Photos of Microsoft's canceled 'Lumia 960' flagship leak

As we all know, Microsoft decided to retrench its mobile efforts at some point during the last two years. Because of this, several of Microsoft's planned phones were canceled internally, including the Lumia 750 and Lumia 850. Today, photos of what appears to be the successor to the Lumia 950 have leaked, revealing what Microsoft may have had planned for a "Lumia 960".

Windows Central understands that the codename for this device is Northstar, and was used internally as an engineering prototype for building Windows 10 Mobile. It features a metal design, and looks similar to a 950 on the front, with a few small differences such as front facing speakers. The leaked photos and info say the prototype included a Snapdragon 820 and a QHD screen.

While not officially referred to as the Lumia 960, it's not hard to imagine this is the kind of name Microsoft would have went with had they not decided to retrench their mobile efforts and cancel its Lumia line of devices. Now, we understand Microsoft is working on yet another new device, that'll likely be released under the Surface branding instead of Lumia.

We'll have more to share regarding the future of Windows phone soon, but in the meantime, what are your thoughts on the canceled Lumia 960? Let us know below.

Zac Bowden
Senior Editor

Zac Bowden is a Senior Editor at Windows Central. Bringing you exclusive coverage into the world of Windows 10 on PCs, tablets, phones, and more. Also an avid collector of rare Microsoft prototype devices! Keep in touch on Twitter: @zacbowden.

