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The Surface Phone you've always wanted is happening

Lumia 950 and Surface
Lumia 950 and Surface (Image credit: Windows Central)

Sources familiar with Microsoft's plans have revealed that the rumored Intel-powered Windows 10 phone slated for May 2016 has been cancelled. Instead, an all-new flagship phone lead by Panos Panay and the team of engineers that built the Microsoft Surface and Surface Book has been given the green light. Slated for a release in the second half of 2016 this may be the long-wished-for Surface phone. Here is what we know and what we don't.

Earlier in July I noted that sources had told me that Microsoft's super-secret phone project was slated for May 2016. Almost nothing was known about the venture except that the phone was metal, and somehow Intel was involved. At the time, I was led to believe it was a Microsoft project, which never sat well with me (more on that below), but it seems it was yet another Nokia carryover.

Any details about the project, however, are now moot. The latest I hear is that this 'metal' phone has been cancelled.

Although supporters of Windows Phone probably just gasped in horror, this news is more interesting than it seems on its face. There is also flip side to the cancellation: Panos Panay and his Surface team, who are now responsible for all of Microsoft's premium device engineering, are getting their shot at Windows Mobile and making a premium flagship phone.

Surface Phone?

The most obvious question is whether this will be the shoot-to-the-moon Surface phone that has been alleged ever since the first Surface tablet was announced years ago. Unfortunately, details of what exactly this device is remain unknown.

The most I have heard is they are currently exploring different technologies. The engineering team has the ability to fabricate hardware right on Microsoft's campus, so that experimentation should not be a surprise. Indeed, a phone prototype was recently spotted at their facilities leading to more speculation about a 'Surface phone' existing someday.

My guess is they are still exploring design, hardware and features and that is something that likely won't be finalized until mid-2016. Interestingly, I keep hearing it being referred to not as "Surface phone" but just as "Panos's phone".

Intel's involvement

Intel is also involved in this project suggesting some overlap in what was planned with the now-scrapped 'metal phone' that was a Nokia design. Presumably their role is in co-developing a chipset for the phone beyond the normal Qualcomm ones found in modern smartphones today.

Intel's connection to this project is the most tantalizing. Many speculate that this will be a device that runs an x86 chipset or is something much more powerful than current Qualcomm Snapdragons. The ultimate vision some of us have is that such a device could not only run Windows Store apps but classic Win32 apps. A true computer in your pocket.

The problem with that idea is that there are a lot of technical problems to solve. For now, we will have to wait until something more definitive comes out. My hunch is this is one of the technologies they are exploring, but its ability to make the cut to the final product is not guaranteed if the experience is poor.


Multiple sources have put the planned date for this phone as sometime in the second half of 2016. I have heard as early as August but also a more general Q4 2016 suggesting a fall release.

Assuming this phone is lining up with Microsoft's other projects there are two possible scenarios:

August 2016 – This date seems to line up with Windows 10 Redstone aka the next big OS release from Microsoft. The site WinBeta recently claimed Redstone would improve on Continuum. More specifically, Redstone would let apps seamlessly transfer presence from the phone to the PC and even let you make calls from a PC through your phone. Tying that into some new phone hardware could be attention-grabbing.

However, the planned date for Redstone is still a bit of a mystery.

Fall 2016 - Putting the date forward to an October or November release for the 'Panos phone' could line it up for a fall refresh of Microsoft hardware. Nevertheless, it is not yet clear if Surface and Band are on a yearly schedule or an 18-month one. There were 18 months between Surface Pro 3 and Surface Pro 4, but that almost entirely hinged on Intel Skylake being available for the market.

If Microsoft is on a yearly schedule then another October event for Surface Pro 5, Surface Book 2, Band 3 and the first 'Surface Phone' would also make sense. Plus, it makes the Lumia 950 and Lumia 950 XL a one-year high-end phone, something that is common these days with Apple, HTC, Samsung and others.

