Should a Surface phone be called the Surface "Phone"?

7 essential apps if you own a Surface Pen
7 essential apps if you own a Surface Pen

Microsoft recently announced that they have no plans on getting back into the mobile hardware business anytime soon, as it's just not logical or viable with the likes of Android and iOS being so far ahead. Instead, the company is waiting on some kind of "paradigm shift" in the mobile market that would enable them to compete again, but until that happens it is super unlikely we'll be getting any new "Windows 10 Mobile" hardware.

That doesn't mean Microsoft isn't working on something, however. We've known for several months now that Panos Panay and his team are working on some kind of Surface "Phone" which will basically be a much smaller Surface running Windows 10 Mobile that can make phone calls. With that in mind, we already know that unless a paradigm shift does happen, releasing a Surface "Phone" would make no logical sense, as it'd just fall face first right out of the gate as the mobile market simply won't accept Windows 10 Mobile.

That's right now, but with this "paradigm shift", Microsoft is betting that people will start accepting Windows on their smartphones, but how, exactly? Well, it definitely isn't going to happen the way things are currently going; with iOS and Android towering way above Windows 10 Mobile, this is a fight Microsoft simply can't win. What it can do however, is attempt to change the way we think about smartphones, forever.

In the 1970s, 80s and 90s, smartphones weren't really a thing. We simply had "mobile phones", which were kind of like the landline phones you had at home, except they weren't tethered to the wall by a wire. These mobile phones came in all shapes and sizes, and varied in features over time. At first, they were pretty basic, only being able to make phone calls, which funnily enough is why we called them mobile "phones".

At some point, over several years, these phones gained more and more features, and eventually we stopped calling them mobile phones and started calling them "smartphones". Many phone manufacturers tried building smartphones, but it wasn't until Apple unveiled the iPhone that consumers finally took notice of the concept and what a "smartphone" could actually be.

The first iPhone in 2007 paved and shaped the way we think and use smartphones today. All smartphones are pretty similar in design, and that's all thanks to Apple. But at the time, our mobile phones were still primarily phones, which is why the term "smartphone" made sense.

But, and let's be honest with ourselves here, most of us aren't buying smartphones for the 'phone' bit anymore. We haven't been for years. Most of us don't actually buy smartphones because they can make phone calls — no, we're buying them for the apps, the mobile internet access, the streaming music and videos, the messaging and email, and perhaps for the ability to get a little bit of work done here and there.

Of course, we still use the phone part sometimes, I'm not saying we don't, but a lot of us definitely don't buy smartphones because they're a phone first and foremost anymore.

If you think about it, that's basically a PC in all matters of the word. Sure, it's not a desktop PC, and smartphones definitely aren't as powerful as full PCs, but that doesn't really matter if these smartphones can do what we expect them to do. We've set for ourselves expectations of what each kind of PC can do, a smartphone, a desktop, a laptop, and a tablet — they're all designed for different things.

Now I'm not saying Microsoft should remove the phone functionality from whatever kind of Surface phone they plan to announce, what I am saying is perhaps we shouldn't exactly be expecting another Windows phone from Microsoft. Instead, we should be expecting something that breaks boundaries and changes the way we think about a certain product, just like how the Surface Pro did with tablets, the Surface Book did with laptops, and the Surface Studio did with PCs.

Of course, we don't know exactly what Microsoft has planned for a Surface phone, but part of the reason we don't already have a Surface phone is because the software, Windows 10 Mobile, isn't ready yet. The Surface team has big plans for a Surface phone, but until Windows 10 Mobile is up to scratch and worthy of being part of the Surface phone story, we have to wait.

Many have been expecting Redstone 2 (The Creators Update) to focus heavily on Windows 10 Mobile features, but that's not how Windows 10 development works anymore. There's no single big bang release with new features, instead this focus is spread out across the next 2-3 years, with each Redstone release bringing more features and changes to Windows 10 and Windows 10 Mobile.

We know Redstone 2 will focus on Continuum improvements for Windows 10 Mobile, bringing the experience up to par with what you'd expect from an actual desktop, and that's likely the first step toward the ultimate vision Microsoft has for a Surface phone. A phone that can be everything, redefining what we expect from your typical smartphone.

I expect more Windows 10 Mobile features and improvement will show up in Redstone 3, scheduled for a late-summer launch, and Redstone 4, currently targeted for launch sometime in 2018. I'd be surprised to see a Surface Phone show up before Redstone 4, as Windows 10 Mobile as it currently stands, is not good enough to ship on what Microsoft has envisioned for the Surface phone.

Things like the Windows Ink Workspace, more Continuum improvements, bringing the operating system up to par with iOS and Android, are all major things that Windows 10 Mobile needs before Microsoft can even think about releasing a Surface phone. And take note, all of these features aren't exactly to do with the phone, they're to do with being productive, creating new experiences and changing the way we think of smartphones.

Perhaps the Surface phone should be called the Surface Note, emphasising Windows Ink, or Surface Go, being a small Surface you can fit in your pocket without losing any of the productivity you'd gain from a laptop or desktop. I'm not saying the Surface phone will be able to replace your dedicated desktop machine, but I am saying we shouldn't be expecting Microsoft to release a simple Surface phone, we should expect them to innovate and change the way we think about smartphones.

