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Microsoft's 'Surface phone' should include AR glasses, a pen and exclusive apps

Pre-2007 Microsoft was content targeting businesses with cumbersome, stylus-dependent smartphones sporting physical keyboards. Those precursors to modern smartphones could play music, surf the web, take pictures and run apps.

Apple didn't invent the "MP3 player-internet device-phone" combination former Apple CEO Steve Jobs introduced in 2007.

The iPhone was simply a refinement of a preexisting model. The removal of the keyboard, the introduction of the App Store and most importantly targeting consumers put Apple and the iPhone at the forefront of a mobile revolution. Microsoft has been scrambling for mobile relevance ever since. With Apple's move into AR history may repeat itself.

Here we go again

In 2015 Microsoft introduced HoloLens and Windows Holographic (now called Windows Mixed Reality). Microsoft's untethered wearable Windows 10 computer projects holograms onto the real world in a wearer's field of view. It also provides spatial sound. With gaze, gesture and speech interaction HoloLens is the most advanced AR solution in the industry.

Windows Mixed Reality APIs are also part of Windows 10, which makes it a growing AR platform 500 million devices strong.

As it did with smartphones, Microsoft has focused its AR efforts on the enterprise and specific industries. Consumers have not been part of the equation.

Now, as in 2007, Apple has introduced a consumer-focused AR solution with ARKit for iOS 11. With hundreds of millions of iPhones and iPads as its medium, Apple's AR solution may be adopted, popularized and mainstreamed among consumers faster than the iPhone was. Microsoft may find itself scrambling for relevance yet again.

Microsoft can't sit idly by while its HoloLens and Windows Mixed Reality AR investments are buried beneath the coming deluge of media coverage, apps and business uses of Apple's AR move. Microsoft needs to go all-in with both a mobile and AR solution that addresses the consumer space.

It will be a gamble, but doing nothing is certain defeat. Microsoft should launch a Surface phone with a pen and AR glasses in 2018. There I said it.

Microsoft, all in is the only option

Microsoft's careful advance into AR, building partnerships, developer support and practical applications in various industries was a smart move. Having NASA, the US military, Legendary Entertainment, the education sector, car dealerships, health care and more as HoloLens and AR partners is great for Microsoft and its platform. It's just not enough.

The mainstreaming of personal computing has shifted the balance of influence. Increasingly consumers, not the enterprise, are dictating what technologies are adopted and ultimately succeed. Microsoft's absence from the AR consumer space makes it irrelevant to consumers and consequently irrelevant to developers. Get it? Even with Microsoft's presence in niche markets, with enough consumer and developer critical mass Apple's AR solution may make HoloLens and Windows Mixed Reality AR as irrelevant as the iPhone made Windows phone.

Microsoft must bring AR to consumers.

Microsoft should continue investing in niche markets but must add an aggressive consumer component. A massive awareness-building television campaign would show consumers and the enterprise what it's doing with AR and HoloLens. Telling its AR story could generate interest, mindshare, and demand for its AR solution. In consumers eyes, Microsoft's more sophisticated and mature solution would make Apple's look elementary by comparison. Microsoft needs to establish that edge, and they can easily afford to set these wheels in motion.

Microsoft could begin this campaign this year before Apple's AR apps hit the market and continue into 2018. This campaign would be the prelude to Microsoft's 2018 AR glasses and ultimate mobile device.

Microsoft's ultimate mobile device augmented with AR

Microsoft must put the weight of the entire company behind Surface phone. As a device that I presume will benefit from a synergy of technologies such as inking, AI, gaming, CShell, Continuum, mixed reality and more, inter-department collaboration is a must.

The strategy and marketing teams are also essential to positioning and marketing this ultramobile Surface. This "ultimate mobile device" must appeal to all market segments: consumers, the enterprise, and gamers. Microsoft must go all in.

If it launches, the Surface phone is expected in 2018. The next version of HoloLens is planned for 2019. I believe the ultramobile Surface should launch with both pen support and AR glasses in 2018 to further differentiate and to bring an AR product to market.

Inking and AR should be Surface phone highlights.

I don't mean a HoloLens headset with all the bells and whistles. I'm suggesting paired down, device-dependent AR glasses, based on HoloLens tech that will provide users with a basic but useful AR experience.

Just as the Surface Pen works synergistically with the Surface, these AR glasses can do the same with the Windows 10 ultramobile Surface PC. I imagine glasses that connect wirelessly (or wired when sitting) to an ultramobile Surface or any Windows 10 PC for that matter. They would be capable of displaying 3D images, alerts, and apps in the user's field of view and would have limited sensors for detecting motion and one's surroundings.

Microsoft can make the apps for that

As the world's leading software developer Microsoft can support its ecosystem by creating a broad suite of exclusive Universal Windows Platform (UWP) and AR-specific productivity, utility, gaming and entertainment apps. These high-quality apps can bear the Surface branding, like the Lumia apps of the past, and would be software equivalents of the esteemed Surface hardware.

Microsoft should begin developing, releasing and marketing these apps now. This level of commitment as a developer of exclusive apps for its own platform would convey to developers and consumers that Microsoft is serious about Windows, mobile and AR.

If the AR apps combined with the ultramobile Surface and AR "Surface" glasses is a compelling experience, consumers may be drawn to Windows, just as gamers are drawn to consoles because of exclusive games.

Microsoft's productivity legacy, Xbox and Windows gaming platforms, and Microsoft Garage are resources that can be drawn on to develop a broad range of engaging UWP and AR-specific apps. Real-time translation, facial-recognition, weather, and mapping are just some AR apps Microsoft could launch as seen here:

Microsoft's full commitment to creating a host of AR games, utility, and entertainment apps would make its AR solution practical, appealing and inspiring to developers.

Get it to market then iterate

AR glasses connected to an ultramobile Surface will be wrought with engineering challenges. Power consumption, modes of interaction, display quality, cost and more are valid considerations.

Still two years ago Microsoft introduced HoloLens, the first fully untethered wearable holographic computer. The company has since learned more about the technology and its applications and have skipped version two to jump to an even more advanced version three.

Microsoft has likely gleaned enough knowledge from HoloLens to enable it to build a far less sophisticated set of AR glasses that require connection to a separate device but can provide useful and engaging AR experiences. I understand Microsoft likely wants to wait until it can blow everyone's minds with a full consumer version of HoloLens, but the market won't give Microsoft that chance. Apple is on the move.

This ARKit-created virtual measuring tape for iPhone is the type of app that would be more practical viewed hands-free via AR glasses:

Apple's 16 million developers and hundreds of millions of iOS users are poised to mainstream AR in Apple's image with little to no resistance from Redmond. This can't be what Microsoft want's after its pioneering AR investments.

Just do it

Microsoft, give us a Continuum-enabled ultimate mobile device with CShell that has the support of the entire company, showcases a synergy of technologies and appeals to consumers, gamers, and the enterprise. Include a pen and AR glasses to highlight Windows 10 innovations in inking and AR.

Support UWP and Windows Mixed Reality with high-quality first-party apps. Most of all, do what Apple did with iPhone and what it's doing with AR: get the ultramobile Surface and AR glasses to market, then iterate.

Must Read

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

How Microsoft can ensure Surface phone success

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!

