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To save Windows 10 Mobile Microsoft claims Surface 'category creation' is the key

Shortly after Microsoft announced the Lumia 950 and Lumia 950 XL, I wrote an article asking 'Does Microsoft want to reboot the concept of a phone?'. I affirmed that while Microsoft 'owns' the Lumia 950 and Lumia 950 XL those phone did not represent what Microsoft was actually doing in hardware – referencing Surface Pro, Surface Book, and HoloLens as counter-examples to those lackluster devices.

Specifically, I called out category creation as their modus operandi when it comes to their first-party hardware:

Microsoft is not about creating hardware for the sake of creating another thing. They only create hardware after consideration of where the market is going to be, not where it is now…Microsoft tried to kickoff modern PC development with the Surface. That was the whole point. What would such a program look like for phone if they wanted to re-invent that category?

That was from October 2015.

I bring this up only to drive the point home that Microsoft's intent here is as clear as day. Just this week, Microsoft's Chief Marketing Officer Chris Capossela reiterated the same point when he guested on TWiT's Windows Weekly with Paul Thurrott and Mary Jo Foley (head to the 21minute mark):

One question I get…what about our own first-party hardware, our own phones?…For us when we want to do first-party hardware when we want to Studio or Book or Pro the number one goal we have is to essentially try to create a new category of device that hasn't been done before that frankly can expand the total adjustable market for the Windows ecosystem…In all those cases we are looking to create a brand new category that our OEM partners can then follow behind us and do in massive volume, and that hopefully expands the number of devices that people want because we create something new…

Capossela goes on bringing up 2017 for great things from Panos and his team as well something reported before:

When we think about any new hardware whether it's phone, whether it's tablet, desktop, you name it, HoloLens, we want to do something that hasn't been done before, we want to create a brand-new category…2017 is coming, and we'll have great new things in 2017…Panos and team are working super hard. But I think it's important or helpful for our fans to understand why is it we do this stuff and our mental model has to be not just building another device that competes with a premium device in some category but it's got to be something different, it's got to have a different point of view, and hopefully that's creating a new category."

When combined with Microsoft's groundbreaking announcement of Windows 10 on ARM, advancements in mobile processing, the continued improvements to Continuum, inking, 3D mixed-reality, and more it's not hard to put it all together.

Category creation, especially for the mobile space, is something I have been harping on for a long time now. It's also why I shrug off the current "Windows Phone is dead" claims because technically it is true and has been for a while. When it comes to phones and mobile Microsoft is looking to change the concept. All their work in the last two years has been about positioning themselves to do just that.

Nonetheless, exactly what Microsoft brings to the table and when is still a mystery. Recently, Zac Bowden and I have heard of dates slipping in 2018 and that the Snapdragon 835 is not Microsoft's target processor, but something more advanced. A device with a foldable display is also another bit I have heard referenced (but not confirmed). Clearly, Win32 emulation and a composable shell for the UI is in the mix too.

Microsoft's hardware group aka "Surface Team" has told us before about release schedules for products: "When it's ready." That is how they operate, and it's an appropriate guidance for such a high-profile product.

With Surface Pro, Book, Studio, and HoloLens, can Microsoft do it again with Surface Mobile? History is on their side, but the proof is when they announce it and how the public reacts. Skepticism is warranted, but some confidence is too.