Zac Bowden
Senior Editor

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

328 Comments
  • No. For all that holy in the world, no, do not call it a Surface Phone. I am totally for a "hero" device that fits the ultra mobile computing device but I really think the "phone" name implies an effort to compete with iOS and Android that everyone knows MS won't (can't) do.
  • Personally, I couldn't care what they call it. I'd be more interested in the features. Pointless calling it an awesome name but it's the same as every other windows phone with maybe a higher spec here or there
  • I agree makes no difference what they call it. It's a stupid question what Zac is asking . It's up to Microsoft to name their product
  • Have you never read an article on a website before today?
  • Lol
  • You and I may not care, but I sure there are some people out there that because it isn't branded a phone, won't look at it the same way as other devices in the market. I would like to believe I don't fall for marketing gimmicks, but they still work in even the best of us. Even if you see past the obvious ploys to buy their products, it still goes into the subconscious.
  • In the market each single letter of the name of a product matter. Marketing is the soul of the business, and doing it the wrong way may bring you lots of bad news
  • And they must bring back the features they are busy removing!!! Its about the OS not the hardware, As for the apps gap, it depends on where you are on the map (world).
  • They absolutely should call it the Surface Phone... after they realize the "paradigm shift" needs to happen within Microsoft internally. They've been uncaring and unaggressive in their push... which is a much bigger killer than any purported app gap. Apple's been down and in the dumps... and still managed to generate consumer confidence with spin doctor tactics such as talking about cumulative sales. When Microsoft figures out they're the only ones to blame for their status in the mobile market, they're gonna want to piggyback off a name that's established and trusted: Surface.
  • Agreed.  I feel they've somehow manage to tie their own hand behind their back.  It's stupid little lack of features that is a bigger killer than app gap.  How are they supposed to get ahead, when they can't even keep up?  Any innovation they have, they make available on all platforms, and cut off the hand they didn't tie behind their own back.  They need to allow other keyboards (or at least offer Swiftkey, especially since they own it now!), they should have left Cortana as WM only, they should have allowed LEDs long before the X3 got it, allow repeating and custom notifications.... The list goes on. And on. And on.  They should focus on differentiating themselves, once they're on par with Android/Apple.  Right now they're 5 yrs behind.  And it's all "stupid" little things that they could add in one update.  Everything I just listed should be easy for them to integrate, compared to trying to push Continuum, etc.  THEN they would have a good starting point.  Some people wouldn't get past the Tile UI, but at least they would have feature parity with A/A 
  • What is 5yrs behind? Other than certain apps not being available in the store, I'd like to know what features from IOS your missing on W10 Mobile.
  • A blinking LED changes lives apparently. Though I do agree to some extent, a lot of the "features" missing are actually just very basic things you see on a million other phones, though I do question the whole 5 years behind number.
  • See my nasellok reply below
  • iPhone 8 is rumored to have wireless charging. Wow! That is exactly 5 years behind. Continuum? Try iPhone 13. :-)
  • Also iPhone have yet to enable NFC for anything besides Tap-To-Pay whereas on Windows and Android you can use it for file sharing, connect to gadgets, etc.
  • Android has it.  And they are ahead of Apple. Soooo, there's that.  And I don't use Apple, just including them because, well, they're still blowing MS out the water.
  • What a bang on the nose... I love u...
  • nasellok, first, I won't touch crApple products, and there are NONE in my household.  And I started using Android about 5 yrs ago, because WM starting going backward.  They had custom reminder settings for the calendar, and took them away.  My first Android phone had this, AND the magical blinking LED.  Don't like your keyboard?  Download a different one.  Don't like your messaging app?  Download a new one that has repeating reminders... 5 yrs behind.  If WM wasn't at 1% you could say I'm being nebby (does anyone use that term outside of W. Pa?), but it is, so guess what?  These little details matter to the average consumer.  I want W10M to succeed, I really do.  But if MS doesn't get their head out of their rearends, it's either going to die off, or languish at 1% until judgement day
  • Surface pad?
  • gross...
  • Surface Scribe✔
    Surface Multi
    Surface Trio
    Surface Ultra "Ultra Portable, Ultra Powerful"
    Surface Pro M
    Surface Solo "The only device you need"
    Surface Jot.. More original take on "note"
    Surface Life "Life Device" "Device for life"
    Surface 321
    Surface M³ "Mobile to the third power"
    Surface MPC "Mobile PC"
    Surface ???????
  • Just "Surface". Nothing more. It encompasses all that needs to be said. It places the new device squarely at the center of Microsoft's device efforts - every other device now is a companion to the actual Surface (the Pro, the Book, the Studio, ...). A lot has been said about Continuum and note taking being hallmark features of such a devices. And while I believe that to be true, I also believe that it will have a Mixed Reality component of some sorts. Maybe it will have a depth sensor on the back to allow its user to see the same "holograms" that a Hololens user would see on the screen instead of through the glasses.
  • IDK.. I think that may cause some confusion... It needs to have a description. It needs a designation to differentiate it from the other Surface devices.... That could work for enthusiast, but the average consumer might question which Surface product it is.
  • That'll be confusing for people, man.
  • Surface devices and their naming have always been simple and relative. I hope they give it a good one whenever that's coming.
  • They will... I was never a fan of the Lumia name.. Especially for the US. That name just doesn't resonate here. I always hoped they would use something more cool. Lumia sounds like some old Mexican ladies name. Lol.
    Clueless
  • I like the Life one :)
  • Surface One.
  • I think since they dropped the non pro surface line that the phone will be called a surface which kinda equates with just calling apples phones iPhones. You have a surface, iPhone, and Android. The tablets will be surface pro's and the AIO's will be surface studios. Surface for enterprise/the little small consumer base that will buy it because the don't like Android or Apple, surface pro for "power users" which doesn't mean u can't have then as a consumer device because that's all my SP4 is used for. Use the work PC for all that. And then the surface studio for "creative users" and desktop lovers and enthusiasts. And finish it off with the surface book for "productivity users" who still like the idea of an actual laptop.
  • That's what I have been thinking too :)
  • It should be called the Surface AIO  (all in one) since it would actually be an all in one device.  Oh and it should have a surface like kickstand.
  • no for the kickstand :D
  • But this in itself (taking that much for the Surface Note / Go / Phone to materialize) is a disaster. There will be no Windows Store left, no useful apps, no users, nothing. In its current state, the Windows Store is losing more important apps by the days, ones that will probably never come back. Windows Mobile is losing users faster than ever! Imagine how bad this will be in 2 years time. It's either Microsoft speeds up the developmentor it's better to scrap the project all together starting today!
  • According to this piece, Windows Mobile, Windows CE, Windows 6.1-6.7 never happened. Hmmmm...
  • Or Blackberry.... But, I get the point he was trying to make.. And, he did say that others tried to make smartphone's.... The only thing I disagree with is that he implies that others tried, but weren't successful, which is not true.
  • Good point. It should be called the Surface Communicator.
  • "eeehhhhh".. Try again. Lol
  • I think it should be called something along the lines of the 'Surface Communicator' as that is more apt to it's use, multi purpose communication via various messaging and email clients, web sites, UWP and voice all brought together on continuum. Yes it may sound a bit Trecky :)
  • Absolutely they should.
    Surface is respected as a quality brand and what a way to market this new device side by side with all the other quality Surface products.
    Crazy if the don't, especially for the corporate world.
  • Surface Palm
  • https://imgflip.com/s/meme/Captain-Picard-Facepalm.jpg
  • This should be the real Surface Mini
  • This. Give me a 7-8" tablet with cellular, I am in.
  • Yeah, because majority of people want 7-8" phones. /s
  • Some people do like large screens.
  • I can't imagine too many people wanting anything larger than 5.7. Remember, people complained about how big the 6 inch screen was on the Lumia 1520. I'm a pretty big and tall guy, with pretty big hands. I had the 1520 for a few years and loved it, until I needed to replace it. I have a 950 XL and I'm loving this phone's size. I think the 5.7...MAYBE 5.8 is a sweet spot for large screen phones.
    Having owned the Lumia 950 XL for the last few weeks, I can say that the 5.7 in. screen is a pretty good size. It is a compromise between size a being practical.
  • Remember the size and popularity of the Galaxy Note. Before they became smaller and began to explode.
  • Lol...
  • Nice rhyme there actually. ... Began to explode. Haha.
  • 8" isn't large. It is obscene. I like my 950XL, but anything larger than the 1520 is a tablet and not a phone. A tablet with LTE capabilities is nice, but a phone shouldn't be that size. MS needs to appeal to the majority of users before they can address a niche market.
  • Why do we have this idea that there can't be multiple sizes, and form factors, that MS is working on for mobile?? Doesn't that make more sense?
    ......
    Why argue about what size they should make it?.... Shouldn't we be asking for a variety of mobile devices to please everyone? Why not 5.7", 6.2" and 6.7" versions? Those are staggered .5" apart. Makes sense to me.
  • so you basicly want a tablet not a phone :P
  • Yes! :)
  • Why not both? Why not devices in the 5, 6, and 7" range? A family of mobile devices is MS's best bet at reaching more consumers. Don't you agree?
  • I don't see that as likely, still need to be able to carry it around in a pocket. IMO a 6" device (such as the Elite X3) is as big as you'd want it. Any bigger and you won't be able to fit it into a pocket.
  • That has been my vision. I believe that Panos will bring what he valued as Mini attributes (inking etc) to this new device, including the other attributes' MS is working on.
