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Microsoft Surface and RIM BlackBerry Windows Phone 8 concepts that will probably never come to be

Could Microsoft make a Surface Phone? Not likely

We've re-published a number of concepts in the past when it came to guessing what designs Nokia had up their sleeves for Windows Phone, or how Windows 8 tablets could look like. Fortunately for consumers, Microsoft decided to smash the latter and unveil their Surface range of Windows 8 tablets to compete with the iPad and Android counterparts. So we now switch back to the phone, and with Apollo on the horizon what could we see if Microsoft and RIM made a Windows Phone?

We've seen designers somewhat expectedly take what Microsoft has accomplished thus far with Surface and attempt to apply it across the software giant's entire product range. Carrying on this trend, we have the above concept by Jonas Daehnert. If you haven't guessed it already, it's a design for a Surface Windows Phone (or "Surface Phone"). This is what we could expect from Microsoft should they choose to go down the hardware route with their mobile platform too. We're going to take a look at this and report on why we believe this is most likely not going to happen in the immediate future.

While it looks impressive and we'd not expect anything less from Microsoft with what we've seen with Zune hardware and of course the Surface tablets, there's always the issue of OEMs. Windows Phone already has a number of established manufacturing partners. Nokia, Samsung, HTC, ZTE, and more, with the likes of Lenovo on the way. While the company could aquire Nokia if things go from bad to worst, it just wouldn't make sense to directly compete with hardware we've seen so far. 

Microsoft has actually denied rumours already, stating that the company has no plans to bring Surface to Windows Phone, or attempt to compete directly with hardware partners. The software giant has always enjoyed establishing strong relationships with vendors when it comes to Windows and have proven to be incredibly successful so far. The fact that current Windows Phone manufacturers are looking at Apollo with excitement, preparing to launch high-end hardware, and don't have the issue with patent infringements makes the future seem somewhat bright for the ecosystem.

The reasons behind the Surface tablet itself is down to the big M believing that what partners offered weren't good enough and they couldn't work with them, so the company decided to do it alone - check out the above video for the announcement. While OEMs will still bring tablets running Windows 8 to the Surface (pun intended), all eyes will be glued to Microsoft's offering unless a competing device is on the same level of uniqueness and beauty.

Then again, we don't know what the future will bring. The Surface could be yet another flop and may then have to rely on OEM partners, or it could be a huge success and Ballmer and co. may look to bring this Surface success across to Windows Phone. But we've seen Microsoft make mobile hardware before, which didn't turn out too well.

What RIM would develop to join the Windows Phone ecosystem

RIM (or in this case - Research In Migration) has been in the headlines for all the wrong reasons, much like our beloved Nokia. If you've been hiding under a rock for the past several months, be sure to head on over to CrackBerry for all the latest and greatest from RIM HQ. That said, it's not looking good at all for the future of BlackBerry. The company has continuously delayed the next major upgrade to their OS, BlackBerry 10, and the setup which is being forced to last until release is just not likely to hold out without major issues.

The above (and below) concepts are by Michal Bonikowski, and appear to resemble a BlackBerry-WindowsPhone hybrid of sorts, it's as if Ballmer visited a mad doctor with a BlackBerry and demanded him to mutate it into a Windows product for "Developers! Developers! Developers!" to make use of. Sporting a fairly sizable display -- minus the usual QUERTY keyboard -- the slim look really makes it fit in with the likes of the HTC TITAN II and Nokia Lumia 900.

When it comes to BlackBerry and Windows Phone, we've published a number of headlines ourselves, starting with an investment calling for the company to adopt Windows Phone back in December 2011. RIM declined Microsoft's offer for a Nokia-type deal with the former scraping its OS in favour for Windows Phone, accompanied by a cash injection from the software giant for a stake of the Canadian company.

RIM's CEO, Thorsten Heins, has recently commented in an interview with CNET that Microsoft's plan for Windows Phone is 'confusing'. Some would argue that at least Microsoft is delivering promised updates in a timely fashion and is looking to the distant future of the platform as well as the imminent months ahead. To top it all off between the two platforms, developer interest in Windows Phone has been reported to be increasing while interest in RIM plummets (though the company has responded rather defensively).

Could we see RIM adopting Windows Phone? It seems like a highly unlikely outcome for the time being. While the company is in trouble, it's making progress and is still working valiantly on its next OS upgrade. Hopefully it'll arrive sooner rather than later as while we'd love to see more big brand support for Windows Phone, it's never good to see such a well known (and respected) company suffer.

Should BlackBerry 10 not provide the positive momentum RIM so desperately requires, we could re-visit this Windows Phone adoption possibility as potential reality and a feasible decision. It's either that or Android. Could you imagine BlackBerry hardware running multiple versions of the fragmented OS? Until then, we'd recommend not reading too much into anything. 

So now we've established that both concepts are fairly far-fetched, what do you make of the designs? Like 'em? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

Source: DeviantART (Surface), Yanko Design (BlackBerry)

Rich Edmonds
Senior Editor, PC Build

Rich Edmonds is Senior Editor of PC hardware at Windows Central, covering everything related to PC components and NAS. He's been involved in technology for more than a decade and knows a thing or two about the magic inside a PC chassis. You can follow him over on Twitter at @RichEdmonds.

