-fi, but that's what it's going to take to pry users away from iPhones and Galaxies. If any company on the planet had the ability to build it, it's Microsoft.
  • Excellent article. I sincerely hope that MS is already many months or 1-2 years at work on such a device. Finally, unlike a previous article of yours, you've hit the proverbial "nail on the head". Especially important is what you mentioned about (1) The various divisions within MS working in synergy, and (2) Marketing must pull out all stops to assure that this device is promoted appropriately and launched with great fanfare and globally. Thanks for a great article.
  • I just bought the Alcatel idol 4s. It's an awesome phone.
  • I think Microsoft can make something great, but I question whether they really want to.  Perhaps they will be content as a software, services and cloud company?  Perhaps they will simple push their services to iOS and Android and make those services work great across platforms.  I don't like their focus on business and enterprise because I'm a home consumer as well.  Their current direction is welcoming to professionals, but basically telling home consumers to look elsewhere.  Regardless of mobile I think developers are Microsoft's biggest issue right now.  Everyone keeps touting how Windows has dekstop apps while iOS/Android are "toys".  It's been like that for 10 years now, but in recent years we have seen the tide start to change.  Windows still has the same desktop apps it's always had, but iOS is also getting more robust apps that are starting to challenge desktop apps.  When developers think of a new app to make they aren't thinking "Windows" they are thinking "iOS" or "Android" or "Web".  We can see that in how most of the new "hot" apps coming out are mobile apps.  This to me is Microsoft's biggest challege.  How do they get developers to make apps for Windows?  Not just Windows Mobile, but Windows in general.  If Microsoft doesn't change this then eventually we'll see iOS get all the apps that professionals need and Windows will be stuck in the past. As for mobile if Microsoft can come out with a premium device with Surface design I'll be interested in it.  The device I want to see from them is a 6" foldable device.  It would probably have a 360 degree hinge that allows it to fold both ways.  Fold it one way and it's closed and about the size of an iPhone, but a little thicker.  Perhaps it would have a smaller display for notifications when closed.  Fold it another way and it's like a phone.  Open it up and it's like a small tablet.  It would run Windows 10 ARM.  In phone mode it would have the Windows 10 mobile UI. In tablet mode it would have a tablet UI.  When connected to an external monitor it would have the full desktop UI and work exactly like a Windows 10 desktop.  No matter which mode you are in it's just Windows 10.  All apps would be available, though perhaps they would restrict desktop apps to only run in desktop mode.  To me that would be the ultimate Windows device.        
  • Ms just need to do a small thing for the Surface phone- make a telephony device along with pen support and also allow .exe files to install on phone. Then it will be a big success.🙂
  • No one can do it right the first time.  If somebody did then didnt bother to get an opinion.  You see every people have different taste, I can like the most beautiful sexy girl but still someone will opt for the ugly fat...this is how it is it is not discrimination but mere taste. Wake up. I think what MS needs to be is not to disappoint with regards to Surface phone.  You see Surface didnt start as a billion dollar business to them,it has pain, sweat hardwork and suffering and eventually the pay-off.  I think MS needs to release a beautiful device, great screen, great sound, great battery life, and I think the rest will follow.  Again, nobody can do something right the first time because if people did the world would be in a mess because people stop innovation because they got it right and finish nothing to do.
  • In my opinion, only complete idiots would think the trend toward smaller and smaller, portable, accessible and more functional computer communication devices is ending.
  • Agree! I can't wait for the Surface Phone. 
  • All I can do is buy the Surface phone on day one, and hand down my 950XL to my wife.  I cannot control what others do.
  • Over way to do this, beat all device specs on the market significantly. I mean have a camera with DSLR quality, battery life that lasts 5 days with heavy use, buttery smooth performance that flies. Beat all core apps out there significantly. A maps app that it twice accurate and detailed with more locations than Google maps, a messaging service that does it all video, chatting, drops you into a VR world or something, then you disappear after 7 seconds like Snapchat. And make their own music service better than Spotify and iTunes combined. Then come find me.