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

249 Comments
  • This looks exciting 😊
  • Exactly. I switched to Android a few months ago (broke my heart to do it), but when Microsoft comes out with their game changer, I'll be ready to switch back...but, it can't be a "work in progress" phone. It needs to be complete from a hardware and software standard. Nobody that wasn't already a WP user is going to want to switch over if the apps aren't there or if the OS experience isn't as smooth as butter.
  • I haven't switched. L535
    But I'm too excited for Surface Mobile.
  • I hope it's 2017. I wouldn't be surprised if it's 2018 if they really want to make sure they get things right with a better chip. I just hope that either Microsoft officially (or Windows Central unofficially) can start giving us some details about it in 2017.
  • SD835 uses a 10nm process chip.  The 7nm process chip will be out in 2018 accoding to TSMC's production schedule.  So the SD840 could use that chip and find home in the Surface Phone (or Surface Cellular PC?).
  • I think the most we'll see in 17 (late 17) will be some leaks of actual devices from MS. That's it... 2018 sound more realistic.
  • I wonder if they expect fans to stick around for more "coming soon." I did just that until the cancellation of the McLaren amd I'm waiting for the right device and app situation to jump back in to Windows 10 Mobile.
  • 2017 or 2018... I probably can't afford one until 2020 either way! =P
  • Of course, the current strategy of not releasing anything themselves and having no other OEM's able to fill the void, all but guarantees that the app's will not be there when this thing is released. What's the point of having a new category of device if won't come with the app's the general public expects?
  • That makes perfect sense on paper, but nothing surprises me when it comes to lack of support (or reluctant support) for Microsoft products from app makers, but I'm hoping that something that creates a new category would gain the interest of developers in a way it hasn't before. 
  • I think it's looking likely that the "Surface Phone" is going to be almost entirely based on Continuum and a full Windows 10 desktop experience. Whole not that interesting for consumers, in the business world it nullifies the app gap issue, and UWP is there to cover the mobile app side of things, if businesses jump on it in large numbers then UWP becomes more enticing to developers since business users will start to expect their x86 software to become touch friendly and useable without Continuum and hence they will push developers for it. At the moment I feel that even with a big take up on the business side it will be 3-4 years before we see much on the mobile consumer side. I suppose it really depends on how good the hardware and software looks and performs really, if the Surface team nail it then there's quite a good chance of taking some share from Apple like we've seen with the Surface Studio. I'm hopeful anyway, still rocking the 950 but depending on a more confirmed release timeframe I'll probably be grabbing a Pixel phone sometime next year until MS actually release something.
  • Exactly
  • Don't forget about the camera.
  • exactly, we need uwp versions of all needed apps
  • It looks like it will be able to run x86 apps, right now I have an x86 android emulator, so day one you would be able to run all android apps.
  • With what kind of performance? It'll run x86 apps with emulation, now your going to run android emulation on top of that (if that will even be supported)? Good luck with that.
  • I hate that 80% of people won't switch anyway because there's no snapchat
  • Lol Snapchat
  • True, I remember reading a long time ago that the creator of Snapchat does not like Microsoft at all and would never release the app on WP.
  • Forget Snapchat. What popular Social Platform is missing now. We have Twitter, Facebook and Instagram(regularly updated).
  • I don't use Snapchat, but a LOT of people do and wouldn't switch because of it. I'll say this when it comes to twitter, FB, etc. I've used them on WP and now on Android, there's a difference. Developers seem to put more effort in bringing features and overall polish to the Android version than they do to the WP version. Personally, I can use it with just the bare bones minimum of features, but if you're trying to bring over people from Android or iOS, they're gonna want the same experience, if not better than what they were getting on the platform they just left.
  • I don't use Snapchat too but less features has been always a problem with WM because of being the 3rd platform.
  • WM has better features than Android, Whatsapp for wm is far better than Android. check yourself and compare the features.
  • In which ways is Whatsapp "far" better on WM than it is on Android? 
  • Snapchat is hellishly popular in my family. Not having it genuinely has meant that I am the only one left on WP. The 3 other phone users in my house have all gone iPhone or Android.
  • Hellish is an apt term to use when mentioning snapchat.
  • Yeah guys, come on! If we omit the things Windows Mobile doesnt have it has everything! right?
  • Facebook increased app requirement to 2 GB odd RAM. Which is a joke. A terrible joke. Really screwed the nice app we had on WP8.
  • Snapchat sucks. Can't what for Instagram to knock it out. IG will only continue to evolve and improve.
  • I was a Windows Phone user, but I can't continue to use the platform right now because my work place doesn't support it. Yeah, that sounds funny given the fact that we use Office 365 and inTune, but here we are. I don't have the clout to get that policy changed, so I have to use an alternative. If that weren't the case, I probably would be using a 950 right now. The app de jour doesn't matter that much to me. 
  • You beauty !
  • They said the same thing for YouTube, then Instagram. They always looking for a reason to hate.
  • You mean 50% of women won't switch?
  • So you would want to exclude 50% of the population from your product? Nice!
  • Not snap chat keeping me away. In the 950xl a year after thread I list the apps that I didn't have on Windows 10 mobile that I use regularly on IOS. That's what is keeping me away.
  • Right, while Snapchat in particular may not be the specific thing keeping you away, my point is that there are specific apps for specific individuals keeping them away. Some are big apps like Snapchat or possibly a game fad like Pokemon Go or smaller, more personalized apps. My overall point is that until developers want to make apps for the platform (and provide parity) at the same time as other platforms, it will be hard to convince the people that only care about apps to switch.
  • SiriusXM is sole reason I switched to Android. There are other apps I now enjoy that I didn't have on WP but I really wouldn't miss them if I switched back.
  • Third party apps are king on WM: https://www.windowscentral.com/e?link=https%3A%2F%2Fclick.linksynergy.co...
  • Get out !!
  • 8.1 was a solid phone.  Then Microsoft decided to blow it up and their loyal customer base right along with it. WM10 could not have been a greater embarassment if they tried. It's still not there - and surprisingly, nether are most of their phone customers. Forget Microsoft and the mobile platform. They blew it. 
  • Same here... I love Windows phone, but I had to stop the testing and get to a modern phone with modern technology like paying and such. Samsung pay is amazing. Shoot, Samsung could have done this with a Windows phone. Anywho, when they are ready, so will I. Android paired up with my windows life.
  • I had to switch to Android as well after being on WP since the beginning because of app requirements. Don't like it, find it very convoluted and no standards in app design, also terrible one handed use at least on the S7. It would probably be a better experience if Microsoft's eco system worked well with it. I suspect if I went all google it would be better and that is the other issue Microsoft has not only apps. Even if people like the next iteration of windows phone they've already invested a lot to just drop the Eco system for WP, apps are not enough. I can't wait to get back myself but I don't see much changing to be honest, an interesting vision for a PC in the pocket but I don't see enough people having an interest to make a difference. Guess we'll see.
  • pricing is killing it. nice products but no normal people ( the consumer ) will be throwing 1/12 of their yearly income after this tech. an average cuban earns 25-30 $ pr month minimum wage in denmark is around 3000$ .. these products are simply completely of the mark.
  • This is what I've been saying. Microsoft knows if they just put another smartphone out there, it's destined to fail. If this "Surface Phone" transpires, it's going to follow exactly what the other Surface branded devices, and that's create a whole new category. As an avid Android user who loves Windows 10, this said device has my attention...
  • a new category for who? If this "new category" will be exclusive only for wealthy consumers then nothing will change = it will fail the same way as the 950/xi failed. Remember the days when people talked about: WM needs a good HW and everything will change to better?! Then the 950/Hp X3 came and what? What changed? NOTHING because people dont think like this... everybody uses Andorid or iPhone for YEARS now. Microsoft needs to release 90% of available app on other platforms for WM, needs to push out new devices with high and mid HW for an affordable price to penetrate the market..but.... this wont happen with Surface line... this is another "dream" which will fail after some months after realease
  • As usual, you're wrong. Even if they had the apps it wouldn't matter on today's "phone" because there's ZERO reason to switch. Having the same apps is not an argument for switching from iOS or Android. How do you do that? You have given nothing in the way of a comprehensive solution.
    "Microsoft needs to release 90% of available app on other platforms for WM"
    Right, but we know that can't and won't happen. It's a dumb point because it's not attainable. So, now what? You also, conveniently, ignore the success of Surface Pro, Book, and what seems to be a hit with Studio which is highly relevant for this category. Instead, you fell back on the app-gap? That argument mad sense in 2012-2014. Now, it's just boring and definitely not the answer. You need something much bigger and more interesting to actually woo people., to get their attention. Great, put out a Windows phone and put all the same apps as iOS. Nothing changes.