  • Very HTC in it's look, not bad.
  • And front facing speakers which HTC just threw away for some secret reason. J can't think of one person that complained about the BoomSound speakers.
  • Agreed, they were amazing.
  • Phone looks great and I would have bought one. Front speakers are the best, the rear speaker is the only thing I don't like about the 950.
  • Exactly what I thought.. HTC....
    But, the best part was "Now, we understand Microsoft is working on yet another new device, that'll likely be released under the Surface branding instead of Lumia."""
    Sounds like WC knows something, and has something to touch on soon.
    "We'll have more to share regarding the future of Windows phone soon"..............
    Just another hiatus, as I've mentioned before.. Windows on pocketable devices will never die. It's been MS's dream for over 20 years, and version, after version, has always came forward.. I don't understand why anyone would think it would die now. What's so significant about this (of several) hiatus?.. No, WP is ever evolving. There's not ever gonna be just one version (unless W10 will be the last).. Nevertheless, I never had any doubt that there wouldn't be more pocketable phone like devices running something "Windows" in the future.. Why would I?.... This time the wait is just longer. But, something is in the works. Don't really mind if someone disagrees with my opinion as long as they understand that I will still retain my opinion..... But, I will say this.. The haters that spew idiotic nonsense about WM/WP/WinMo being dead sure are quiet.
  • I'd rather see a leak on what may be coming up next than something that's now an after thought.  :)  If WC knows something then they should speculate on that.  Give me some hope there's something right around the corner.  Hopefully "soon" doesn't mean August.  :)
  • They said wait! Lol
  • Waiting is certainly a virtue one must have if they are a Windows Mobile fan.  Because we are continually waiting for something.  Lol! 
  • It would be nice if the wait was worth it, more than not😭😭😭
  • oh! just judging by the fact so many of us get excited by any news or non-news, we are truly thebest there is when it comes to waiting. For now though, I am planing to 'wait it out'
  • I am afraid 'soon' actually means later than august for sure. I hope (though not very hopeful to be honest) that at least the 'leaks' start flowing in by this year. I am currently waiting for HTC U11 to arrive in India and move away from windows phones for the foreceable future. I will return if, and only if, windows 10 S (an assumption that this is version that will run on surface phone) becomes popular and thereby windows store has some of the major apps currently missing from windows ecosystem
  • Maybe they are going to confirm the rumors about Microsoft creating a new OS and new hardware devices being tested internally which are a separate branch of Windows Mobile.  If that's the case, then I'm intrigued. 
  • Hopefully we get something.. And, today.
  • Without Android app support, I'm afraid that these will be DOA. MS needs to create their own Android app store, and have Android running within W10. The MS mobile ecosystem is just not there yet, too many apps missing. I just switched back to Android from W10M (Lumia 950 - >Galaxy S8) and having whatever app I want at my disposal would be tough to give up. Not to mention that Samsung decently supports W10, and their Sidesync app lets you wireless mirror your phone on your pc (surface), and the touch screen works, which is something that even MS hasn't accomplished on the same OS.
  • Was curious if it did work or not, have not really tried touch while in Continuum. If remoting to a machine with touch screen it does work, but if using dock to connect to a monitor I don't think it would even if external monitor would be touch (not sure about this last one though)
  • I mirrored my 950XL on my laptop via continuum, and on it the touch screen works - your information makes me think that it works due to my laptop/OS supporting touch and not the display itself. Interesting, I did not know that. I just assumed it would work everywhere. Thanks for that
  • I think they've leaked more phones than they have produced.
  • You would say the word "leak".🙄🙄🙄
  • Shame they didn't focus on a premium high quality niche, far better than no presence at all.
  • no way they could sell these without nokia on them..
  • gorg but horrible mobile OS wouldn't allow it do numbers. Mad ting, sad ting 😢
  • Horrible Mobile OS ??? ROTFL
  • Rather horrible store
  • horrible market availbility too, my old Lumia 625 broke, and there is no windows mobile device around on market, so I'm getting j1 Ace now :'(
  • Still alot brand new L650 on ebay and amazon At least in Europe.
  • Yea....cuz no-one wants them!!! I looked on ebay nearly all of them are these 'gently used' auctions that look like they couldn't return them so they are selling
  • Incorrect. HTC has a kickass windows phone out. Ams still in production as it was just released months ago.
  • What phone are you talking about?
  • He was in a comma for the past two years, and just woke up?🤔🤔🤔🤔
  • ❓❓❓❓❓❓❓❓
  • The U series from HTC runs Android
  • same thing happened, but I thought using a second hand for 1-2 years bcause didnt want to spend much. Found a Lumia 930 luckily and that too the special edition( the one with golden rim)
  • Why is that one the special edition?
  • win10m indeed is horrible. And let me stress on "HORRIBLE". w8m and 8.1m were stable, i could do anything anytime and would be dead sure it wont hang. L1520 never crashed on me on 8.1, did on 10, my 950xl crashes constantly after constant refreshes, 550, 640xl and 650 all have the same fate.
    So to sum it up, win10m SUCKS.
  • I use 8.1 currently and it ain't perfect, man. I have to reboot occasionally due to software defects.