  • Why does no "phone" include a chargeable headset as part of the device? As long as the default way of talking is holding the thing up to your head, it's going to be viewed as a phone first. Size also matters a lot less if you don't ever plan to hold it to your head. Some people will want something that fits in a pocket (including me), so that may still require a 5" - 5.5" model, but for people who put it in a purse or just carry it around, a mini tablet would be perfect. Of course, the Surface doesn't even have a good place to store its pen/stylus, and you have to change the batteries when they run out (its only major design flaw, in my opinion) so it doesn't bode well for an embedded rechargeable headset. But if Surface does come out with an embedded stereo rechargeable Bluetooth headset, making it a mini tablet/computer first, that also happens to support directly talking on the phone and Skype, it wouldn't really need a physical earphone jack, finally doing to Apple what Apple has done to MS many times over the years -- follow with a very similar feature, but do it right and get positive reviews for the same thing that was panned on the original. :-)
  • I've thought about that.
  • Like, take out your Mobile or Pad from your Pocket to take a Note or Scribble or Doodle with Ink gotta have a contemplative and subtle name to it!
  • Jason... I think we're being short sighted here.. I find it funny that people debate on what size is should be when we should be asking for a variety of smaller Surface mobile products so that MS has a better chance at reaching more consumers. This device could range from 5.7", 6.2", 6.7", and 7.2" models.. Wouldn't you rather see MS introduce a family of mobile devices, rather than put their eggs in one basket? I would, and that's what I'm hoping for.
  • Surface Note sounds logical. 
  • Other than the fact that it would just be a copy of the Galaxy Note's name.
  • Surface Ink maybe? I feel like Surface Note could cause problems with flashbacks to the Galaxy NOTE.
  • Yup. With all these NOTES exploding, that's a BAD name now.
    .
    Surface Ink sounds wonderful!! And Surface Go ain't bad too.
  • I like the suggestion above of a Surface Pad. Kind of like a notepad you carry around in your pocket. In my opinion, it sticks with the creativity motif
  • ipad already ruined that name.
  • No, star trek ruined that name. Surface PADD...
  • I like that.. "Surface Ink".. Cool!
  • "surface combo" is the best name.. Ftw
  • I didn't understand the Surface Note suggestion from the article. How would the term "note" differentiate this product an any way? Other than evoking the Galaxy Note product line, the word "note" has no significance to me in the realm of techology gadgets.
  • Surface mini would be better, highlighting that it can be used for mobile As well.
  • I think we all agree that we want a "SURFACE SOMETHING" And, we want it sooner, than later.. Lol.
  • Surface Mobile please - as in mobile PC.
  • Yes Surface Mobile seems to be the right choice. Maybe the Surface team will surprise us. So far they managed everything well, even the name of the device.
  • I prefer Surface AIO or Surface Mini since the Surface Pro 4 is also small light and mobile.
  • Yes, Just keep it simple. My vote is for Surface Mobile, or Surface GO if not mobile.
  • My thoughts exactly.
  • Boring though....
  • I was thinking the same..."Surface Mobile". Possibly just "Surface" as well. Honestly, it's the smartphone I've wanted since the 1st Surface came out. I totally expected it to come out the very next year. Someone commented "No" to the kickstand, but I say absolutely yes to a kickstand. Too many times I've tried to prop up my phone to share a video, take a picture, or watch a game, and nothing works as well as the kickstand. I know people love cases and you can get cases for your devices that will work like a kickstand. But I don't do cases...I love the sleek form-factor that a case-less smartphone offers. If I want any type of scratch protection, I use a tempered glass cover for the screen, that's it. Anyway, Surface Mobile would be great and I'd buy it yesterday. However, the simplicity of the name Surface seems to be the best.
  • True statement. Surface breeds quality and holds a high regard.
  • So are they just waiting for this paradigm shift to happen or are they trying to introduce it themselves?
  • They have been doing the paradigm shifts themselves before, but the phone market is harder to shift since there is a monopolist controlling the market.
  • I'll still be surprised if there's no form of phone hardware from MS directly in late 2017. I think they need to release some sort of phone if they want people to carry on using W10M at all. Saying that, the Alcatel phone is nice and if there's a new version in late 2017 I'd consider upgrading to it from my 950. That and the Elite X3 are probably the only two I like enough to consider now that Lumia is gone. The Jade Primo is great value at £200 but not the most attractive.
  • I'm not actually bothered if it's Surface branded or not to be honest. There just needs to be either a MS Phone or an OEM phone with all the features that the 950 has. They'll find it harder to change how people think about mobiles if they can't control the hardware and innovate in that area. It's as much hardware dependant as it is software dependant. They would need a very close partner if they aren't doing this themselves. Windows 10 Mobile will be a fantastic OS with the Continuum changes coming. I've always thought its better than PC SKU of Windows on smaller tablets and if you can go all in on UWP apps you'd have a pretty awesome experience on the next generation of hardware (the existing phones run continuum okay, but performance could be better across the board and that may not all come from software improvements - they have a focus on new features in continuum more so than refining the performance from what I've seen)
  • I own the x3 and even though its a very nice phone, the upgrade in comparison to my 1520 is not that big. Especially not considering the price. I lost all Lumia apps and considering the 950 xl is half the price of the x3 I would recommend getting that. Biggest plus on the x3 is the finger scanner and the fact that it is waterproof. But I don't know if that is worth an extra 350 euro.
  • Imo, msft could've just continued on with Lumia line, mainly with a handful of budget category devices until they launch a Surface phone or mobile.
  • microsoft is playing smart by temporarily withdrawing from the hardware business to focus more on software and preparing for a final showdown when we finally see surface poki  with super windows 10 mobile and this is going to take time 2018->   Poki-> pocket ( surface pocket)
  • Poki makes me think of Pocky, tough "surface pocket" does conjure up good memories of the pocket PC.
  • Surface Pocket
  • My first thought too, but now thinking about it maybe Pocket Surface would be more likely
  • Completely agree
  • John 117?
  • Agreed
  • Yes, yes it should be
  • I too agree with Surface Mobile.
  • Nice article. W10M is so buggy for me even on GA that due the first time in several years I'm considering android
    yuck can't believe I just said that. Word flow had been terrible for a while now causing most of my pain other than Bluetooth and Cortana connection issues.
  • Ios is the only option to Windows imho.
  • Ah, it's not just me having issues with word flow then. It used to be so accurate on WP8. Now it gets every other word wrong.
  • Word flow is horrible now. Was so good Oh 8.1.
  • Totally agree
  • It was awesome in 8.1. I thought they picked up SwiftKey? Should have replaced the newer Word Flow by now...
  • They did buy swiftkey but I'm starting to wonder if they're even planning to integrate it into Windows 10 at all.
  • Surface Phone, mobile, communicator, pocket warmer, palm thingy, talk box or whatever name it will be given..... I realy only care it will kick butt functional-wise.
    ​I didn't care much about the Lumia name either, but I love my Lumia 930... it's the device that needs to be awesome, not just the name.  
  • The name is obviously important for marketing purposes.
  • Surface team have always been straightforward with their device names that strikes its pure function. I'd like it to be Microsoft Surface Mobile since it'd sport W10M. Lumia have got so popular that those who aren't familiar with Windows 10 Mobile / Windows phone OS, would simply call it Lumia. Btw, I'm rocking an L930 myself.
  • Agree, the Lumia name was weird. They could've done better.
  • I'm glad to see you aren't predicting this for a while. About an hour ago I placed an order for an HP Elite x3, and if this came out within 6 months I would inevitably be jealous. I like Surface Go but Note and some of the other suggestions in comments here are good, too. Agreed that Surface Phone would be counterproductive. Trying to market as a competitor to iOS/Android would fail, but if it's a mobile business machine (like the Elite x3's marketing), that gives it a nice niche market to work with.
  • Surface Note for the win! On a side note (no pun intended), my Nseries devices disagree with the presented history of the iPhone defining what a smartphone is. The iPhone only made the mostly all screen capacitive touch screen form factor popular but my Nseries devices had more smartphone functions than any iPhone for years. The reason I didn't buy an iPhone until the iPhone 4 is because I refuse to buy a phone that was less smart than the ones that I already had. When the iPhone launched, without Copy and Paste and many other smartphone features that Symbian and Blackberry smartphone users used and loved, the iPhone felt like going back to feature phone or dumb phone, just with an extremely nice touch screen. The iPhone was extremely limited, barely passable as a smartphone along side the likes of the Nokia N95 8GB and Nokia N82 but it happend the come with a nearly perfect shift in user interaction from buttons and resistive touch screens to the switch to capacitive screens with multitiouch and a consumer pleasing, easy to use touch centric user interface. I give Apple Credit where credit is due but the original iPhone and many verisions of iOS before iOS caught up to smartphone feautures that had been available for years. TL;DR: The iPhone changed the standard look of smartphones but iOS/iPhone didn't advance the capabilities of smartphones as there were existing smartphone OSes that were a lot "smarter" at the time.
  • Yes, the iPhone was not the first smartphone, and most of the features it had weren't new. But it defined the smartphone market because of the way it was marketed. Nseries and blackberry phones were seen as corporate work devices, not consumer-focused. The iPhone made normal people want to get a smartphone and that turned the tides for the market.
  • The should called it the Surface Courier: Combine their old concept of a small device https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pFQWc79TYcU Plus this https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MKG7XRsG9KQ
  • THIS! I like this.