  • Sexy!
  • Now that's a sweet looking phone.
  • Surface phone = Zune HD
  • Thorsten Heins is delusional.
  • by the looks of the mockup that screen must be 4.9 inches at best. it would make since for rim because they could include bbm intergration, preloaded wallpapers, and unique colors for their bb wp8 devices
  • Wow, that blackberry design brought back some bad memories.
    I can almost hear the clicking of the screen..... *shudders*
  • I like the Surface concept device but, It should look more like a ZuneHD than the Surface tablet?
  • That render is a beautiful combination IMO. Nearly perfect in it's execution and it would definitely be my next upgrade if something like it were released.
  • That first concept pic is hottttt!!!!
  • I UBER agree!
  • It's a pity RIM is going through so much trouble. I was a loyal BlackBerry user before moving to WP. Devices like the Bold and the Torch felt nice, and were serious "get sh*t done now" devices.
  • If Surface sells like crazy and Nokia is on their way out you know MS is going to make a Surface phone.
  • Blackberry should have taken MS offer of running WP on there devices. The combined teams could have taken enterprise and consumers by surprise
  • As much as I hate concept designs, I wouldn't mind seeing something like an oversized Zune4. I loved the one-piece back, do it with VaporMG and maybe a kickstand to go with it? I enjoy the square feeling in a phone--so long as it's metallic, not glass!
  • BlackBerry + Windows would change the game and have Google and Apple change their business strategy. I might be the only one who thought that BlackBerry Windows phone concept looked beautiful.
  • I would drop money for that in a heartbeat. It's beautiful.
  • Referring to the The Surface Phone. The BlackBerry one could use some getting used to.
  • Damn RIM need to get on that asap....gonna be one sexy phone by BB
  • hopefully they can make a deal. those are some nice looking phones
  • I agree with RIM at this point. Perhaps when Windows Phone 8 drops, and does many of the things we all hope for, maybe then RIM would change its opinion. With WP7 and its many limitations, it simply doesn't make sense to adopt WP7 or WP8. Give them a year after WP8. Then see where they are.
  • Now that be boss! A BlackBerry Windows Phone, might even be on Verizon then.
  • Rim should use the Windows OS and with having bbm in the windows OS, all bb users would switch to windows.
  • please Redmond, give us a surface phone! It looks awesome and I would my money right away
  • Those BB WPs would've been good, would've helped WP gobble up the remaining market share of BB. Just like the palm days.
  • That Surface Phone felt a little like love at first sight! Bring that bad boy to reality, and I'm swooping one up!
  • I saw the Surface Phone concept on Pocketnow a few weeks ago. Absolutely love it. That's the kind of hardware that would appeal to the masses.
  • Would absolutely LOVE to have a next-gen Blackberry Bold (by far the best keyboard) form factor running WindowsPhone 8 (by far the best user-interface).
    Too bad nobody can get it right and RIM is so stubborn. :-|
  • That Surface Phone concept looks amazing! I would totally stand in line for that!
  • Surface phone looks absolutely great. Together with a Surface tablet a top combo that would make people notice and be headturning. @Microsoft -- DO IT !!!
  • Looks cool
  • Where can I purchase the windows surface phone 8? first pic
  • I was probably one of many who forwarded the Surface concept photos to WPCentral. As a MSFT employee, I would love to see this come out of Redmond.
  • I would buy these phones in a heartbeat. What i dont get, is the most concept arts of phones show almost bezel-less phones. Which are awesome. Why dont phone makers make these type of phones? Clearly these renders are made by your 'consumers', so why not make this? People are going to stand in line for these phones, if they were made reality... Technology-wise it should work (come on it's 2012).
  • Technology isn't quite there yet. We still use side-lit LED and LCD displays. That bezzel holds the light for your display. Until we can get self-illuminating pixels (which is at its end stages of development) then we will have to deal with bezzels.
  • I would go back to BlackBerry if they made a windows phone!
  • That BlackBerry is awesome
  • Microsoft doesn't have to make a Surface phone because they can have Nokia make it for them, the 'Nokia Surface'. This way Microsoft doesn't have to compete against other partners.
  • The design of that Surface Phone render look every inch a Microsoft device, it has nothing that eeks Nokia. I would love to see that device come to market, however I don't think it would be Nokia that would bring it.
  • Like others here... I too would wait in line for that phone. Surface Phone would be an instant hit!
  • I have to say, I've been teetering between a WP8 device and the next Android Nexus device for my upgrade that is due in the next couple of months (I'm a current HD7 user). However, If Microsoft released a phone that looked anything like that top render, my mind would be made. THAT THING IS BEAUTIFUL!!!!!!!!!
  • I definitely buy one and it should come to.production
  • Need this more then tablet
  • This is amazing Phone my company gave me on my good work. And to wrok on this phone and to work on laptop there is no big difference cuz this time blackberry give more upgrade processor.
  • we'd not expect anything less from Microsoft with what we've seen with Zune hardware and of course the Surface tablets, there's always the issue of OEMs.
    Hotels Carlton