How Microsoft could ensure 'Surface phone' success

The statement followed an earlier claim by Nadella that Microsoft is not bringing another smartphone to market and will not follow competitors' smartphone rules. He is targeting a device that is "beyond the curve in mobile."

What that device will be and what strategy Microsoft will execute to ensure its success amidst a myriad of challenges are still mysteries. But that doesn't stop us from speculating based on the information that is available.

The challenge is massive and the approach multi-faceted

Nadella's promises evoked both anticipation and reservation among Windows phone fans, tech pundits, critics and Microsoft's manufacturing partners. But why would anyone reserve excitement when hearing such a claim from the man at Microsoft's helm?

Microsoft has a consistent history of failure in the smartphone space, which is virtually synonymous (for now) with the mobile space for which he is planning an ultimate mobile device. From Pocket PC to Window Mobile to Windows Phone and Window 10 Mobile, Microsoft's Windows-on-phone vision has never had significant consumer success.

Given the app gap and uninspiring developer and OEM support, it's difficult for many tech watchers to see how even an ultimate mobile device from Microsoft will succeed in the smartphone space where it has consistently failed.

What Android phone and iPhone users need to know about Windows phone

The fact that Microsoft is not targeting the smartphone space, but the mobile space, is one of the fundamental perception issues and challenges Microsoft must address as it executes its ultimate-mobile-device strategy.

If nothing else Microsoft has been very clear and consistent with its cryptic messaging that the company is "committed to mobile," not smartphones. Thus, the ultimate-mobile-device strategy must be broader than simply plopping a new device into a preexisting market segment.

Here are four things I feel Microsoft's ultimate-mobile-device strategy must address, either directly or indirectly, as the company positions itself for success in the mobile space:

  • Getting mobile hardware into consumers hands.
  • Differentiating between the smartphone and mobile space.
  • Winning OEM partners to a new device category.
  • Closing the app gap and garnering developer support.

These aren't trivial challenges, but I believe (and hope) that Microsoft's leadership and engineers are working on an ultimate-mobile-device strategy (not just a device) that takes these variables into account.

Getting devices to consumers requires an understanding of why they buy

This is Microsoft's greatest challenge, yet it is the most critical component of an ultimate mobile device strategy. Microsoft must get the device into the hands of users.

Given that most consumers who purchase a smartphone are influenced by family and friends, anything that looks like just another smartphone from Microsoft would likely be ignored.

One factor that motivates a consumer's smartphone purchase is the accompanying app ecosystem. Thus, any Windows-based mobile device, even if it is not categorically a smartphone, will suffer from the same app gap legacy and rejection Microsoft's previous mobile efforts have endured.

These challenges necessitate an ultimate-mobile-device strategy that does not "lead" with a smartphone form factor and is not propelled by an app ecosystem.

Microsoft and Qualcomm introduce cellular PCs.

Consumers and businesses will need to want this device for reasons other than what motivates users to buy smartphones. Still, once in users' hands it must be capable of fundamental "smartphone" functions.

Tapping into a different motivation to get mobile devices to users

HP Elite x3 with Lapdock

HP Elite x3 with Lapdock (Image credit: Windows Central)

Current data from research firm IDC reveals Microsoft's continued and projected success with 2-in-1s and laptops with increasingly mobile form factors:

Consumers are just starting to graduate from old, consumption-based, slate tablets to a more productive detachable tablet…causing vendors and consumers to focus on more premium devices in the Convertible and Ultraslim space … continued innovations should lead notebooks to take a higher share in the overall personal computing landscape … Detachable tablets are also expected to make further inroads, going from 4.9 percent in 2016 to 13.4 percent … by 2021.…the notebook ecosystem has seen success in assimilating a more mobile experience to the form factor while retaining its inherent superiority in the content creation arena … IDC believes the notebook and traditional PC market overall will see relatively stable volumes with some growth in more mobile designs …

Windows 10 on ARM: Microsoft's ultimate mobile device vision comes into focus

Thus, my vision of an ultimate mobile device is a composite device that "presents" as a full Windows 10 2-in-1. This apparent, smaller "Surface Book-like" device would actually be a shell or HP Lap Dock-like peripheral that houses the actual mobile device in the base or keyboard section of this dock.

What's on the inside matters

My vision of an ultramobile Surface PC that will power the peripheral via Continuum (and wirelessly project to the detached screen when docked) will be a pocketable Window 10 on ARM cellular PC with telephony via eSIM. Whether this ultramobile PC portion of the composite device has the foldable form factor patents suggest is inconsequential (though desired by fans).

The point is that this ultimate mobile device will be positioned, in part, as a Windows 10 2-in-1 PC via the Lap Dock-like peripheral. As such, it will target users who are in the market for what IDC reports is a successful and growing device form factor.

Windows 10 on ARM via emulation.

The ultramobile Surface PC portion of this device would be positioned as a phablet-sized Continuum-powered Windows 10 mini-tablet, which would also function as a phone.

Microsoft's Project Centennial app bridge makes sense of Win32 apps on phone

The "phone" aspects would not be the leading marketing message, however, since the target market would be 2-in-1 or laptop consumers looking for a mobility-focused productivity device (not smartphone consumers).

This strategy strategically places a Windows-on-mobile device that is capable of being a phone into the hands of consumers.

iPhone and Android phone users may not be inclined to ditch their phones for the phone aspects of this device (yet), but they may experiment with it or use it as a backup phone.

My ultimate mobile device strategy does not lead with a smartphone form factor, is not propelled by an app ecosystem, and as a 2-in-1 PC, it may be wanted by consumers and businesses for reasons other than those that motivate users to buy smartphones.

This is my speculative vision of how to get an ultimate mobile device to users.

How can Microsoft differentiate between smartphone and mobile?

Due to the dominance and mobility of smartphones as the most used personal computers, the smartphone and mobile spaces are seen as synonymous. Microsoft's ultimate mobile device strategy messaging must differentiate between the two.