  • Indeed, Windows 10 Mobile at its release felt beta, or release preview at best.  However, in the intervening period, I'd say it would be intellectually dishonest to continue w/ the harsh critique, as they've pretty well squashed the bugs.  I have a couple of Windows 10 Mobile devices.  My primary phone (my daily driver if you will) only gets release builds; and those are solid.  I have no troubles w/ them on my Lumia 950XL.  It's smooth... good battery life... and I rarely reboot the device. My other two W10 mobile phones running release previews will run into trouble, requiring reboots or hard resets.  But, that sort of thing is to be expected if you participate in the insider preview program, especially the fast ring, as I do with these other two devices. So, not sure if you are an insider, running betas and release candidates; or if you are jamming Windows 10 Mobile down on low end devices, and running into problems w/ insufficient memory or CPU through put.  But for me, Windows 10 Mobile, running on hardware designed for this OS, runs consistently well.
  • 950xl is on production, and so is 640xl, 550 and 650! All and literally ALL have problems! the only phone on insider is 1520 which has its registry edited pretend to be 950xl to get newer insider builds so im not counting its shortcomings. But 4 of my other lumias in production including the 950xl shouldnt behave this bad
  • In my experience, the original release of Windows 10 for mobile was a step down from Windows 8.1, but by the Anniversary Update it was better in most ways (still not as good in a few). With the Creators Update, I think Windows 10 on phone is far better than 8.1. Note on some older devices, in order to get to the Creators Update and the current updates, I believe you have to put them in the Insiders Program at least temporarily. This was the case for my Lumia Icon.
  • If the phone randomly crashes when the battery is below 50% I would change the battery. Mine went from 5 to 10 crashes a day to 0 after I replaced the battery a couple of weeks ago and without resetting the phone. Crashes never occurred while charging it and this is why I decided to replace the battery. Otherwise i would suggest hard reset. First attempt with a restore from your backup but if the issues remains do it without restoring the backup. Mine is rock solid stable
  • You are spot on - the battery is the cause of many probs with the 950 line...just change it. Great device.
  • I dunno where you are coming from but I m on Slow Insider ring and I have never had any problem with my Lumia 735 and 830. I did brick my Lumia 735 once coz I tried fast ring. Never again.
  • Idol 4s has a lot of problems too
  • I couldn't agree more. And Win 10 on my Lumia 735 and 830 looks drop dead gorgeous with my favourite green accent colour
  • must be your 950xl works incredibly well...
  • As a 950xl owner, all you say is true, disappointing after so long with these known issues. W8.1 never missed a beat for me
  • i agree. WIN10 sucks as a whole. It's the same story on the Surface too. You don't know next time when I turn it on, the display will come on or no. #SMH
  • Thats not my experience at all. I have a Surface Pro 4, An i3 all in one PC and a new I7 7th gen based PC all running W10, two have the pro version and they are rock solid. I would suspect a hardware or a driver issue if your surface keeps switching on with a blank screen.
  • Your experience, my 950 is rock solid, even on Fast Ring
  • I don't even see what it matters when we know a new pocketable Windows is coming.. Full W10.
  • You suck...:)
  • Oh yes, in the olden days things were so much better, we didn't have death and the big bad internet...
  • Don't have such problem on my 950xl, runs smoothly since I bought it last summer. Sometime Edge takes a lot of battery, but that's about it.
  • Agreed.  Was trying to share some flower pics with my wife so she could help select.  Between problems with pics taken not showing up in photos to share, and sharing from photos not working more than half the time, I had to reboot the phone 3 times in half an hour just to share the necessary photos.  That doesn't include the time it crashed on its own.  That isn't usability, it's frustration.  This is on fast ring, but these problems have been present for at least 6 months and I have reported them many times.  So yeah, w10m sucks.  Badly.  WP7, 8, and 8.1 were all dramatically better quality.  It seems like Microsoft's greatest skill these days is making something worse with each iteration.
  • We have both 950 and xl as daily driver, I can say it is the most unstable O/S MS ever put on market.  And I am old enough to use them all.
  • Until switching carriers I had two 950s, an unlocked 950, and a 950XL. Every time one of them acted up in the past 9 months it turned out to be a hardware fault. Seems Microsoft used crappy batteries because most of the time that was the problem. All were on Fast Ring and all were more consistent and stable in performance than my four new S8+. My iPhone 6 is stable but is horribly slow even after removing apps. As for the worst of Microsoft I would have to say that went to Windows Mobile 5.0.
  • don't complain about stability if you're on fast ring, by definition you are a beta tester, if not alpha tester on fast ring. I stay on release and have no stability issue, 950xl.
  • Are you laughing becuase it's true?  W10M is wretchedly bad.
  • Whtevr you say it is beautifully working on Lumia 640 build on issues.evrything running fine.
