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WhartonBrooks Part IV: Building the team, the company, the phone, and expectations

The smartphone landscape is cutthroat, highly competitive and unwelcoming to newcomers.

Given this reality and the state of Windows phone, it's fair to wonder how upstart Windows phone company WhartonBrooks is faring in its quest to be the only phone company dedicated to making only Windows phones?

I've done some digging and have been in contact with self-proclaimed "world's biggest Windows phone fan" WhartonBrooks CEO Greg Murphy. What follows are updates to the WhartonBrooks journey.

Building a team

As a self-proclaimed dreamer, Murphy knew he needed to partner with people with varying skill sets to help him make his dream a reality.

Derrick Egerman was the first person tapped. Egerman agrees that he too is a dreamer, but as Chief Strategy and Planning Officer he brings a breadth of ideas, a vast network and an affinity for networking that are essential for a company seeking growth.

Murphy needed people with different skills on his team.

Percy Price was next on board (not pictured above). As Chief Development Business Officer he brought both an ability to build connections, as well as a pragmatic way of thinking to the table. His grounded and very inquisitive nature offered balance to the two dreamers that founded the company. He has helped bring needed partners and people into the mix.

Derrick Ballard was fourth to join the leadership team. As Chief Technology and Innovation Officer he brings a forward-looking and big picture perspective to how Cerulean phones can connect to larger economies and global infrastructure. Murphy shared that Ballard's contributions will help give WhartonBrooks a huge footprint.

This four-member core leadership team is responsible for driving the company's strategy. This plan includes expanding the business's staff into different areas that will help bring the vision to fruition.

Team players

One of the critical areas of team growth will be in the form of customer support, or Mobile Mentors, in time for the phone's launch. Mobile Mentors will help customers take advantage of Windows phone's unique features. Murphy acknowledges that Live Tiles, a connected experience (and now Continuum) are features other platforms don't have and were lost on some people. Education for Windows enthusiasts and those who wanted to try the platform is something that was missing.

Mobile Mentors will help educate consumers about Windows phones' unique features.

Additionally, a team will eventually be formed to develop ideas around product development life cycles. This team will help ensure that the software takes advantage of the hardware to breathe life into areas of the platform that have not yet gotten attention.

Furthermore, the company has two divisions. Cerulean Mobile focuses on consumers whereas WhartonBrooks focuses on medium to small businesses. In relation to its business-focused component, Murphy shared that in time they'll be hiring people for business sales force positions. Murphy expressed a local construction company has already shown interest in a single device that project managers can carry while mobile and dock while at a desk.

Thinking outside the box

OEMs have found differentiation difficult on Windows phones closed platform. What will make Cerulean phones different from any other Windows phone? As the old saying goes it's not what you know it's who you know.

Windows Phone 7/8 programmers are bringing a unique "out of box" experience.

Murphy's OEM contact at Microsoft connected he and Egermen with the programmers responsible for making features that were part of Windows Phone 7 and 8. These programmers are excited about creating a unique "out of box" experience for Cerulean phones through some as yet undisclosed software innovation. Will it be reminiscent of Windows phone features that were present in Windows Phone 7 and 8 but are absent from later iterations of the OS; or will it be some entirely new experience? We don't know.

We do know, per Murphy, that passionate and knowledgeable Windows phone programmers are on board with bringing exclusive software features to Cerulean phones. Will this be enough to retain current and win back disenchanted fans?

The more countries, the merrier

WhartonBrooks' brief journey has been rough. Their first meet and greet was canceled, their anticipated Fall 2016 launch delayed and in October a factory delay hindered progress.

All bad news isn't all bad, however. Murphy adds:

Where we are now is reconfiguring the phone – again – to include more bands. We have partners in Canada, Mexico, Brazil and Bolivia who have joined us to launch in those countries. This has definitely impacted our timeline. No matter who wants to join in this time we're pushing forward.

The fact that some delays are related to entities in various countries seeking to partner with WhartonBrooks is a good "problem" to have.

Delays were caused by partnering with additional interested countries.

Customers in the US, Germany, India and Australia have also shown high interest. This interest, coupled with thousands of mailing list sign-ups, has excited the internal teams and investors.

If that weren't enough, Murphy and Egerman teased that there is an international box store with both a web and local presence that has shown interest in Cerulean phones. Who might that be?

But I want a Microsoft phone

Murphy says that they are expecting their next round of samples before the end of January. If all goes well he'll then "announce everything".

Still, many Windows phone fans prefer first-party hardware. Murphy's and Egerman's response:

…I am sure when you get a flavor of what we want to bring to the table that we will acquire fans for our way of doing it. Our idea is to make the phone that people want, not provide phones they have to take. Microsoft, they want others to make the phones, that's the bottom line. They made this program so people like us would actually do it. And here we are doing it, and excited to be only the ones doing it and we hope it stays that way.

Yes, they're doing it but will they succeed? Critics have valid concerns. The industry is fierce and even members of WhartonBrooks target market, Windows phone fans, can be hostile. Will investors see the decreasing number of Windows phone users as a bad sign? Or will WhartonBrooks' promise to make fans the phones we want be enough?

Naysayers see failure before the journey's end. Others see hope (and are rooting for WhartonBrooks) as the journey progresses. To which group do you belong?