The composite device that I described fits into two mobile categories. Laptops and 2-in-1s are powerful productivity PCs that have the mobility a desktop PC lacks (the docked device). Smartphones, due to their pocketable and always connected nature, have what can be defined as ultimate mobility (the device undocked).

Surface phone should be much more than just a 'phone'

The device vision I've described is simply a progression of the HP Elite x3 and Lap Dock vision Microsoft had a hand in developing. Rather than a Windows 10 Mobile phone (3-in-1) that only connects externally to a Lap Dock, I envision a full Windows 10 on ARM (smartphone-sized) cellular PC that can also be fully inserted into a Lap Dock-like peripheral (as well as connect to other screens and PCs via Continuum).

This concept of a composite device that has the mobility and productivity of a 2-in-1 when docked, and the ultimate mobility of a handheld device when undocked, would help businesses and consumers broaden their perception of what a mobile device is.

Winning OEM partners to a new device category

Many OEMs have little faith in Microsoft as the provider of a smartphone platform. The smartphone space is saturated, and there's little room for growth or profitability. Android claims most of the market's volume, while Apple claims most of its profits. Still, a presence in a space whose underpinnings are cellular connectivity, ARM and telephony is important.

Smartphones are dead: Evolve or die, Microsoft's ultramobile PC strategy

Though the overall PC space has seen year-over-year declines, 2-in-1s and mobile-focused laptops are predicted by IDC to continue to grow. An ultimate mobile device that is a merger of a device whose foundations are cellular connectivity, ARM and telephony with that of a popular productivity-focused PC form factor may be embraced by manufacturers.

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It would allow OEMs to ride the success of a popular PC category while entering, without directly competing, in the cellular and telephony space. As a new category, early entry into this space may also be seen as strategically advantageous by some manufacturers, as well as a way to diversify product portfolios.

Closing the app gap and garnering developer support

The success of Microsoft's mobile vision ultimately rests on its ecosystem. The composite ultimate-mobile-device strategy that I presented has the appeal of a full Windows 10 2-in-1 that can be productively utilized without mobile apps. It also has, however, the ultramobile PC component that, though capable of running full Widows 10 apps with CShell when undocked, mobile apps are far more practical, relevant and, frankly, required.

What my vision potentially achieves is the circumvention of the need for a robust ecosystem before consumers purchase a Microsoft Windows-powered mobile device.

They will have bought it motivated by other reasons. Of course, sooner than later Microsoft would need to add value to the (more app-dependent) ultramobile PC undocked portion of this device via an improving ecosystem. An unprecedented effort to win developers and bridge the app gap must therefore simultaneously accompany the introduction of an ultimate mobile device.

If successful, this Trojan Horse strategy will potentially put millions of mobile devices in consumers' and businesses' hands that Microsoft can send updates and advertisements to (as it does now with Windows 10), drawing users attention to apps and features that are being progressively added to the ecosystem.

Such an ultimate mobile device strategy, could in time make the ultramobile PC portion of the composite device a more relevant mobile alternative to a user's iPhone or Android phone.

What's your ultimate-mobile-device strategy vision?

My idea of an ultimate-mobile-device strategy is admittedly quite detailed, but it is just one among thousands of possibilities. What is your ultimate-mobile-device vision? How would you get mobile hardware into consumers' hands? How would you attempt to close the app gap and garner developer support?

Sound off in comments! We'd love to hear your thoughts.

I also wrote:

With 'Surface phone,' will Microsoft learn from its past marketing mistakes?

If Microsoft doesn't kill at BUILD 2017 the Surface phone is dead on arrival

This is what has to happen first in order for a Surface phone to succeed

Is early 2018 too soon for a Surface phone?

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!

