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 was formerly a 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 on Twitter at @RichEdmonds.