  • Or just "Microsoft Courier" or "Courier".
  • Yeah, I'm with this.  Smartphone, with a flexible OLED smart cover.
  • "Surface Gateway" First is that gateways are our access paths to a networks, roads, experiences, etc.  Second is that it pays some homage to Bill Gates.  Heck, have him at the reveal.
  • Windows 10 Mobile, isn't ready yet.
    Windows 10 Mobile IS ready. It's a perfectly working and capable modern mobile OS. It's not a beta, it's not even buggy as it was upon release. It's a different thing saying it "isn't ready yet" to imply that it's not attractive to the majority of mobile users or can't grow a target audience in the current mobile landscape of OS and devices. If the writer is trying to say that W10M doesn't have the WOW factor of it's supposed potential beyond what it is now, it's not something you can blame on a current product.
  • This. I recently switched to Android (due to lack of crucial app support on W10M) and am surprised by how W10M actually catch up with Android in terms of basic functionality, and even surpasses some of them, like integration with Office apps and Cortana vs Google Now (which doesn't work in my country; Cortana does work although it's not officially supported).
  • Have to disagree with you. It's still less stabel than WP8.1 was, apps crash quite often. Battery life is worse, and if I turn of my led flash in the camera app, it's disabled for every other app. I have to reboot the phone (1520) before I can turn the flash back on via the camera app.
    To me it feels like W10m is still very much in beta.
  • To be fair even android phones need the occasional reboot to solve an issue.
  • I think he means it's not ready to differentiate itself from the others through actually useful continuum functionality.
  • I don't know what the device should be called, but I do have an idea of what I would want the device to look like. After watching last night's episode of Westworld, I find myself wanting/needing one of those devices all the people on the show use. It's some sort of foldable tablet that can fold into being used as a phone. It's such a great concept as visualized on the show, and I'd be willing to wait another year or two to get something like that.
  • I'm not a fan of this strategy. I really think they should keep releasing revisions on the 950s once a year. I like the camera and w10 bit would only bit an Ms device ( maybe Samsung of they were to release something)! If there's nothing by the end of 2017 I'm out. Been hanging around for too long!
  • I agree, they should release a phone each year even if it's not a groundbreaking device like the fabled Surface Phone. Here in my country it's getting increasingly difficult to find them. And to be honest I still don't know what the expectations people have for this phone. In the best case scenario, we fans will love it and buy it, it might get more people to buy it, but it's really unlikely it will disrupt the current mobile landscape. Most people just don't care about features, they just want an android phone or an iphone, and that's it. } So I don't blame MS, they're doing their best and they probably will with the SP, but there's no room in people's mind for alternatives currently.
  • In Canada we can only buy windows phones in the Microsoft Store.
  • iSurface it's sound great
  • Umm...every smartphone, mobile phone or whatever you call it I buy had better have a "phone" feature, otherwise its just a tiny pocket size pc and would be useless. The iPod ran apps just like an iPhone, but you could NOT make phone calls with it in the traditional sense, yet now you hardly ever hear about ipods. So no, we buy these devices for the phone feature so that we can interact with people on the other end with voice. Just because the phone part of it is number 4 or 5 in the list of things people do with there smartphones simply means the majority of us don't work in a call center that uses mobile phones to do the job.
  • Someone clearly didn't read the whole article. I mention specifically that I'm not saying Microsoft will remove the phone part of the device.
  • But why 2018? I really need/want/desire for a radical/class redifining surface product from them that is more than a phone from them in 2017.
  • lack of courage ;-)
  • "But, and let's be honest with ourselves here, most of us aren't buying smartphones for the 'phone' bit anymore." I read the article, I'm responding to this specific part of the article.
  • But you also said yourself that "the phone part of it is number 4 or 5 on the list", so it's not the most important reason which is what Zac is implying.
  • Read my response, it's 4 or 5 because the majority of owners don't spend 8 hours a day in a call center using a smartphone to get that job done. Let me put it this way, even though I check my 950xl's lock screen several times a day, more than using it for phone calls, I didn't buy it to use as a watch to keep time. I bought it primarily so that people can get in contact with me using a standard 10-digit phone number, one that I've had since my primary device was a flip phone.
  • One of the problems with Microsoft taking their foot off the gas with new hardware is that some of us are being left with no choice than to switch to iPhone or Android. I'll ride out my Lumia 1520 for as long as possible, but other customers may want a new phone, or if we happen to break our Lumia's, we don't have suitable replacements available. Man, I love my Lumia 1520. Nadella killed our hopes and dreams by failing to utilize Nokia D&S.
  • Well, it's not become that bad yet, but I see your point. In all fairness, there's enough new or recent phones that are a worthy replacement of your 1520. The 950s are really good, but if they're not to your liking, there's the Elite x3, the Acer Jade Primo and a couple more. So someone who wants to have a W10M phone can do it, and enjoy the experience, of course. Even though there should be a lot more phones, like we're used to.
  • Just replaced my 1520 with the x3, its a worthy replacement but don't expect any dramatic improvements. The 1520 still performs great, even though its a three year old phone. I kind of regret replacing it with the x3, in hindsight the 1520 would probably have lasted just fine for another year.
  • Code name should be 'under the Surface'
  • I don't care as much for what it's called as I care that they commit to it and advertise it like Apple does -- during nearly every TV show and everywhere else -- and not just for a few months after the launch. No limited release, no tentative effort. Go ALL IN and give incentives like free Office 365 for a year.
  • I was really disappointed of their half-arsed release of the 950s. Those phones deserved better. If as they said, they were released as "phones for the hardcore fans", doing it like that only shows that they don't care about their fans or making new fans.
  • Denmark is iPhone-land big time - I'm guessing at least half of all smartphones here are iPhones - and I hardly ever see an iPhone advertisement...
  • I wouldn't shy away from calling it a Phone, because it's a term people understand. That said, people also understand 'Mobile', and that's an opportunity to brand a new device to imply that it's more capable. So calling it Surface Mobile might be the best way to go.
  • I think that's the best choice.
  • Absolutely! The name should be basic. The design, minimalistic. The experience, paradigm shift.
  • I would love an Surface Portable, or the Surface Mini. And with my 950 I can wait till early 2018 for it. But my wife has a 830 and it needs replacing somewhere next year also. So I am worried about the lack of a device thats not awesome but just great value for money to keep my wife happy.
  • I also don't care what its called, I will pre order it yesterday. However if it is a paradigm shift, it most certainly won't be running anything mobile, it will have to run full windows. I want an actual laptop in my pocket that is also a phone. The laptop and tablet and phone have to all become one device to be truly amazing for me.
  • I think it might be other way round you will have powerful ARM based laptops and desktop computers everything running on ARM.
  • I don't care what the hardware is, I just want one machine that can be used as a phone but also powerful enough to run full windows and things like quick books and acrobat pro.... I would really love it to have dramatic speed, such as i7 and at least 8gb ram. I will pay surface pro prices!
  • With a Surface Backpack to carry all the batteries you will need for a full day of use.
  • "I am saying we shouldn't be expecting Microsoft to release a simple Surface phone, we should expect them to innovate and change the way we think about smartphones." IMO, we shouldn't expect MS to innovate or any other thing (unless you mean in the "demand them" sense of the word). They have said/implied they will innovate but I would suggest not take the marketing talk at face value yet, or even when they do announce the device. At this point it all depends also on how long will they wait for for that paradigm shift to be possible. If they do announce something in the first half of 2017, I would guess its more an evolutionary Surface Phone or a "(Somewhat Underpowered) Surface Micro with Phone Features" than a "Surface Paradigm-Shifting-Revolutionary and Category Defining-3in1 Mobile-Device. :)
  • Maybe if they marketed their phones, made them readily available to consumers, and had forged a relationship with global carriers they wouldn't be in this mess. Windows Phones are the best on the market but I am continually amazed how the vast majority don't even know they exist
  • This. That's the shift they need. It's their fault.
  • Sounds pretty simple to me. Put a little effort into advertising.
  • They tried all that. It didn't help. Sales were really poor so getting carriers interested and keeping them interested was nearly impossible. It didn't matter what Microsoft did, the platform just wasn't viable for many reasons. Marketing wasn't the issue. If it was that simple, Microsoft would have continued it.
  • The phone is arguably the least interesting part of the smartphone, and probably the easiest to remedy with the right apps. You already see this happening with Skype. You can make Skype-to-Skype and Skype-to-phone calls easily from the Skype app, and you can even port your phone number to a Skype number. You can leave voice messages and make video calls with Skype. And of course Skype can provide IM and now SMS functionality. With a few tweaks, I can see a day when Skype literally could be your one-stop communication tool on any device, whether it's your desktop PC, tablet, TV, or mobile device, regardless of whether the person on the other end of the line is also using Skype. And who knows, maybe we'll even be able to get our wireless data service directly from Microsoft or Skype? The fact is that whether or not Windows Phone ever dominates the mobile marketplace really shouldn't matter. I know it does, but it really *shouldn't*. There are more than two companies that make just about everything we use. Can you imagine if there were only two brands of cereal? Two kinds of toothpaste? But yet we seem to think there are only two acceptable mobile technology platforms, and if you don't belong to this camp or that one, then you're out in the cold. The truth is that having more choice is better for the ecosystem as a whole, and for Microsoft. They've had to figure out how to adapt to stay relevant and competitive where they can. We would never have gotten Surface without iPad. We would never have gotten Office 365 without Google Docs. We never would have gotten Cortana without Siri. We would never have gotten Skype without FaceTime or Hangouts (or both). And we would never have gotten a modern version of Windows that fits on a SOC without ARM, iOS, and Android. I'm just glad Microsoft isn't willing to concede defeat in mobile.