Why no Surface Phone until now

For years, many fans of Microsoft have been calling for a Surface Phone to be made. However, it should be noted that as of October 2014 Microsoft was still losing money on the Surface. It was not until January 2015 that Microsoft announced one billion in revenue had been earned from a successful holiday turnaround. This was all after the infamous $900 million write-down from 2013 over the failed Surface RT.

The idea of wedding the bruised Surface brand with the struggling Windows Phone one did not make a lot of business sense before 2015.

However, now that Apple and Google are going forward with their own Surface-like devices and the Microsoft's Surface sales are doing well you could say the time is now right for such a merger.

There is another issue too. When I reported that the original Intel project was a purely a Microsoft endeavor, I had some issues with that claim. Specifically, which department was making it? Research? Surface? Xbox? None of those groups made sense. The one group that did make sense was the Devices group headed by Stephen Elop once the Nokia acquisition went through.

Panos Panay was not yet in charge of the Devices group, ergo not in charge of Windows Phone until late July 2015. This occurred after Stephen Elop and his team were let go presumably due to past failures including the cancelled McLaren smartphone and the ho-hum Lumia 950 and Lumia 950 XL that were in late development.

The way I see it, there was no way a "Surface phone" could have existed before July 2015. Now that I hear this cancelled Intel project was a Nokia one the bigger picture comes together. Microsoft is evidently sweeping out a lot of the old Nokia designs, people and strategy for something new.

Reading between the lines: What Panos was telegraphing about those new Lumias

I have argued that some of the Microsoft teams, especially the Surface group, are not fond of these new Lumias, and I believe there is still some in-house cleaning going on to bring on a new strategy. That strategy change is an acknowledgement that Windows Phone as an iOS and Android competitor has failed.

Instead, Microsoft may be trying to create a new category to leverage Windows 10. I wrote about this just a month ago, asking if Microsoft wanted to reboot the concept of a phone, and I still think it holds true.

And now for something different

Microsoft's Windows mobile strategy is still in many ways chaotic. Indeed, since 2007, when then-CEO Steven Ballmer laughed off the iPhone, Microsoft never quite found their way in the smartphone market. Constant reboots of the OS design and concept, and partnerships that have come and gone bought time and kept some interest, but in the end it has not worked on the scale Microsoft needs to justify long-term investment.

There are a few ways forward that I see for Microsoft:

(A) Cancel Windows 10 Mobile (B) Continue selling Lumias and trying to compete with iOS, Android (C) Do something very different

I have argued in the past that (A) is just not feasible, not yet. The whole concept of Windows 10 and the Universal Windows Platform (UWP) is too dependent on the mobile branch existing. Cancelling it now would be a terrible message to developers and calls into question the entire UWP paradigm (not to mention Satya Nadella and Terry Myerson's leadership).

Going with option (B) is what Microsoft has done up to the Lumia 950 and Lumia 950 XL. Although the company stands behind those products, they are not advertising them on TV or pushing hard in retail channels. It should be clear they are pulling back as the only people will buy those phones are already converts and those with some interest in Continuum.

Nadella cancelling many models and reducing their Lumia portfolio is another blow to that route.

Solution (C) can lead to success, but is also the most difficult to achieve. Creating or redefining a product category takes major R&D and a visionary team with the chops to make it a reality.

Can Panos Panay and his group do that for the phone? I have no idea and the odds are against them. Nonetheless, the Surface Book design does inspire confidence.

So this is everything we know about this 'Panos phone' so far:

  • This is a Surface team design
  • Due in second half of 2016
  • Intel is testing something with it
  • It may or may not run x86 apps (TBD)
  • Likely timed with Windows 10 Redstone

Other than that it's a complete mystery. If I had to guess, it is also going to be an expensive phone as Panay is in charge of premium devices and experiences. The Surface Book puts into perspective how far they will go for a laptop and they even raised the Band 2 by $50 to make it higher quality.