  • The problem Microsoft faces is that the more powerful the chipsets become, the better iOS and Android are for productivity applications. Can MS create a new category and gain enough traction in time before Apple and Google create the same thing using their mobile OS's with their fully developed ecosystems?  If I had to bet I would definitely pick iOS and android. As more of the previous win32 applications get rewritten as 'cloud first' applications does windows even matter outside the workforce. Windows itself is in a very tenuous position. The clock is ticking. Daniel's article points out the glass half full part of the story. Believe me it is not so rosey. It's a tough uphill fight over the next 5 years, where Life of windows is very much at stake.    
  • Uh, no, powerful chipsets alone won't make iOS and Android better for productivity applications, they'd need desktop environments and applications at the level Windows provides to be able to accomplish that.
  • And apps are getting more and more complex so what's your point?
  • Android has a desktop UI built in now.
  • The success of Surface Pro, Book & Studio? I guess that depends on how you define success. Sales of Surface Pro like devices are still dwarfed by the tablet market even though sales of the latter have been dropping each quarter. And Book & Studio are so expensive and niche, that their sales numbers are not even worth talking about. While I'm sure that all these devices perform excellent in the context of what Microsoft expects of them, as category creating devices they are not setting the world on fire. Certainly nowhere near what Apple accomplished with iPod, iPhone and iPad. The app gap is boring? LOL. With no new Windows Mobile devices on the horizon for 2017, the Windows Store is what's in risk of becoming boring.  Sure, the presence of apps may not be "the" answer, but the absence of them will all but certainly tank this Surface "phone" (or whatever you want to call it). With Pro, Book and Studio Microsoft has released desktop devices and thus managed to avoid the app gap discussion. But sooner or later, this app gap thing will come back to bite them in the rear.
  • "Sales of Surface Pro like devices are still dwarfed by the tablet market even though sales of the latter have been dropping each quarter. And Book & Studio are so expensive and niche, that their sales numbers are not even worth talking about. " Because the iPod, iPhone and iPad made Apple the most valuable company in the world overnight, right?
  • "Sales of Surface Pro like devices are still dwarfed by the tablet market even though sales of the latter have been dropping each quarter."
    They're supposed to. Listen to the interview. Microsoft cannot possibly compete with HP, Lenovo, Dell, etc. for mass production and distribution, nor are they even trying (hence why Surface is only available in some countries).
    "And Book & Studio are so expensive and niche, that their sales numbers are not even worth talking about. "
    Surface line is a $1B business. Surface Hub is also now $1B business. It makes money, it has caused a shift in the market as two in ones are the only growth in the PC business right now (in addition to gaming laptops). It's also about 3% of the PC market. So a billion in sales is "not even worth talking about"? That's ridiculous. I don't think you get what Surface is or what it is meant to do.
    " Certainly nowhere near what Apple accomplished with iPod, iPhone and iPad."
    These are all in decline. Literally all of them.
  • Totally agree, I think it's been clear for quite a while now that Apple has run out of steam, people are looking for something new and exciting and Apple has failed to deliver that for a while and looks like they won't deliver any time soon, while they are certainly not going to completely tank and go under, they are becoming less relevant while Windows and Microsoft is becoming more relevant and generating much more positive press. I feel Google is somewhere in the middle of Apple and Microsoft they are sort of innovating but no where near the level of Microsoft's most recent innovations. Time will tell if Microsoft can pick up the mobile market share with a "mobile but not a smartphone" device and I really can't wait to see it, exciting times ahead for sure no matter the outcome!
  • Microsoft is selling less devices each quarter, not more. While Apple did seem to sit this year out, I am sure they will still have great sales of their products, especially the iPhone. Next year is the 10 year anniversary of the iPhone and I would bet that they are preparing a big update. Otherwise they will start falling off for real.
  • I understand MS is trying to lead by example here and doesn't want to be a direct competitor for its OEM partners. When I said "Surface Pro like devices", I meant not only those made by MS, but also the other 2-in-1s by the other OEMS. And I also acknowledge that they have done a fine job with the Surface line of products and that they can present some nice figures. My point is this: none of these new categories have created a lasting impact with the common guy in the street. Surface Pro has come closest. But Hub is enterprise only, Studio is also targeted to a specific audience. Book is so expensive that it can never reach a large audience. And unless I'm mistaken, none of the latter 3 have so far been copied by other OEMs. What I'm trying to get at, is that I feel this 'category creation' stuff is made to seem bigger than it is. It's not some magic bullet. People have not suddenly all started buying 2-in-1s instead of tablets. And from what I'm reading about Surface phone (inking, continuum, ...), the Surface phone will not make people stop buying smartphones either. It will just chip way at a subset of the smartphone market for those that want something different. And maybe they'll get 3% market share with this in the same way they do with Surface Pro. And that would bring them back to where they were 2 years ago with smartphones. The goal of these new category of devices should be, I think, to come up with something that goes way beyond that 3% market share? No?
  • "The goal of these new category of devices should be, I think, to come up with something that goes way beyond that 3% market share? No?" Not at all, the goal is to open new markets for Microsoft's OEMs to profit from. Market share is irrelevant to a device maker when it earns 20% or more profit out of each device sold - see Apple.
  • Wrong. Ipod is not in decline. It is dead.
  • Because it was replaced, Apple gave it the cold shoulder.
  • Actually, he is not wrong. This is something that everyone was expecting to happen with WP7 and then with WP8 they had an other chance they wasted. WP8 was a great OS and they had a lot of Features that Android is getting just now, but there were not enough high-profile Apps that you could use (Snapchat? YouTube? etc...). The only reason that Surface products work so well is because you have a Laptop equivalent, if you need it. Do you remember what happened to Windows RT? It failed, because there were no Apps. Now you will say: "But the new Surface Phone will have x86 Emulation!" Yes, but you can't use a Windows application on a phone screen. You will still have to connect the phone to a Display and we'll see if consumers are prepared to do that. I would like to have a PC in a phone, but it's because I work at a PC and it would be my business phone. For a normal consumer, that won't matter and they won't use that functionality. BTW.: There have been rumors of a Surface Phone since the first Surface tablet came out. I don't believe anything until I see it. And all these hyped people here either are new to the Windows Phone "Fan-Group" or they forget very fast.
  • "There have been rumors of a Surface Phone since the first Surface tablet came out. " And those rumors were unfounded since Panos Panay and the Surface team only took charge of phone hardware in July 2015, only since then could Surface Phone rumors have any substance.
  • There could have been an internal collaboration between teams. Hell there was more collaboration between Microsoft and Nokia. The reason the rumors were "unfounded" is beacause there was no Surface Phone being developed.
  • "There could have been an internal collaboration between teams." That was never going to happen before Ballmer and Nadella implemented "One Microsoft". There was a reason this old organogram chart jokingly shows Microsoft teams pointing guns at each other: http://static3.businessinsider.com/image/4e0b340dcadcbbdd35120000/org-ch...
  • As usual, you're wrong. And not to be harsh, but you've been saying that Microsoft is doing it right since Windows Phone 7... It's a bit arrogant to say that he is wrong "as usual".
  • I think it is a mischaracterization to say that Rubino has been saying that Microsoft has been doing mobile right since Windows Phone 7.  I've not been tracking his interaction with Pappale so I have no idea what's going on there. I do want to emphasize one part of Pappale's argument.   I understand that Windows 10 on ARM aspect of a Surface Phone was stated to be aimed at the enterprise market with Win 10 Mobile for the consumer market in the short term. There's some aspect of Pappale's argument that is not entirely wrong.  Microsoft still has a app issue for the consumer market and we've certainly not seen their execution of either Windows 10 on ARM or the associated applications and until we do, there's reason for skepticism.   Rubino also emphasizes the possibility of skeptism in the article. ​In the short to medium term phones are still a very problematic journey for MS.   I don't do dreams or fanciful hopes and "category creation" in the mobile market is still a big question.   Finally the raison d'être of phones is still to make calls.  While the percentage of time using a smartphone to make calls is usually less than using it for facebook and such, let's not deceive ourselves.  Most of us no longer have landlines and no matter what people do with their phone or mobile, that's what they call them and a primary criteria is how they work as phones.
  • Microsoft is signing up as a LG 'foldable display' customer.  Is Courier coming back?  W10 on ARM will serve perfectly well for that device. https://mspoweruser.com/microsoft-said-one-lgs-first-customers-new-folda...