Follow the journey:

-WhartonBrooks faces delays as a result of factory delays

Jason L Ward is a columnist at Windows Central. He provides unique big picture analysis of the complex world of Microsoft. Jason takes the small clues and gives you an insightful big picture perspective through storytelling that you won't find *anywhere* else. Seriously, this dude thinks outside the box. Follow him on Twitter at @JLTechWord. He's doing the "write" thing!

164 Comments
  • Thanks,for reading folks! Greg Murphy and his team are in a unprecedented journey. Never in history has the fan of a platform embraced a company's OEM partnership program and started a smartphone company making only (one type of phone) Windows phones for Windows phone fans. Never. This is a journey worth following. As with the other parts of this series and as the opening of this piece suggests, the purpose of this series is to tell the story as it progresses. That what I'm doing. Now I know there are some who don't see the value of this series because they haven't seen the phone yet. Others may feel that this speaks of vaporware, and wish to voice thier dissent. Your voice is noted. Others, see the unique journey this team is on, understand there are challenges and no guarantees but are intrigued by the story, understand they have embraced Microsoft's vision to herald the platform through partnerships and are hoping for success. We hear you too. This is a unique journey, for the industry, and the Windows phone platform and I've taken the unique position to chronicle it. Microsoft needs all the support they can get. A company started by a fan, with a mission to give fans phones we want, with support for a unique "out of box" experience from programmers who made Windows phone 7 and 8 features, is help they Microsoft needs. Are you a naysayer, or do you see hope?
  • Count me in the "vaporware" group. I'll believe it when I see it.
  • Not only will I believe it when I see it, I'll buy one (IF available on Verizon).  See what I did there?
  • Big IF!
  • Big NO! How is this little manufacturer going to justify Verizon's certification fee if Microsoft or HP couldn't?
  • One more reason for me to dump Verizon.
  • Verizon is the problem in this equation. They and Sprint are the only two carriers in the world that you can't just come and go as you please with pretty much any phone. I get it that they may have better coverage but is it really worth being locking into their phone on their network?
  • Dumb Americans. Our little New Zealand has better conditions re Mobile than you guys.
  • How petty.  NOT Dumb Americans, DUMB Carriers.  BIG difference here...
  • Keep in mind that America, just the contiguous states, are over 40x larger than "little New Zealand" and providing coverage is on a completely different scale.
  • I see hope, but i'm pretty guarded. It's a shamer there hasn't been much public update until this. I look over at there websites on occasion and am dissapointed to find it so rarely updated.  What is talked about here is good. I hope a device is produced and availiable, and i hope it comes out soon, the sooner the better. I also hope that when it does it will have at least one of the two features nagging me about the Alcatel Idol 4S (Wireless charging, glance screen) which is frustrating as I want to support 3rd party manufacturers, but i've been using Nokia for so long and devices that support those features (Glance screen since it was on Symbian devices, and the N9, Qi only since 925,but i have 3 wireless chargers) that a move to a device without those is a loss of the experierce for me. These features come way before a high res screen in a list of my device priorities. I wonder some times if part of the reson people are buying MS rather than 3rd parties is around support for features like that - the 3rd parties for the most part haven't supported these things. I am still using a Lumia 830, and am lining up money for a discounted 950. If Wharton Brooks get's there act together, i'd hapily make the stretch for a new device from them, as long as it's not crazy expensive. My biggest fear is that it's sort of late, and too many WP fans will have moved on, especially in the US where Windows phone never really took hold anyway. That said, brazilians who did take to the platform but have since been cut off by MS might be about to find a device maker they can flock to. But the fortunes of NuAns, and the other company who put their WP on crowd funding suggests the market dies of quickly, once you get beyond a hard core.  If they can get MS to help push the device at all - maybe show it at build, sell it in the store like they are now doing with the Alcatel device, etc. So my prediction - they will get a device together, and launch it, but probably it won't make a ton of money and the business focussed side of the business will need to do well to keep the company afloat for a second run. If they do get somethig out, i will absolutely consider buying it, but the challenge will be getting folks from consideration to purchase. I'll root for them either way, but make something I can buy, and i'll be all in.
  • Well said sir,well said indeed
  • I think you may want to read about Jolla... But aside from that, the biggest issue isn't the device or the software that comes with it, it's commitment to longterm device support and keeping the OS updated.  That's what burned people with 3rd partry WP OEMs.  You just can't trust them to support your device.
  • Didn't OnePlus do almost this exact same thing? What is different about them?
  • If they offer a phone that offers the right build quality, with the right add ons and at a sensible price then sure they have to be a consideration. I wish them success.
  • Oh I am early, wow. Anyway, I'm glad to hear some news out of them. I think it's great that they have people wanting to partner with them, which should help. I'm rooting for them, and I applaud their efforts.