Until Microsoft announces this phone, there is not much else that can or should be said. For now, the Lumia 950 and Lumia 950 XL stand as the high-end offering for Windows 10 Mobile, and we expect them to hold that position for several months, if not an entire year. However, like all things in tech there is always something around the next bend, and the Surface Phone could be it.

What's your vision for a Surface Phone? Head into our forums and this thread to post your thoughts and predictions!

Daniel Rubino
Executive Editor

Daniel Rubino is the Executive Editor of Windows Central, head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been covering Microsoft here since 2007, back when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, Microsoft Surface, laptops, next-gen computing, and arguing with people on the internet.

  • I swear my pants were just on a second ago.
  • Lol. Good one..
  • Thank god i waited, pass on the 950's. 
  • Glad I kept my powder dry and picked up the 640 for cheap
  • Same here.
  • Same, but for the first time since Windows Phone 7 I am truly clamoring for apps. I used to say "who needs a separate app for each thing you want to do on a phone." However, since those days many of the baked-in features of WP have been stripped out and the OS has been more app centric. Coupled with app availability shrinking, not growing I am for the first time thinking about jumping to the loathed iCompetitor. Question is, do i do it, knowing that things are going to get worse before they get better, or are things at the worst point now and already starting to become better?
  • For all the people out there who are thinking of migrating, I'd recommend staying.
    Give windows 10 mobile a chance to prove itself to you and to others.
    If the situation doesn't change in say about an year then it's safe to say bye to windows. Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • The hardest part about that is us poor Verizon foks.  I want to go to 10, but Verizon isn't going to support the 950. Yes i know I can do the insider program, but i just want it to work, i don't want to have to do extra stuff.  I just wish we wern't exield.  I am considering the jump to AT&T, but I do like everything else about V.  Oh well.. keep watching and waiting is guess..
  • Feeling the same. Who needs all theses apps.... but I lost the fate during the past year. These missing apps from all the big services, it impacts me at home and work. The nail on the coffin for me was wen MS announced the OneDrive space reduction, to a point where it will be impossible to fit anything on there, not even my phone pictures. MS changes direction every seconds and I'm through with it I guess.... Too much incertitude, now I even fear loosing some features or app. It's my last wp.
  • Its been exactly 1 week since i jumped to the   icompetitor.  I do miss windows OS but having a plethora off apps has been refreshing.  I'll be back for the rumoured surface phone, make it an awesome phone surface team!! Youve got a lot of apps to compensate for!
  • Same here, but even a Surface phone wont bring me back if the app and os situation hasnt improved by then
  • VZW better fucking pick this up. I had to skip the 950 but not by my choice.
  • In the same boat.  I think Daniel is thinking too much.  All Microsoft is doing is waiting on Intel to gets its act together and release a suitable smartphone SoC that can power a premium phone.  Thus we wait for Broxton, which I think is going to be a year late and available in mid 2016.  One would assume INtel is close to completeing the design and has some chips fabricated for internal testing/analysis.  But what about memory?  What if Intel is designing a different memory structure for the phone?  3D xpoint with their 3D NAND?  How much power can you save if you "turnoff" the memory block in standbye?  What happens if you can store alot more info that is "instantly" accessible to "pass" you form desktop to phone and back as you walk from car to office and then you sit at your desk to continue conversation through your computer?
  • Expecting a mobile SoC from Intel, please.  Its CISC vs RISC, for every step Intel takes they will be behind 3.  WP and Windows are two different OSes.  Apps reside in same abstraction layer, but maintaining the two is quite different.  Does a mobile OS need all this??? People who want Intel on phones are not engineers.  