  • Thanks for reading folks!!! In order for Microsoft's ultimate mobile device to have a chance at success (it's an uphill battle) Microsoft must put all of its support behind the effort. Combined with an AR move MS can address its battle for AR mindshare and ultimately consumer, industry and developer support. I think an ultramobile Surface AR glasses 👓 and pen ✏ support can be a great differentiating move combined with a device positioned for consumers, enterprise and gamers. Microsoft must make an ultimate effort if it's going to launch an ultimate mobile device. So what are your thoughts? LET'S TALK!!;
  • I sure hope Satya and the rest of Microsoft are reading this. You've given them the marching orders they need to succeed. They have so much talent and resources at their disposal. They need to do this work in a much more nimble fashion.
  • The question is why does Microsoft need to read this? Why can Apple, Google, Samsung, and the like, figure it out by themselves? Why can one Jason Ward see what thousands of MS employees can't? Why can't MS see what you can?..... In my opinion, that's a big enough question to warrant it's own article.🤦🤦🤦
    When you really dig down deep, and look for root cause, I think the problem with MS is that they are too afraid of failure. Overly cautious to a fault. Probably justifiable, to an extent, because of recent failures, but ultimately a bad attitude... MS can't afford to stop taking calculated risk, but they have. The consumer market is a huge PR risk, and MS has grown fearful of the consumer... Well, if MS is to succeed in the new world their corporate nut sack must drop back down out of their asses, releasing their heads in the process.
  • I don't think they are afraid of failure.  They are driven by dollars.  They are more driven my money. I also think they don't know what to do against Google, Apple, Samsung, Facebook.  Those popular consumer areas are gone and tough to break into. Business, Windows is not longer the most used OS - Android has that.  They haver servers, DB, .NET, Bing, Xbox and cloud.  That is where they are strong. Buying LinkedIn - actually smart.  That is the defacto online space to hire people.  Yes, give me your counter thoughts (and go easy on me, I am a fragile flower) So what do they focus on?  The stuff they are strong at?  If you say Microsoft - what do you think the average consumer thinks?  BSOD?  Windows 95 and the Stones?  Zune? MS is not fearful of the consumer.  They don't know what to offer them.  
  • If they were more driven by dollars, they'd be going after the consumer space. Observe Apple's bank account, despite zero meaningful presence in the business world.
  • Yes, if you're driven by dollars you would go where the dollars are,,, unless you're scared you can't succeed, and are afraid to take risk.. Sounds just like MS.
  • Didn't used to be that way. Back before Nadella, they were pretty bold with Windows Phone. I remember standing in line for HOURS for the Windows Phone challenge, and watching android and iPhone fall in various tasks one after the other, unable to match the speed of Windows Phone 7x. Before Nadella, WP was growing year over year. Now it's basically dead.
  • Are you so sure Apple's bank account is not more cheating on taxes and fooling people into thinking they ain't cool? Let's just dismiss the fact that the factory that makes iPhone had to put up suicide nets because so many of their workers were killing themselves. Yeah who cares as long as we get a cool phone, right?
  • Oh give me a break, dude. What's "cool" is what the culture decides is cool through the choices they make. It is indisputable that no single phone has more mindshare than the iPhone. In pure numbers, Android sells more units, but that entails thousands of different devices across dozens, if not hundreds of OEM's. As for Foxconn, they don't just make iPhones, and never did. They make tons of devices, not least of which includes plenty of Windows PC's, Android phones and tablets--we could spend all day listing the numbers of devices they make for a list of companies as long as your arm. Yes, conditions were sometimes too much for some of their workers. Little by little, they've been improving, and even when they were at their worst, they were still better than the $3 a month jobs people often had working in filthy rice paddies, or the sex slavery a lot of those women either barely escaped from or avoided only because they got a factory job--a job which, incidentally, 30 years ago was illegal for them to hold. You view things way to simplistically.
  • vEEP pEEP, If you are going to analyze an issue, you really need to know what your premises mean, what conclusions you can draw from them, and have a finely tuned sense of intuition. You've drawn the conclusion that in the business segment, Windows is no longer the predominant OS.  You've based that conclusion upon the idea that Android is the world's most used OS.   Of course the idea that Android is the most used OS is only true if you take into account smartphones.  While "Bring your own device" has in fact caused enterprise IT departments to incorporate iOS and Android smartphones and tablets, the predominant DESKTOP OS is no doubt still wildly skewed towards Windows in the business segment.  I have every expectation that consumer desktop and laptops are equally skewed towards Windows.   I expect in both business and the consumer desktop market the Windows percentage is likely over eighty percent, and probably about ninety percent. People who have an axe to grind about Microsoft or who tend toward doing facile and faddish analysis talk about Microsoft's irrelevance or perhaps the death of Windows.  Nonsense, useless prattle. Now in the smartphone segment, that's a different story.
  • However, the statistics clearly indicate Microsoft is losing ground on all fronts.  BYOD for the enterprise has made that as big of an issue as anything, but Microsoft has not helped that by spending more time pumping out services and features for iOS and Android first (or, somethings, exclusively) over Windows (whether desktop, tablet or phone).  I have been the biggest Microsoft cheerleader.  I began to lose faith when W10 and W10M came out.  Just as bad, what they did to the Xbox UI.  I have gone from actively, enthusiastically encourage everyone I know to switch to Windows Phones, Xbox, etc., to telling them "stay where you're at, there's nothing worth switching to  here".  For myself, I hate Android, Google and Apple so much, I won't use their garbage no matter what, so I'll switch to a tether-capable feature phone if my Lumia 1020 finally dies.
  • I feel the same way, except that I actually LIKE the Xbox UI :). But that said, I carry an iPhone in addition to a Lumia, because Microsoft has botched Windows 10 Mobile so bad. I'm honestly on the verge of flashing my phone back to 8.1.
  • This is pretty much true.
  • Therefore MS is fearful of the consumer, as I said.
  • That answer is the same one I have given from the moment he was put in charge: Satya Nadella.  He is a shortsight, idiotic fool.  While Steve made some blunders, he had the right idea and drive.  Satya just makes me sick and doesn't know what he's doing.  And I would tell him this to his face in front of the entire Microsoft workforce.
  • With Ballmer, Steve. I saw tangible progress... Now,,, seems like more talk than ever.
  • MS are too reliant on their partners for market place traction when Apple and the like build and market things themselves.
    They need to stop being reactive as a company and start being pro active.
  • Apple, Google, Samsung and the like aren't figuring anything out but marketing. With the right marketing you can sell anything.
  • Are you me, because those are my exact words. You must be a genius!
  • I hope they are thinking bigger than this. The phone should be the accessory to the HoloLens, not the other way around. The phone should be relegated to smartwatch status. Think about how foolish this strategy is otherwise -- even if they get to market first with an AR accessory, are consumers going to abandon Android/iOS phones for a Windows phone? Did consumers abandon Windows for Mac when the iPod was exclusive to the Mac? Not even close. Instead the HoloLens should work with iOS and Android, but relegate them to dumb cellular displays or controls. The HoloLens should be the primary computer that makes the smartphone a companion. Scrape the cellular, gps, and notifications from the phones and display them on the AR glasses. Keep the computational power and file storage in the AR glasses. Use the other platforms as a dumb companion until you can make them as interchangeable as your ISP.
  • Sounds good but a consumer ready HoloLens is at the nearest and highly optimistic 2019, more realistically according to Phil Spencers prediction of the evolution of the tech (though not a statement of MS timeline ) is 5 to 10 yrs out. So, in the meantime, as we move toward consumer HoloLens, MS needs an AR product in the market in the near term. Thus, my presentation here of AR glasses 👓 in 2018, preceded by a huge campaign promoting MS various investments with AR and HoloLens to build awareness, mindshare and demand.
  • Well if you said such to Apple, people would think the message unnecessary because of course Apple would work that way. To ask it of Microsoft? It kinda has a feel of asking for the moon on a stick. Like this is a dream scenario that we can't seriously expect to see. MS, what have you done to your fans when you've got us expecting you to fail? Very dangerous. Feels like your new direction ought to be marketing centred and well on the way to being ready. The tech is there, you can and do get that right, just box it up and sell it hard. If you even looked like you might give it a go we'd be buoyed somewhat.
  • Ummm... Apple would never give you AR glasses for free with an iPhone. You know apple would charge $1000 for them on their own.
  • I think people looking up this website and reading this article do it because we like what Microsoft has and is still doing. But in my opinion Microsoft is no longer a household name. Even people I have spoken to that use Windows 10 are unaware of Microsoft and think they are using Google. That is what a Pc is to them. There is a massive lack of advertising from Microsoft. Whatever they do from now on has to have adverts to go hand in hand with all products that they are trying to sell.
  • During my last family get together I overheard some of the younger kids talk about wanting a Surface Pro.  It seems like the Surface brand has gotten more popular than Microsoft itself.