  • Did skype not come before FaceTime?
  • As names how about Surface AiO is Surface All in One. Hits all the right marketing notes. ;)
  • And for what it's worth, I think the "Note" name has been forever tarnished by what has happened with Samsung. Not gonna happen.
  • Surface INK • Surface PALM • Surface PHAB
  • You put it in your pocket and makes phone calls? It's a phone. If anything, if it ever comes to be - which I doubt - and it still runs the more than dead W10M, it shouldn't be called a Surface.
    Because it would just blemish the Surface brand by attaching it with a dead end device.
  • I would be surprised if it fits in your pocket. Innovating in the current phone meta is going to be nearly impossible. I bet a small 3x2 tablet, ~7", will be their answer. Easy and they can claim it is innovative.
  • There are rumors going around this month that Surface phones are either gonna be announced or released this January. WTF? https://www.bing.com/search?q=surface+phone+2017&filters=ex122ez2%22...
  • Not, by any stretch of the imagination, should they call it mobile or phone. These terms, when related to Microsoft, are TOXIC. Something easy to to inform what it is, ie. Surface Mini, Surface Go...... It needs to be something special, especially as Apple have applied for patents on a 'folding' phone, and their fashionista, apple loving press etc, will call it, once again, a leap forward. IF, MS are in development of such a device, it's got to be stratospheric.
  • I miss my flip phone :-(
  • Good read Zac
  • They can call it the Surface Wheel for all I care as long as the apps I want/need are available and it's not another freaking AT&T exclusive. That's my only hopes.
  • Surface One: One device to meet all your mobile needs. It's a phablet, a desktop (with continuum), and a VR/AR device.
  • WOW ! Nice name.
  • Also has cross-brand consistency with Xbox one.
  • They will need to market it firstly as the world's smallest productivity device and secondly as a phone
  • Yup. That'll be cool.
  • I would say yes so the average consumer understands it's not only a smaller Surface. For instance, My father would not know the difference unless it stated it was a phone. The only other name I can think of that might work is just calling it the "Surface Mobile". But I don't know if that matters. I guess it depends on what market they ate aiming for when it comes out. If they release it due to a shift in the phone market then I has to reference that somehow. If they release it just enter the mini PC market then they can call it anything they want.
  • Surface Phone, it would be nice if they also bundle in some super comfy, smart, matching earphones with an amazing mic so Cortana gets it right first time out and about and calls are also effortless. 
  • I thought the fashion now was to remove headphone sockets ;-)
  • Only fashionable for companies losing their way :p
  • maybe they need to downlplay the name to make it look like a big deal.  it has to make it seem like its part of a bigger brand that matter, the Surface brand, and right now it's the tablets (SP) and laptops(SB) that are the roots of it.  And surface studio, surface dial, surface pen, and soon Surface mini(phone) are its branches spreading itself to reach out onto people.  I'm ready for a surface phone, but right now im getting that alcatel idol 4s.
  • It doesn't matter what Microsoft would call the phone. It could be the most genius of names and it still wouldn't matter. Microsoft's virtually non-existent marketing for the phone would make the name unimportant. Windows Mobile is dead.
  • I think you make a valid point about no matter what name. I also agree that, to an extent, WM is dead. It's going to take a strike of genius to get the 'purported' device selling. Anything to do with windows phone, window mobile is, as I've said many times, toxic. They need to distance surface as far away from any former branding. Surface is respected, and has a good reputation, and the last thing MS would want to do is tarnish that. As you say, the phone share is pitiful, and that isn't going to change. Let Apple and Samsung etc carry on re-inventing the wheel. MS need to go farther. The mars rover is about as far away from those two you will have to go if you want to get you toe in the door
  • funny, 3rd party oems are still putting out phones.  there's 3 this holiday.  im sure windows mobile will outlive you.
  • Surface One?
  • Surface Mini
  • Zac is implying we dont buy smart phones to make phone calls? I for one would not buy if it couldn't make phone calls. thats why we have tablets.
  • Exactly!!!!...if I could push a magic button and in a blink all mobile phones lose their ability to make traditional based phone calls and you had to rely on text and app based calls like skype, etc..would do you think would happen...
  • There will be an app for making phone calls for those that still require it
  • No, I'm saying we don't buy smartphones primarily for the phone part. Of course, we still use the phone part, but that's not the main reason we're buying them anymore. I know there are people who are still buying phones for the phone part, and I'm not saying there aren't people out there who don't. I'm just saying a lot more people these days buy their phones for WhatsApp, social media and videos, not for calling people.
  • If the iPhone couldn't make calls are you saying they would still sell like they do?. If my Lumia 950 couldn't make phone calls then I would not have bought it. Why would I ? I have a surface for everything else.
  • You're arguing a point that has nothing to do with the article. I'm not saying Microsoft will release a Surface phone without the phone, I'm saying the Surface phone won't be just another smartphone. It'll still have the phone part, but since many people don't buy their smartphones 'because' they can make phone calls, it's time to capitalize on that.
  • Zac, the responses you are seeing have nothing to do with whether ms releases a device that can make phone calls or not, the article you wrote was reading fine until you stated making phone calls isn't the primary reason. Until MS, Apple or google make a device that DOES not have a cellular connection but does everything else and it's the number one selling device with majority market share then I will continue to hold my belief that smartphones are purchased first and foremost for the ability to act as a phone first and everything else including apps, games, are simply great value added features.
  • No you said nobody buys a smart phone to make calls
  • There will be no such device, deal with it...
  • Surface Communicator - love my 950xl and it keeps me productive - when the next gen from MS comes out I'll be pre-ordering it for sure.
  • I still think they need more attractive hardware like the Alcatel Idol 4S and HP Elite X3(but a consumer-targeted one as well) in the meantime while the OS is prepared for such a device. Microsoft has to know that they can't ride the small Lumia 950/XL wave until this paradigm shift happens. If other OEMs produce quality phones great but if they don't, Microsoft needs to step in and give fans at least one more phone to keep interest alive for whatever future they plan to unveil.
  • Surface note with pen and can run exe will be something
  • Stopped reading at the "smartphones are not as powerful as the full PC" what is a full PC?? This is very subjective because to a regular user they need PC as smartphones are. What can a desktop do that a galaxy cant ?? Enlight me !!
  • Install quick books to operate my business wholly from anywhere, adobe acrobat pro to create and edit pdf files, edit autocad files, shall I go on.....
    And I want to be able to connect any printer to be able to print and scan just like I do with my surface!!!
  • Really? And in 10 people how many needs that?? 1 I guess
  • At the moment a lot
  • Develop the OS that runs on the device. If a device can do that, it is (IMO) a full general-purpose computer. If it cannot, then it is a consumer "device" and not a "real PC"
  • Haha, I love this. When people got mad that W10M got the shaft with RS1, as MS split it in half, we got told "just wait for RS2, it focuses on mobile!" Now, we've got this saying "wait for RS3 and 4," as if we are all just going to be happy with a pushing back of stuff. Yeah, Continuum improvements and a great phone will be nice, but the core OS is still clunky and sluggish at times, and we are getting stuff like this, suggesting we shouldn't even bother expecting better anymore. I wish we could just get off this train of promising and pushing back. Speculating and hope trafficking are awful when they fall flat, which these discussions keep doing. How about, instead of all these articles promising FOR Microsoft, and setting unrealistic expectations, we stop guessing and let them tell us for a change? If be fine to just coat to the spring without a bunch of articles making assumptions or trying to guess the plans. I miss all the FCC leaks and covering of things after the fact.
  • You misunderstand, we're not saying wait for RS3 or RS4. I'm just explaining that there is no one big-bang release. RS4 won't be a huge release for Windows 10 Mobile over RS3, and RS3 won't be a huge release for Windows 10 Mobile over RS2, but these releases will include new features, changes and improvements to the OS. Then, comparing RS4 to TH2, you'd notice a lot has changed. That's just how MS is developing W10M. If you don't like it, you should probably look elsewhere for your smartphone platform of choice.
  • Make it fold. Make calls with It open or closed. When opened it can act like one big screen or two independant sides. Move from voice to video call just by opening it. Give it some cool functionality between the two sides like... Tucking something into the fold to copy paste from one side to the other etc. Don't use Surface in the name at all. Call it Courier...
  • Have you not seen the Apple story lately?
  • Most consumers aren't going to buy this device unless it has the apps they want. I could see a stylus focused device doing well with business especially with the note 7 fiasco. 
    For now I'll be sticking with android. I get Google, Amazon, and Microsoft services in one platform. 
  • I agree. I am sticking with Android for now because of the apps. Now If Micrsoft can redefine the phone category so that apps does not matter, I will move to the Surface "phone".
     