  • Me too. Since they missed the launch date I was wondering if the end of the company was near. I hope they hire some camera people. Visionaries are great, but they also need some techs.
  • This guys and the company can be the save of Windows Mobile  
  • I hope you were being sarcastic ;)
  • Optimistic I think.  And I am too, but that optimism is being tempered by a HUGE dose of realism, I just don't think, no matter the good intentions, these devices will evber become real.
  • I am optimistic too. Build really nice hardware, get some media due to the unique situation and you have potential, no matter how small. But, none of that matters without the apps. As stupid as it is, a ridiculous company like Snapchat is almost single handedly holding back a platform.
  • México launch could pick up my interest.
  • What WhartonBrooks needs to do more than anything else is clarify how their business strategy is different than all the other failed WP vendors. 
  • What they need to do is get the phone on ALL carriers.
  • If they can get it on Verizon and it's better than what I have, I'd probably snap one up. T-mobile, AT&T, and Sprint do me no good as their service is horrible in this area, regardless of what their coverage maps say.
  • How did that help the Lumia 92x?
  • It seems like they aren't just selling the hardware, but also acting as a liason for consumers and businesses so they can get the most out of the Windows ecosystem. This is something even Google and Apple partners sometimes struggle with. Imagine some of your less technologically inclined friends when they get a new phone. They maybe put in their email address and that's it. Regardless of platform, consumers are leaving so much potential functionality on the table because there is a barrier to understanding. The reasons for the barrier are different for some people and can include unwareness (this is a magic handheld device and I'll never ever learn how to use it) to skepticism (there's nothing else I need this handheld device to do because I don't think it will work anyway). Both Apple and MS have brick and mortar stores that can help address this, but by and large few partners exist that really help educate businesses and consumers get the most value out of it. If WB can spend 1 week with a family of 4, walk them through setting up outlook accounts, onedrive, office 365, etc, they will be able to better realize the value. Remember, Microsoft's whole philosophy about Windows is that it isn't about the device and it isn't about the operating system. It's about the entire continual experience of services.
  • "If WB can spend 1 week with a family of 4, walk them through setting up outlook accounts, onedrive, office 365, etc, they will be able to better realize the value. Remember, Microsoft's whole philosophy about Windows is that it isn't about the device and it isn't about the operating system. It's about the entire continual experience of services."   -- Exactly. And then, those 4 family members will start to relize that they have no banking apps, no restaurant apps, nothing! Some fans here are so fcked up they simply do not see that a good hw/price device is USELESS without a stable and proper OS, which windows 10 mobile is far from. it's nothing but a dead mediocre OS.
  • That I happen to really like.....
  • What they need is a great UNLOCKED Mobile phone.
  • It will all come down to value. Nobody will pay Elite X3 prices for it, regardless of how powerful it will be. I just hope they are realistic and don't try to pull a Blackberry Priv stunt at $799 when the Note 5 was cheaper...
  • I noted in a precious part of the series that they are targeting an affordable price.
  • Yes I read the entire thing, but affordable is subjective.
  • Affordable for whom?  People who buy the Surface Book with Performance Base can afford it, right?
  • No. More affordable than that.
  • I don't think that it'll be that high, remember, this is a start up company and they don't have to pay 100's of thousands of workers.
  • Amen! Accessible to Everyone is the key and the goal.
  • I'm ALL IN!!! I just wish you can come to Mexico soon, really don't care about the app gap, I enjoy a lot the Windows experience and UI, and it will get better with Mercedes-Benz and BMW partnership
  • "Naysayers see failure before the journey's end. Others see hope (and are rooting for WhartonBrooks) as the journey progresses. To which group do you belong?"   To the group of the realistic people who know a no-name brand created by fanboys will never go anywhere specially with a dead OS. If their product ever goes beyond vaporware it will already be an achievement.
  • Why have you been down voted? Maybe some newbies read your post.:D
  • only fcked up blind fanboys must have downvoted him.
  • Slapping your name and a couple apps on a Chinese device isn't much of an achievement.
  • Mark me down as a naysayer.  Microsoft and HP weren't able to come up with a product that enticed people to come back from their iPhones and Android phones.  I don't have high hopes for these guys.  The name alone is enough to keep me uninterested.  Wharton Brooks sounds like a sleazy law firm and Cerulian (i don't even know how to spell it -- not good for a brand)  just feels gross coming out of your mouth.
  • +1
  • HP didn't focus on the consumer market, it was targeted toward enterprise customers. If Whartonbrooks aims at the consumer market, some die hard windows 10 mobile fans will buy. If they announce Canadian release, I'll buy in.
  • Aiming for the "die hard windows 10 mobile fans" market is so niche.  If every current windows mobile user (the very definition of die hard fan) purchased one of their handsets they would only gain 1% of the mobile market.  Not profitable - just ask Microsoft.  The only way they will succeed is to get iPhone and Android users to jump ship.  That would have to be one heck of a smartphone and it won't have a bird on it.
     