  • Honestly at this point I think what Microsoft needs is an Xbox Phone, not a Surface Phone. They could call it the Xbox one P market it as a direct competitor to the switch changing the conversion about their phone from app gap to portal Xbox gaming specifically if they could get third party support from activition, Ubisoft and EA
  • It is all about MARKETING. First of all I am here in the Philippines on an extended vacation. My spouse and I each have 950xl's and each of us has a top tier Android device. I also have an internet café here., and I watch these kids use the computers and their phones., and sorry phone geeko's all they do is league of legends, facebook, you tube, messenger, Netflix and some skype. Very few apps., hell I use more apps than all of them. Never-the-less here in this small town in Luzon you cannot walk 10 meters without either a sign or a store selling or advertising OPPO, or Samsung. Most stores and people only use or want those phones, why??? MARKETING. Microsoft could develop the best phone in the world but unless they market it properly and provide incentives to the people selling them, it will go nowhere!!!!! Most stores will tell me that Windows phones do not work here in the Philippines, then I hand them my 950xl and they are amazed. SO, that's my bandwagon for the day. oh and yes the 950's are used daily.
  • I am currently using these phones:
    Lumia 1520, 950 XL, HP Elite X3, iPhone 6S Plus and Samsung S7 Edge. I switch between them regularly and make them my daily driver for a number of days. And although the 1520 is the oldest of them all, I always keep coming back to use this cellular, and at least for me, this is the best one for me. I've tried this time and again by having the W10 mobiles doing the same tasks simultaneously and the result is that the old 1520 is not slower than the other two. In fact sometimes even a tad faster than the other two. MS definitely needs their own device and of course it will be a state of the art device. Also they will try very hard to avoid all the mistakes of the past. They just can't afford to not be in the mobile market, especially since they they are targeting the enterprise market.
    And what ever they may come up with, they better make sure they have all the many good features of the 1520 without the hiccups previously shown. Samsung and iPhone just fly through the tasks and are much quicker than the W10m, but both lack features that I really love on the others. The iPhone ui is just boring. Basically looking at the same for years. But usability and interaction awesome. Samsung at least can be tuned with Arrow Launcher by MS to give you the daily changing lock screen and background wallpaper.
    The always on display is far from the possibilities that W10m offers.
    The MS apps for android lack some basic features compared to their MS counterpart. For example, until now it isn't possible to change your contacts in the outlook app.
  • My experience on the 1520 and x3 is the same as yours. Only thing better on the X3 is the fingerreader.
  • Absolutely. The screen on the X3 is also better, but on the other side the camera is not on par with the one of the 1520.
  • oh BTW my 950xl is prime on AT&T and is on the Production OS, also have a SMART sim as the 2nd line. My Wife's 950xl is on the fast ring and is on PH Globe sim. The Android phones are both VIVO V5's and are on Globe and Smart. yes, we use them all. we are nuts.
  • still enjoying my 950xl. great pics, continuum, and a great experience on the OS. i can wait 
  • I'll be honest. The only way i purchase another Windows mobile device is if they move to full Windows 10 in the pocket. However, i believe HP, Samsung or another company will actually beat MS to doing this. Yes, that's right. I believe Samsung may be working on a Pocket PC with full Windows 10 already.
  • If they move to full windows they better not limit bluestacks out.  Apps are NEEDED on mobile.   Full programs are NOT mobile centric and do nothing to enhance the mobile experience.  So,  in fact,  running full 10,  i am guessing they would use 10S as their OS,  would wipe out any type of app emulation therefore ending in failure YET AGAIN!
  • only if Bluestacks is available on the Windows Store will it be possible to have it
  • They don't allow emulators in the store.
  • Meh, I think the next year they should focus on UWP, via windows on arm etc, whilst quietly perfecting their "not phone". UWP is a major deal, the nascent platform needs a lot of love, to draw in developers. When that fire is roaring, then they can release a mobile device of some sort. Pretending desktops are irrelevant is a weirdly common position. Smartphones only outnumber PCs by a little bit. Consumers have PCs and have used PCs longer than they have used phones. Phones did not introduce "the cloud" for example. This sort of hyperbole does no favours. Phones are important not because they are