  • That's just it, Microsoft does not need Verizon to "pick it up" for them to make and sell a Verizon compatible phone. The requirements for Verizon's LTE spectrum is that it must be open to every device.  Now yes, for their CDMA side of the network, the voice side, it does need to pass certification.  However Verizon does not handle certification, they have an independent third party do it.  All Microsoft has to do is get the phone certified and Verizon can't deny it.  They then can sell a Verizon model completely unlocked through their own store.  Now of course not having it in Verizon's stores would cut out the customers who prefer to spread out the cost of the phone over 24 months with the Edge plan, but Microsoft can make it compatible with Verizon if they want to.
  • Yeah, well, this is all MISINFORMATION. FYI, the LTE spectrum must also be certified by Verizon as noted on their own website, however, only Verizon can certify the LTE as (also by their own admission on their website) they don't yet have the program ready for a 3rd party to handle that. Verizon has refused to certify the LTE bandwidth for the Lumia 950/950XL so Microsoft turned off the CDMA antennas. It's no secret that there is little love between Verizon and Microsoft, but IMO, Verizon is messing up big time. They currently have a huge contract with the government for enterprise devices on their network, however those devices are Blackberries. Blackberry is switching their devices to Android. Android is an open-source OS, so not secure enough for government use. iOS is not enterprise friendly, so iPhones are off the table. That only leave Windows 10 which is both secure and enterprise friendly. No doubt the government will be switching to Windows 10 devices and if Verizon doesn't have any, they will most likely lose their big government contract to AT&T, T-Mobile or Sprint.
  • Verizon can NOT refuse to certify anyone on their LTE.  The moment they try they will get sued because of the rules the FCC attached to the 700MHz C block spectrum.  Remember all the mess about the Nexus 7 and all the complaining about Verizon that was over that?  In the end it was discovered that Google itself requested certification be ended because of a bug it found. Fact is Verizon can test a device because the open access rules do state that they must allow any device that won't harm their network, but they can not refuse to test any device simply because they want to. Agreed there is no love lost between Verizon and Microsoft and that Verizon has mistreated Microsoft in the past.  But the reality is Verizon simply just can not refuse to allow any device, Microsoft or others, from running on their network.  So if Microsoft does not offer one that is Verizon compatible, that is on Microsoft.    
  • Thats why i dumped VZW went over to AT&T much happier, i think you should do the same. See if AT&T is still offering the money for you to switch and they'll VZW you term fees you'll be happier like me, no more bill fluct AT&T billing is spot on never any fluct at all.
  • I just switched to Verizon from ATT because Verizon gave us a deal ATT couldn't beat. But I'll say this, if ATT could have matched the deal we would've stayed. My family has been with them for 20 years! And the customer service ATT has is unbeatable imo. They are one of the few companies that actually look at your history and if they see you pay on time and/or you've been with the company for a while. Really helpful and the store staff are do much more knowledgeable (at least here in New York). They even know a lot about windows phone. They don't push people away from it. I miss ATT. Posted via the Windows Central App for BlackBerry
  • Well AT&T has the most god awful,customer service I have ever experienced. I have had ATT and now Verizon . Verizon has great customer service. ATT can't begin to compare to Verizon in customer service and the most reliable network. I hate ATT
  • Deciding when to buy a smartphone reminds me of the same struggle many faced in choosing a PCs in the late 90s. Hardware and software alike was evolving at such a pace that people were torn between upgrading now or waiting for something better. There's always a new device around the corner; if you're going to wait for the next big thing you'll be waiting forever.
  • I agree,if I wanted / needed a new phone right now, I'd go for the 950XL - I'm not holding off because of future phones, bur rather that I'm just happy with the 930 still. If you really want... or more importantly need a new phone just buy now. This next phone may not even be available until very late 2016 / early 2017. The 950/XL are for those Windows Phone fans who are sick of their current phone and have been stuck with it for years.
  • + 930
    + SP3
    + W10 Both these devices are pretty awesome on W10 and I can easily wait for next October to think about an SP5 and "Surface Phone". Both devices are of such high quality and the OS just gets better that I am so happy with my choices. Those getting the SP4 and 950 should have the same experience :)