  • You're right. Actually I come here because I imagine what Microsoft is * capable* of doing if they were aggressive and determined about it. Microsoft continues to think like all they need to go is get enterprise to use their products and everything else will fall in line. Well, like Jason alluded in the article, the market will BURY such pretentiousness in a heartbeat!
  • .... "Windows 10 are unaware of Microsoft and think they are using Google. " Read that and shuddered.  But I think you have a valid point!
  • Lol
  • Sadly Microsoft have decided to just be a cloud services provider these days.  It must be so frustrating for their engineering teams that pioneer great technology to see it be commercialized successfully by Apple and others.  How can Microsoft win in the AR space when they don't have a device in 3 billion customer's hands throughout the day?  Maybe they can sell some cloud storage for people to store their Apple creations on?  Oh, sorry, I forgot that iCloud was the default storage provider.  How about on Android then?  Oh, I forgot that Google Cloud is the default.  That's ok, we'll just target consumers through Windows Desktop...  oh, they're just logging into their iCloud account in Chrome.  *sighs*.  Guess it's business only these days!
  • MS was smart to get into the cloud space!  For that Kudos!  But yes, I want devices....
  • Agreed 100%. But, will never happen.
  • If they don't get rid of  Satya Nadella soon, the future of Microsoft will be SaaS and start the slow death like ibm, only making moves to appease shareholders, no forward thinking at all.
  • Honestly the AR part doesn't even have to be a separate set of glasses, as long as the surface phone has the depth sensing cameras and inside out tracking that the HoloLens has, then the platform can be used to develop software that will eventually be used for the Hololens. Let the phone serve as a stop gap while development on the Hololens 3 is progressing, and give the development community a way to test their software. All they have to do at the moment is best apples ARKit and keep talking about Hololens and they will remain relevant.
  • But they aren't going to have a strong phone presence if all they can brag about is a me too AR feature that is already available on the iPhone. They won't have users and developers will continue to not care.
  • I still say that what it needs to be if an Xbox Phone, not a Surface. As an Xbox Phone would have to be more than powerful enough to allow for portable Xbox one/360/OG gaming while allowing for all the features you mentioned without any huge drawbacks. As we know that to get it out there and iterate won't work for Microsoft, as their effort would be met with similar same criticism/uphill battle as the original Surfaces and take years to adopt before Androids and then Apples solutions. An Xbox One Phone on the other hand would already have a powerful staying point with gamers who would adopt the system for the want of quality gaming on the go, now all they need to do is add Mix reality features and even games to it that could come to the Xbox One S/X and they can realized their Xbox as a platform idea.
  • Hmmmm....
  • I agree. Microsoft has to release a platform that is fun. Many say, "what would Win32 apps bring to Windows phone?". (when regarding Windows on ARM) The answer is AAA class games. I personally think they should release a slider-like device that has all the game controller buttons of an Xbox controller, that could all be hidden when slid closed. (See PGS Windows 10 gaming device from PGSlab) EDIT: When closed it will be a full Windows 10 PC, with the Shell of Windows 10 Mobile) Xbox 360 via Virtual Machine would be awesome, but not sure it'd be possible. However, there are a few ultra-portable Atom based devices that run Xbox 360 equivalent PC games fairly well. So maybe it is a Windows 10 device, but market it as a portable gaming device, but also a full Windows 10 PC too. Whatever Microsoft's next big device may be should be about fun, not the Enterprise.
  • This sound like a great plan...If they want to end up with another HoloLens product that is way too expensive for the consumer space and will be for the forseeable future - There's a good chance people just wait until Apple releases something at consumer prices with stellar marketing. Business focus is all well and good but everybody skims over the fact that today's consumers are the leaders of tomorrow....How many businesses had iPhone and iPad shoe horned into their CEO used one at home?
  • The guy in your picture looks like a broke a$$ Daniel Rubino🙂
  • MS should absolutely do a low end and high end HoloLens. I also feel like Microsoft is dragging their feet with HoloLens. They debuted the tech 2 and a half years ago and still don't have either a consumer version or even an updated version. It honestly feels like MS showed off HoloLens because they were hoping some other company or OEM would make it. Microsoft is such a baffling company. They were obviously many years ahead of the competition and now it feels like they're just waiting for everyone to catch-up and surpass them.
  • Not gonna happen. Microsoft is run by an idiot.
  • I'm totally with you about this but it will take a huge effort by Microsoft to pull off, particularly as they continue to focus on the "cloud" (that have services i.e. Cortana that do not work in every region!).  And you've got to question, as a developer, what does Microsoft want from its developers - just enterprise applications? Down in New Zealand it looks like we are not going to have a developers Ignite conference this year, just feeling very down with Microsoft at the moment as I write this comment from one of the last Microsoft phones in New Zealand:-)
  • MS biggest problem, apart from corporate lethargy and beyond poor marketing, is there insistence on waiting for devs and partners to bring their ideas to market. That 90s model is no longer working for them and they continue down this path at their peril.
    The days of being a software only company need to be over. They need to embrace change, get with the times and lead the charge as they have done with Surface.
    Show the devs and partners what needs to be done, but don't wait for them, they all have their own agendas and clearly for many of them now that doesn't involve a serious future with MS.
  • Marketing is just an excuse when you don't want to face the fact that the products just haven't been that good. Windows is Windows, it is fine but it hasn't gone anywhere. They haven't substantially improved on Windows 7. Desktop is stagnant and they haven't been able to create a compelling mobile product. No amount of marketing can make up for a subpar product, not in this market. Apple and Google both have great products. Microsoft needed to bring the heat.
  • I am a visionary! Even Jason agrees with me.  Hope MS follows it soon;")
  • Maybe it also should toast bread and make coffee. Add ons do very seldom make a product, they only enhance it. We all know that Microsoft failed in the phone game and to once again become a player something extra is needed. You hare hoping for that Microsoft will rewrite the paradigm for mobile computing, good for you but I doubt it. Adding fun gimmicks are not doing this. Rewritting a paradigm needs to find, point out and build around a need that was up to now unexplored. I have an hard time to see this in any of what we hear from Microsoft. Windows on ARM, pens, AR goggles and so on are not it, not even brought together. So in my opinion all we have is wishes and fantasy novels no hard facts not even a proper SciFi book :-)
  • Interesting article and interesting to read others' comments to the effect that MS is entrenched in a device-less supply - that's hardly cloud first mobile first. I never understood why MS didn't get 'Origami' out to trade. Devices aside, I've said it a thousand times, the Windows UI has to be king. I've ranted about the simplicity of WinForms and WebForms. For sure things have moved on (MVC, UWP, core et al), but I could never understand why MS couldn't build a platform that took this concept forward with WinForms getting rendered for Windows machines and WebForms for others all from a developer's single code base - they've managed it for non-Windows devices with Xamarin after all and there is a software company out there developing an HTML5 output from XAML and C# input. I've also been arguing that AR and all the 3D stuff should be rendered on top of a 'flat' CShell. And the only plus with 'tiles' is if they are expandable 'origami' style menu apps (and to avoid ambiquity here, I'm not referring to the hardware code name I mentioned in the start of my comment), otherwise they're big, ugly icons. So definitely need to see mobile hardware releases and we need to more UI development - we're meant to have 'Windows', right?! ...and the browser is just a Windows instance.    
  • Cost is driving force. If Microsoft makes affordable Hololens ( self computing device ) or come up with alternate route as you mentioned. It gonna Fly!
  • The idea of someone looking past me with AR content all around me unsettles me. The idea of people driving with AR glasses on scares me. I sure hope self-driving cars beat this abomination of a technological solution in search of a problem. Microsoft tried tying Xbox One with Kinect, and nobody wanted the Kinect, they were afraid of their privacy being invaded, and devleopers didn't want to put any resources into it. Kinect failed. The same thing will happen wiht AR. With iPhones, Android phones, Xbox One, Playstation 4, Steam machines, Roku, Cortana, Google Home, Amazon Echo, Amazon Fire TV, Samsung wear, Apple watch, Occulus Rift, HTC Vive, Google Cardboard/Daydream, Samsung Gear, Skype bots, Google Assistant, etc., the number of platforms to develop for is at a saturation point. I personally believe the solution is to provide a path for developers through the clutter of devices, not to add another device.
  • How about the phone first then we can worry about the extras later lol. In all honesty, just don't seeing the surface phone happening if MS trends continue.
  • The phone is way less important than HoloLens. AR actually has the potential to make the smartphone obsolete. If Microsoft could get a big headstart in AR they could make their position in the phone market irrelevant.
  • seriously cool8man??  Yes, there is a point in the future where phone/video calls may be made via an AR device.  However that is at some indeterminate time in the future and there are multiple technological challenges that would need to be addressed in the mean time.  In the next several years smartphones will remain a huge fulcrum and focus.  AR is not anywhere close enough to be mature to overtake phones and Microsoft cannot jump technological evolutions sufficiently to a AR based consumer phone device for us to really contemplate it at this time.