  • Ya of course "the surface phone"
  • Surface Chameleon, because it will be able to adapt to any screen type and scenario. Just a stab. That's why I leave branding to the marketing folks. ;)
  • I'm confident that the Surface team will deliver an awesome device when things will be ready. Smartphone market is saturated, innovation is seriously lacking both in hardware and software, and most OEMs support Android just because they have to, while they lose money. If Microsoft will bring real innovation in this market I think many will jump on the Windows Mobile train, especially now that Google is competing with android OEMs with its own phones.
  • Innovation has slowed, especially in hardware because it really has become close to perfect. There is very little left to do to make it better. We already have large screens in small packages, there really isn't anywhere else to go in hardware. Software is where you would have to bring it and even then there isn't much obvious room for improvement. Microsoft's giving up on mobile software updates other than keeping ARM and LTE support doesn't bode well for software innovation.
  • If it makes phone calls its a phone, no spin will change that. And who actually thinks Microsoft will have any say in what the mythical "paradigm shift" will look like? Right now no one thinks of Microsoft when it comes to mobile, if there's a "shift" in the future they still wont be, they'll look at the players that have been relevant in their lives for years.
  • Nobody thought of Microsoft when it came to tablets/2-in-1's, or laptops, or AiOs. Now they do.
  • There must be something going on. In UK MSFT are pushing W10 using OEM's devices. They are pushing surface with the 'a mac can't do that', since when the iPad pro ad has gone AWOL. HP are pushing heavily their enterprise structure and scaling up potential. What is strange though, servers, pc's, tablets yet NO X3 in the ads? Why is that? Aren't the designed for enterprise?? Very odd. Hence why I feel there is something happening in the background. Continued investment in RS builds, doesn't happen for no reason.. Next there will be a firmware update to allow dual boot!! Yeah, in my dreams
  • My personal vision would be a 2-in-1 Surface Monitor that has a similiar tilt mechanism but also a slot for Surface Mobile device which will make it the best Windows Monitor as well as the ultimate Continuum device.
  • If this new shift runs on ARM or can run on mobile hardware/software then its going to be difficult for Microsoft as Android and Apple are all ready half way there as I'm sure you will still be able to play games or use Snapchat on it. Back to square 1
  • Also, just wondering, where in that article about Mary Jo's interview with Terry Myerson was there an announcement from Microsoft about their plans for not having mobile hardware any time soon?
  • It looks like everyone thinks that everything the surface team creates will be amazing and accepted by consumers. With the Surface RT in mind you can conclude that everything they touch and contains Intel turns into gold. I think the only game changer can be an Intel powered phone. The ability of running x86 apps compensates the lack of UWP apps. Exactly the same as it did on tablets. Another advantage is that developers only have to compile one app.
  • I believe it needs to emphasis mobile. So if not Surface Phone, then the name is right under the nose...Surface Mobile.
  • If this unicorn is is ever found, it'll be called Surface Mobile. Microsoft is distancing itself from the word "phone".
  • Surface Unicorn?
  • No matter how you call it, you need to motivate apps developer to resume developing new apps under the Windows 10 environment. Apps used for PC is very much different from the user experience expected on mobile. Do not throw us all the Windows 10 native apps and expect us to use it in mobile. It just does not work that way.
  • Bots are the new apps
  • So I need a bot to control my nest thermostat and protects. And my Sonos'. And get my Expedia Info. And let me buy and sell on eBay. Slickly, flawlessly and intuitively. Let me know..
  • Before any surface phone MS should be adding cell connection to Surface Pros. They need to get people and carriers used to having and selling Win10. That could possible help app market too.
  • Personally I'm hoping that what Microsoft is doing with Continuum and UWP is moving us away from the model where we need a SIM in both our 2-in-1 and our 'phone (or the model where we do tethering via WiFi or Bluetooth which never seems to work very satisfactorily).
  • Surface Jot
  • hello i 've dream Surface Extend, LCD foldable screens ;)
  • Err, Apple way ahead of you there
  • I don't think they are going to make another "phone" until they can make it win32 since that would make it its own catagory and fit into the in between mantra they've been pushing
  • Still would not sell. No Snapchat on pc
  • They should call it "Snuffleupagus" because it's believed to exist but no one's ever seen it.    
  • Surface M/PA for Mobile / Personal Assistant.
  • Landline Phone
    Mobile Phone
    Smart Phone
    Surface Phone....
  • Surface Supreme... With extra cheese, fries and a diet coke
  • behold! the Surphone.
  • Why can't they have a standard Windows tablet with phone functionality? Why have Windows Mobile?
  • I think it will have a foldable display. Actually I'm pretty sure about that. This way you have a phone and when you unfold it you have a tablet. It will have a kickstand and will come with a portable keyboard (that you can unroll maybe)
  • I think it will be a foldable too. Look at the Productivity Future Vision video released my Microsoft in March of 2015. So much of what is in that video, Microsoft is working on has has released in some form or have hinted at.
  • Beaten to the punch. Apple have one in the works. Patent images released last week
  • Where are the images?
  • DO NOT expect too much. MS might let you down anytime. Not saying MS always produces ****** things..they do give us amazing products, but sometimes, It's better not to expect "extraordinary" things from MS. Try to avoid disappointment later. Be optimistic though..even though our ship still has a tendency to sink!
  • This device is the new Surface for the following reasons. 1.  Microsoft has stopped selling all the low cost and consumer focused Surface devices.  This leaves the Surface name open for reuse. 2.  The Surface line is now just an inspirational and business line. Which implies high cost.  Microsoft is out of the consumer device business right now. I say for the next 2 to 3 years unless Microsoft successfully redefines the phone category - see my next point. 3.  Microsoft is looking to redefine and expand on the phone category. Having the name phone anywhere in the name of the device will defeat that purpose. On a side note:  To prepare the consumer to come back to the Surface "Phone", Microsoft is providing top notch software to the Android and iOS environment.
  • We just want annual flagships as they prepare their Surface Phone. Nadella is not committed to phones.
  • Surface Air. It will be so thin it'll be virtually invisible, so light it'll be virtually weightless, and so small it'll be virtually shapeless. It'll be just like having air in the palm of your hands!
  • The Surface Zune. Bhahaha! I couldn't keep a straight face while writing it!
  • Surface Courier.  'nuff said.
  • Just call it "Surface", just like how Google is doing with the Pixel.
     