  • If a tiny company from Connecticut can achieve 1% mobile market share all on their own, they would be profitable. It may not seem like much, but 1% of the mobile market is still a very large number.
  • That is a very big "IF".  1% assumes that every person who currently owns a WM10 device buys in.  To date, no OEM has been able to achieve that feat.
  • Wharton Brooks is not same sound as Dewey Cheatham and Howe  
  • Lol
    Luv it
  • haaaa
  • I just keep seeing Walden Books Silurian and think, haven't both of those things been dead for years? 
  • Microsoft had the device...950xl....I thought was a very very nice phone. However...the problem here is the software. no apps, no support, no willing to play ball with developers and products....
  • I'm just worried that their budget runs out before anything is even announced.
  • Go Fund Yourself
  • Great, 4 articles so far and not a single info about this saviour phone this company is supposedly churning out.
  • Thanks for sticking around for the journey. As stated, it's about telling the story about the people and the company and the journey. What that does one info is shared about the phone is put the phone information in a much better context. It's not just about the slab of plastic and circuitry, it's about the people and the company and their mission. 🙂
  • To me, it doesn't seem likely they will be able to compete. How will they be able to offer spec/feature/price parity of massive corporations like HP and Microsoft or other established vendors with factory relations/contracts.Not to mention the capital to throw money at an underwhelming market. I just don't see them being able to get the cost:performace:quality right. If they even get to that point.
  • There are 10 typos in this article... It should be Waldenbooks, not WhartonBrooks.
  • Walden Books is a defunct book store according to the Wikipedia article. It went into liquidation in 2011.
  • exactly!
  • And defunct they will be, launching a phone with this dead meat OS
  • If a company that's out of business can make a phone, that's news to me.
  • hope they are watching if it aint running win 10 arm its dead in the water.
  • My thoughts now exactly. Maybe that's why they haven't released a phone yet? Waiting for win10arm first? I hope so.
  • Crikey, as mentioned before, these guys have more spin than a politician. Release dates come and go, nothing appears. There was a 'delay' in the manufacture regarding compliance, and now they are adding 'bands'. Surely, as with most OEM like apple, Samsung, LG and Sony, these bands are available, just redundant and active depending on sim?? I like the idea of a 'reasonably priced' device, but these guys are stifling their own business. W10M doesn't need another bog standard form / function device. A good idea for the budget conscious maybe, but how is this to be considered a stand out device, or game changer. There will be no migration to WM if the range only includes this, currently 'phantom' device and the likes of the fab (read well made!) Alcatel. Even the Asian devices don't offer anything over a low / midrange droid. A lot of the devices listed turn out to be Asia only or just badge engineered devices. You can't change a book by its cover. So, despite my wish for WB to succeed, I feel they are destined to fail. People will NOT wait for an average device when you can get a P9 lite for £100 in the UK. Finger scan, good amount of ram, nice screen and it sits between the 550 and 650 which are lacking when you compare the devices. W10M is never going to pick up unless something mind blowing happens, for example, youngsters won't come because of the app issues, others won't come because they follow the beautiful people and buy fruit based devices, the professionals are wary as they have iPhones etc integrated, and the rest, we'll, they all think it's dead and lacking support. MS, when the next big thing is developed, need to plug it. How many ads have MS got running regarding cloud banking for remote villages? How many surface ads? How many HP enterprise ads are there at the moment. They are EVERYWHERE, but guess what isn't everywhere?? Let's see what happens with WB. Having been kicked around by MS and W10M, I am not optimistic :-(
  • I agree that the name doesn't scream technology. I continue to read it as Walden Books which was a subsidiary of Borders bookstore. I'm impressed with their energy and effort thus far. If priced correctly, I will support them for sure. I would love for it to take off with the windows geek crowd. It would be cool if they made it in such a way they it encouraged folks to tinker with it. Customize it and make it your own. That would be cool enough to garner a geek following. Who knows what that could lead to. I wish you folks the best of luck.
  • I really hope they do knock it out of the park, but I just can't see how that's remotely possible for such a little company.
    Surely all they can get is a rebadged Android hand me down, anything more than that would require hundreds of staff for design and prototyping etc.
    It may be that MS is lending considerable support.
  • I'm cautiously optimistic. I think the big challenge for these guys could be the elusive "Surface Phone." That could take the wind our of their sails if it ever arrives. But then if they keep it "affordable," which the Surface Phone won't be, then it could create some synergy The Cerulian could be the budget Surface Phone and the Surface Phone the premium Cerulian. Either way, I wish them the best of luck.
  • #colormeCerulean I like the excitement and the slow build up. I understand there are hurdles to leap. Go Team, Go!!! Any tempering on my optimism is due to realizing even the "fans" will be stand-offish at first and they will have an uphill battle combating the Lumia preference bias. All signs point to strategies to win the loyal platform users over first and that would be the correct step, IMHO.
  • Get it to run on Verizon and I'm sold, just to try it out.
  • Verizon has zero interest in a Windows phone. Hell, MS appears to have zero interest in a Windows phone
  • This is pretty much it for me, provided it's at least more advanced than my current Lumia Icon on Verizon (which runs Windows 10 very well). I want a high-end OS with a great camera and Continnum support. If this does that and runs on Verzion with about a 5" screen, I'm in.
  • I'm using the Icon as well. It is a great device that still stands up to the competition, except for the processor. I'm running Windows 10 on the fast ring. I was really hoping the elite x3 would work on Verizon. I'm rooting for this phone.