  • Nobody seems to mention anything about AR's physical requirements. Is it like 3D where both eyes are needed? If so then it's never gonna work for me as I'm almost blind from one eye.
  • Apple is doing it without requiring additional hardware, just a software update. If it requires additional hardware beyond the Smartphone, it wouldn't become widely adopted like Apple's ARKit.
  • This is what a lot of folks are not getting.  Overnight, with a software update, Apple will bring this tech to a few hundred million devices.  All the iPhones and iPads from fall of 2015 on can use this tech, that's well over 300 million devices.  So, if you are a developer deciding on which ar platform to support, why would you chose the Microsoft platform over the iOS one?  Specially when one of those two platform is not even a niche at this point.
  • "Widely adopted like Apple's ARKit" So a company that is far behind the completion, has not released a product like the competition, has announced something but has not gone on sale yet, is already "widely adopted?"
  • I don't think he is talking about Microsoft. He means Apple.
  • How many ARKits have shipped? I know that Microsoft has already shipped their AR device. Microsoft has shipped their software to production and has been available for a few months with many 3rd party devices shipping soon. people like to use he word "soon" to mock Microsoft, why not apply that word to Apple in this case, who is late to the market, again?
  • Apple is going to ship hundreds of millions of ARKits with the next update of iOS. Microsoft is 5-10 years away according to Phil Spencer. What they shipping this year requires being tethered at home. Apple will leapfrog them immediately with their developer support. Microsoft will never make it 5-10 years unless they are ready with something compelling and tangible now. Being tethered to your house is neither.  
  • have you seen build 2017, ARkit is just a version of view mixed reality that will be in W10 this fall, any device running W10 with just an RGB camera will do
  • What good is MR while sitting on your desk?
  • So the frustration here is that MS doesn't seem to understand they cant afford to wait until HoloLens is perfect before they release a consumer version. Apple is still way behind in AR, but they're releasing what they have now, allowing developers to create and then they'll imporove and push forward. MS is talking about 5 years, what!? HoloLens highlights the problem with ms today, they've lost all their aggression and drive. 
  • Wait until the iphone comes out this will see what widely adopted means!   and it's nothing that microsoft has been doing in moible hardware...
  • Widely adopted like the Apple Watch, where they refuse to release sales numbers? And how well are the Air Pods selling? I know, Tim Cook does the good job of the CEO and claims that they are selling watches like crazy, but when an iPhone goes to pre order they proudly announce numbers, but then when asked about Watch sales they proclaim that they want to focus on the device rather than talk numbers. For the Air Pods they stock very few, and then claim that is a sign of unprecedented sales. As I have said before but will repeat again, but when it is about Microsoft, if they don't announce the exact number of Surface Pros sold, broken down into exact counts of CPU versions, memory versions, number sitting on store shelves, number returned, then there will be hell to pay for them hiding the numbers and confusing the customer. And even though Apple doesn't talk about the number of iPad Pros sold, Microsoft's silence means that Apple sold more of a newly released product than Microsoft sold of 1+ year old device. now tell us, how many ARKit developer kits have been shipped?
  • You think ARKit is something that has to "ship"? You don't get it. Developers have all the tools now without buying anything. It is just an update.
  • Apple fanboy logic - Apple doesn't need to ship anything to sell billions of them.
  • They already sold the iPhones. ARKit is just an update. Developers don't have to buy anything, they already have the tools. I am no Apple fanboy, I don't own a single Apple product, but this strategy is hard to ignore. Microsoft is going to need to sell hundreds of millions of Hololens to get the market penetration Apple will have in just a couple months.
  • Lol he's right, ARkit isn't some new Apple hardware or device. Thats what you seem to be confused about. Apple doesn't need to "sell" or "ship" ARkits. The name is a little misleading. ARkit is all software. It's built into iOS 11 and is usable by all iOS devices that support iOS 11. Its not a product you can buy.
  • Microsoft fanboy logic to think apple has to sell ARKITS......Time to take off the rose colored hololens bud.....billions of iphones will have AR this fall.  with glassing coming soon after bad you are so narrow minded to even see what is happening.
  • I agree air pods are stupid...the watch however is not.  I love mine,  my wife loves hers.....Hell,  the apple watch has more apps and functionality than windows mobile.  Those in glass houses nohone.   HOw many band 2s sold...oh,  yeah,  you cant buy them anymore besides the clearance bins at best buy.   No more support, etc...MS missed the boat again....and again.....and again!
  • Apple has had success no doubt, but Ms is a much more healthy company. Apple will not create a product that will undermine sales of the iPhone with is 75% of their profits. And with Tim cook running the show many long time apple supporters doubt their ability to be "innovative". Apple is doing AR the right way by putting tools in developers hands now, but they're still way behind what ms was doing 2 years ago. Also the fact that wireless technology is not advanced enough to allow Apple glasses to be tethered to the iPhone will hold them back.  The world is already passing apple by and they dont even see it. 
  • The glasses technology will come in time and Apple will have the users, platform and software ready while Microsoft will just have the platform. It is going to be a tough fight for Microsoft.
  • ...
  • Yeah, but Apple isn't doing it as well, and that's the point. MS must let people know this.
  • We can't buy 😂
  • I know for sure it will have an expiration date, so MS will make it available to everyone, then just kill it with no further explanation. Love it.
  • Again, a bunch of stuff I wouldn't need or use (or want to pay for). I wonder how long I can hold on before I'm force to switch to the dark side.
  • except the 'others' are also doing the same
  • Agree 100%. The AR glasses are the dock that is needed for contimuem.  Now Microsoft read this and us it as your game plan. This would be the phone that would replace your laptop, (with AR you could have 2+ Monitors any size you would like) you can't do that with a Laptop.
  • Yeah, this is what I am thinking too. The input method is the important part here. Do you carry around a mouse and keyboard or can they make virtual keyboards a good experience? It could be very cool. Imagine people sitting around Starbucks with headsets on making all sorts of gestures. Not sure if that will become socially acceptable.
  • This times 1 million is my dream goal. As long as everything my company uses runs on it I would be in heaven. With 3 monitors I don't have enough realestate to do everything I want, and I don't dare push my PC at work any more than that (they give us USB-DVI adapters and I don't think adding a 3rd one would work well) but if I could just put a pair of glasses on and have a 360 degree desktop it owuld be amazing. 
  • I first through will include, but it is shall include
  • Snapdragon 845 focuses on the MR support besides the performance boost.  LG G7 will use that processor next year.  So can MS if there is indeed an 'ultimate mobile device'.  It will become a PC with CShell Continuum, a tablet with a foldable screen and pen, a MR with a pair of AR glasses and of course a phone when needed.  It should be marketed as a 4-in-1 pocket device.  :-)
  • "inter department cooperation is a must" and therein lies the issue. The utter arrogance of team leaders accross the board in multiple sites in multiple countries and a lost culture is testament to leadership failure. Its soo sad to see and hear.
  • Jason, this is your doctor speaking. Please call me back as soon as possible, you're hallucinating again.
  • Lol
  • Dr Garami, can I schedule an appointment for some of our resident trolls here as well?  I'm sure they have good insurance.
  • Well Mr. Garami, you are pretty close to right.  I'm a big Microsoft fan, I've got Windows 10 computers everywhere, laptop, tablets, Xboxes, my Lumia 950 and Band 2, a Windows Home Server; yet I know that Microsoft is the company that put their big toe into the wearables market and withdrew it.  They've been battling for many years now in the smartphone category, and retrenched. I think it is extremely unlikely that Microsoft would be rash enough to go all in with a first generation Windows on ARM "Surface phone" paired with again, "first generation" AR glasses.  Look at the Surface line, their fourth generation is the one that they feel strongly comfortable enough to simple call them "Surface".   Not Surface 4, but just Surface.   There's a old joke about Microsoft needing three iterations to get a product right.   You can say the same about Windows 8, Windows 8.1 and Windows 10 (and some don't even think Windows 10 is really "getting it right"). Microsoft is not going to "bet the farm" with a first generation Surface Phone running a new generation of Windows on ARM.
  • Why can't you guys just let Windows Mobile die in peace? These articles push an idea that just isn't happening. We, the customers have invested enough money and time on Windows phone and Microsoft has dragged us, dropped us for the last time. Just let go WC!
  • If Windows Mobile dies, so does Microsoft, ...eventually. Personal devices will drive the workplace, not the other way around. People invest in ecosystems. When Android and iOS dominate and push MS apps out of their ecosystem, you will see a movement of consumers wanting those OSs at work to complete their ecosystem.
  • We haven't seen a new phone Microsoft in 2 years. We've seen no new Windows phone from anyone really in the last year. We've seen no significant update to Windows Mobile even for just bug fixes and os polish. All we've seen is retrenchment and layoffs. It's safe to say It's dead.
  •  I'm not sure why we as consumers would even accept this behavior from a multi-billion dollar company. We don't like iPhone and Android around these parts for countless reasons yet turn blind eye to how bad Microsoft had treated us customers who bought into their mobile products. They out sourced support for  my Lumia 950 to a third party.  that's a pretty big sign their done with it.