  • Yeah, the Surface stuff is nice. In practice, though, what is it helping? I don't really see the W10 Store as a major step up form the W10M one, for starters. Second, that's all a premium line that has something of a niche consumer base, so "success" there is easy to make up. Didn't the iPad Pro, which is factually inferior to the Surface Pro, start outselling it almost immediately, just for being an iPad--except more impractical and expensive? The Surface Book, it's nice, but I wouldn't call it that successful when it gets a few, deep-pocketed buyers. Yes, it might get rave reviews and turn a profit, but what does it REALLY do for the platform? Basically, the mass market is where MS continues to fail. Yeah, releasing sweet hybrids is great. Yes, it stems the bleeding some from the exiting of the laptop space for many consumers. However, those feel like somewhat pricey, short-term fixes to a long-term problem. The products are mostly nice and well-received, but they aren't in the price points of the masses and don't grow the W10 platform because of it. That means the app situation still sucks, and doesn't get better at a good rate. Keep saying stuff like "it's boring," but that doesn't make it inaccurate. HoloLens is the coolest tech advancement I've seen in a loooooooooong tie, but it's still $3,000 and super limited in its software offerings, so it isn't making waves. So, does it help MS to redefine a category? Well, they started on smartphones and tablets before Apple. Apple's just a cooler brand that did it better. So, stick with HoloLens there. It's great, but supremely niche now. So, in a few years, the prices drop, designs streamline, and consumers take a liking. By then, Apple's able to easily drop the "Apple Holographic," copy the MS idea, then run to the forefront with a better price point and logo attached. Look at mobile payment, how it lagged behind, then Apple showed up with a bunch of partners to hop behind that brand. W10 and W10M can't get Pokémon Go, but the Apple Watch can? So, yes, it'd be nice if MS makes a product that's awesome and new and in-demand. However, the past makes it seem that the more likely scenario is that MS has a good idea, trips over itself with a price point and software lineup, then Apple steals its thunder by the time MS has a handle on price and how to promote the platform. Nokia did a fantastic job in imaging, but WP8 was a mess for apps. Rather than have that together at launch better, MS fumbled with apps, and Apple just watched as phone makers marketed things like OIS, then taped it into its own phones, so there's basically nothing to make the matured WP/WM appealing--who cares about the industry-leading optics when the differences become so small? Microsoft's tendency to just half-plan its ideas makes me lose faith in it with a steady sadness.
  • Head stuck firmly in the sand. The answer is that MS is out of the mobile game. You can pretend otherwise, but even if you had an exciting device, without apps, it is nothing. Pretending like there is some kind of reimagining that is going to happen is more than wishful thinking. It's misleading and deceitful. Unless you are really that gullible Dan. 
  • This. It is too late. Microsoft needs more than new hardware. It is going to be tough to revolutionize hardware. Windows Mobile isn't going to be revolutionize anything.
  • I also feel like phones, especially in the near term, are a lost cause. X86 emulation might bring a boost to the cheap tablet market, and thus slowly boost the app store too, after that some success in the phone arena might again be possible. In the meantime MS should focus on bringing UWP on platforms which are still missing an ecosystem, like home appliances (TV version with Cortana should be easy enough, but it is also quite contested already, but there are other possibilities).
  • Microsoft do not have the ability to woo people, (currently) the launch or forced launch of Windows 10 put payed to an already wary and somewhat mistrusting public audience. Certainly they are producing a rather juicy range of desktop pc's, I'll refrain from commenting on the laptops, while they may look good and the build quality is good the platform lets it down, every surface laptop we had in our system within our national offices have been removed and the contract terminated because of issues which were wide ranging, interestingly they were supplied by the IT Company with rubber plugs over the web cam, "as a precaution over security" as our company deals with very sensitive information.
    Microsoft has failed miserably in reassuring those who remain faithful to them in the mobile sector and have done for many years. As I have said on another occasion the mobile phone outlets for these handsets have seen them almost, I emphasize almost, a joke so public confidence has waned to such a degree that they (Microsoft) have quite literally signed their own demise. In this fast growing sector, year on year all manufacturing of mobile devices must be high end, latest features or something radically new, well constructed, or it falls from the start line, it's consumer driven, its what we want and most importantly what we now expect. Quite honestly from Microsofts dismal efforts over the past few years it's going to be extremely difficult, but not impossible to get back up but not while they act in the way they do currently. A complete attitude change initiative needs to be driven home at the top, and carefully filtered down to those who have the answers to a successful future on the shop floor, from experience its they who have the answers to most problems but are not heard or listened to.
    In my own humble opinion, if I were to think about moving to anything Microsoft, and until recent was a loyal 'fan', (almost sorry to use that word) I would look at forums and search diligently for encouragement from other users to see if it was a sensible move. Anyone looking at this forum, (windows central) which appears to be the hub of anything windows would be put off immediately with all the negativity here, it far outweighs any positives on balance, and quite frankly rightly so (depending on how you read or what you read, there's is no doubt in my mind that here, (windows central) is where it has the ability to make our break the windows (mobile) platform.
    To try and get back from now less than 1% of the market would be a massive undertaking for anyone to accomplish!
  • Your 'wealthy consumer' statement doesnt make any sense. Apple has always been for the wealthy customers. Still they managed to sell all of their product categories like hot cakes around the globe. Not anymore since the inception of 'Surface' :D 950 xl was just a fill in device by Microsoft, whereas X3 a demonstration of 'calm before storm' device. Don't compare that with the surface line of products. Microsoft proved with surface that there can be premium devices other than apple (which feigns to be premium). People will definitely be buying a  'new category defined or redefined' device even if it cost a hand and a leg. The success of surface book and pros are examples. Imagine a cellular device with a foldable display as Daniel mentioned, which when unfolded becomes a full lablet PC. if that's the case app gap is not going to matter at all. Moreover the future of computing are not going to rely just on apps. It's going to be bots, superapps and AI. Microsoft is already industry leading in bots and AI development.  I don;t even fret to think that when they release their new device it'll blow our mind, as they've always did. Wait  for it...
  • So the Surface line hasn't been
  • So the Surface line hasn't been successfully?
  • That's Microsoft's problem, too scared of failure. Google jumps immediately into every new market without fear, and it has paid off tremendously. I still think market share rules all. There's no other way to get apps, and no one wants anything without apps.
  • " Google jumps immediately into every new market without fear, and it has paid off tremendously."
    Really. Their services have not all gone quite so well, nor acquisitions. There's also Google Glass and their other "side projects' that don't' make any money. 89% of Google's rev is advertising. That's it. Not products, not services.
  • Ex-google execs recently highlighted that exact point and said no one at Google seems to want to believe that they are an advertising company, even consumers don't seem to realise it.
  • "89% of Google's rev is advertising. That's it. Not products, not services." Isn't Google's revenue in advertising is as high as it is largely because of their products and services? The way you put it is like saying that airlines' income is from selling tickets, not by transporting passengers around the world.
  • LOL, the airline income analogy is just too crappy.. Please try harder
  • I admit it wasn't the best. But it seems you got my point, which was the idea behind the analogy in the first place! ;-)
  • The income of airlines is by selling duty free
  • Yes, but what makes that so successful? Google goes open-source on Android, gets it maps and browser and OSes everywhere, and bakes the ads in that way. So, yeah, they make money on ads, but they do it successfully. It's why I won't touch Google products, but it's also why so many will do it.
  • "I still think market share rules all." Because Apple is all about market share, right? Macs have had it bigger than 5%, iPhones are barely beyond 10%, if that, in most countries in the world and even in the US it's been shrinking for a year or two now, now being 2:1 towards Android instead of the old 1:1. 
  • Excited for the coming year guys, better times are coming to us. Nice comforting article Dan.
  • im so tired of waiting for a quality microsoft phone product. i dont' even say windows phone anymore i say microsoft phone. who knows what to call it. not only that but the buttery smoothness of wp8.x feels like it will never translate to w10m. i use an android or iphone and get bored with both and go back to ms phone. ill enjoy ms phone but the lact of good quality hardware (cameras! build!) brings me back to droids and apple. i feel like one of the most lost fan boys ever. i can't express enough discontent with satya when it comes to mobile. the killing of metro, the introduction of wireframe icons design. the lack of smoothness buttery performance. the killing off of continued flagship devices. 
  • No need to wait! Lumia 1020s can still be found on eBay.
  • hells bells, my wife is still using my old 1020...works like a charm for what she does with it.  (Answers the phone, asks questions why haven't you picked up some bok choi yet, or googles (Bings) such things as:  why is my husband an *******.  You know, the usual.
  • Yes, I do know. I will never get married again! I'm literally still paying for that mistake...
  • Hopefully we don't have to wait until 2018, but yeah, cant wait for Panos Panay to get on stage to present the "surface phone"
  • i miss windows phone news the apps the rumors the usage, the struggle to be in 3rd spot we were the 3%! europe 10%! WTH satya, thats what they did for xbox, they kept pushing it for 10 years? and now look where xbox is a complete success
  • complete success? According to who? Or what?
    Look at the PS4, its the best selling console EVER made
  • Profitability. Does the Xbox division (a) drive revenue and (b) is it growing. The answer to both: yes. Let's throw in that Sony's success is now slowing down having lost 4 out of 5 of the last NPD numbers and even then only beating Microsoft but 1.1 to 1.0M consoles.
  • This is what I've been saying for awhile now. Everyone wants to just compare numbers when it's not that simple. No one seems to factor in profitability. Just because PS4 has sold more units than Xbox One, doesn't mean Microsoft isn't making a profit. Would Microsoft like to be number 1? Sure, but they're doing just fine without that specific distinction. Just because Mcdonald's sells more burgers than Burger King doesn't mean Burger King isn't making a profit. 