  • We switch phones like what, every ~2yrs? (judging by muself). I doubt there will be Surface Phone out before that. Anounced? Maybe. But out for sale; don't think so. So for me, 950 XL is the best thing out there IMHO. Again, for the next ~2yrs.
  • Put your pants back on, there are kids around! I swear I do not understand Microsoft some times. Why leak this information now when you are still trying to sell 950s? Why would anybody buy these now? Heck, there should be a mass rush to return them and just wait for a phone that will clearly be better.  While I am excited by this news, I will be keeping my 950XL. If history is anything to go by the Surface Phone release date will face a few push backs. It will be v.1 so it will be buggy. It will cost an arm and a leg.  Excited but following the mantra, "a bird in hand is worth 2 in the bush".
  • Exactly. 950XL is a great device. This device will be a 1st Gen product and wont even see it before 2017 so I can't wait that much anymore.
  • I have the 950... I just can't see what any of the complaints are about. The hardware is spectacular. Sure, Hello doesn't work that well on it... though there's some hope since it's beta. But the specs and design are exactly what I wanted. I love the removable back with replaceable battery, SDcard, killer camera, crazy good screen, etc. I wish ms would make colored backs, but this satisfies every major requirement I had. The app situation is still a disaster, and a Surface phone wouldn't change that. W10 still has a few bugs, but it's pretty solid... much more solid than the tech previews led me to believe would be possible. I don't understand why Windows Phone fans seem to be slamming these phones left and right... they're great!
  • Yeah well hopefully the bridge efforts will see some fruit before this phone is even announced. If the app situation doesn't change by next fall, then what's the point anyway? At least the cross-platform apps that are available on all OSs has to be improved by then(ahem, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.). One picture at a time -- LG V10
  • The bridge efforts died with Astoria.  iOS developers are better off working from scratch.  The other bridges are uninteresting.
  • iOS developers are better off working from scratch
    What makes you say that?
  • I like my 950 too.  The vocal complainers will complain about EVERYTHING.  When this "Surface phone" does come out, they'll complain that it's too expensive.  There's a certain element around here that can't be pleased.
  • Spectacular hardware? You sure about that? It's a flagship phone made out of plastic, that looks indistinguishable from a $60 Lumia 640. It has the same SoC/performance as $400 Android phones e.g. Nexus 5C, Moto X Pure. You want a QHD AMOLED display? You can buy it at a discount now for $300 or less with the Nexus 6 (was on sale for $200 shortly around Black Friday). Cobble all these antiquated specs together and BOOM you've got the 950.
  • It's funny, the 1520 was made from plastic as well, I never hear people make the same complaints.
  • The 1520 is 2 years old, the standards for flagships have been raised since then, I would hope.
  • I felt like the iPhone 6 plus was like a 1520 to be honest. I feel it's relative on a certain level. Upgrade cycles depend on user, stability of OS, and hardware. That said, Idk if I'll still have my 1520 by the time this comes out.
  • I've compared my 950xl to my buddies 6plus and the 950xl is sleeker and smaller despite having the larger screen of the both (5.7inch vs the 6plus's 5.5inch). The 6plus is one ugly clunky mess, to be honest. My white Lumia 950xl with its polycarbonate and all is looking much better then the iPhone 6plus. And comparing the 950xl to the 640xl? Think again! The screen is so much better, and the 950xl looks so much better and more premium from the back go look both phones up on Bing, you'll see!! or better! Go to your local Microsoft store and compare both side by side! There is a huge differens in look and feel with both phones! 
  • [QUOTE] My white Lumia 950xl with its polycarbonate and all is looking much better then the iPhone 6plus.[/QUOTE] Now THAT is a textbook example of seeing exactly what you WANT to see.
  • I love how people cry about metal.....then put a plastic case on it.
  • @seanpr - there are a lot of us that don't use a case at all, or use a slip-case (like I do). That ensures it's protected when not in use, but you can still appreciate the aesthetics when in use.