  • It feels like their thought process is to allow existing devices to age so that when the next big thing does finally surface, it will be an easy upgrade for 2 year old phones. I don't think this is right because no company would intentionally maroon existing customers. You overlap the new with the old. Propose the new, maintain the old for two years then kill it off. It seems quite backwards which makes me think something else is going on. By pure speculation, and understanding that no company wants to lose customers, I wonder if it is just a comedy of errors where dispite their best efforts, they can't get everything together. They don't want it half baked. As the article stated, they need the full force of Microsoft behind this phone. That isn't easy or fast. The coordination between different departments to make everything work together without major flaws is a herculean effort, and it takes time. Beyond Microsoft I have wondered if Intel isn't part of the problem. Microsoft was likely working with Intel to get a great atom processor to run the phone, my suspicion is Intel couldn't get it done and windows dropped them, so they abandoned atom development. Development got pushed back as they jumped to ARM adding complexity to get Windows on ARM. Other elements may have been delayed as well. Screen hinges didn't meet quality control, they discovered a flaw we won't ever even know about that pushed this new form factor back to the drawing board. Simply, creating a new device that hasn't been seen before and doing it well takes time. I fully agree with the article though, if you wait for it to be perfect before releasing it, Apple will have already captured mindshare and even if Apple's is a worse product, developers will already be heading down the Apple highway and won't want to U-turn, even if Microsoft gives them a freeway. The Iphone was an evolution of the blackberry. AR doesn't have to be perfect. Release a quality, but not yet refined product, let the developers develop the product and their apps. Give them the tools now. If not, you run the risk of developing a product that is missing a key component to something you haven't thought of yet, but that a developer would need to make a new app industry.    
  • Sir, your comment, ideas, speculation, and suggestions, make very much sense. I think you may be right... It likely took years for Apple to bring the first iPhone to market.
  • Just read this rather lengthy article that backs up what I've been thinking. This article confirms that Microsoft is way ahead in development, but Apple is playing a different game that will gain mindshare and slowly transition people into it, rather than drop it on them. Apple is playing a psychological game. Notice all the comments about the Hololens, "Why would I want to wear that all day." Microsoft says, "the next version will be better next time." Apple says, "what would you wear all day?" If this trend continues, Apple will win. Apple will aclimatize people with glasses that are no more than a Heads up Display as opposed to full AR. (think Apple Watch integrated into your glasses. Now why has Band development stopped?) That will get people accustomed to wearing glasses. Technology for true AR is still a few years out, but Apple is already preparing the minds of the people. Solving one problem at a time, rather than every problem all at once. The most important problem to Apple, is trying to solve acceptance by the public. Then they will iterate and develop and advance them into what Microsoft is shooting for now. If both stay on the same course, Microsoft will have the better product, but Apple will have the minds of the people. Apple will feel like a natural step up, while Microsoft will "feel" too much for the average person because microsoft is focused on the technology, not enough into how or why people would use it. Microsoft and some of their OEM's are too preoccupied with the what and not enough about the why.
  • Where's your proof that it isn't happening?
    Of course you won't reply, because you have none.🙄🙄🙄
  • History is proof that it isn't happening.  Where is your proof that it IS happening?
  • Where's proof that MS isn't done with mobile? Seriously?. ****, Zack has Cshell running on his device.. Scaled for a screen less than 6".... That's proof enough, not to mention that MS has said they are serious about mobile, and ARM, not the opposite. MS has said they will make a device, not the opposite. MS has Windows running on ARM chips, not the opposite.. MS continues to do major updates on it's apps for Windows on Phone, like the totally redesigned OneNote, and the other office apps are in full effect. I don't think if MS was done with mobile phones they would be wasting time and resources for nothing...
    Where's your proof all of that, and more, aren't happening??????????
  • This article is talking about a so-called Surface Phone with glasses and a pen.  I'm talking about proof of this unicorn.  Microsoft can continue to crap out mobile hardware for you 1 percenters, but that strategy will never move the dial and capture the interest of the greater mobile user base.
  • I wonder if any Microsoft employees ever read articles here.
    Only if they read Jason Ward's articles.. I reckon that will put them on the right track.
  • You really think Microsoft hasn't gone through all these ideas well before Jason puts them out there? If they haven't, they are beyond incompetent.
  • People here will say things like this would be perfect but when they find out the price they'll complain it's not £400 all-in
  • It's the bosses that need to read them.
  • the article suggests MS should start its marketing/campaign bliz this year and into 2018 culminating wit the release of the actual device in 2018. that's a huge mistake and a bad strategy. technology moves fast, and consumer attention span even faster and shorter, that's why Apple and Samsung only officially announce a new product when that product is ready to ship to consumers, not 6 to 12 months later. If MS wants to upstage Apple in the AR consumer market it needs to do it THIS year with marketing, message, and an actual device to sell
  • Yes. They need to be shown to be shipping products in this space to be considered relevant.  2 years out of the market should have been long enough to make something special by now!
  • I agree with you. Microsoft needs something this year, from September/October. I really wish they hadn't killed Band, since it was their * only* other truly personal mobile consumer-available hardware apart from Windows phone at the time. They could have found a way to incorporate proximity sensors for q Windows Hello and eventually , gaming controller, and eventually rudimentary AR experiences (?) with it tied to a laptop/desktop/Xbox, leveraging translation, Cortana and so on.
  • The marketing was not in reference to the consumer product as I point out in the article, but informative marketing building awareness of Microsoft's AR investments. Since I strongly doubt what I suggest as AR glasses would be ready this tear and a Surface phone is not expected until next year, that time in between can't be a void or a vacuum from which Microsoft is absent from a mainstream AR conversation since Apple will likely dominate that conversation beginning now and increasing after iOS11 releases. So MS must fill that void by aggressively marketing its AR story, what its doing with AR and HoloLens in healthcare, NASA, education, the military, museum, car dealerships etc. Become and remain part of the tech and mainstream media conversation to generate and maintain consumer and developer mindshare. Build first-party AR apps along that way that then show practical uses for consumers of Microsoft's superior AR option that they also demonstrate in marketing. Then intro glasses next year,having built awareness and a hunger for the tech. And since Microsoft has a head start with HoloLens with AR hardware, paring down that tech to functional and useful, but less sophisticated glasses 👓 can put AR "Surface" glasses on the market ahead of Apple who is just getting into AR (though I'm sure is working on a headset) this year.
  • I would be worried about the price such a pack would have.
  • AR glasses would probably an optional accessary.
  • They ought to be, and we all know how those types of tech turn out. (I'm looking at you Kinect)
  • Why do we hear news about MS restructuring due to cloud sales, but not consumer marketing? They're not moving the business in the right direction.
  • Personally, at this point, I think that silence may be the best approach. It would be different if we weren't in year 2 or 3 of this hiatus on the Windows Mobile front. But at this point, with it being announced a couple of years ago that mobile is under Panos now, I think the silence probably means we can expect something ground breaking.
    If we don't, then I guess you look at it as what's the loss. Everyone has pretty much written them off anyway.
  • To address the issue of surface phone being a portable mobile device which could serve as a phone and a pc without compromising either the phone size or the pc effectiveness, the device should have a holographic keyboard which can be cast on the table, and also have a holographic monitor/Screen which can be cast on air, probably adjustable diameter up to 15inch. That would really be the future.
  • Have you seen reviews on projected keyboards and touch keyboards for laptop? They are far from optimal experience even with haptic response. "AR monitor" will be great, but it is impossible to represent black which leads to another drawbacks. At this time I really don't see any mobile device which will allow to have same productivity as PC. Continuum (or even DeX )require you to carry dock station or have monitors with Miracast support (chrome cast, or carry adapter). Unless you will have a bunch of wireless displays around you or much more advanced (read expensive) there will be no ultimate device or it will be really limited until you get to place with displays/keyboards.
  • This article says that Apple have announced something which may be successful, Microsoft could announce something which might beat whatever Apple have announced and furthermore, if they (Microsoft) don't they might be doomed, whereas if they do, it might go well.   Sorry, I'm sure Jason is a great guy, but these articles read like he just woke up from a deeply meaningful dream and is trying to capture it before he forgets it all. Seems to me that Microsoft is pretty successful, it is fully aware of Apple and what they do, it covers a range of products and markets with only limited overlap with Apple, and it is ruthless in stopping spend on things it isn't getting right. Microsoft is not primarily a consumer company. Celebrate how they are crushing IBM and Google in Cloud rather than wishing they were beating Samsung and Apple in consumer mobile.