  • From all your responses to the comments here, one would think the only successful company in the world is Microsoft. According to you, every other company from Google, Sony, to Apple are all struggling while Microsoft is flourishing.  Hint: When you are starting from barely selling a million units, the only way to go is up. Especially with a new hot entrant. However, that doesn't make your product hotter than a product that still sold 10 times the amount of units your sold... even in a down year. Also, winning 4 of the last 5 NPD scores is all well and good. However, you could also look at it this way; Sony has won 80 percent of the total NPD scores since launch. That is nothing to sneeze at.   
  • Realize Microsoft are far from being a one trick pony.
  • "Look at the PS4, its the best selling console EVER made" Look again, because it's not.
  • Your comment is based on outdated information and shows serious signs of fanboyism!
  • Dude go away! If you don't want to be here then leave because nothing you're saying is making sense. The Xbox is doing great, and is now doing what the PS4 did to the XB1 in the beginning and middle. But the tides have turned now, deal with it! Just saying.
  • I think you meant to say PS2.
  • No it isnt...
  • I think anyone would be happy with the sales numbers XboxOne has seen. Besides, the easiest way to know if the platform is successful is to look at game selection. The only thing either platform will lack is the exclusives and first party games. That won't change. Speaking of first party titles, while Sony owners get to wait an eternity for each Gran Turismo to be "perfected," Xbox gamers have been happily plugging away at multiple Forza titles. 
  • My over three year old 1520 still operates to perfection and continues to offer more with every update. My only hope is it lasts long enough till the new Surface mobile category comes out and I will buy it day one. I am curious what it will be called, Surface Go, Mini, Tab etc. I like Go. I can see the ads - salesperson "would you like a new Surface Sir" customer " no I will have mine to Go please"
  • I like Surface Mobile personally.
  • For sure it is not going to be called surface phone, imo surface mobile or mini
  • The 'surface mini' moniker is still available. An almost bezel-less display could be 6.5 inches and the phone no bigger than a 950xl
  • This new device will be 6 inch. Terry Meyerson said this to Mary Jo Foley
  • I know Surface Phone or Mobile may be will exist, but I worry about the price. It may be more expensive than HP Elite X 3, and it was not something good. Microsoft just aims for the business market...with the high price. I do not want Alcatel or Acer ... I want products made by Microsoft ...
  • I picture a tri-fold display (when closed, it's the size of a phone). Also a fold-out keyboard and kick-stand. Surface mobile....
  • I like Surface Note as it is likely going to be more phablet than mobile phone.  I do feel we are getting a bit ahead of ourselves with the name discussion, though.  We aren't even sure what the category is Microsoft will create with this new device, and that will have more influence on the name than anything.
  • Note would be confusing, since current surfaces are note centric too. Also the name note is now damaged due to the sadly demise of the galaxy note 7.
  • Sad? It was a fireball!
  • The fact that it behaves like a bomb is sad. Obviously taking it out the market was the right thing to do.
    But before we discovered the exploding hazard, that was probably the best phone ever.
  • How about Microsoft Surface Mobile with Windows 10 Professional x64 Edition including Service Pack 6a. Get back to our roots!
  • LOL...   I guess we've moved beyond Windows Mobile 3.11 with 32 bit disk access. ​(yes, I'm old)  
  • You missed single language edition with bing.
  • I will add Pro and Surface Phone 📱
  • Mine 1520 starts to have battery issues. I can go from 100% to 0 in 10 minutes while using Instagram... I don't want to buy a new phone before Surface something will be out for enough time to be cheaper and not buggy.
  • Try resetting your phone at once.
  • Problem is Windows 10 (on ARM or Intel x86 and its associated desktop paradigm) isnt what phone buyers want today. What is going to make this appealing to them in the future?
  • It won't be one thing, but many. Inking, I think mixed-reality could be important, gaming is another I have heard mentioned...it will be a lot of their strengths they are focusing on publicly.
  • Maybe people will buy not only for "phone", but to try Windows 10 on small screen which will be more cheaper and with more battery to try Gaming, Inking and Office.
  • for that you can buy a tablet or an ultrabook/laptop.. no need for a phone. People use their phones because of 3things: 1. app 2. cameras 3. internet Nothing else matters to them
  • "Nothing else matters to them"
    Clearly, the concept of category creation is lost on you. It's not about giving people what they want today, it's about creating something they will want for tomorrow.
  • That's risky though. While they try to create something new that maybe hopefully people want, Apple and Google are owning the biggest thing right now... Mobile. MS is missing out on billions and billions. And sometimes people don't want what's different, for instance video game consoles have been around nearly 40 years now.
  • "That's risky though."
    Of course it is. Here's the situation though (1) Is mobile important for Microsoft? If yes, go to step 2, if no, give up and sell a desktop OS "forever". (2) Mobile is important so (a) compete directly with Apple and Google...again...after failing three times or (b) go for the moonshot and try to innovate out of the problem? Their only choice is 2B.
  • Can Windows Mobile drive a successful moonshot? If the past is any indication, it cannot.
  • Okay imagine if You have Windows 10 on small screen and as Laptop and you travel a lot, which will you choose. I think phones will be cheaper and more easily usable.
  • For me, I want one device to rule them all. My dream has always been a device that fits in my pocket, always connected, and runs Visual Studio that I can just dock to a couple of screens and code away then pick up and leave without even needing to push changes to git. The only company in the world I see that can possibly make my dream come true is Microsoft, no one else is even close. And when you do have one device instead of a desktop / laptop / tablet and phone, even if it is ridiculously expensive it's still cheaper than everything else combined and a million times more convenient. I'm just waiting for that "shut up and take my money!" moment now.
  • Cool, but single point of failure for your entire digital life and work. Make sure you have spares at the ready.
  • No exactly a 'single' point while being backup to the cloud constantly, is it?
  • Backups are a necessity, but won't help you access the data if your device fails. You need data backups AND spare devices.
  • My friend that comment earlier and this one now clearly shows your lack of vision! You are stuck in the current Paradigm! Not much hope for you unfortunately...
  • What about games? I use my phone mostly for games and video streaming (nextflix etc)
  • At one point no one wanted apps, no one wanted a camera, most people didn't even want a cell phone. Most people didn't want computers or the Internet when it was new. You can't say people don't want something they don't know about. And I know from experience in sales there are some consumers, even if a small percentage, asking for what is essentially continuum and having a phone connect to another display and function like their PC.
  • "people use their phones because of 3things: 1. app 2. cameras 3. internet" forgot calls      
  • Dan you should watch this!
    And write an article also;")
    https://youtu.be/6dE-K79uzd4
  • When you say "mixed-reality", does that mean like Holo Lens or a combo of Holo Lens/VR? What would be a use-case scenario? Would that mean I could be on the phone and I get a 3D version of the person projecting from my phone i.e. Obi-Wan Kenobi or maybe something like if I wear goggles, I would see the person I'm talking to within my environment similar to that video Microsoft has?
  • I'm thinking it will be like cheap(ish) wireless goggles where the AR / VR experience is powered by the phone, it makes sense now that Holographic is built in to Windows 10.
  • Ya, good guess, I agree with your view. That should be viable option, since there is no need to fork out extra cash for the HoloLens then. For people wearing glasses, there can be an option for attachable lens like those sunglasses that are attached to the spectacles.
  • Currently a Windows 10 pc can be the "brain" of HoloLens via wifi, they could do the same with phones.
  • I bought the X3 almost two months ago, this should last me until the next big thing. I hope there will still be something of an ecosystem left by then, as more and more apps are giving me problems. Forget about getting improvements to current apps or getting new ones.
    I hope for the best but fear for the worst.
  • A LOT of skepticism is warranted.
  • i feel microsoft should start a new team dedicated soley to apps, this team would seek out every developer who is not developing for w10m to put that app on w10m and those who are letting their apps stagnate. they should use salesforce create casework. run analytics find the apps most people use BESIDES the standard ones and get them on the platform. throw money at them whatever you have to do get the apps. next is hardware team, panos has that covered hopefully with especially cameras and then shoot the w10m ui and bring back metro or slowly evolute it back to metro and then advertise advertise advertise and make it carrier free even buy direct from microsoft as well. there thats how you fix it, someone hire me
  • They tried that on WP8.x, they spent a ton of money and it didn't work.
  • i agree with you. but they did try that before and failed.
  • The hopes of me getting a surface phone is basically zero seeing that i cant even buy a surface product in my or many other counties.
  • Which technically is fine from a business standpoint (not a personal one, obviously). Listen to what Caposella says. They could never meet the distribution and mass production abilities of their OEM partners. The idea is to lead and let them take over. You can't buy Surface in your country, okay. But can you buy a Windows 10 two-in-one? I'm going to guess 'yes'.
  • Plz try to have a solution for Turkish market . It's really poor and they r not appreciate MS . I don't know why . I'm suffering here cuz im one of biggest fans for MS.
  • Not only Turkish market... Majority Asian market too.
  • I guess we have to settle for "OEM" devices because we not good enough for them to sell us there phones