  • Icon user here.  I picked one up last spring after the 928 was left for dead.  I was on the fast ring, but had all sorts of issues.  I had to revert back to Windows Phone 8.1, then upgrade it again.  Now on the production branch and no longer have the issues from before.  I would probably give this phone a chance, if it works on Verizon and is not $800.  I doubt Verizon will sell it directly though, if it works on the network at all.
  • I have a couple Android devices with that processor that still work just fine. Any of the 800 series is plenty of power for a phone. I am sure on Windows Mobile it really works well.
  • You might have to come to grips that there may no longer be a CDMA windows phone ever again.
  • @lbp775, while that's possible for the current iteration of the Windows Phone (on Redstone, and maybe even RS2), that seems almost impossibly unlikely longer term. Microsoft is clearly determined to get back into the mobile space as many of their biggest strategic developments are devoted to that end (Continuum, UWP, One Core, etc.). And Verizon will require CDMA support for phones on the network for the next few years. Put those together and it sure looks probably that there will be a Windows Phone with CDMA support.
  • If Microsoft is so invested in UWP, where is the Minecraft Pocket Version? If Microsoft won't even use UWP for their own apps, who will?
  • Props to this startup in taking on a huge risk with the Windows 10 Mobile platform. I truly believe it will grow into something awesome (as I REFUSE to switch to iOS or Android), but in its current state, Windows 10 Mobile has a long way to go. I guess we will see what happens, but I commend the company for putting things out there for avid WM10 users like myself. :)
  • "Try not. Do, or do not. There is no try." -Yoda
  • I wish them well.  Should they actually come out with a product, I'll consider it.  I assume that WB sort of had to start over with their project 
    as Microsoft has re-defined their strategy 
    of which we will (hopefully, probably) will hear about at BUILD 2017.  W10-on-ARM changes the game profoundly. 
    And thus WB has to re-consider their business modell as well.  Which means, real products are to be expected in Q4/2017.   
  • Don't get me wrong but WhartonBrooks story goes on like Santa Barbara series and can't see any progress. They have love, but "too much love can kill you" and not enough money (and maybe knowledge) for realising the WP deal.
  • It is great to see dreamers such as WhartonBrooks develop new Windows phones.
    And I am for one someone very interested in looking forward to find out what they will bring to the market.
    Now there is the app gap that forced many of use leave Windows Mobile to Android.
    And THAT is the greatest obstacle WhartonBrooks will have to deal with:
    Even if I want one of their phones, will I get it while I know very well my bank discontinued its app, or I cannot use anymore my connected watch, among may more apps I can hardly do without?
  • Windows has a great future on all relevant form factors.
  • It's a tricky move for sure. Thing is, when MS build their own phones, they can subsidise the price somewhat from Store purchases. Third parties don't have that luxury. Instead they have to try and make some extra profit from things like accessories. Plus these guys are going to have to pay umpteen of the various big boys royalties for this, that and the other. So while I'm not expecting the price to be competitive, I do hope this becomes a success story. Hopefully they can be the next Nokia for WP10.
  • Dual phone system that runs android and virtualizes it onto a win10 app? Only thing that could come close to saving the win 10 platform on a Mobile phone now.
  • I would love them to succeed, and Southern and Central America and also possibly India, are the greatest chance they have. If I were them I would focus attention on them, then Europe, then USA. Surely the only real chance is to wait for the Snapdragon 835, and smash it. Now we all know that is not happening.
  • I wish them the best of luck. The smartphone industry is worse than cut throat. If they miraculously get the phone out to market they MUST advertise it aggressively and MSFT needs to assist them in getting the phones to all the major carriers.
  • If they were investing in a growing platform they might have had a chance but the cold reality is that their chosen platform is being slowly flushed down the toilet by its owner, so no matter what they produce (if they ever do) they won't even have a market to sell it to. Sounds like lunacy to me.
  • HAH HAH HAH VAPORWARE. Honestly, I don't know how they're conning Jason into writing these puff pieces for them. Or, it's Daniel's and Jason's troll on all of us for being so snarky here LOL. Really Jason, "partners"? They can't even get the phone right, let alone launch in multiple countries? Yeah, pull the other one LOL
  • Given the repeated delays and virtually no public communication or updates, I've all but given up on this company. It's a shame because they really piqued my interest. I'm already casually looking at some Android phones, so, for me personally, if they don't come out with an announcement soon, I'm as good as gone.
  • $199 unlocked with SD820 or GTFO. Even at that price point, sales will be minimal but they will at least get some excitement brewing and have a chance to make more phones and get some fans.
  • Give the 820 some more aging time and I bet they will try to push one out. It is a great performer, and I would love to see a budget phone with it but it is not yet obsolete. I bet if the first launch goes well, they try to shoot for that caliber.
  • Thanks Jason for this information from Cerulean/WB. Glad to hear this news.
  • You're very welcome Nate!
  • Wish they turn out something like OnePlus for Windows Mobile. Superb hardware at a good price. Pricing will be one of the key deciding factors
  • My first Windows Phone was Nokia Lumia 920, and it was instant love. Great quality phone with features ahead of it's time. Now I have Lumia 950, which is great, but I'm not half as proud of it, as I was on Lumia 920.
    Please, make phone without stupid compromises, such as flimsy plastic back cover quality, heating, battery life, no super snsitive screen...Why not just make evolution, upgrade to Snapdragon 835, with versions running Windows 10 Mobile for consumer, and full Windows 10 on ARM for power users :-), top quality camera, display, battery life, first class materials and design... issue two devices, Surface Phone - high end smart phone, and Surface Pro Phone, a multi purpose pocket workstation! Windows 10 is great ecosystem, far ahead of it's competition.