  • Hi pwg as you will notice in the article I never said Microsoft as a company was not successful, nor do I state that Microsoft as a company will fail if it is best by Apple (or any other company) in AR. What I do clearly articulate Microsoft's failure in phones, which an area of over with Apple, due the company's slow moving in the industry. I use that as an example of a potential repeat in another area over l, AR, where Apple which is again entering after Microsoft, but in a manner that could push Microsoft's AR efforts far into the shadows. I am fully aware that Microsoft is into the areas such as cloud, IoT, Server, gaming and more that Apple is not competing with them in. But because I was speaking specifically about success or failure in regards to the areas where the company's do compete in the price, phones and AR, the conversation remained restricted to information related to the topic. Thank you for your assessment that I am a nice guy, I'd like to think so.🙂 If you revisit the piece you will realize that I'm fairly articulate and established points related to specific areas where Apple and Microsoft are competing and did not make overarching claims that the company would fail if it was beat in AR. Also, Microsoft's needs to get mobile right. Nadella seems to agree since as recently as this year he stated that the company will continue to make phones. So they are spending in this area. Thanks again.😉
  • All good. My own view is that with the narrow exception of Xbox, they see themselves as primarily enterprise (and education) focused company. Their Surface business is to inspire OEM's to build better devices for enterprise and consumer rather than making hardware as a mainstream business themselves (even though it makes money).  So I would expect their AR investment to be either directed to the enterprise market, or narrowly tied to Xbox.  As a consumer without an Xbox, I don't expect Microsoft will have an AR offer for me any time soon.
  • So, what do you have against Microsoft becoming more consumer conscious with newer technologies?....
    Your opinion just seems complacent, fearful, content, unmotivated, and non progressive ... You suggest that we just "let MS be"..... There's already enough procrastinators in Redmond, and why do you support that?
  • This!
  • 😂😂😂😂
  • Exactly. Enough already. Write something fresh. Your formula is beat.
  • Jason i really love reading your articles, but i don't believe there is ever going to be a surface phone. 2 in 1s, laptops, studio, sub 8" tablets certainly. With added mobility from ARM, if intel don't ruin that with legal challenges. However an extension in wearable tech i do believe in. Cortana headphones/ear buds and 4g/5g/wifi/bluetooth AR glasses yes. At least something new and as you said before Nailed!
  • Also should come with robot butler, lifetime supply of mountain dew code red, a pony, and return postage for when they discontinue it so you can mail all that stuff back. Except maybe for the robot butler, he's pretty cool, he can stay.
  • I don't know about you but I will probably get more usage out of the pony if I constantly feed it Mountain Dew Code Red.
  • Another example of MS just not smartphone ready. We can add all sorts of hardware ( glasses, pen, ar, vr, flexible screen, screen finger print reader, auto integration, tricorder, 3d capture, 5 cameras, lightsaber, multitool, unicorn poop, etc), but it's useless if no one uses and supports the platform. I'd love for the platform to succeed, but doesn't look like it. They should never announce anything in advance. What happens is the competition will release it first. And MS plays catch up. As everyone stated before many times, it's too little too late. IOS and Android has too firm a grip on the market. MS can pay peeps $100 and give away their flagship phones and it's isn't gonna make any difference. No normal user is going to switch. The moment MS announces it, the competition will give its users $100 to stay on the platform and a free phone upgrade.
  • Are we talking of the new Samsung Galaxy Note ? ( Pen, dex , daydream) 🤔
  • That would be cool!  If it all works.  And they don't wait till 2020 to release it.  Think 2018 is a realistic timeline? At least build up some suspense - let us know it's coming.... don't get the buzz going no one will buy it out of the blue. So I am going to have a phone, stylus and AR glasses with me?    Is this stylus smart?  Does it have a camera, mic, and is chew proof?   You know people will chew on it. Exclusive apps - cool...but what?  Bring something out - at least let the world know MS is still in the portable computing messaging game (since we can't say 'phone'. Yes, I am rooting for MS to come out with something amazing.  W10 is awesome! But have some fears - they abandoned consumers before.  Will they do it again? Can you they compete with Apple and Android?    
  • It's time for the Microsoft to make a move First. It needs to develop its marketing strategies and need to release its device with all the discussed features. This shows developers that the company is serious about the mobile platform. Come Microsoft make your first move.
  • Why would a virtual measuring tape app be "more practical" if I have to carry around a special pair of glasses to use it? Seems like using it on the phone screen would be more than adequate. It's not like I'm going to be measuring stuff all day long.
  • Because on the phone screen, you have to be holding the phone. With glasses you just look.
  • Oh FFS: I would have bought a Windows phone if MS just managed to give their own existing mobile apps the same features on it as they do on Android and iPhony. That was too much to ask.
  • Microsoft failed....again.
    By the fact that AR Kit will dominate soon by the number of apps as you say in your article.
    Microsoft has no hardware , except their demo model HoloLens. What Microsoft should have done is make an AR Kit themselves for windows, iOS and Android.... in early 2017
    This would absolutely excellerate app growt for Microsofts AR platform, thus make de HoloLens relevant when it actually comes available for the masses. So, they have nothing, absolute nothing. It is a big failure and now they lost the war.
    It's really sad to see...
  • Honestly I'd be happy with a CShell phone right now even in its beta form.
  • Christ, why are ppl such jewels of appreciation to Microsoft, smiling in their face hoping to burn them to the ground at every turn SHAME ON THE ENTIRE LOT OF YOU, DESERVING OF NOTHING AND WANTING EVERYTHING 🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥
  • Microsoft seems to be grossly under-staffed (both in quantity and quality of their development team). They come up with great ideas but take ages to bring them out to the market, in the meantime MS rivals take that same idea and put their resources in it (and their highly talented developers) and come out with a brilliant product (as well as brilliant marketing) while MS staff is still busy testing theirs and debugging it.
    What MS needs to do is spend more money recruiting high calibre staff, and lots of them too. This excessively long and slow development and testing cycle at MS must be made shorter at all cost.
  • They should attract talent in what is cool today, mixed reality and Holograms, Microsoft should go to China and hire Phd scientists which can bring consumer version of Minecraft to Hololens
  • 100% this.
  • In the meantime MS can spend $100 billion to buy Linkedin...
  • "Surface phone"
    "Ultimate Mobile Device" Seriously, what the HELL?!
    I don't think any words in whole history are exploited so badly than these words (that once came out of Satya's mouth) are exploited by Jason. He has literally made a dream world where everything is perfect and already happening. At one end we aren't even sure if MS is interested enough in 'mobile builds' again,... and he is writing articles over articles about how one (ultimate) device should be everything he could possibly imagine? ... Seriously? I'm sure if MS reads these articles, they'd definitely abandon any ongoing idea/progress on mobile, seeing that how it is a 'must' that the first device they'd launch after a reconsideration should be universe shattering, only so that Jason could see his 'Ultimate Mobile Device' become a reality.
  • Thanks for your consistent following of the articles despite your misgivings🙂
  • Funny how they will complain about your articles, yet read every last word....
  • And how exactly can I complain without reading the articles? I like his articles. I have been reading them since the start. But with time, MS's approach and these articles have appeared to be originating from completely different universes. Plus, every next article is about the 'ultimate mobile device', which will probably come after Avatar 5.
  • Actually the assortment is more varied than that @antmauman😉
  • Ant.... It's called an E.D.I.T.O.R.I.A.L.
    It's not fair that you connect Jason's views with MS... Look, anyone can voice thier take, their opinion, their ideas, and predictions. Try it! Freedom of speech is what makes this site possible. Embrace that; don't hinder it. Take these articles with a grain of salt, not literally. Enjoy using your imagination. Let wonder flourish! Life is great! Be happy! Seize the day, young man!
  • "Surface phone"
    "Ultimate Mobile Device" Seriously, what the HELL?!
    I don't think any words in whole history are exploited so badly than these words (that once came out of Satya's mouth) are exploited by Jason. He has literally made a dream world where everything is perfect and already happening. At one end we aren't even sure if MS is interested enough in 'mobile builds' again,... and he is writing articles over articles about how one (ultimate) device should be everything he could possibly imagine? ... Seriously? I'm sure if MS reads these articles, they'd definitely abandon any ongoing idea/progress on mobile, seeing that how it is a 'must' that the first device they'd launch after a reconsideration should be universe shattering, only so that Jason could see his 'Ultimate Mobile Device' become a reality. Ridiculous!
  • it won't be a phone...but an foldable phone/tablet hybrid...that's the speculation!