  • stop with this plastic-nonsense. even super cars prefer plastic body kits. tradeoff of having a metal body for phones are receptions and wireless charging. how can you call it a flagship phone when it hinders you to have a good signal and don't charge wirelessly?
  • This is all a bunch of BS.  The only thing missing is the next generaton Atom chip--Broxton.  That is all.  The new phone will ship as soon as the next gen INtel Atom processor is ready to go which will include an integrated baseband modem.  Goodbye Qualcomm.  But I would be curious about integrated 3D Xpoint memory or 3D NAND memory in the phone. So rethinking the phone has more to do about passing info seemlessly between phone and PC via cloud/wifi/bluetooth.  What happens if you put a 128 gb 3D Xpoint memory cude on die with the SoC?
  • Nope.  ARM > X86.  Less power draw, less heat, smaller, better performance.  Only reason why Intel was popular way back was because less memory consumption due to CISC arch.  Today they are prominent for desktop performance and backwards compatibility, but this is threatened with the existence of WinRT, and the rate at which ARM processors are evolving. You don't want an Intel phone on WP yet.  Will require a lot of coding to OS, big potential for a mess in development.  Can't even target a single platform on time as it is....
  • Totally agree.
  • I agree. Techniclally, I believe Broxton shipped as x3, x5 and x7. But I think it's fair to say that MS is working closely with Intel to get the new gen Atom x7 processor mated up with Intel's latest and greatest LTE modem, the 7360, as a SoC solution. The Surface 3 has the x7 and 7360 built it, I believe, but they're not a single SoC. Instead, the modem is off chip / non integrated. Put them together like Intel has to be planning to do at some point, add a few performance and power tweaks and the new chip should be a winner.
  • It's 2015, ain't nobody paying $600+ for a plastic phone these days, why would they when they can pay the same price and get a premium phone built with premium materials and with a premium design? This is exactly why Windows Phones sales suck, and also exactly why the Surface phone is going to be all metal, because they're learning from their mistakes with plastic flagships. And the specs are antiquated, deal with it, QHD and AMOLED has been around for over a year. SD 808 is found in mid-range $400 phones. SD 810 can be found in $500 phones, that are also made with QHD, AMOLED, and premium materials. The 950 and 950XL were finally released on Nov 2015, the same month the SD 820 was released, making them obsolete on arrival! Why pay $600+ for a flagship phone with yesteryear's specs?
  • "And the specs are antiquated..." That really is just a stupid statement. The specs may not be cutting edge because they've been available for a while but they are still as good as it gets at the moment.  Can you show me the phones sporting an SD820?  I don't think you actually know what "antiquated" means.
  • Yes, polycarbonate has been proven beyond doubt to be superior to metal in every way...
  • The 1520 was beautiful, you really can't compare the two.
  • Higher quality plastic and aesthetics on the 1520.  You are physically composed of the same material as Rosie O'Donnell.  Just think about that.  Let it sink in... Ok, have you drawn any parallels??
  • Yes, the 1520, 1020, 920...they were all polycarbonate plastic. Yet those phones had that peculiar designs that just got attention. The rounded edges made plastic seem premium. And that's why no one complains about the design. Even my android and ios buddies just go wow at this design. Some even considered switching platforms just for the design. This design is the only thing microsoft compromised with the 950s.
  • Agreed, but with a focus on the screen. There's certainly no mistaking the 950's for the 640's; the former look and feel much better. But that flat screen is a serious step back from the beautiful sculpted displays of the Fabula designs!
  • And he's obviously fine with that.  Why do you have a problem with it being that you already have your Android phone?
  • Antequated specs? Sure some lower cost devices can match some parts of the 950 spec but seriously, what devices have newer chips nthan the 808 and 810? More than 3 GB ram? Higher resolution (and seriously, there comes a point when it really doesn't make much difference - i'd have been fine with the 950 being 1080p and onger battery life due to pushing less pixels).  Like i said, some of these specs are also on tother devices, and it does seem clear that the fingerprint readers beat iris scanning in terms of the compromise of security & convenience, and perhaps cameras in general are mostly good enough (though my guess is the 950 / 950XL is better performing in low light than the $400 devices you mentioned). Yes, lumia may be overpriced and certainly, given the market position a lower price could ahve helped that. Yes, a higher end design (even more like the 830 which has removable battery and micro SD might have helped things sell, but i get microsofts intent to spur some 3rd party covers too. But don't give me antequted specs - spec wise the lumia are up there with the best of them on the market today.