  • Thanks so much for reading folks!!! I realize that the Surface "phone" topic elicits a range of responses from readers. Some dismiss it as a myth particularly due to scarce information, virtual silence from Microsoft on the topic and Microsoft's mobile failures. That's fine, but keep in mind, the original Surface and HoloLens were secrets and Nadella has also stated that Microsoft wants to surprise with new categories. Thus, though there are no guarantees the company's silence on this has historic precedence and expressed strategic guidance from the leadership. Second, I know this topic provokes two type of knee-jerk reactions which are at polar extremes: One is an overly optimistic view that an ultimate mobile device with all the bells and whistles is all that is needed to make Microsoft successful in the mobile space. I have never subscribed to this notion as my work: "If Microsoft doesn't kill at BUILD 2017, the Surface phone may be dead on arrival", "Is early 2018 too soon for a Surface phone?", With 'Surface phone,' will Microsoft learn from its past marketing mistakes? and "This is what has to happen first in order for a Surface phone to succeed", reveal. The second is an overly pessimistic view that no matter what Microsoft brings to the table by way of an ultimate mobile device, it will utterly fail. As with most things I believe the truth is somewhere in the middle. Some of you may recognize the concept of an ultimate mobile device that I presented in this piece as one I gave in an earlier piece. I reintroduced it here within a more detailed context of an ultimate mobile device strategy where we hope to hear from you. I am deliberately stressing a strategy not just a device. The goal here is to elevate the conversation by looking at the challenges Microsoft's ultimate mobile device will face. Hopefully a candid view of the four (there may be more you can think of) challenges I've outlined will allow for a sober discourse where the responses from both the overly optimistic and overly pessimistic are tempered. The optimistic can't ignore the challenges and though the pessimistic are clearly aware of them how would both groups apply an ultimate mobile device strategy to address them? Getting mobile hardware into consumers hands.
    Differentiating between the smartphone and mobile space.
    Winning OEM partners to a new device category.
    Closing the app gap and garnering developer support.
    No, usual knee jerk responses, what are your thoughtful ideas! :-) If you haven't read the piece, please do so before joining the discussion. I've given my detailed view of how an ultimate mobile device strategy can address each of these issues which should help give a framework for this conversation. But there are thousands of ideas floating around out there and we'd like to hear them. So....LET'S TALK!!!
  • Hey, at this point of time we can be sure of one thing and that's the *current* W10M won't really work long term. That's the reason W10M on ARM is a thing. Now for THAT to be a success -
    1)Microsoft should treat their OEM partners REALLY WELL.
    2) They need to ADVERTISE whatever they create really well. As you said, very few people know about Cortana even now (even after 500 million devices run Windows 10). THEY NEED TO REALLY STEP UP THEIR ADVERTISING.
    3) They need to treat ALL REGIONS equally and not show a bias towards US, Europe, Australia and Singapore. Such a device should be available everywhere to really help the platform grow. There are markets that have still not seen an official roll out of Surface Pro 4, Surface Book, XBOX One S, Band, Groove Music Pass, E BOOKS, rewards, etc.
    And ENOUGH of Surface Phone related news. WHEN ARE WE REALLY GONNA SEE IT IN THE MARKET??? 😧
  • Show a bias towards Singapore? No Surface Book, Band, Groove Music Pass, E Books, rewards, Cortana, Movies and TV, music store etc is "show bias towards"?
  • Advertise! Advertise! Advertise! I really think windows 10 mobile would have been a success if they had advertised. I haven't shown my phone to anyone and they actually recognize it or know what I was capable of off the back and after I showed it to them they thought it was awesome, but you know they  still weren't gonna buy it, because they don't trust it because they don't see it on TV.
  • Interface, interface, interface! That's the way to succeed. If they slap same tiled interface they will fail again. I use 950xl, that's the only "surface" when tiles start looking decent, although still difficult to manage. Problems: No visible names on small tiles and majority of medium size, freely changing position on the screen, no way to arrange them alphabetically. These make it too hard to locate in every day fast use. Graphically they are pretty, but, if one selects some really light color, the font showing its name should automatically change to dark one, same with spacing - tiles are too close to each other, hard to differentiate looking at the maze of tiles, rather than tiled input interface. These 4 defficiencies mentioned above make this whole thing clumsy, speaking and repeating it after using it on various phones since introduction of tiles.
    Other everyday problems: Keyboard has too small letters with no way to scale them.
    App problem? It is not a real problem in my experience. Most of the apps are anything but representation, sometimes inferior, of websites. The problem is here to create a web browser which will work well and adjust on demand to mobile and desktop version of the website. Browser coming with present wp10 is still not good enough. Hard to scale and inconsistent. Then we say, if I had an app...
    The last one. When I go to ANY phone shop, with exception of Apple store of course, the only phones promoted by sales men are Android phones! They really decide for you what can you come out with. The T-Mobile chairman is only wishful thinking saying that he is going to promote Windows phones! His employee will not do it. Same in every other company. The biggest computer store in Boston (microcenter) never displayed even one model of windows phone! This is only msf fault! They must check how their's (and our's too) advertisement money is effectively used.
  • i want to ADD a small information junk which will kill the whole idea of the "new strategy". Lets look at the EU price of the HP Elite x3 which is 799€ (870usd) + lapdock 700€ (759usd) = total price 1499€ (1629USD) now tell me please, who will buy such and expensive device after all the negativity around WP 7/8/8.1/10/10M and huge app gap?? Even if they lower the starting price to 599 for mobile + lapdock for 399 even this is too expensive for a W10 phone / tablet. I can buy a CHUWI tablet with full W10 + pen for around 399€ and it works GREAT... the same goes for laptops so again... who will buy it? and please dont tell me that the price will be "reasonable", it wont. Everything labeled "Surface" is expensive. Without superB low end devices for really good, competitive prices... the whole ARM restart is a huge failure and one product wont save / restart / rebrand the whole platform.
  • Hi Papple as I laid out, I acknowledge the app gap and the negativity around the platform. What are your ideas to address those challenges. We know the problem. Any ideas about a solution? 😉
  • About these pricing issues. At this point of time its pretty obvious that MSFT will not be working for the consumers anymore. It's all enterprise from now on. So the expensive device issue is taken care of. W10M for *general* consumers is essentially dead. It's just the FANS and enterprise.