  • I totally agree with your sentiments, except I really hate W10.  But I'm right there with you on the hardware aspects.
  • After the death of my 950, there just wasn't anything available that could keep me from moving back to Android. Best of luck to WB but I don't see anything they produce slowing the decline of WM. 
  • @Jason Ward, with the addition of bands for other markets, have you been able to find out if any of their phones will run on Verizon's network in the US? It seems that's where the big sales opportunity is, because there's no competition there and a bunch of us who would like to grab anything new for Windows Phone that's on the only network we can use. We're a hostage market -- perfect for a startup like Wharton Brooks. For me personally, I'm both desperate for a new Windows Phone, but won't downgrade from my Lumia Icon, so it has to be more powerful than that phone.
  • Verizon is very important to us!
  • Thanks for responding Greg. For those who may not realize, @Mistagreg is Greg Murphy, CEO of WhartonBrooks and he has responded directly to some questions here as well as in the forums😎
  • First, I am absolutely rooting for WhartonBrooks.  That that team is specifically talking to Microsoft folks from the WP7 and WP8 perspective tells me that they truly get that Microsoft has STUPIDLY abandoned key aspects of experience that first attracted us. My hope is that they will provide differentiation in the form of being able to uniquely bring some version of those aspects BACK.  The challenge will, of course, be whatever garbage Microsoft is coming out with in their new shell. Second, Microsoft destroyed the Lumia line and name when they acquired it.  I'll never forgive them--or Satya Nadella--for doing that.  So, I'm actually more likely to buy a NON-Microsoft Windows Phone in the future than a Microsoft one. That's how much respect I've lost for them and how badly they have burned that bridge.  I don't have unrealistic expectations for WhartonBrooks' chances of success, but that's not going to stop me from anxiously following this and looking forward to see if they come out with a device that really wows me.
  • Hoping all the best for Wharton and windows !
  • Microsoft just destroyed Whartonbrooks plans by freezing minecraft on WM10. Feel sorry for those guys, but it's over .....
  • The naysayers abound on these forums. It's over when Microsoft pulls the plug and not before. I was disheartened by the constant negativity i hear about the future of windows10 and then I thought...it's not that serious. Just like the media, academia, the republicans and democrats all went against our soon to be commander in chief. He won ! That is why I hold out for hope. Anything is possible with Gods blessings !
  • I mean really!!!! Microsoft abandon Microsoft software on windows phones (or W10m). Do we all have a picture?? If we are not having then the other manufactures surely have. You can not blast out your biggest and most famous game before you (MS) have SP. I.d.i.o.t.s. I am really concerned now for future of w10m ecosystem.
  • Their logo need serious work, it looks like come from some want to be web designer from the 90s.  It won't sell unless it is $300 with 820 with great camera + contiuum device(a 10" tab).    
  • Are you sure these guys aren't politicians? The amount of verbal diarrhea I'm reading is astounding. If they want to wow people with a phone it might be a good idea to actually show people said phone, otherwise they're just ******* in the wind.
  • Still VERY hopeful for WB. All this sounds positive. I just don't understand why people are so impatient???? WTF! Come on, give them a break. How many things would have to be perfect, how many variables are there? Especially with WP fans some of the most cutthroat and unforgiving fans. I'm behind them all the way, just like I am with my HP. I'll purchase the first phone they put out (and they will) even if it's not perfect because it would be a miracle if it was. HP has come close with the x3, and I hope they will bring some consumer faced models out and bring more awareness so others can see what an awesome job they've done. Go WB phone!!!!
  • I certainly appreciate the idea of an mfg truly enthused with Windows 10. But I'm concerned about what kind of software will be exclusive. Nothing that's missing from wp8 and 7 should be exclusive to another carrier. I would be okay with thinks like glance screen, tap to wake etc. I would be okay if they get access to stuff like being able to more with physical hardware buttons than only unlock phone (like let users configure what it does and do neat tricks like one press does this double press does that etc. But I can't envision getting on board with much else. I'd really have to know what they are talking about to make a firm opinion. I will certainly follow this company and see if they produce great looking and powerful hardware that is easily unlocked and availalbe on multiple carriers. I think for me that is more important than exclusive software. I love my idol4s but it was not fun dealing with the unlock process and jail time on tmobile so I could unlock it for use with ATT. Personally, I feel it's the most beautiful looking Windows 10 mobile device on the market.
  • I wish it had glance and wireless charging, then i'd be using that right now as I agree - it's gorgeous.
  • Without 3rd party App Development for all the consumer apps (think banks, Amazon, Health Care, and a myriad of others) It's going to be a big struggle.. I'm a big Microsoft Phone fan, but as I'm a consumer and don't use it for business, I have seriously considered and will be leaving the Mobile platform for Android (I'll never go to Apple) to be able to survive (in Australia) as ao many places are driving Phone Apps for access BUT everyone has Android/iOS apps, and almost no one has Win10 apps.
  • They don't even have first party app development let alone third party. The platform is dead. Wharton Brooks should make an Android phone for Windows fans. That has much more potential.
  • if they simply want to burn their investments in a pathetic platform...let them be. Things that people with money do to fill up their time, invest in MS products...well that's a way of burning money for nothing :))
  • Fake news all I can say from WB. Hope I'm wrong.
  • Really hope the innovative software piece is some sort of astoria bridge to get android apps running...
  • Wharton Brooks: On a recent trip to New Zealand I learnt the indigenous population pronounce any word starting with 'WH' as an 'F'
    Makes this an interesting company name, and maybe thats all they're really doing here?
  • that is whucking histerical - i can't stop laughing