  • That's one way to look at it. The other is Microsoft cannot compete at the level without damaging their OEM partners.
  • Alcatel and HP both delivered excellent high end Windows phones in the past few months. Unfortunately their availability worldwide is not what it needs to be.
  • I agree about the former but not the latter. The HP Elite x3 is available in a good number of countries right now. Not everywhere, yes but in 40 something countries.
  • Directly from HP right? I have not seen the x3 on carriers in my country. So its still useless.
  • Fair point. Yes, directly from HP.
  • Sure, but Cortana is not there, Store is a ghost town, no Groove music subscription... MSFT clearly aims for AI and voice user interface, but that is not happening in most countries, is it?
  • Heh, not in Brazil. :P Not a single Surface Pro clone here in stores. Of course, we have only ourselves to blame with our retardedly expensive and overcomplicated tax system.
  • Awesome. Good to read these articles. Anxiously awaiting said Surface Mobile.
  • I wrote to Santa Claus to give me a Surface Phone, he replied back : "Feedback received, my elves are still working on it. Wait till next year."
  • Coming soon
  • Waiting for the mystery to unfold.
  • The only reason i use windows 10 mobile is because of how similiar it is to Windows 10
  • Looking forward to 2017.  Cortana based devices (I'm in for a Cortana smart thermostat) + surface phone....   Assuming the apps are there, I won't think twice.  Agree with the original post.  It can't release as a work in progress. Period.
  • I will live on my 950 until this device spreads out over planet earth. The 950 is still a very good phone.
  • I agree and the 950 is much more powerful than a handful of phone in the market
  • Good article, and I get where you are coming from, however I believe that MSFT should have provided a "meantime plan" for the tens of millions who invested in their products, which were at the time, "created to compete with premium devices in some category". I feel that MSFT left us carrying the proverbial bag of their missteps. If they applied the same logic and dedication of getting it right with the phones as they did with the original Surface RT and Pro to come up with the SP3, I think windows phone would still have a 5-8% marketshare, and developers wanting to weather the storm.
  • There was a lot of mishandling, no doubt.
  • I agree. It is common knowledge that it is far 5-10 times cheaper to retain customers than it is to aquire new ones. MS had 8% of the mobile market, now it is below 1% of market share. All of those former MS Mobile customers (like me) have moved on to iOS or Android because of half baked software, lack of apps, or most importanly, no new phones available to replace our old ones I am on Verizon and would have bought an Idol or the H3 if they had been available on my network. So now, even if MS does come out with something amazing, they will have to convice all those lost to another OS to come back. This will be far harder and more expensive than if they had kept those existing users happy and looking forward to have an even better device.  I have no doubt that if MS releases the surface phone that it will be a great device. A great device won't sell by itself though; it will need great software (including apps), strong carrier support and great marketing; all things MS has been very poor at executing in the past.
  • Not trying to be that guy, but the title should read ". . . Have to Reinvent the Category"
  • I take it that the 835 is next years' phones' flagship chip. Qualcomm do one major, plus some tiny revisions each year, right? So the 840 by Qualcomm, or some similar specced processor is the one? Wonder if Panos has any input into Scorpio. Can't see them creating a new category next year as they have likely git their hands full in terms of hardware. Got another year on my 950xl contract, so I can wait. Don't like the iPhone or my GF's Android, so hoping MS raise the roof.
  • If it fits in your hand and pocket and can make calls 95% of the public will see it as and call it a phone no mater what spin ms calls it....really needs to be a game changer since there doing another reboot.
  • Both points are quite accurate.
  • It's all interesting but, isn't this pretty much the same deal as the TRY to do every year ?  Sure Windows 10 has been accepted but, to be honest with you, if 95% of the people in the world had to pay $99 for a upgrade (as all past versions after a promo period), do you think Windows 10 would be doing so well ?  If they didn't agressivly push it in everyones face with spyware (what else would you call it), would people accept it ? Windows Mobile...Oh, a whole different story.. To sort of  re-invent that category ???  Really ? Dont get me wrong, I love Windows Phone but, I had no choice but to move on.  Windows Mobile (as I was a WM user from 2.0 and got my first WP 7 device with many models over the years) was failed marketing to start. You can create a new phone, make it crazy fast, with the best screens in the world and be 40% less than the new iPhone or Android flagship and it still would suffer the same fate.  The App problem is STILL the biggest issue with WM, UMP has been sort of working but, as 3 apps come in, 5 leave. Microsoft would need to spend another billion or so to sort of " re-invent the category" 1, New devices 2-3 on EACH carrier (low end, Mid line and flagship) and EVERY CARRIER 2. Huge promition, TV ads, internet, web streaming. 3. LARGE promotion for Devs, discounted fees for the first 6-12 months of listing an app. 4. large deals for retail sales people, free phones, more money for selling devices (something they DID NOT DO first time around) This is something Microsoft needs to dump a lot of money at to make it grow again, Universal apps is starting to take off (to a point), with the right promotions devs could make the apps, this is NOT just for WIndows Phone/Mobile, this is for the whole Echosystem, Phone, PC, Xbox but, the phone needs to be pushed to the front for a while and made note. If Microsoft does not do 1/2 this stuff, or drop money into it... that 1% of the market share is not going to grow much and even more devs are going to skip over the mobile apps and just do a 10 app. Even with a totally epic phone, I dont believe this will change much. They really need to smarten up of they want to make it work....
  • Agreed. You can build the best hardware in the world, but if you don't spend massive money marketing/promoting the brand, it most likely will fail. If the Surface brand is a success I attribute that to the 5-year NFL marketing deal, Best Buy deal and Microsoft Stores as much as anything. Surface was a massive financial risk that early on looked like it was going to fail, but Microsoft had a 5 year promotional deal with the NFL and they stuck with improving the tablet every single year. The investment in Surface is paying off now, but if they put out the exact same devices without hundreds of millions in marketing it would've been a complete failure of a brand.
  • Stop talking about it. BE ABOUT IT.
  • I'm looking forward to what will come when it comes. For now though, I'm fine hanging out using MS services on the other two, and also playing with my Lumia when I feel like it.
  • I loved my 1520. I love my iPhone7, it runs all the Microsoft Apps I need. I won't consider another Windows Phone, there is no real need to put myself in that situation again.
  • Looking forward to it :)
  • Foldable displays could become a major opportunity for Windows. Just look at the phone/tablets featured on HBO's Westworld which fold 3 times from a phablet into a large Surface-sized tablet. Similar tech has already started to be demonstrated by companies like Lenovo and Samsung. A better design might even include a roll out display that pulls out to whatever size screen you want. With foldable display tech it is not hard to imagine a future version of Microsoft's Surface that can convert from phone to tablet to laptop and run x86 programs in emulation mode.
  • Okay stop talking about it, and start releasing that Surface Phone!
  • Surface mobile will have definitely a 3D scanner with two cams at each corner end. This will be part of the creators update, was also in the demo with an elite x3 ( the sand castle). I would love it. Together with win32 it will be a game changer.
  • Problem is they should have created at least one more range of handsets before this move, as we don't have one to select from now that's MS branded and many users have jumped ship because of the lack of choice. I've been with a Windows mobile device from the very start, HTC Mozart, but for the first time I'm considering jumping ship due to the lack of hardware upgrade options. Once I've joined a new platform it might be hard to return. Very disappointed in MS.
  • I still think that the phone shown at 2:05 of this video is Surface Phone. https://youtu.be/ozLaklIFWUI?t=130 I also don't think that it will be called Phone or Mobile...I think it will be something named like "courier" or something of the sort (not saying it will be courier) I just feel that Surface Mobile is a bland name. 
  • Well Dan and Zack best wishes for leading holidays. 2018. is so far away. 835 is not something that will interest MS? Could be something totally different from 835 in 2019 from hardware pow? You and I don't know that cause MS is expecting something not knowing what to expect. I don't want surface mobile like future SF but better W10m for everyday use today (communication through voice, picture or video, car usage, orientation in space, WiFi, dlna, pictures, videos...), stability, battery consumption, IoT integration, and business usage. On the other hand you could ask some of your MS colleagues having android and iPhone devices for personal usage what they gain from them and not heaving from w10m. I heard in interview statement that MS cares about consumer opinion and suggestions. Your costumers are crying out loud with every insider note. Every note mean's expectation. Here lays another big MS problem, he can't give customer what he want's in mobile world today and talking about super troupers device's tomorrow (dodged answer from interview) with hardware not yet made is something that should calm me down? C'mon I want device aka Lumia 10. Reference device for today to met 2018. At the end I have my 950xl and will stick with her till the end. And that is 2018? P.s. These sentences are here to wake you all from Microsoft interest zone again, to search again, to demand again. Don't like hibernation state today.
  • before this even happens, we need much more uwp apps of the many apps that are available for other platforms and once it's true uwp apps,it'll incorporate the many great features that we love
  • I just bought a Lumia 650 today. Loving it right now. I was always a two device guy. A Windows phone in one pocket and a android phone in the next. For the last two years ive used nothing but windows Phones and never had a reason to go back. Cant wait to see what windows does in 2017.