  • What are you talking about? Have you seen the price of the top of the line iPhone 7? It's over £900!! The new Samsung S8/S8+ is nearly £700 and £800 respectively. Consumers ARE willing to spend the money obviously - in fact they spend £30-£40 a month on 2 year contracts + £100 upfront cost rather than pay the above upfront - even though it's way more expensive in the long run and locks you in for 2 years - so don't give me that crap about price.
  • which of the carriers is ready to subsidize windows phone? n hell yeah consumer would be ready to pay a device that can compete or better a lumia1020 or a mclaren with 3d touch, but continuum? Meh....
  • It is iphone and samsung you are talking about. People already trust the brand so price is not an issue anymore. Let's give them a lumia phone, with questionable ecosystem, os they will try for the first time, not so much good news, and price them at iphone and s8 price. That item is stale at first day.
  • Its like saying people spend thousands of Dollars on Cars like Audi & Mercedes... Why won't they spend huge money on Microsoft Car (Mobile) when they have stopped support (and Apps) & reset the platform numerous times, no app/Dev support, better app support for competition than own platform
  • @AbhiWindows10; That it in a nutshell. Fans who can afford and enterprise. Most likely with prices for Android phones at over $800 this could easily be a grand.
  • why would enterpise buy this instead of a cheap laptop or a pc stick?
  • Simple.....AD Integration and secure platform features. This is one area the Windows Mobile is ahead of its Android and IOS counterparts.
  • As far as I can tell from personal experience, business is not a completely separate entity to consumers; rather, business is a bunch of consumers that want a familiar interface. In short, there is no such thing as a business segment.
  • That's what everyone but MS and fanboys is saying. As long as these two categories are not able to understand this, everything else is nothing but empty talking.
  • And what is the most used desktop/laptop operating system? That's right Windows. Windows 10 is reported to be on 400 million odd devices - well by all the comments on here that can't be many smartphones right? Well Windows on mobile and desktop/laptop are getting closer together so the user will be familar.
  • Actually get WinObjC to a workable state? It's gotten better since it was first introduced, but its still missing pretty large swaths of features. Add a Swift bridge. Make it easy enough to press a button and have it spit out an appx.  Leverage Xamarin to make truly Universal Apps? Write once run on IOS and Android might actually get people to consider it. Basically the bridge tooling just isn't there yet and it needs to fully come online before more people will use it.      
  • I completely agree.  The bridges ARE the way forward in the consumer space especially.  UWP will not, in and of itself, do much to address the app gap.  Where's the incentive for iOS and Android developers to learn the platform?  Existing iOS developers and perhaps Android developers down the road (bridge is dead as of now) simply must have a painless way to port their apps to the Win10 platform, or it simply won't happen. 
  • Easy. Windows Holographic needs a device the size of Google Glasses. THAT's the 'ultimate' mobile device. Then I can do as I wish, on whatever screen size I require, running my software on my home PC and using it as I walk along the street. Fancy using a 'smart phone' for that retro feel? How about I pick whichever one I fancy from a menu and bang, a virtual handset is in my palm? Laptops, tablets, phones, they're all on marked time. Home servers are the next big thing as the ultimate 'mobile' device as 5G brings us an easy way to stream that power to our holographic specs. I have my L950XL bought in Feb. In 2019 I hope to upgrade to Windows Holographic mobile specs. The key to this, I suspect, is MS getting someone at the top who gives a damn. Come back Balmer, you are missed.
  • Getting the hardware is the easy part. Creating the UI and interacting with it is hard. How do you make an easy, accurate and fun interface for such a device?
  • Yes, major solution here I think, whatever device that MS wants to release, I suggest that they can offer a very nice payment plan. Let’s say a choice between a 1-year or a 2-year payment system that is independent of what carrier that you choose. But the payment plans must only be for the ultra-high-end versions of the devices. I can see a lot of devices selling like this. Remember this -
  • to JASON: 1st. I wouldnt kill the LUMIA line. It was good as it was. Low end devices with stable and reliable OS are ALWAYS welcome in any country around the world. The 5xx 6xx series are good. I would price them from 89usd to 199usd. 5xx series should be the basic with basic camera, battery life etc.. 6xx should be a bit above entry level but not mid-tier with good price/performance ratio 2nd. Surface phones should be the divided into 2 categories: MID-end and HIGH-end. Prices from 299 up till 799. Mid-end surface phones should have W10M with good camera (front, back) slim design and screens from 4,7 - to 5,5 without lapdock and no need for full W10 experience (Continiuum would run fine). The main task should be a phone which is quick, has good cameras and performs as well as a high end Android phone The High-end Surface line should be ALL about PREMIUM. Premium HW with ARM support, body, screen, cameras and additional lapdock for full W10 experience. This tier would be expensive for all the tech geeks out there. It would offer full W10 support with lapdock, x86 app and UWP and the phone itself could act as a laptop would (HDMI out / USB support / LAN via Lapdock) etc.. The performance should be ABOVE the Atom - somewhere between a Celeron N3450 and a M3 3rd. APP gap. I would contact all the leading APP developers and offer them money for creating UWP app. We need ALL the BASIC app ranging from Snapchat, up do date Facebook, Twitter etc. and all the top tier games from Android / Iphone. Yes, it may sound crazy to pay for all those applications which are free but Microsoft needs to understand 1 thing: Mobile phones are NOT just about productivity, they are about FUN and social medias TOO! So... I would pay money for the development until the platform itself gains MORE USERS. All we need are USERS without bigger user base the phones wont sell no matter how cool the HW is 4th. 2 platforms: 1. a basic W10M experience 2. Full W10 Basic W10M should be about Low - Mid and some of the Higher end phones with Continiuum but WITHOUT full W10 experience. 2nd group the PREMIUM high end phones could get FULL W10 experience + lapdock without Continiuum. I would support all the phones on the market right now which are runnning W10M and continue with the development. Full W10 on ARM phones should be considered as a premium thing BUT I wouldnt kill W10M! Full W10 should be premium function for a premium price. 5th. Availability. Low/mid end phones should be available ASAP on the EU/US market with dumping prices. Yes, if they want to make money from this dead platform they need to push it out for as many people, as they can reach. After some time when the platform is restarted and the market share gains more % then we could talk about price strategy but right now because the platform is dead Microsoft needs to pay for users the same way as Sony did with the PS3 Thats all for now but I could write more... but who would read it, right? Hahah :)