  • I agree
  • This!
  • There is already a Surface (Surface 3). What would they call the subsequent versions of the phone if it was simplly named Surface?
  • Surface Communicator
  • One to beam up...
  • LUMIA SURFACE xD
  • "Microsoft recently announced that they have no plans on getting back into the mobile hardware business anytime soon"
    **Could you please provide a link to the article where they state this, I think I missed it.
  • Have a look through the phone news. Was a while back though. The Lumia drop was only a few weeks ago
  • I'll be very surprised if they'd call it Surface Phone. If they're expecting to create a new catagory or be first in line to some kind of paradigm shift then of course it wont be called "phone". If you look at the Surface Studio it's aimed to a specific group, not your ordinary customer. So they could also aim this device to a specific group. Whatever that will be, note taking, gamers, sketchers ... So the name will be whom ever they aim at. Surface XXX.
  • It should be called the Surface Companion.
  • "hey Cortana, so....what are you wearing?"
  • LOL
  • My guess: a phablet-sized terminal that opens like a book with dual screens à la Microsoft Courier thus transforming into a tablet. A 3-in-1 terminal that you will use as your go-to device for most if not all your computing needs even replacing your laptop when using Continuum. A terminal that will interact fully and easily with all other Windows devices and IoT. A terminal that will be used as an auth tool. A terminal that will be recognized when placed near or on other Windows devices à la Windows Dial opening up to new functionalities and features. A terminal that will get past the app gap with bots articulated seemlessly around Cortana. A terminal that will get its performances improved when docked to a eGPU.
  • I don't get the argument that they should hold off on releasing while they wait for a paradigm shift. Won't MS be causing the shift with such a device? They need something soon that can grow the market share in a positive direction. Right now it has steadily been declining. If they only had 400 million active devices back when they had a ten percent market share, no one could easily ignore that.
  • Yes, mbrooks78.  Stopping making first party phones simply increased the rate of drop of market share, as did pulling out of multiple countries like Brazil etc.   Also stopping making first party phones and the resultant drop in market share reinforced the ever present "Windows Phone is dead" premise.  Blunder, blunder, blunder.   Microsoft not making phones after absorbing Nokia Devices and stating that they would make three models a year, reinforces the idea that Microsoft is not serious about their own efforts in mobile.  And we are supposed to wait for a paradigm shift or for phones from other companies in the meantime?   Yea, sure....
  • I think it should be called "Air Force 2".
  • "Surface Ultimate" The ultimate surface :D
  • Saying w10m lacks as an OS by many publications is a little uncalled for. Sure, it's not in the most polished state but that's because Microsoft isn't aggressively pushing it. Otherwise it's fine as far as basics go. What they (publications) mean is that it lacks the app ecosystem that drives phone market.
    The problem with app gap is of chicken and egg. There are no apps because not enough phones and no phones because not enough apps. Thus a windows fan desire of an intel phone capable of running x86 programs through continuum stems from the fact that this might attract the PC programs dependent market to w10 phones which may increase market share which may help drive ecosystem.
    I don't know what paradigm shift Microsoft are looking for? Because any paradigm shift will still not solve the app gap problem. Unless the apps as we know them today become obsolete, replaced by the likes of AI virtual assistants and chatbots. Which seems like a long shot. Otherwise, I don't understand what unicorn device you analysts seem to be expecting from Microsoft which will be the next bend or category creation just like Surface has been. Continuum is one big piece of Microsoft's phone strategy and I feel Intel phones should be too in this transition era of migration from Win32 to UWP. Call it a legacy requirement. Call it a backward compatibility but we are a long way from replacing Win32 by UWP completely. It's not that I can not imagine what that unicorn device might be. But continuum and intel will still be a part of it.
  • So what I have in mind. Well, surface has always had this dual role. Surface pro is a tablet that can be your laptop. Surface book is a laptop that can be your tablet. Surface studio is a desktop that can be your tablet (artistic canvas) for digital art. And so on. So what a phone can be? Well where we stand today, a phone can't be your PC without continuum and intel now can it? This is one argument. Or maybe it can. Continuum and Intel will still have to be part of equation. The problem with this scenario is this, intel laptop class processors are power hungary. They can't even give more than 6-7 hours of battery life on laptop class batteries. So running them on a phone sized battery seems outrageous. (Remember size, footprint, or cooling isn't an issue, just look at compute sticks). And this power consumption problem isn't just of Intel's but of Microsoft's as well. Background services of Windows platform are pretty resource intensive themselves and it is probably not possible today to add a battery efficient phone mode (something akin to what we have on w10m SKUs today) through continuum to full Windows 10 just like there is tablet (continuum) mode currently. Microsoft will have to find a way to seamlessly transition from PC mode to phone mode with less resource intensive background services and fast fluid switch to phone shell and back and forth for an idea of true pocket pc to come to life. Then there's foldable displays that we keep forgetting about? What's the thinnest we can go with laptop class intel chipsets, mother board, other circuitry, touch screen display machineries? Or to keep it simple, what's the thinnest most intel based tablet can we create? 4mm? 5mm? Now imagine a 5mm thin 12" tablet with foldable display folded into a phone form factor? Sure the folder thickness will be an equivalent of 20mm and a weight of 600-700gram will be condensed into a 6" diagonal 20mm thick 700gm heavy pocketable tank. But what we won't have is a battery problem because such a construction will retain tablet class batteries. And it will not require another screen or bag to carry with you thus the birth of truly mobile pocketable PC. Sure there will be weight and thickness problems which will affect ergonomics. But every revolution has to start from somewhere. Remember the first surface pro was 13mm thick, heavy, didnt have continuous hinge mechanism. And now how far it has come. Also, Surface engineering team has been creating engineering marvels recently. What they have done with Surface book is nothing sort of marvelous. To be able to hold a standalone full PC capable tablet by a hinge and a base is not an easy feat. I once brainstormed over this idea before Surface Book was even invented and I thought it was impossible to do such a thing. And bang, a year later Microsoft came out with Surface book. Also, Surface team makes the industry leading hinges. Just look at what they did with Pro 3,4, book and now studio. Amazing stuff. I feel that they could actually manufacture a tablet with foldable display and hinge mechanisms to make it pocketable and when opened and locked, a sturdy enough tablet display. Surface is a team which put liquid cooling in a phone. I'm sure they can manage the thermals, hinges, locks, foldability mechanisms of hinges and display, innards and thinness. If any one can do it, it's the Surface team. A surface compact device compacted into a pocketable phone form and a phone mode when un surfaced turned into a tablet PC with touch and digital pen support and all the capabilities of PC we have come to love. So is this what Microsoft have in mind? I guess we'll have to wait and see. Obviously. First the windows team will have to deliver that continuum mode for phone which should be as good and as power efficient as what we have on windows 10 mobile today and most importantly be able to seamlessly transition from it to full windows 10 shell and back and forth depending on the form factor. Hardware will obviously be only released when Surface team feels it's ready. But once such a device materializes and hopefully takes industry and market by storm, hopefully then we will finally have an UWP ecosystem scaleable to phone, PCs and other form factors that we never had but deserve all the same
  • It sounds like something we want. But others won't buy unless apps come with it. no one will want something in their pocket unless it comes with games the kind that IOS and Android have like Snapchat. Can't see millions willing to do away with snapchat. Every time i show what a windows phone can do to others. All I get is does it have Snapchat can I play clash of clans on it?????
  • Surface Pocket, Surface Zune, Surface Kin...
  • A PhonyComputer
  • The phrase "paradigm shift" is getting old. It makes me sick to my stomach.
  • Put the cellular connectivity in a Band type device and then turn any Windows PC into a phone.
  • Just call it "Surface". No other word.
  • I'm leaning more towards "The Surface"
  • I would call it the Surface X1. It would  be a productivity tool that also acts like a portable xbox with the ability to make phone calls. Then you focus on two money making markets and no need to call it a phone. You can make an X1-Pro for business with high end specs, and a lower end version for people who want to game more than anything else.
  • I doubt if Microsoft can come into Mobile Phone (or what ever fancy name for Surface ****). The main reason, App Gap. I have been a Windows Mobile user from last 4 years and always found that some of the important apps are missing or the user experience is not as good as other OS. I am from India where there are too many options for any person wanting to buy a mobile, all smart phones from various price ranges. But I hardly find Windows Mobile being displayed in the Stores and promoting them. Even very low end mobiles will be on display with promotion but not Windows Mobile. I feel so bad when I see that. There are too many apps for Grocery delivery, Food Delivery etc and most of those Apps are not in Windows Phone. I am now looking for a new mobile since my Lumia 820 starting having hardware issues and I am still confused if I should buy Windows Mobile. When ever there is a topic regarding an App with my friends or Wife and I try to find it in Windows Store and it will not be available. Every time my friends start making fun about that, which makes me feel sad. But still I Love Windows Mobile and dont want to switch to other OS. I think of switching to other OS when I cant find something on Maps and Google Maps is able to find it and navigate with Traffic information, I feel so irritated. I think Microsoft should focus on the Apps. Either get in agreement with other companies instead of trying to reinvent the wheel. For example, dont invent on Maps, go with Google Maps see how you can bring it to Windows Mobile or same case with other apps too. To fix the App Gap, I am now using an Android Mobile (just for the Apps) and still using my Windows Mobile as primary. I am sure there are many users who are having the same feeling as what Im having.
  • Sorry to say this but in 2-3 years app gap thing won't exist cause native apps are fading to black. Web is powerful enough to take over and that's already happening. Reactive UIs are here and feel native on all devices. That approach is also way cheaper for companies so don't worry about app gap buddy...
  • Il be switching this time next year i like my Lumia 950 xl but comparing it to my friends cheap £30. Android the only thing I can do and he can't is continuum but even on cheap android can come close when hooked to a big screen. But there are so many apps that my Lumia can't run.
  • Hope there will be Microsoft Phone at all or It's dead as steve ballmer disappointed which Microsoft should have concentrate on phone too instead of Surface studio, HoloLens , Surface Pro, cloud and office 365. For cloud and office 365, Microsoft even force Lumia owner to pay and yet no OpenOffice. Cloud? To many competition. Surface and HoloLens, for commercial. As I have foresee billion fans of iOS or Android. If similar things like these offer by ios and android or Google comes out with Linux OS for tablet and pc that can run android apps too, even not the best, Microsoft is still at risk to compete with Apple and Google. Microsoft is so weak in the mobile. Apple sold $700+ million phones every year good or bad. Google sold billion android OS every years to phone companies.
  • I like Surface go
  • I always liked the Surface M. Then every progression (if they sell) can be called M2,M3,Metc. Could be pretty sweet
  • I like that, Surface M
  • M8 was taken up a few years ago. I suppose they can skip that like they did with windows 9 lol
  • Call it Folio a la Isaac Asimov, or was Arthur C Clark. Don't remember, It's been forty years since I read those books.
  • They'll probably just call it a surface with windows 10 mobile..
  • Most of comments are wrong cause we all associate a phone device to a ~5" brick. I think Microsoft will reinvent it by actually reintroducing a phone hinge. Something like a flip phone but done vertically. Think of a mini Surface Book with new Yoga's virtual keyboard. When needed it's gonna be a phone, otherwise you can use it as a tiny laptop. Usability wise the keyboard would be crap of course, so probably we're also waiting for some new fancy technology that Panos is working on now - like elastic displays or so..
  • Love the idea use the Surface to light up for text or phone imput etc and the screen to ink.
  • is that a lumia 950XL on a HP desk dock?  does it fit ?
  • The Surface brand is a premium brand focussed on business. So it fits into the Nadella mantra. A Surface "Phone" is unlikely to be a consumer device and, if the branding means anything, will be expensive. I am not against it. According to recent stats the market is now down to 0.3%. For most people this is actually zero. No "normal" consumer will be seeing this in stores soon. They haven't seen a Lumia for more than a year. Most consumers dont even know Microsoft has a mobile offering and the Windows Store is not something most people deliberately visit.  I would welcome a Surface Phone but I wonder what "paradigm shift" will make it interesting. 
  • I would love to be on the surface team and read all these comments. :-)
  • I bet panos is rocking the Windows central app on the studio on this desk and the Surface M in his pocket
  • Anarchy, schizophrenia, Obedience to Authority and the Rights of Man  So, just some light reading when not testing phones?
  • A smartwatch with a large screen and Windows Mobile, the screen being a solar cell and the device being coupled to a ear-eye assembly. 2020s technology.
  • I would love it if they could use Surface Note, but would Samsung let them..? Idk if Pocket Surface or Surface Pocket would work as an alternative..? =s
  • Surface Slate. :)
  • Surface Go (Surface Pro to go)
  • Another vote for Surface One with Surface Go a close second.
  • Surface Connect or Surface Life
    I do like Surface one or Surface 360 but Surface M implies mobile and is easy to number as stated above. maybe we throw put some names and take a poll and see if Ms notices...you know like Cortana so we can edge out any of these edge shenanigans.....
  • They could combine the naming they have now with something new.  For a 5" version call it the Surface Mobile and the 5.5" version call it the Surface Mobile Pro.
  • I had a 950XL for like 11 months and I've just returned it for a refund after the battery started swelling which caused my phone to start rebooting randomly. I started using again my old 930 which my wife has been using as a second phone and I can say it has a way better feeling. I really like the minimalistic look and the features of windows mobile but I actually dont have what to buy. I don't like the 950/XL because of their cheap feel and average at best build quality.Then ther's the HP Elite which is targeted to business users and possible the reason of why it is so expensive. Even the HP is not that far from the 950 series in build quality. Then ther's the Alcatel which looks like an options but is not available outside of US. I'm considering to buy a OnePlus 3 untill a proper windows phone will be available, although android disgusts me even if it has better quality apps and more apps which I don't actually need.
  • Call it Paradigm Shift, that way we all know what they meant.
  • Yes
  • What they really need at this point is to allow W10M (and perhaps W10 itself) to run Android apps.  With a marketshare so low, there's no way they can get developers on board.  However, if they offer a device that runs UWP apps as well as Android apps, they can get some of the marketshare back (superior interface + Android app support = Win!), and as the marketshare increases, so does the interest in developing on the UWP platform (more efficient, better battery life as it's native code).  A couple years ago, this move didn't make sense, but it should now be reevaluated with today's (and tomorrow's) market in mind. I love my W10M phone, but getting into home automation, I'm finding most devices offer IOS and Android apps, but no W10M apps.  This move would not only make me personally happy, but would also help regain some of the mobile marketshare for Microsoft, and also lay a better foundation for the next paradigm-changing device.  No matter how great that device is, if I can't use it to control my IoT things, it's not as useful to me.
  • The name should describe what the device does. About the least used feature of my 'smart phone' is the bit where I use it to make phone calls.
    Microsoft's overarching goal of the phone (and the phone integration in the desktop Win10) is that the 'phone' becomes the central coordinating and authenticating device amidst a sea of other devices (microsoft or otherwise). It is the closest thing to being 'you' that is still an external device that should be used as your way into and that can tap into all of the hardware and services around you to bend them all to your will. I am not 100% sure what that should be called; a Surface Communicator perhaps? But certainly not a phone. If it is just another phone then nobody wants it. If it is something beyond a phone, then they need to find a word for that. ... that said, it needs to be a concrete word that means something. No more of this silly Zune business and making up dumb names. Great device... but that name was so unrelatable that if you didnt already know what it did, then you didnt care to find it. Whatever the new Surface Phone will be, needs to use real relatable words that make sense to the general public.
  • SURFONE
  • Surface Tap
  • Surface Communicator
  • Surface Tricorder!!!
  • Surface SurfaceTab SurfaceBook SurfaceStudio SurfaceBoard SurfaceLens  SurfaceBox
  • I wish MS would explain why it takes "years" to get their mobile OS in competitive shape. At this point I have no confidence in their execution of anything mobile.
  • Just fix the app gap issue and I'm all in for supporting Microsoft as my daily driver, planning to get Lego Mindstorms soon and its a shame Microsoft doesn't have a smartphone app for controlling your robot and you need Android or iOS for this.
  • it's got to have some kind of interesting hinge.  Surface Comm
  • Only call it a Surface Note if it doubles as an exploding bomb. If not, then don't call it "Note."
  • Surface Universe/Surface Multiverse. It's bigger than a galaxy.
  • Surface PAL - "P"roductively "A"ugmented "L"ifestyle or just PAL ;)
  • now that you said what you said everyone take your excitment sleeping pill until sometime in the future.
  • Ive been saying forget surface phone since the first rumour. Surface Mobile encapsulates the device and the OS.
  • Surface One
  • OMG so bored and contemptous....  If the device is less than six inches or so and makes calls, it's a phone.  It would be stupid for Microsoft to call it anything else.   If the device has design cues from the Surface line, then call it a Surface phone. ​This idea that there is going to be some sort of paradigm shift that will save Microsoft from their current postion is absurd.  Get over it and stop deceiving yourself.  There's no techology available in the short or medium term that will allow for a signficant paradigm shift.  Any phone like device in the next several years will be an interation on current phones.  
     