  • "we want to create a brand-new category…2017 is coming, and we'll have great new things in 2017…Panos and team are working super hard." Sounds good.
  • I completely agree with the thesis. However the thing that I worry about is that just as Apple fan(atics) fall at the feet of Jony Ive. I do wonder if the same is happening with MS and Panos Panay? Is he going to deliver the next gen? I have literally put my money where my mouth is having gone L920, 930,1520, 640, 950, 950Xl and SP3 in the household. But beyond that... I hold MSFT stock precisely because I trust Nadella and Panay to deliver BIG.
  • I switched! From a 640xl to the 950xl. Love it! Microsoft rules....😀
  • I am on the verge of abandoning ship. My +1 already did and I'm up next in the next week or so. I hope our paths cross in the future. For now, I'll keep my SP3 in tact.
  • They going to need to make everyone excited, impressed and surprised
  • All I have to do buy a 950 and they'll announce the Surface Phone the next day...
  • You and I seem to have the same sort of luck... lol
  • I also have that type of luck but the Lumia 950 is probably the best Windows phone out there and with production ending and i don't know but there was like$200 off the price and I would buy it
  • "Recently, Zac Bowden and I have heard of dates slipping in 2018 and that the Snapdragon 835 is not Microsoft's target processor, but something more advanced." OK, it's gotta be asked: Who the heck cares, then? A couple of months ago, I posed a similar question--how many more "later" responses can we take? We got told the highly disappointing 950 family was an acceptable dose of medicine because the unified W10 platform would make it all worth it. We got told of the greatness that would be Redstone in the summer. Then, we got a kick in the face with "well, the mobile stuff will be 9 months after that Summer 2016 date." So, we got saddled with being the second-class citizens of even first-party software (which MS bothers doing better on iOS and Android), and the reality of W10M's marketshare made it understandable. Now, you're trying to prep us for "oh, that 9-month wait? Let's add at least 12 more." The idea that I would have to go 2.5-3 years on the Lumia 950 is appalling and stupid. If MS can't put out something before 2018, then I give up on them. There's simply no way to acceptably defend having MS buy up Nokia, run them into the group, chase of the talent, half-bake a mediocre, also-ran device (which they laughably called as "for the fans"), then tell us to live with a creaky chassis, buggy software, a continued dearth of apps (so much for the savior of the UWP on W10M, eh?), and smudge-prone screens for 2-3 times the hardware cycle that mature OEMs work on. At the very least, this HAS to mean a Surface Phone in 2017, then a paradigm shift in 2018. Microsoft has taken a royal dump on its consumers for, what, 3 years now? The Lumia 830 started the laughfest of watching MS drop overpriced, underpowered hardware that is insulting to its fans. The Lumia 950 and XL barely made it over that bar, but the build quality is atrocious. Asking people to sit on these devices all of next year just can't be done. I got my Lumia 950 in Fall 2015, expecting something to release the following fall. I'm on a contract that allows me to upgrade a year after I get a phone. Then, it got pushed back to Spring. I was annoyed, but also a bit accepting (getting on the same hardware refresh cycle of the SoCs they use isn't a bad move). That said, I can basically upgrade NOW. I'm not going to sit on my hands with this disappointment of a phone for another year...I don't think. Sadly, Android isn't attractive as an alternative, and iOS is never going to happen. So, on the one hand, I feel like I'd just sit on the Lumia 950 until something good happens. On the other, if MS deems it prudent to repeatedly push the finish line back on customers, deliver bad hardware, and treat us like dirt, I don't know a way to defend the platform any longer. If I can't get something by the end of next Spring, I'll start looking at what MWC presents from LG or something. They at least have compelling hardware ideas, try new things, and put stuff on an OS where there are things like stability and a full app suite.
  • I see that you are angry and frustrated.  I can't say I disagree.  I probably like my 950 more than you do, but yea it could have have more aesthetic panache than it does.  I'm pretty concerned about the timeline for a Surface Phone release, the idea that it will be aimed at enterprise with Windows Mobile for consumers and Microsoft's execution of the entire affair, including Windows 10 on ARM.   There's too many questions at this time for anything like optimism yet.
  • I don't know if you do. I mean, it's a fine phone. The problem is less about the phone and more about the path. Having a 3-year gap from the 920 to the 950 (since the 930 never got to AT&T), it was something of a letdown. That it was marketed as for the fans," it made it a bit MORE of a letdown, since on a technical level, it was basically a bare-minimum device. Having it be a $550 felt pricey, but having there be a random upcharge to $600 on AT&T was total crap. That it was $550, and the Display Dock was $100, was a slap in the face to 950 buyers when the 950 XL cost $650 and came with a free Display Dock. I mean, my phone and Dock cost MORE than going with an XL and Dock (Since I didn't want to pay the $650 directly out of pocket to MS at the time). I'm with you that I can't be bothered with optimism right now. We've spent too long with empty promises and half-baked ideas to just accept that the result will be good. I mean, MS couldn't even bother with more than two colors on the last flagships it released, instead partnering with a company to get us some $50-60 replaceable backs that added nothing but an aesthetic change to the device (something we could get for free on the 920, which cost $100-150 less than the 950 and came in many colors). MS just hasn't done a consistently good job about anywhere in the last 3 years, so it's hard to trust a plan that gets pushed back all the time.
  • You have solid points here. Well said actually. I think the waiting thing can either be easy or hard, depending on your (general you) situation. If my windows phone was my only phone, that would be challenging. Since it isn't, waiting isn't as bad.
  • My 950 isn't my only phone, as I got an LG G2 a few months back to go with it. Basically, I just play Pokémon Go on the G2, while tethering it to my 950. I don't need to do that much with my phone, that's why the app situation never really bothers me too much. My problem is with how pathetically bad MS is at communicating and keeping promises and being reliable. Maybe if MS hadn't sold me, like, 3-4 bad XB1 controllers as well, released such a letdown in Halo 5, and gutted its game studios, I'd feel a bit better.
  • I think processor is going to be the key for this transformation to take place.
  • drop the phone.  Call it the Surfist.  Because it is a Surface that fits in your hand...then clenched because you have waited so long...
  • As I now stand on the outside looking in, isn't the obvious solution to really and whole heartedly bring a boatload of quality, built for Windows 10 apps to mobile? I mean unless Microsoft can create something so unique that it can overcome the app ecosystem aren't they just repeating the same cycle all over again? Beautiful devices that can't give you a robust app experience that you can do things with on the go.
  • The win 10 on ARM does that. It will run wim32 apps. I have a Android emulator that I use right now. Win 10 on are + emulated android = no app gap. The end. Your welcome
  • Lets hear it.
  • Should be faster
  • What's happening with the Wharton Brooks?
  • They already went out of business.
  • The last thing they said is that there's been another delay. We should see something from them in the coming months.
  • So we're now looking at a autumn 2018 launch with a Snapdragon 845?? I'm not sure my L1520 will manage to survive that long.....
  • Yeah, sure, whatever. The game has changed dramatically over the last 10 years. And none of change has been driven by Microsoft. They are not players anymore. All they have is legacy monopoly in some areas and that's it.
  • technology is always changing, and they are still one of the strongest players in the tech industry.  They have outlived xerox, revived apple brand in the 90's, and people forget that without windows platform, Google wouldnt be what it is today.  GOogle has leeched off microsoft goods for decades.  Windows mobile has been around since Palm and Blackberry.  Both outlived by microsoft.  The company is as excited as the first time they announced XBox.  Surface is their new baby, and it will flourish.
  • If the Surface phone is released I will buy it. I want my phone to be my portable computing powerhouse :)
  • Also I know this is off topic but does anyone else on Windows 10 not use the uwp app because it is really slow and buggy, I use the old app that I had to use on Windows 8.1
  • Cool, waiting for it ;)
  • How about Microsoft do a discussion and pole, asking people what will make them switch to another platform.
  • Why do I feel that MS is targeting the phone and PC concept of 'Her' ...
  • Lol... Microsoft is already doomed.... If Surface phone arrives it will be expensive like 40 to 50k, with no apps it will be worst again... How people will buy this stupid phone... Lol.. Please Microsoft accept the defeat :-p
  • they have enough money to keep windows mobile going.
  • What worries me is not Apps/stable OS, but how much better the imaging will be than the Lumia 950/XL
  • I hope MS will do his best as always with Surface brand!! :)
  • Just an idea... With the newer hardware coming, and Windows 10 on ARM wouldn't these devices be able to authenticate against AD/AAD and therefore allow corporate policies to be pushed down to the device using native tools? Our company just released a new policy and carrying 2 phones is an option. If more companies go this route, isn't there a whole market out there (of AD/AAD users) where the corporate issued device is in this new "Surafce Mobile" category? People could use their personal Android/iPhone for hotel checkin, boarding passes, etc.. until those apps move to Windows 10.  
  • With win 10 on ARM, why do you need iphone/android? Just us an android emulator.