  • Thanks for reading antnaiman!🙂 Also, please share the device type and strategy you feel would offer MS the best chance at success given Apples/Googles nearly 100% dominance in mobile, diminishing developer support, carrier challenges, lack of consumer mindshare, a consumer influenced personal computing environment, Microsoft's invesments in One Core, UWP, system-wide inking, mixed reality, AI, Continuum, CShell, cellular PCs, Windows on ARM and providing cellular data. In a competitive space where Google and Apple literally dominate developer and consumer mindshare, both have moves in AR, Apple has 16million developers, 100s of millions of iOS users who will get a taste of AR beginning this Fall. This of course is just step one to building a foundation for AR glasses. With the awareness Apple move will bring to AR across the industry and mainstream media and the dev support it will gain an AR platform foundation will be laid for coming glasses. MS needs to get in the public, media, developer and consumer eye with its mobile and AR strategy to build the support for its mobile and AR vision. You don't agree with my suggestion, that's cool😎 How would you propose they do it before Apple and google further lick them out?
  • Surface apps will be probably launched on ios and android first to get "larger audience"
  • Personally I won't touch it. Been burned with win 10 mobile and a Lumia.
  • How about a Minecraft exclusive app that works with mixed reality, this could open door for Lego company interested in mixed reality for Windows ecosystem
  • I wish people would stop talking about AR and VR. Like they are the next big thing. They are toys or work tools. They will not replace phones or become mainstream as long as they have the form factor of glasses. Even lenses won't do because that's not very practical and not everybody can wear them. Just get this into your heads: The phone is here to stay. It won't be replaced by anything in the next 30 years. I would even say 100 years. They might change a little with foldable screens and stuff but it will still be a flat rectangle thing for in your hands. What will happen though is that you can cast your screen to bigger screens, something like continuum but definitely wireless. Imo the next big thing is replacing paper with cheap foldable displays. You would be able to take a sheet of this paper and cast a screen from your phone to it. You could have like 10 electronic touch papers on your desk and cast to all of them at once. Then write on them with a pen and save it all in the cloud. It would be the revolution in the office. But the phone will always be the hub. The screens or surfaces to cast to will be everywhere. Perhaps a scroll you can put in your bag and then take it out, roll it out and have a huge screen to cast to. Trust me, after the AR glasses hype dries up they will start going this direction. But the foldable screen tech is not ready yet. And it should be ultra cheap. And after this the next revolution is where things are simply projected into or minds and mind controlled. We will simply be part of the digital and no longer be analog creatures. My final point. Practically everybody hates glasses on their noses. People might use it for a few hours a day to watch vr/ar porn or play a game or whatever but it won't be used 24/7 like a phone.
  • Well yes, there is a kind of a fetish over AR and VR.  h*** sapiens just loves fads..  And yes, you are right they are not the "next big thing" is by next you mean before five or ten years out. Yes, phones will be predominate for quite a few years and there is also a fad about "not talking about phones".  Oh, we'll call it the "ultimate mobile device."  Uh huh...  However your timeline for "flat rectangle thing for your hands" while likely not be true for the next thirty to a hundred years.  Your overall point though, let's keep our eye on the ball, well the ball is a flat rectangle thing for your hands called a phone is quite true and you are correct in pointing out the niche market aspect of glasses.
  • One thing for sure Apple is intersted in hololens augmented reality tech. Microsoft has so far had hololens mostly used in Business. Enterprise, Education, Science, Museums ect uses while this is cool  Microsoft must get games and apps everyday consumers can use with hololens. Apple generally makes devices consumers use and have a lot of developers who have worked with them to bring Apps to the Ipods, Iphone and ipads. should Apple bring out a Hololens like device they might have more Apps for their agmented reality devices than Microsoft has for their Hololens. this could put Microsoft again into an Apps gap with Hololens Augmented realty devices. I hope that MS CEO Nadella and his Hololens teams are aware of this and act NOW to get games and cinsumer related apps for their hololens gear . it's not too late Microsoft    
  • I must have missed a whole season worth of episodes of this because last time I checked Apple wasn't nowhere near making a mainstream hit with their gimmicky version of AR. Maybe I'm wrong and it's the latest craze and kids are holding their tiny square screens to things all around me.
  • Isn't it too ealry to say Apple's attmept won't be a hit...devices with this feature is not even out yet...the first advantage - consumer doesn't have to buy any expensive equipment...other than that ....Apple partnering with IKEA for a showcase AR app...sounds like great way to drive mainstream adoption, no?
  • +1
  • I don't want to wave my arms around like a muppet in public to use my phone so no, it shouldn't ship with AR glasses. In fact, regardless of that I don't want AR, period, it's unnecessary. If I want that, I'll buy it, I don't want it forced on me.
  • no glasses ...your mobile device will be your window into the augmented world!
  • What's the point when no one will buy it?  Microsoft are finished in the mobile market. 
  • And cost 200€. Else it will fail. Oh, and must use "premium materials".
  • Never gonna happen. Even if they actually get a mobile device to market again, it will be the same story, late to the game and left outside watching the competition reap the rewards. Microsoft are just too slow at doing anything. The company is being striped down to support just enterprise these days. Office and Cloud for enterprise. That is what MS will eventually be.
  • Uh, Microsoft has always been and will be an enterprise company. It's their strength and weakness. Consumers want to be dazzled and accepted; iCattle and Cesspoolers (Android).
  • Very good suggestion!!! Especially the support for Surface Pen. Only problem is whether it will be available world wide.
  • AR/MR will be neat, but it is not yet cost effective or portable enough for a mobile solution to be used untethered. As an optional add on for business users, perhaps. Pen support will be likely, since they already have it for Surface, but it isn't even included in new SP or SL in order to reduce cost.
  • "It will be a gamble, but doing nothing is certain defeat. Microsoft should launch a Surface phone with a pen and AR glasses in 2018. There I said it." 2018? I THINK IT'S TOO LATE ALREADY :) It should have been early 2017... Phone (or phone tablet hybrid) with INKING support should have been launched TWO YEAR AGO as successor for Lumia 1520 Mobile with AR --  ideally EARLY 2017... I'd think the AR space is going to get crowded soon...boasting that we're leaders in Mixed Reality may not matter much in the consumer space without having AR on Mobile soon :)  If the AR developers start to get invested in other platforms why would they care to switch to Microsoft platform later ...even if the MS offers a platform that's technically superior?  
  • Here is my prediction:  Apple having no presence in enterprise, and Microsoft becoming super slow also-ran in the consumer space...eventually have to merge to take on Google ...which will get so powerful with their hyperscale personal data collection to feed their AI infused services....
  • Whether with fancy tools or not possible new device need a strong store experince. You can't let people to install laggy apps like facebook or messenger, etc. Current store is very limited and this should be change as soon as possible. Some main apps like, youtube, shazam, periscope, retrica, soundcloud should be there with new fluid design.
  • I bet Google and Apple are reading Jason's article intently. Microsoft has great ideas, apple and google have impeccable execution of those ideas. 😐
  • Imagine Surface glasses that overlay directions on the road in front of you as you drive.
  • The idea of exclusive apps is ludicrous. It wouldn't prove to developers that MS is serious about Windows. It would prove that they're serious about Surface. Comparing them to Lumia apps is perfect, because Lumia apps were terrible for the platform. Lumias eventually became the only 'real' Windows phones, and other OEMs lost interest. The entire point of Surface is for OEMs to aspire to it, and MS is supposed to alienate them with exclusive apps? Also, the idea of the headset doesn't make any sense to me. Perhaps I'm not reading it correctly, but you're suggesting that these glasses should be powered by the phone, yet wirelessly at least some of the time? Phones can barely handle screen mirroring via Miracast, and you're proposing wireless augmented reality?
  • It would probably be like Google Cardboard or Gear VR where the phone fits into a headset. I don't see them going this route though. They don't really have anywhere to go with a "Surface Phone". I don't think they will make any sort of phone. That ship has sailed.
  • Hi Rich when I referred to exclusive apps I explained them as UWP apps which by nature work on all Windows 10 devices. The exclusivity I referring to is exclusive to Windows, and not made for iOS or Android. The branding comparison, Surface apps, (software equivalents to Surface hardware) to Lumia branding was a loose comparison to how software had an exclusive brading on WP in the past to debate quality and exclusivity. The idea I'm presented is high quality first-party apps developed by Microsoft exclusively for Windows. As I mention in the piece, they can make, market and release now even before new an ultramobile Surface PC or AR glasses are introduced. They apps can be used by anyone with a Windows PC now to generate excitement over high-qualty exclusive Windows apps and encourage devs because of the commitment that would show. Also exclusive AR specific first party apps could begin be used on those with HoloLens and MS could begin showing practical AR uses with HoloLens and first-party apps ahead of AR glasses.
  • Give the 950xl pen support first as intro to Surface phone
  • "I'm suggesting paired down, device-dependent AR glasses" pared, not paired.  
  • Anyone remember 3D shell from Symbian days ?
  • I am a   visionary! Even Jason agrees with me.  Hope MS follows it soon;")