  •     My vote is just "Surface"     
  • SwiftKey? The w10 keyboard is better Imo. I have used both. The grass isn't always greener on the other side
  • Surface Link (not Lync)
  • For me, I think the name 'Surface" begins to lose its effect the smaller a device gets. It has become a synonym for an interactive/productive display but I am wary of branding "Surface everything. That's why we had no "Surface Band" and "HoloLens" was not a "Surface", though you could argue its interface went beyond a "surface", and yet achieved superior hardware design (same with "Xbox"). Let that ("surface") be the DNA of MS-built devices (excellence, defining), but let's think outside the surface box for naming. Remember "Courier" as a name? We need something with not more than 3 syllables altogether. Looks? I am thinking of the Lenovo "YogaBook" in terms of slimness, dual screen, full inking, jet black industrial design. A superflat, slim, foldable (into half), edge-to-edge dual-screen, dockable. OS? 3D animated UI - I think "live" tiles have become a little stale (haven't evolved) in their current iteration. Cortana (fully realized and global), incorporation of relevant sensors from the Band, and some holographic elements from HoloLens (show PokémonGO how it's done!) for a MR ready phone. Of course we also need a great accessory ecosystem.
  • Wow. I cant believe you almost called Windows 10 mobile what it is. A broken unfinished OS.
  • Surface Touch
  • Do we need to wait till 2018? as mention in article" Redstone 4, currently targeted for launch sometime in 2018. I'd be surprised to see a Surface Phone show up before Redstone 4,"
  • I am genuinely quite excited about what MSFT are doing. I have been an Apple fan for about 9 years now owning iPhones, iPad and Macbook Pro's, but over the past year I have gotten very bored with what Apple are doing, and last year I swapped out my iPhone for a Lumia 950. Sadly I dropped it and smashed the screen and not wanting to pay out more money for a replacement I put the SIM back into my iPhone. I recently purchased a replacement 950 at £250 (including dock) from the MSFT Store as I was getting so annoyed with iOS 10, and I have now fallen in love with W10M and the Lumia and will use them as long as they last. I watched both the MSFT and Apple Events and where the whole Holo Lens element didn't interest me the rest of the it and where MSFT are going really excites me. Quite the opposite to the Apple event where I got really bored. I think I can see what they are trying to do, and I read somewhere a quote that summed up the new MBP for me. Ports for the Future, Specs from the Past, Nothing we Need Now. That Touch Bar is something I would never use. That made me think about what I need and I realised that I own to many devices and don't maximise any of them. At the moment I am primary using a Surface 3 and Lumia 950 for most of what I do (outside of my work). I would get a Surface Pro in the future but the Surface 3 does 95% of what I need and my MBP 2012 does any heavy lifting I need which is about 5% of my needs. But, the concept Zac discussed in the Podcast about not buying a mobile primarily for the calling capabilities anymore was interesting. My call usage on average per month is 69 mins and texts about 150 (I do use WhatsApp), but I am finding that my data usage is not enough. The call plans offered in the UK by my provider are rubbish and do not seem to reflect usage patterns. High called, high text average data, or low calls, low text, low data. In Nov when my contact is up I will be moving and hoping that there is a low call, low text and high data package out there for me. If in the future MSFT comes out with a device that I can utilise as a Surface/Laptop device (with decent power) by plugging it into a screen and getting Surface capabilities, as well as being a calling device when disconnected, then that would kill off lots of devices in my house and that sounds perfect. A device that is a calling device but can be used as a smartphone/tablet and isn't too big, max 5.7 (ideally 5.5) but then can plug into a screen and still offer a powerful system. That would be cool. I can't wait to see what MSFT do next.
  • What is in the name?  Surface x (it is now "3") is already taken. It is the smaller Surface 2-in-1.  While the Surface Pro x (x = "4") is the bigger 2-in-1.  Surface Book (probably the next one will be Surface Book 2) is the laptop that can be a tablet.  Surface Studio is the All-in-One desktop PC.  Now, for a the mobile computing, the name must make sense and it should signify that it is PC on your pocket.  Remember the PocketPC, MobilePC or Windows CE or Windows Mobile of yesteryears.  I do not have any name to suggest.  I want to get surprised.    
  • The only thing I fear is that this "phone" will be ridiculously expensive. MS probably again will call it something for "pros" or "business" and thus make the price on purpose really high. IMO I don't believe that will work there. Mobile market is a delicate field. Also would be a huge letdown for me personally.
  • All of Microsoft's "paradigm changing" hardware has been supported by a software ecosystem which was established with Windows 95. While they've expanded those experiences quite well, afaik they are yet to develop a successful new software platform. Such a platform, an ecosystem, would almost certainly be required for any new platform as radically different as a phone is to a PC (whether the PC uses a touchscreen or not). It would be essential.
  • Realistically, the "shift" needs to be a mobile phone with full Windows capabilities (obviously with a dock or wireless connection to a screen). The issue is always going to be battery power, etc. Continuum is a start, but ideally, this would eventually become full Windows.
  • I think some ideas por the next microsoft phone, or whatever.  
  • I don't care too much about the name but about MS actually moving in public with new incremental steps towards something that's really a beast.  The killer will be MS not having enough presence in the mobile market, whatever their longer-term vision, as they move towards it - Lumias have gone, with the presence now supported by 3rd parties.  Perhaps behind the scenes they don't want to really get anywhere much at all.  The current user base is a fantastic opportunity to keep trialling their moves with - but won't be around in numbers for that long, without sufficient new products.
  • If surface phone will be launch. It must have a pen feature.