  • If MS truly do release something ground-breaking, they need to release it quickly and in most major markets. They need to be like Apple in this respect: announce, release within 2-3 weeks worldwide. People get bored hearing about cool things only to have them released in 1 market 6 months later, and another few markets 6 months after that. Even on WP7 I couldn't buy music for at least 1-2 years after the devices came out - it's no wonder people didn't care. You can look at any of Microsofts failed products and see that there wasn't anything wrong with the product - it just wasn't marketed, they didn't release it quickly, and didn't release it worldwide. Zune is a classic example - people from the US probably can't believe it didn't exist in most major markets. Windows Phone is another... I'd have to wait 6-12 months more than the US for a product to finally be released, and even then it would be missing half of the touted features. It's no wonder that "Coming Soon" is a running joke in regards to Microsoft. I love Microsoft and their products, but they really need to get their act together. They need to get their deals and distribution worked out long before they announce things. Build the hype, release the product, with all promised features!
  • Yeah, that's great and all, but nine of this is an excuse to basically abandon existing customers, and not come out with any new devices in the meantime. And I don't trust them to get "the next big thing" right, when the can't even have feature parity with existing competition. I keep holding on to hope, but it's dwindling every day.
  • This may sound stupid to some, but my take on Windows Mobile is that they are not going to re-invent the wheel, but instead make the phone a better interface device. An extreme example would be from the movie 'Her', in that the 'phone' was everyone's companion, and the AI would do whatever the owner wanted. This would mean greater integration with Cortana, and seem less integration with the cloud and windows 10. I think we are seeing the infancy of this with the Amazon Echo type device, and I suspect that the MS device will probably be similar, but even better as instead of yelling across the room, just talk into your phone, and it will do anything you want. Similarly, what I think most people want is a seem less transition from phone to PC to tablet. If your phone was the 'secure' access point, all you would need then is a dock, along with a monitor and keyboard, and then you can continue work anywhere, perhaps even have your snap chat etc, everywhere, on any device at anytime. Tell Cortana to start your xbox and launch halo before you get home, tell Cortana to turn on your computer and open whatever file on Excel, tell Cortana to turn up the AC, turn on the kitchen lights, etc. I think the Azure network is going to be a big part of mobile. I know that they 'optimized' certain games on the Xbox by using the servers, so perhaps computing power on the phone is not important, as all that processing will be done in the cloud, and the phone will just be the interface. I think it will work well when the 5G networks roll out. That may give MS an advantage over Apple?Google. Amazon might actually be Microsoft's real threat over the next 5+ years.
  • You could go without a dock, screen. if you added a VR/AR head set holder you would have screens everywhere.
  • Microsoft sucks worst service i had faced in my life from a well known coming 950 xl is the shittt a big shitt.. I juz used 3 monthe and all 8 month its shutdown due to many problem and due to bad sucked service center never gonna by this ****** things from microsoft
  • There has been a lot of talk about and app gap, however there are win32 andriod emulator apps. So if the Surface mobil can run win32 you would have all the Andriod apps working on it day one. Again dot as good a UWP, but it would be there.
  • Some how I don't think Win32 emulator apps on Android won't give you the same level of smoothness and simplicity Win32 emulation on a OS level would give you on a Windows 10 for ARM device...
  • Win32 emulation does not give you Android apps. Nor is Win32 of much use on a phone. Desktop apps don't run well on my 8" Intel tablet, so they would be horrible on a 5" or 6" screen. Way too small to click on buttons, drag, double-click, read, scroll, etc. Win32 emulation will only be useful in Continuum -- when connected to an external monitor. Microsoft may not even allow them to run on the phone screen by itself. Best uses are... a laptop/tablet dock which gives it a large screen, mouse, keyboard, etc. and corporate use (i.e. join a domain) for network file access. Otherwise, it is a stop-gap for folks to write Universal Apps.
  • Win32 emulation does not give you Android apps.
    No he's not saying that...  He's talking about W32 Android compat. layer (app emulator) programs like Bluestacks. There's several of them, 1 or 2 of which are much better than Bluestacks IIRC.
  • In the meantime, Microsoft should have released some more Lumia phones to fill the gap.
    My L640XL is getting too slow for me. Something with an SD600 or SD615 would've been much better.
  • Soon
  • Well, for one thing. They need to stop with the "updates" and bring something new. It's like, by now for sure, call it official and call it quits. It's been the same for 8 months. It's done. Move on. I put all my devices on the slow ring cause I was sick of all the updates. It's boring and it is what it is and by now its not gonna get any better.
  • huh?  That makes little sense.  Just go production ring if you are sick of "all the updates."  You're get the updates in time without the frequency. ​We know the "Creators Update" is coming and getting regular insider updates certainly reinforces the idea that Microsoft has not given up on Windows 10 Mobile.
  • All you WP users crack me up, WP is irrelevant, it's DEAD, put a fork in it, Microsoft has, all you are doing is keeping yourself from using a much better mobile platform, that actually works and is useful, be it Android or IOS, life is too short "keep waiting for that so called WP unicorn" , you guys are acting like you owe Microsoft, heck I love my W10 PC, but you would not be catching me use that abomination called WP, if and when they get their act together in the mobile phone world then and only then might I have any interest in trying it out. The mobile phone is supposed to be a tool, why anyone is using the tool called WP is beyond me, if you where a mechanic and your livelihood depended on that tool would you seriously be using WP, I don't think so. The ship has sailed with WP many years ago, it's time to let it go, there is an app for that called let it go, LMAO.
  • Aesthetically, and sometimes even functionally, iOS and Android doesn't work for the user. For the basic user who just makes phone calls, text, web browse, take photos, and play an occasional game any of the platforms will work. I find myself in that situation even to the point of being able to switch back to WP8 because my needs are simple. What is most important to me is have pictures on my screen. The live tile layout is the most effective system available. So whether it is the AP news tile, my photo tile, my Tumblr account tile, 500px tile, City Art Tile, all my grandchildren pics, even the store tile or Hulu tile, having them randomly showing new stuff is more appealing to me than the limited field of display of widgets on the other OS. So although the ship has sailed for you because you need a lot of apps, for some of us, we have all we need and will probably really need.
  • I can't find this "let it go" app in the Windows store
  • You will never be able to find it, because it's not in the WP app store, LMAO.
  • In all honesty I agree with Dan in his thought behind plan 2b. I believe MS knows this. I hope they come out and very aggressive. They need to take a page from T mobile when it comes to advertising and pricing.
    There should be more choices than Android or IOS.
    I just came back from a 2 year trip on android phones with the release of the Alcatel Idol 4s. For the most part I am happy with Windows. But the app gap is a very big problem.
    The idea of a PC in my pocket is very cool. They have Windows 10 running on a SD820 now so I don't understand why we have to wait so much longer. It doesn't make sense to show the world this is what we have going then sit on it while apple counters. If this is there standard operating procedure then someone need to be fired.
  • I am fed up with this Android phone already. Can't wait for MS next flagship device. I just hope they iron our the OS first before releasing to public. Cheers!
  • Join the rest of Civilization, WP is irrelevant, it's DEAD, put a fork in it, Microsoft has.
  • Well, if we're being objective, only the Surface "reinvented" a category...which was on it's way downhill. The Surface Studio is a beautiful device BUT it's nothing new. The Surface Book isn't anything new either. And HoloLens is prototype hardware STILL.   Microsoft won't be able to reinvent the wheel for mobile. In 10 years? Maybe. Or maybe not. As long as consumers are happy with the app-model - and they still are - there will be no "reinvention" of the mobile wheel.   So people waiting for the unicorn "Surface phone" should pick up their Christmas paychecks  and buy a REALLY nice and comfortable couch where they can sit and rot while waiting for a miracle.
  • The problem with Microsoft is that they are not able to speed up the launch of a product without compromising quality once they get a revolutionary idea, stuff that Apple used to do with conviction.
  • I like it Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • I like it Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • I don't understand all the hate.Dropped my 1520 hard.. Needed a fone quick. Picked up the dual sim 950XL last week following the price drop. Teah i know the limitations of the sim2.. (I'm in an area that will continue to support 2G for a long time)... no problem... USA and MEX phone numbers working great.  I'm reliably receiving text/calls on both lines flawlessly.. I have 4 email accounts on the phone.  I have FB Messenger and Whatsapp and Instagram.  I have Wells Fargo and Bank of America bank apps for banking.  I have the Fidelity app for my retirement stuff. I have Word, Excel, Powerpoint and One Note for Productivity. Edge browser works good. I have JW Library. OneDrive syncing is good. Camera is great. Maps is good. Translator is good. Love the ease of switching back to english and spanish on the keyboard. With the Mozo leather flip case with metal trim that replaces the orig back it looks fantastic.  I have wireless charging.  I have continuum. I'm surprised how much nicer this phone behaves than my 1520. The slightlly smaller form factor is much improved. Anyway it's a great phone. I have been pleasantly surprised.  The reception has been better than my 1520... I have a good strong Mex Tel Cel signal and the At&t is roaming well on Movistar (I'm in Mexico for a while.). I have signal in places where my 1520 dropped out. So I'm happy. I'm not sure in my case if I would have gained one extra thing going to Android or Apple. Not a fan boy.. Just comfortable with Windows Phone.  
  • If I to go back to Windows mobile this thing is going to need apps badly. That is a fact Nd cant be ignored or i just picture it being another mobile device in the other category