  • Wait, what? I've got a Lumia 640, also on 15215 and it's been awful for about a year. Usually works great after a reboot, but then with a few hours use (browsing, or using apps), downhill fast. Almost no app can be used reliably. Edge pages reload constantly, making web browsing a constant issue. Tabs often can't be closed (black tiles), and frequently lose all tab history. Browser History doesn't work, and often only works after a Hard Reset or OS Update, before corrupting itself again shortly thereafter (ongoing since W10M launch). Camera often crashes upon open or after taking a photo (hit and miss whether photo is saved). Other apps that worked a few hours earlier won't open (until after a reboot). Have recently been finding my Wifi often is disconnected and "can't connect right now", even though my router is up and running, no other device has an issue, and there is no IP address conflict or any other obvious reason why it suddenly stopped working (have to reboot phone). For months now, haven't been able to submit any event Capture in Feedback Hub when any issue is present because "something went wrong". Often can't use any Share option (they become unresponsive). Occasionally can't even get Start Screen to come up (after closing all other open apps) - it just gets stuck on "Resuming..." or "Loading...". Have to hold PWR and VOL- for 8 secs to reboot. My Lumia 640 has a 64GB SD card installed with the defaults for app storage location and file/media storage locations set to SD card. Plenty of room left on it. Have 6.31GB/7.28GB internal ("This Device") free. Out of curiosity, how much internal do you have used/free?
  • If you think that's true, you haven't used a different OS. Nothing is "beautifully working" on W10M.
  • Yea its pretty ****. No amount of smug denial is going to change that. :)
  • The OS is not the problem, is the poor third party app support which is orders of magnitude less than Android or iOS why I would have passed on this beautiful phone
  • Exactly. Especially after the Creators Update,,, the phone is fine.. The app selection is ZERO. That's the problem.
  • I think I'm happier with Anniversary than Creators.  Creators standby is really awesome though and phone is pretty snappy however, power hungry when in use... Also having bluetooth issues where I need to tun off bluetooh and back on again to clear up.
  • I think we all can agree they're both better than V1.. 😂😂😂
  • hoo boy, I lived though that!  One of the first in Canada to have it... wanted to show it off at a company xmas party and by that time, I really had nothing to say. :) I'm glad I did go through it though, in hindsight, it's honestly been fun going through the windows 10 journey with Microsoft and has been a pretty interesting ride seeing how they are building it.  I guess I'm lucky that nothing ever prevented me from doing work while going through it.
  • Because the Facebook app is pretty much junk, I use it via Edge. Starting with Creators update, using a React-based website slows the phone to a crawl, locking the UI, making the phone hot until the battery is drained until it's down to 30%.
  • ZERO? Exaggerate much????
  • Of course it's an exaggeration 🙄🙄🙄🙄
  • Actually, I don't know about that.  It's not too much of an exaggeration.  Setting aside games for a moment, is there a single third party app that's up to par on Windows 10?  I mean there even one? I haven't found it.
  • no, to me app isn't a problem, OS is not stable enough
  • So I see a trend with Win10 Mobile here - inconsistent experience. Some say excellent, others say horrible. Mine was definitely the latter. 8.1 experience was more consistent for supported hardware, which by the way, spread across many more devices.
  • Yep,  when I used it on my 1020 it was fast, fluid and awesome,  some 1020 users said otherwise and caused MS to cancel it being upgraded.  Then on my first 950xl  it was ....OK.   By that time I was using android and iphone again  and the app situation killed any chance of me using a windows mobile device as my daily driver.  I do have another 950xl coming for 3d builder useage in my custom shop.  The only use it will do.   I will never (unless app situation reverses) use a windows mobile device as my daily driver. 
  • That "horrible mobile OS" suits me just fine and I prefer it over the others
  • What planet are you on? No, I'm serious...planet X, Nibiru? One of Pluto's moons? BEST ******* OS!!!!! What are you even doing here if you think that? Troll much?
  • @Azeez Abubankre: It is not so much a horrible OS as a poorly supported one.  Poor marketing and Developers not wanting to support it.  That is my opinion after using iOS, Android and Windows Mobile.  I find the Windows Mobile, on the equivelent hardware spec, to be more responsive than even iOS, much more stable than Android (Talking, Google/Nexus Android, not tweaked) and in my opinion much prettier. The issue with Windows Mobile always will come down to three things.  Late to the market in its current form.  Apple and Android had already gained significant traction.  Poor Marketing by Microsoft.  The killer though is really Microsofts lack of stamina.  MS were late to the market.  They had a beautiful product, but because two other OS's were already gaining significant numbers they had big catchups to do.  If they had kept the same App platform, like Android has done mostly, so Apps from WP7 worked on W10M, then they might of had a winner as Developers would not have been burnt with apps are not compatible. Lots of if's.  Can we hope MS will learn and let Windows 10 have a few years to establish, or make W10 on Arm compatible with the current mobile app store?   Only time will tell
  • Wow ! That would have been very hard to resist. I have always loved the HTC design language...
  • bro how come my pic is on ur profile? lol
  • What a pity... They could have released it to satisfy their fans, by the time a Surface ultramobile pc is ready ☹
  • From a business standpoint that would've been a horrible decision... From my standpoint that would've been great.
  • I was thinking the same thing, it's sad they didn't do one more iteration of the Lumia line while we wait for the"Surface phone".
  • They should have continued the partnership with HP and have them release this prototype as a consumer version of the Elite X3. Since the Idol 4S remained an exclusive and never released in Europe as well, this could have kept the interest of windows on mobile alive
  • A lot of info and rumors regarding Windows on Mobile lately. Where there's smoke there's fire? Looked like a worthy successor the Lumia 950/XL.