  • I'm not sure if Jason's articles are helping you or setting you up for failure, as per me these articles can come up when you are closer to launch, what this series has so far done is kill the interest by making it seem like WB is going nowhere.
  • @techiez Actually, the company releases podcasts (4 so far) and has two Twitter accounts that distribute information intentionally to tell their story. These articles do no more than the company's own efforts to report on their progress pre-launch.
  • I hope they succeed. Good luck to them. Thanks for the update Jason.
  • You're welcome ryujingt3!🙂
  • If they keep at it. They'll have my backing. I'm rooting for these guys.
  • Can't wait for the Kickstarter. I wonder if they will break the 500 devices mark. NuAns couldn't make it.
  • Get rid of the bloody tiles if you want any traction in the market..
  • **** that. The Live Tiles are one of the best features! Clearly you've never used them, or you'd know that.
  • They are the most annoying and frustrating feature. Random info flipping on screen with no way to act on it. Even if you do see a post or article, there is no way to access it directly. It is so frustrating when you open the app and can't find what you saw. They supposedly have chaseable tiles, but I haven't noticed any yet and it is years behind. They should at least be interactive at this point, but 6+ years later and they don't even have that.
  • You clearly haven't seen the new "Chaseable" tiles, which, when tapped, take you directly to whatever is displayed on them. And many tiles, such as Calendar, have ALWAYS taken you to something useful (today's appointments in that case). Further, with Deep Linking it's long been possible to pin live tiles to for specific functions and information within an app directly to the start screen. For example, in any music app, you can pin direct access to albums, songs, artists, stations, etc, for one-click access via tile, and those tiles will update with album artwork, sometimes lyrics, depending on the app, etc. Reading apps such as Kindle and B&N let you pin specific books and get direct, quick access to them. From OneNote you can pin live tiles to any note, as well as shortcuts to create specific kinds of notes. Works in Evernote, too. Getting rid of live tiles is NOT the answer. Expanding their utility is.
  • I agree Live Tiles are a differentiator that should be expanded upon.👍🏿
  • That's what I say everyday.. That interface has bad rep to windows phone. It means hustle bugs no apps and all bad things that could happen to an OS. Remove that thing first then let's talk about gaining traction..
  • I can only imagine the difficulties faced in bringing a new Windows Phone to market. Where they have failed is in managing potential customer expectations. They made a big splash, but then when the inevitable delays came, they went silent. People are begging for info. Instead of deleting negative customer posts on their Facebook page they should be responding with real information. It's hard to trust a company that isn't willing to be upfront with the market.
  • Lots of WM users were outside of the NA market when Nokia was at the peak of Lumia. A mid range phone may succeed there.
  • So, these "articles" about WhartonBrooks are basically just native advertising, right?  How much do they pay WC for these puff pieces?  They should at least have to state that it's sponsored content.
  • I'm not a "tech-guy" or whatever,but I am a guy that walked in a phone store a few years ago and accidentally bought a Windows phone,I couldn't even tell ya what kind it was,then I got a 635,and then a 64\,then the XL,now I'm the proud owner of a 950,yeah the battery cover sux and MS sux (or that dude in charge with the name I can't pronounce) but every time I get my phone out someone says"wow,what kind of phone is that"now I'm not the type of guy that worries about battery covers and some of the other bs that I see on here(and ive been reading these articles and WC for quite some time)but I am the type of guy that wants a good phone,and MS makes some really good stuff,but for some reason that no one on earth can explain,MS will not really get behind the mobile branch or whatever and push their products out into ppls living rooms or fall over their signs when you walk in att,I mean money clearly isn't an issue,so what is it man,it's not like Nadella has to physically design,test and manufacture these phones himself,I cannot figure out the problem,anyway,I have tried iPhones and galxies,I wouldn't take a iPhone 7 and a galaxy 7 for my L950,I can't stand em,I honestly believe if I had control of MS mobile,within 6 months to a year I would have us back on top,for real though,but anyways,WB,keep on keeping on
  • Well if there's one thing wm needs, it's another low to mid range device.
  • My hope is for an upper mid-tier device that my mom can upgrade to. She likes her 920, but it's time for an upgrade. She would like a screen around the same size as the 920, and that's becoming more and more difficult to find with good specs.
  • I hope I am wrong, but I expect this to go about as smoothly as the Oswald prison transfer.
  • So, let's do an experiment.  We are so concerned about false information that we have been silent for some time.  We had several podcasts recorded, but the details changed so we did not release them.  This happen several times with press releases and tweets that we planned. So here is the latest. The latest sample will be shipped this Saturday.  We should receive it in 7-10 days from China. I will run a test with SIMs from several US carriers.  If they work - there will be alot to talk about. Otherwise, we will press on. The experiment is whether this small bit of information will bite us or provides a chance for people to join in the story. It's been my position to have people join in the story, but we are a team at WhartonBrooks.  After the details started to change, the position we took, with advice from MS, was to communicate hard facts only. Let's see how this goes and perhaps we can provide more information going forward. -Greg
  • Greg, This makes sense. "We are so concerned about false information that we have been silent for some time." "The position we took, with advice from MS, was to communicate hard facts only." I feel Jason's articles are not helping with this,(he is enthusiastic about you and trying to promote you guys but better to be silent until you are close to release), more n more WP fans are just writing you off.
  • @techiez The information I communicated coincided with information already released or provided by the company.
  • You have a wider audience reach than the company itself
  • Thanks Greg, for adding that.