  • The SD 820 will be out very soon and it is supposed to be much better than the 810. Camera wise, it will be surprising if the Lumias can compete with MotoX or Nexus. They are rated higher than the iPhone, which it isn't clear if the Lumia 950 is any better. There really isn't anything remarkable about these devices. Not even HDMI out or keyboard support. That has been available on other platforms for years. Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • Absolutely you can't begin to knock the specs on the 950s. Cameras are outstanding for a start plus everything else you mentioned. And now the price is half what it was at launch (as is expected with all high end devices).
  • You want your flagship to be light weight..removable back cover..replaceable battery..dual SIM..micro SD support..Wireless charging..Lesser than other flagships .. Everything should be achieved with a metal finish phone .. Well done you have been invited for MS's R&D team!!
  • How's the wireless charging, removable battery and expandable storage going on the metal, unibody iphone 6?  Oh yeah...
  • But Apple does the same OS across all devices.....oh yeah
  • If Snapdragon 808 and 810 perform the same as Snapdragon 400, Microsoft can't do anything..
  • Yeah.. You should totally put those together and make a cheaper phone.
  • Antiquated specs... get a grip on yourself, dude. It's got the latest and greatest, no dispute about that. That the design is less than overwhelming is a different mattter.
  • And you still have lagdroid on that nexus plus all the scroogle tie ins, no thanks.
  • I just wish they had put the 950 internals into the 830 or 930 body. Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • Interesting. My son's 950 doesn't seem to have issues with Hello, unless you mean the fact that you have to hold the phone so close.
  • That's my biggest beef with Hello.  You have to hold it unnaturally close for it to read your iris.
  • I guess. However, in defense of retina biometric technology, it's actually not that bad. I've never known or read about any retina biometrics that did not require you to get very close to the scanner.
  • Retina differs from Iris. Iris biometrics can scan using infrared cameras which is now available on Lumia 950 and 950XL, while retina biometrics still nowhere found in any phones. Well, since it's a camera, if there's smudge in its lens, it will be harder to focus, thus will make Hello less effective.
  • Iris scanning using an infrared cameras is still biometric. The terminology is used for ANY technology that uses a person's individual physical features to identify them, ie, fingerprint, veins, facial, or retina. The only difference is the technology used. Update: I was reading this as I was walking and realized a misread what you were saying. You are correct about the differences between retina and Iris scanning.
  • Think of a movie, some fool always gets up close and personal to the scanner...
  • Actually, it doesn't have to be un naturally close. Once you do the improve iris detection a few times in different lighting it performs very well. Biggest trick.... Look at the red light, not just your screen. I've been able to unlock my 950 in a pitch black room with no problem.
  • I don't know if you are being sarcastic, joking or serious.  "I just can't see what any of the complaints are about..."  well let's see, you listed just a few in your own repsonse.  1. Hello doesn't work that well, 2. It's beta, 3. No colored backs, 4. App situation is STILL a disaster, 5. W10 STILL has a few bugs, 6 Spectacular hardware-- Man,the hardware is the same as my midrange 640.  with the exception of cameras.  I could've added a few more to the list but just wanted to go by your very own list.   
  • Few bugs to put it lightly.......
  • Hardware is same as 640..are you drunk??
  • 1: It works as advertised. Nice if you're wearing gloves.
    2: What, the phone...?
    3: You can get a red one in leather... Pretty sure they'll be popping up everywhere when people get their 3D printers firing...
    4: Would be the same no matter which phone they released.
    5: Same as 4.
    6: No. Just... No.
  • </