  • Sales would then be 3% worldwide at best. The low end phones would be the majority of sales and the high end would sell terribly. Microsoft and Nokia already tried it. It failed miserably.
  • 5% US and 10% EU
  • Didn't add up to many sales, especially when you consider they could only sell the low end devices. The high end phones were always total flops.
  • I did!
  • You deserve a cookie :)
  • Stop with your horseshit. 3 cookies at least!
  • The social media platforms you mention are not the prime area in the app gap that needs to be addressed.  Viable 3rd party apps and in some cases 1st party apps already exist to service those needs.  Financial apps are a huge shortcoming.  Can you deposit a check in your bank with the Win10Mo app?  BOA, Ally and Wells Fargo apps allow you to do this, but not a lot of other banks.  Are you a Vanguard investor?  No app.  Fidelity Investments?  There's an app, but its functionality is very limited.  Do you have a streaming device like a Chromecast or Apple TV?  Good luck.  There's just too many holes like this that are filled in Android and iOS but aren't available in Win10Mo, and developers are not filling that gap. 
  • Streaming device like the Microsoft wireless display adapter you mean?
    A friend with a droid turbo just bought one because it links up so easily with his droid as it does my 950
  • To Pappale: i agree for mos part, but i don't think Microsoft will pay for free softwares, they don't need to do it, they can cooperate with them but paying them, NEVER. Why? Microsoft has about 3% of Facebook or even more if i remember, and we know Facebook also owns Instagram and Whatsapp, all these 3 programs are available for Windows Mobile, no? A big part of Android phone makers pay royalties to Microsoft every year, perhaps they don't need to do it anymore i don't have any news about that. But when they had to do so, Microsoft earned Billions just on that. So do they need to stress? I don't think so, they've missed the Mobile Era, they've losted, they know it, it's why they should take their time to launch something that will really WOW us, no matter the price, they have to get our attentions, just like how they did with Hololens and Surface Pro, Surface Book and Surface Studio. They need to impress us, it's why they take their time to launch a new Mobile Device with Call functions, a Flip or Foldable device will be cool, i'm sure they will announce at lest 2 devices not only one. Just look at the Surface Studio, nobody would expect that, but they get our attention. Frankly i will wait for the 2nd or third generation before buying, but i've promised myself i will buy one, it's so Damn Cool. When they can get our attentions, devellopers will get on board without hesitation. If you look carefully at iOS and Android what is their futur? I can't see any, Apple and Google has locked their OS, if they want to make them ready for the coming years, they have to rewrite the OS from scratch. If you think what i'm saying is bullshit, just look at the updates of these OS all these years, what they really bring on board, NOTHING SPECIAL. I'm sure if Apple and Google can bring something really crazy and new to their OS they will do it, it's just they can't. So Microsoft situation is not so bad, because they're writing a new OS from scratch, they will launch it soon, get some feedbacks and update it just like Win 10, their Mobile OS is the most futur proof Mobile OS for now. So why they should stress, the ones who should stress are Apple and Google and i'm sure they're stressing. They're perhaps the King now, but when you're on the top, you can only fall, except you if can find new highs to climb and keep climbing. Still waiting for my Surface new Mobile Device with Call function...
  • Issue with MS on mobile is that they always writing new OS from scartch and leave behind everything including Customer & Developer's confidensse/trust
  • Except that currently W10 on mobile is just W10 the same as W10 on desktop/laptop/Xbox/hololens there is no 2nd mobile OS. W10 is the same OS on all these form factors. The difference is that when running on mobile a lot of the typical W10 features are not present not because they couldn't be but because they don't need to be. The stuff that MS is currently working on like CShell (Common Shell) is simply a massive refactoring. It takes a **** ton of time to go from big monolithic once every 3 years releases to twice yearly releases but they did it. Slowly but surely they are modularising, separating and extracting so that makes it easier for them to be more agile and position themselves.
  • The app gap is an illusion. But even illusions can seem real. The App gap shouldn't be a concern considering that the dividing wall between mobile and desktop is falling (rather fast) and super/universal apps will be the dominate role players. Microsoft has this futer in mind and is taking the neccasary steps to not be left behind this time around.
  • I agree and disagree. There are some pretty "important" apps that are missing from Windows. You can't always get the same experience through the browser on such a small screen, and you miss out on some really good features that can be built into an app. For the most part the app gap never truly bothered me, and I know a ton of people that feel the same, but the polished apps are a really nice luxury to add to your already expensive device. If MS can drive some developers to bring their apps to Windows (many of which I'd love even on my desktop) that will be a big win.
  • "The app gap is an illusion." Downright comedic comment.  It's THE single biggest reason why the platform has languished. 
  • Completely agree.
  • To say that the app gap is an illusion perhaps gives a glimpse why Microsoft didn't take the problem more seriously earlier enough.  In the early days we had committed, gifted and deeply passionate Windows Phone devs like Rudy Huyn who saw gaps in the top-tier app market and attempted to fill them with 3rd party alternatives and sometimes, creating better authentic versions than the official ones on rival platforms - it gave us hope that other official apps would take notice.  But that only masked the obvious disengagement between the Windows Phone platform and would-be devs.  When you start to look at things that are more personal to you, the picture is very bleak. Your primary bank, your car breakdown service, your local supermarket, your gas or electricity provider, your municipal local authority, even your favourite IT new sites (excluding this one) are all served better on the main two mobile platforms in ways that Windows can only dream of. When you're starting off from a position of playing catch-up, you have to play to win and keep going.  I wish Microsoft had taken the fight with the app gap in the way it did with MSN/Bing which consistently lost money for quarter-on-quarter for years but they stuck at it and now it's another billion dollar division.