  • Surely you are in closer communications with the dummies in Redmond? Are they providing assistance?
  • It's easy to calm down the nay sayers like myself Greg. Give more information about the product/products. Specs, size, a sneak peek photo or 3? I have seen this many times with start ups and the promises and chest beating on forums, even with product samples etc...only to see them go silent. To see a major information site like WC stroke about WB so much, with little more than verbal "announcements"....ALSO, touting your device is going to "disrupt the mobile market" just screams upcoming kickstarter rip off to me. SOOOO, please, when that new device comes in next week, give ward some photos and specs to at least show people here that is not just verbal diarrhea happening. It's going to be some device to disrupt the mobile market however..
  • Greg, let me tell you my personal story so you can understand how I feel about hard facts.... Back in the Nineties, Microsoft launched the MCIS (Microsoft Commercial Internet System), a platform to build ISPs. I bet my life and career on it. I trained and became an expert, probably one of the world's best, when others went the open source way. Guess what: they discontinued the platform. I decided a career move to e-commerce, and trained on Site Server Commerce Edition. Got a few opportunities, but then guess what: They dumped the software, and me together with all the professionals who had invested in this direction. And the list goes on... WebTV, DotNetNuke, developing for Windows CE, Windows Mobile, Windows Phone, etc... My passion with Microsoft always ended in disaster, paying back less than I had invested, leaving me wondering how come this giant gets to dump so easily such strategic products, and all the professionals that base their careers on them. Not sure how I can respond to your experiment. I want to believe your intentions, but my feet are cold with Microsoft. Best of luck mate, hope this time they support the platform and don't dump you as they did with the rest of us. But it doesn't look positive....
  • Thanks for the update, I personally am excited and hopeful about why you are doing. I look forward to hearing more about this in the coming weeks (hopefully)
  • https://twitter.com/ceruleanmobile/status/823019627240443904
  • 7-10 days for shipping
  • Why write so much about a dubious company, which should only be taken seriously once they have a real product out there in the marketplace??
    Sponsored coverage, right?
  • There is little news on Windows mobile these days, and this company is making a valient effort to make a device the platform's fans want. You're welcome to not read the article and keep the page views down. If they aren't getting views on articles about this company, then there will be not incentive to write them. I like reading about a company trying to pick up the slack. I'm cautiously optimistic about what they're doing. If they never release a device, then I didn't lose anything.
  • I think success for them depends on how redstone 3 turns out (suppose to be more focus on phone) if it is not then surface phone would just be a thought in history. Wharton will end up reevaluating. No apps = no WM. MS employees know that too since they are using IOS and Android phones there. Mobile - Cloud first at one time and few months later it became a after thought. No more Lumias and a imagined surface phone that may end up like Mclaren. Wishy Washy MS never really promoted or advertised. Hope I'm wrong cause I'm sticking with my Lumia 950 xl. Maybe my old Samsung focus might still be able to make a call. I'll wait till things seem faster or sooner.
  • another no name OEM...not worth a penny for that mediocre OS. they should have went with Android.
  • So you came here just to bash the OS and the companies developing for it. I wish I had your extra time. I've tried all 3 major mobile OS, and my personal favorite is still Windows mobile. I have a OnePlus 2. There are some features I like, but I do not find it as intuitive as Windows or even iOS. I like the powerful hardware and decent battery life of the OP2, but iPhone would (sadly) be my choice if Windows mobile ceased to exist and my 950XL was destroyed.
  • If the Device is Coming to Germany and i can see any Value (like Good Camera, Great Device Design, New Hardware) in it i will Buy it like all Interesting WP Devices in the Past. But if it never comes or at the Time has too Bad Hardware which maybe is Worse Compared to a 1,5 to 2 Year old 950 why any WP/W10M Fan (Which 99% already has a WP Device) should buy? I hope them the Best but i am Sceptical...
  • Would be good if Cerulean phones all have dedicated camera buttons, charging led and support wired selfie stick. Those have been some of my gripes with the budget hardware so far.
  • LOL, Microsoft need all the help they can get? They are their own worst enemy Jason. I wish it were not so, says I as a devoted w10m user. They SHOULD be promoting the Alcatel and still be selling the L650, but no, thru are doing an awful job.
  • I'm interested to see what they release only because it's a company targeting Windows mobile users and they're working with MS to do it. I might consider getting their device if the Surface phone disappoints or if it's too expensive. For now I'm happy with my 950XL.
  • I'm watching an waiting. Unfortunately, where I live, Verizon is the only real option, so I have doubts whether this will be feasable for me. I'm hoping, though. And if one of the other carriers were a possiblity for me, I'd be all in. Unfortunately, Verizon is the carrier least likely to be willing to work with them.    
  • I am just hoping, that all this talk actually materializes into something good in NEAR future. The problem with being a MS fan is that I have alwaysbeen in a waiting mode. Always telling myself, and those who keep asking me 'Why Windows?", that something great is going to hppen 'soon'. Of course a lot of great things have happened and I like that (thats why I have only one phone and that is a windows phone), but frankly speaking, I have not yet come across a device that would really have me tempted. Almost everthing till date (except for X3 and Idoal 4s, both not available in India) have been compromising on some or the other aspect. I really wish that before I am forced to use an Android phone, MS, or any other OEM, brings in a truly no-compromise device at a price point I can afford (read less than 500 USD)
  • I want a job at this firm! :(
  • Great 👍
  • All the best. An idea never tried will not succeed. You have to take bull with the horn. And they are right international market like India could result positive output.