  • Hey another windows mobile user in new Zealand that's make 2 of us all of cortana functions are still not available. Really
  • I'd say it's already too late. Apple have announced it, and we know they'll deliver. Even if Microsoft were to release today people will just wait for Apple ARKit and so will developers. As someone else has said, the consumer market is firmly Apple and Android. At this point they're household names and I don't think Microsoft can win no matter what they do now.
  • It'll be interesting to see if Apple can get hipsters to wear dorky headsets. I don't see it happening. Just like Google Glass, this will create many battles on the lines of public spaces and privacy, employers trying to keep the attention of their employees, degradation of human interaction, etc. AR will be a novelty that is only truly useful in certain instances.
  • Microsoft is not interested in the consumer market.  Case closed.   door shut, fanboy tears cried.  It's that simple.  If they were,  They would be pushing it.  Like they do with xbox.   Marketing for Xbox is everywhere,  marketing for anything consumer on windows side of things.....ZILCH.   Business and cloud.   Thank god,  there are lots of legacy programs that work on my win10 notebooks and desktops.  
  • First let the testers see and use cshell experience. 3 gb ram should enough for it. Landscape mode is a long waited suggestion.
  • While its a good Dream to have, This will remain a dream. If MS actually does something, it will be 2019-20 before we see anything. Who knows what the mobile landscape would be in 2-3 years.
    I am not sure MS can succeed in Mobile anymore, UWP is a flop and apps would be the biggest roadblock to any kind of market share. Even if they come out with all that, I don't see them breaking 5% barrier...
  • The mobile landscape for the near & long term will continue to be iOS & Android.
  • The Surface Phone will only succeed considering that it will have an AR and a pen support along with a support for .exe package (can install any exe x86 apps) installation on ARM. That will be enough.
  • along with 3d scanning, paint 3D & minecraft AR as killer apps ...AND launched this fall...otherwise slim chance of success,  I think!
  • I remember watching a movie called "Her" (at least I think that was the title) a while back. The plot is really irrelevant, it all centered around a "one does it all" computing device.
    I believe this is where we need to go.
    Build a small, powerful PC that I can put in my pockets, give me an earpiece and glasses with basic HoloLens tech and let all the processing be done by the pocket PC. Then let my documents and apps transfer seamlessly between my devices, so I can start a task on my pocket PC and continue it on my laptop or PC.
    I think what Microsoft needs to understand is that having a mobile device as your central hub is the only way to lead into the future.
    Laptops, desktops, IOT devices are all just peripherals.
    I believe the tech is mostly there to make it happen, what's missing is the vision.
  • I think it is already one step beyond that. The one device that does it all is in the cloud. The race to get everyone entrenched in their cloud services is the war. The peripheral device one uses to access those services is just a small battle.
  • The market has spoken and there is no place for Windows mobile.  Instead of wasting money and manpower on developing more hardware that the public do not want or need, the money should instead be invested in software development for iOS and Android platforms.
  • Microsoft's bottleneck is its Marketing department, not the technology. As a first step to ensure success in their mobile strategy they need to cleanup shop, fire the marketing and communications departments, a big reset is long overdue!
  • No, the biggest bottleneck is that all the talant are developing apps primarily for iOS and then Android.  Microsoft failed in the mobile arena due to very poor support as no one cares about them any more. Microsoft missed the boat which has long since sailed away into the distance.  Now all Microsoft can do is bring their apps & services to iOS & Android and hope to earn money from them seeing as they have no viable mobile platform of their own.
  • I agree with you. However, however Microsoft Surface hardware has never really been at fault. It is good hardware. It has not sold at the level it could. That leaves the problem at two other areas. Pricing and Marketing. They are the remaining elements. So the recent Marketing reorg is great news in my opinion. Microsoft has always been bad at consumer marketing. Yes, I realize the whole strategy is for making Microsoft like a utility with perpetual monthly payments from the consumer by making all their software products and services Cloud resident only with subscription fees for their usage.
  • Too Late Already!
    Samsung Monitorless solution.
    Have a look!
  • I was so excited with HoloLens at first, but realized it's still five years away to becoming a consumer product. As a small-team developer, I want to monetize here and now, or the nearer future. That's why I'm beginning to immerse myself with Apple's ARKit. It is just the more practical way to go and invest your time in. HoloLens may have the superior product, but the "app gap" I believe in the coming years will just be too wide for Microsoft to overcome even with their UWP strategy. HoloLens will remain an "enterprise-y" product. Also, a Surface Phone in 2018 with 3D features is already too late. By that time, Apple and Google will already have the AR mindshare. And in 5 years, they will catch up with the HoloLens tech. I'm a Microsoft fan, and probably will create a couple of apps with the HoloLens in the future, but I wouldn't bet my livelihood on it. I still think MS have the smartest tech guys, but in the real world the marketing guys take over.
  • I think the cheap Mixed Reality glasses from the OEM manufactures will evolve from VR to AR in their second gen 2018 version late next year... (probably that's why no Hololens 2 till 2019 ) I think they'd still need Mobile MR platform to win in consumer MR...but I won't be surprised if they instead build apps like Minecarft AR first on iOS ARKit ...sad situation ..really sad :)
  • Microsoft is facing the same issue as other developers. In order to build their services infrastructure, they have to develop for Android and iOS first and THEN think about their own platform. Even if Microsoft introduced a Surface phone with Hololens, they would still release their apps for Apple and Android solutions first.
  • Harsh reality. Very true. On a side note, I think a Hololens Lite tethered to a Surface Phone would be great. The extra power needed to run the eyewear could be in the form of battery pack holster. Stow phone away, while the holster itself charges the phone.
  • I'm with you. randomly i dreamt about this last night. in my dream the only solution that ms had was to release an app which is truly a playform in itself which can run third party apps using hololens api. they would have to do this on ios and android. the best product doesnt alwaya win. ios developers are ready to jump on apple's arkit....
  • Very interesting article and interesting to read others' comments to the effect that MS are entrenched in a device-less supply in terms of mobile - this is hardly a mobile first, cloud first strategy. I could never understand why MS abandoned it's 'Origami' tablet programme but I guess tablet size was an issue in its day and timing is everything, enter iPad. I fear MS have given up and the focus is to assume that we MS fanboys will never leave the ship and so what else to do but push Linux thro' Azure, enter Core which does nothing for the Windows developer. Hardware is super important for sure, but so is the UI. I've been ranting for years that WinForms and WebForms should have melded into one developer platform (I know things have moved on with MVC, UWP, Core et al). I wanted to see my app in a single code base, rendering as a WinForm app on Windows and as WebForms on other platforms. After all, a parallel effect has been achieved on Xamarin and some software provider has a XAML and C# offering which renders HTML5 and CSS. I'd like to see a 'flat' Windows 10 with CShell, and AR as an optional 3D layer on top via HoloLens. I'd like to see large boring tiles transformed into origami styled 'menu apps' that unfold into desktop apps given the chance and according to space (to avoid ambiguity I don't mean the hardware strategy I mentioned at the start of my comment). And we're meant to have 'Windows' of which the browser is just a glorified instance. I say 'mobile first, UI first, done enough on cloud for now'!
  • Pen will be fine, but AR glasses are a waste of time and money. They need to bring a Surface phone to the market as cheaply as possible. AR glasses are a useless gimmick that simply aren't interesting to the home market. By all means release them as a separate device, but don't tie the phone success to the glasses
  • They should make useful and futuristic devices and apps, not great in power but great in what they can do. There exist tech with 4 cameras of low resolution that can make shots with higher resolution, in low light, with depth info, and thats just one part of futuristic hw now available in phones even now. Also software and hardware of device is not enough. We need devices like samsung gears, connectivity to home black and white tech, car and so on. Would say 950XL is now powerful device in hands of fan that know worth of its components. Was not from the start, price also matters, cheap doesn't mean uncool or useless, its about how cool can They make it and what technologies they will use to make it compete with hi-end devices without need for pricy components. Best device is one you want but also can afford after all.
  • I would love AR to be part of the next iteration. Imagine if you could use the Surface pen to write/draw on any flat Surface while in AR mode... Or even to sketch in 3d.
  • Have you asked us- surface phone fans what we would like to see in it? We may have good ideas.
  • Hey editors, please write an article on build 16212 for phones. When will it arrive and what are the new features that will be included.?????
  • Im so sick of Microsoft breaking my heart. If they don't do something great soon, I may switch to Apple....completely...hardware and software. I loved windows phone and Microsoft never really stayed with it like they did with xbox. How can a software company be so bad at software? One more halfass attempt and I'm done.
  • Incredibly, Microsoft has completely ignored VR on its own Xbox. Yes its on Windows, but the price for entry on PC is too high for the average a $4k gaming rig rocking a 1080 is too expensive for most consumers.