  • All the negativities around WP are mostly created by MS's Nadella.  His mobile retrenching plan speech in July, 2015, three months before W10M release, broke the back of W10M.  The "WP is Dead" rumor started immediately after.  He pulled WP from markets, sold out mobile units, stopped marketing and releasing phones, beefed up support for iOS and Android, practically everyting you don't expect a CEO does to promote a product.  He has done it all.  WP has no choice but fail.  But it really doesn't have to end this way.  He could examine the status of W10M in 2020 and make a decision accordingly.  He should give W10M a few years to perform with the fast growth of W10 installs.  In the meantime, he could restructure the mobile operation by outsourcing the manufacturing, reducing the portfolio and enchancing the marketing in order to reduce the loss to the minimum.  He could sell off the old Nokia without burying WP.  W10M is such a important corner stone of UWP.  Without mobile, you could cripple UWP and slow down the UWP development. The W10 on ARM devices without phone dialer won't help either.   The app gap issue can be resolved over time if MS CEO would first demonstrate his firm commitment to W10M so developers, users and OEMs would stay.  Secondly, design and build W10M phones with foldable screen so the adequate screen real estate can be provided to run W10 and web apps efficiently.  Instead of relying on the phone apps, all the banking, financial, retail and entertainment services can be served via web apps which are more rubust anyway.  The app shortage problem would be resolved for most users who don't play much games on phones.  At least that would solve the app gap problem for me.  The bottom line is that I need a phone that uses Live Tiles, the most efficient phone UI, and can run apps that fully synchronize and integrate with full W10 apps.  Period.
  • To Yangstax, i don't know why some peoples are complaining about Nadella, i think he did a Great job since he's CEO, it's not easy to do what he does, this guy has teached us something, open your arms and work with your opponents instead of always fighting for this or that, what is the point? Just look at all the good things he did, how Microsoft has changed, you blame him for Mobile but when he became CEO it was dead already. I wasn't agree when he sold out Nokia, but now i think he was right and damn right. To be honest i love Nokia and was expecting a new Nokia phone from Microsoft, but i keep thinking he did the right thing. His choice was simple, he has to choose between Surface or Nokia, he can't merge them for some reasons probably. The answer is just here, Surface has gave hope to Microsoft, Nokia is like more a bad investment, but i still believe in Nokia and i hope they will get a good phone on the market soon. WP is not dead, smartphone is dying, they're just creating something completly new and this is good news...
  • I think facts speak for themselves...
  • Too late for a solution, MS realizes this and kills the project.
  • Step 1: Fire their consumer marketing dept (that's if they ever had one) Step 2: Hire staff from Apples marketing department Step 3: Fire Nadella. No one is going to believe he cares about the consumer mobile market for devices after he constantly lied to WinMo's customer base then eliminated both their capability to make phones and what was left of their customer base   Hey a new CEO who actually understand Consumers, not just engineers and corporate IT. FOR ONCE, TREAT THEIR CUSTOMERS WITH RESPECT!   Not holding my breath, although I am holding an iPhone after 14 years with WinMo. Anyone who could drive away a loyal customer like me is not likely to be able to attract new ones.
  • The solution is no mention of the brand 'Microsoft'. They need to develop a new brand for the consumer space. Separate it from enterprise space. Ditch the name 'Windows' as well. Make it sound hip, new, innovative. The app gap can by definition not be fixed. The only way to make the app gap irrelevant is to offer something so appealing that consumers are willing to drop those apps for something else in return. Something like when people switched to the iPhone. It didn't have much app or an ecosystem but the touch interface was all that people wanted. A bigger screen or a foldable screen won't be a solution. Those are only improvements on an exciting experience. The only way Microsoft can succeed is proof that they offer the best OS, go worldwide with all products and services, offer cheaper solutions, do better marketing, and finally bet on a long term strategy. Perhaps they can slowly, over the course of 10 years fight fight themselves back. The paradigm shift is a hoax.
  • That CHUWI (and hundreds of other cheap knockoffs) wouldn't exist if Microsoft hadn't taken the plunge/risk with Surface (you know, Apple "no one wants a pen" etc.). IF (fair enough, a big IF) they deliver (another big if for Microsoft) a fast, stable, true ALL-in-one (MOBILE, tablet, PC) with adaptive UI at a reasonable (£600-1500) price bracket then you'd be bonkers not to buy it. Typical purchasing: Phone (£300+), PC/laptop (£450+) and/or tablet (£150+) Multiply that alongside roll-out, installation, administration, depreciation, etc. for businesses and you will see a huge draw.
  • EXACTLY... *BUSINESSES*. NOT the general public.
  • Nope, general consumers want to save money on multiple devices. 
  • It's true that anything surface won't be cheap, but It definitely won't be as expensive as the Elite x3 + lapdock combo. The price of the whole surface mobile package must be around 800 to 1000 USD not forgetting that windows 10 on arm will help prices go down as well. After that Microsoft's partners, as they have always done, will be the ones making cheaper version's of it that most people can afford. With regards to the app gap, Jason was very clear that the whole point is that people would buy it first for it's computing prowess and only secondary as a phone, therefore the app gap becomes much less of an issue. It's easy to point out obvious present issues, but again as Jason said, how about try and actually be useful and give some ideas with regards to a possible solution?
  • I certainly agree here. The big problem with the semi mythical surface phone and all of the other speculated devices us price. People want PC performance in a phablet form factor. But that us expensive. It immediately pushes it out of the price range of students buying for themselves, parents buying for kids, and most company departments looking for an everyday device for non executives. Who is going to pay this much money when a regular phone and laptop come in cheaper, more powerful and more durable.
  • Nice product, but the camera is by far not as good as the camera off the 950XL. That is the reason I did not buy it
  • I agree with all your points and it'll be interesting to see OEM's creativity with cellular capable devices.
  • Just bring x86 apps to the table to close app gap and 7-8 hours of screen time capable battery = instant win. May be add slim bezels like S8
  • I agree.  Even let Samsung be the ODM of choice.  The only way you can get this thing in your pocket is if it had minimal to zero bezels, and was 8mm thin.
  • Snapchat and other services that consumers want don't have an x86 app
  • I don't get how people think this is the solution. I want it to happen just so I can stop hearing about it.
  • It's just wishful thinking on their part, I guess.  x86 apps aren't the ones that are lacking in mobile. 
  • Why not just buy a 7" Windows 10 tablet and tether to a budget phone or a Bluetooth 4G widget?
  • X86 apps really need to die off everywhere. The whole value prop of the new Surface environment is about moving beyond the keyboard & mouse paradigm from the 1980s. I love the Surface, and I especially love what it could be, but with a *very* small number of exceptions, the UWP apps in the Windows store are both functionally weak and only barely leveraging the strengths of touch, pen, voice, and gestures. This is about finally moving computing into the 21st century we all are still waiting for (mobile, desktop, walls/infrastructure, all seamlessly). MS itself has weathervaned on supporting these 21st century interfaces, and has listened way too much to the desktop crowd that is anchored in the past: Witness the loss of the powerful, touch-friendly radial menus in the OneNote app (PLEASE kill off the OneNote desktop app ASAP to put us and the dev team out of our collective misery), or the loss of swipe/gesture controls in the IE app (post 8.1) that were on the way to making it the best touch/tablet browsing experience on the planet. At the very least, there should be a Win10 setting to opt into the modern UI experience for UWP apps.
  • "Getting mobile hardware into consumers hands" "Given that most consumers who purchase a smartphone are influenced by family and friends..." I think the most important group of influencers are the sales clerks in the carrier stores.  For whatever reason people seem to take thier word and judgment on what's the best device to purchase.  They are the one's who can talk up a device and lend credibility to why a consumer should buy.  To me that should be a priority in trying to sell any new device.  Get those store clerks to start talking about your device.  Or else they'll only recommend Android and iPhone like they did and still do.   
  • Carriers are not going to talk up a device that doesn't​ benefit them. Windows phones only benefited Microsoft. They were openly hostile to carriers and manufacturers (carrier apps can be deleted, they cannot add features, etc). It was a tough sell when Android was the exact opposite.
  • The carrier doesn't have to talk up any device.  The carrier store clerks/salesperson need to.  And please don't tell me they don't.  When WP 7.X was in it's infancy any and damn near every time I walked in a carrier store to ask about a WP device the CARRIER STORE CLERK/SALESPERSON tried to sell me an Android and or iPhone.  They would try to explain why these phone were better.  So, maybe you've actually never experienced this situation but if you've been a user of WP since it's inception there were plenty of users who had this experience.  So you're right.  I don't need the carrier.  I need the store clerks/salesperson to be on the front line explaining why a Windows Phone is the one to buy.
  • The salesperson works for the carrier! They sell whatever the carrier tells them to sell. Carriers weren't as interested in in Windows phones because Microsoft didn't give them much choice in customizing them or adding apps to them. Why would they sell the hostile Microsoft phone when Android gave them full control of whatever they wanted?! Microsoft made their bed. Not creating a platform that excited the carriers and manufacturers was a big mistake.
  • True story the sales people were getting incentives to sell Droids and Iphones in wp7 days.
    Microsoft ignored the practice the same way they ignored ad campaigns besides ben pc guys "smoked by Windows Phone"tour and placements' in movies + TV shows.
    All fails.
    Hell I remember when the Xbox 360 had a weekly windows phone show, showcasing "hot apps + cool games".
    Balmer cared
  • Balmer cared but he was incompetent. Releasing such a poor platform with an even worse strategy screwed Microsoft. This is all on him.
  • I fully disagree with this sentence:
    Whether this ultramobile PC portion of the composite device has the foldable form factor patents suggest is inconsequential (though desired by fans).
    As long as peripherals (like the Lap Dock) are required to make all aspects of "the device" work, it will fail. It needs to be as convenient as putting a smartphone in your pocket.
  • Hi Tim, I think you misunderstood 🙂 what I was saying was inconsequential was that the undocked portion of the composite device, though preferably has the foldable design patents suggest, is not required for it's functionality as a separate and relevant component when undocked from the Lap-dock-like portion. I tried to be clear by further describing that the undocked portion would be positioned as a mini-tablet with telephony and Continuum. I further described that undocked position as an ultramobile Surface PC on ARM that could run Mobile and Win32 apps. I thought it was clear in my description that the device could work with the dock as a laptop and without the dock as a mini-tablet and IPhone.' So no the dock, would not be required for it to work. A user could slide it in a pocket and be off if they wanted.😉
  • He means the lapdock. If it is "dead" on its own, what is the point? Carrying around a Windows phone and a dead shell so you can have a poor PC experience as well as a poor phone experience is going to be tough to sell. What are the benefits compared to a cheap Android and a laptop? Microsoft hasn't made a compelling argument for this form factor.
  • Hi Jason. No, I don't think I misunderstood: you see the transformative part of the device as optional, a nice to have. I don't. A mini tablet is not pocketable, not like a smartphone. Virtually nobody wants to walk around with 7" - 8" device. It's too big. Even today's phablets still only appeal to a relatively small subset of the smartphone market. The sweet spot for most people is still 5" - 5.5". If there were a market for people willing to walk around with mini-tablet-sized phones, someone would already have tried to bring that to market. But I haven't seen it anywhere. When Apple changed the world of smartphones it did so with 2 crucial components: innovative hardware (touch screen + removal of physical keyboard) and software to support that hardware with an os written specifically to support the new touch based operation of the device. We already have a pretty good idea were Microsoft intends to go in terms of the software. Now the hardware must follow to make the software shine in every possible scenario with the least amount of friction for the end user. Without innovative hardware, Microsoft will never be able to convince anyone that what they have created deserves to get its own category. This is my vision of such a device: in my pocket it's a 5" phone. When I fold it open, it's an 8" (or ideally 10") tablet where continuum can do its magic to run any kind of application. When I connect a Surface-like keyboard to it, it becomes a small laptop. And when I dock it at my desk, it becomes a full blown PC. So, yes, docking is still part of the story, but only where it makes sense (and how I use my Surface today). When I'm on the go, I want to be able to use this device to full extent of it's possibilities without having to bring peripherals with me. Your mini tablet solution is too "easy" to be accepted as a new device category. In your story, it feels like the software will have to do all the convincing (Look! here's Windows 10 with Continuum and CShell! See how it magically adapts!) while the hardware is an afterthought, something that can almost be found on the shelf today.
  • Hi Tim trust me, I'm all for the foldable concept, and when I first presented this concept it was with the foldable concept on mind. As a caveat because the tech for what in envision for the foldable component may not be ready now, and to enable the fundamental aspects of my concept, I did so with a deliberate reference to the foldable aspect to bring readers minds there, but allowed for the fact that the concept(at least a first iteration) may be more practical without it. Also, I deliberately didn't give any specifics for size but reference the undocked portion of the device as a "mini tablet" for two reasons: deference AWAY from using the phone designation and reference to it's functionality and use. I purposefully address (but don't stress) phone functionality because it is simply just another function of the device rather than the devices identity. But I do state "smartphone sized" as a general reference as to what would be the acceptable size range.😉 Thanks for your response!😎
  • Agree with you completely (except the bit about phablets; the bigger versions of iPhones and Galaxies are outselling the smaller versions); if they could pull off this device and do it in knock-out hardware, it could become exactly what is being touted - a new class of devices with the potential to leave many others obsolete.
  • Everytime I am in Singapore, Tokyo, Shanghai I am surprised to see the kids carrying the "biggest available smartphones" so in Asia for sure size does matter. EU is mixed I suspect and in the US consumers tend to stick to the smaller form factor albeit pre-sales of S8 and future larger iPhones could reverse that trend
  • Since W10 is nothing but an advertisement machine, MS would do wise to either bundle a free phone with select purchases, and advertise their new phone through W10 ad spaces. Take a hit on the overall cost, make up for it with app purchases. And to do that we need to close the app gap. Gaming is most common thing on smartphones, and MS owns multiple game companies, so, have them port/make games for their mobile platform that also work on desktops/tablets/xbone, with cross purchase, you buy it once, you bought it for all. And they need to ADVERTISE! Developers will go to the platform that makes them the most money, and is easy to develop for. Give them some sort of incentive like investment, or give them higher share of in app purchases or app sales. MS doesn't need OEM partners, but it would help if they did. THey can either bribe OEMs with royalty free patents, keep the free OS for devices under 7" or just simply negotiate some deals.
  • " Since W10 is nothing but an advertisement machine..."  Well that's just a ridiculous comment.  Please tell me what adds you see on your Windows 10 PC.  If you're talking about mining user data and selling it, well that's really Google's thing - not Win10.
  • You want a real Trojan horse? Give attendees at //build 2017 a Samsung Galaxy S8, and at the same time release an officially-supported public Windows 10 on ARM test image for the S8. Samsung has the ability to move tens of millions of devices per quarter, so you already have plenty potential users on hardware that creates lu$t (why was that word censored by the post filter?) and envy, and if they don't like the experience they can just flash back to the stock image. Throw in Android emulation via the Windows Subsystem for Linux and you have a real game-changer.   But Microsoft will also need to do a better job of communicating and advertising whatever their "ultimate" solution is. Poor communication has been a big part of the "death" of W10M as we know it today.
  • That would require Samsung to support that W10M image, which would be a waste of their engineers' time. 
  • I also think that Microsoft also need to work on the sunk investment and Social stigma Gap. 1. the Sunk investment: dollars that someone has invested over maybe 10 years on ios or android. Movies, TV and apps that will no longer move over to Win 10. Could Microsoft work with the Devlopers and Media studios to get a discount, or credite to pay for some of this on the windows 10? If someone has $2,000 + dollars of tv, Movies and Apps that they will losse if they move to Win 10, the investment is more than just the cost of the new device.  Could Microsoft work with Developers and Studios as a means to help them out of the Dueopaly that they find themselves in? Work to give the Developers and Studios a lower cost for X years for any user they give a credite to. 2. Social Stigma GAP: Cnet (I know evil place) wrote an story last week about how one of the writers will not drop ios due to a green text bubble every time he texts his apple friends. Only ios text are colored blue.  With Family and Friends presurring you to stay in the same ecosystem, or even join the dark side.  On one of my last Family reunions out side of cellular range, plans had been made and send to everyone, only to find out that anyone not on ios did not get the wifi only texts, caused a problem. I do not know all of the ecosystem propriatary items, but they do drive a difference socialy.  Here the only think I think that Microsoft can do is marketing againts this kind of thing, turn the green bubble into a good thing show that Win 10 brings freedom from itunes, imessaging and googles (no updates, until your wireless provider lets you). May need to walk lightly with that updates thing as of lately for windows phone not so good.   What else do you think Microsoft could do?
  • So essentially, we're talking about a PadFone style device, with a 2-in-1 style main dock.  I'd buy that.   It's a great concept.  It's definitely not a NEW concept.   "Consumers and businesses will need to want this device for reasons other than what motivates users to buy smartphones".  To get to those reasons, you simply need to think: "when/why do I put down my smartphone, and open my laptop?".  Basically, when I want to be productive.   Make the "brains" component of this new device powerful enough to run Visual Studio, so I can ditch my main laptop, and I'll be all over it.  I've considered the alternative: using this device to remote into another computer that's running Visual Studio 2017 ... but that's not an option due to reduced mobility, not being able to work on planes, cost of data plans etc.   I look at Apple's broader ecosystem, and I see hundreds of stereo docks, musicians peripherals etc. that all have one thing in common: an Apple connector, and a solid mount that takes into account the shape of the Apple device.  My concern with the Padfone style device, is that each OEM is going to have their own phone form factor, and their own corresponding Padfone shell form factor to receive the device.  You're not going to be able to take Device 1 from Manufacturer X, and slip it into Lapdock 2 from Manufacturer Y.  It might be shooting themselves in the foot with the OEMs re: differentiation ... but I wonder if Microsoft needs to say to OEMs "if you're going to build one of these, here are the dimensions and port locations you need to use"?
  • Didn't anyone else that the exact form and function that MS is looking to develop was the device that the company staff used in the series Westworld? It was a folding form that worked as phablet. It allowed the staff to access the the Westworld system as well as make phone calls. It appeared to be the best of both worlds.
  • I'm almost tempted to delve into my reddit comment history to find where I proposed a similar idea in 2015, I think.  Regardless, I love this idea and think you did a great job of presenting it in great depth.  I hope someone at MS is listening!!
  • Forget business, forget the surface brand. Make an entertainment phone. Use the new console branding. Virtual xbox controller, peak performance, virtual reality and gaming focus, high def audio, crisp movie streaming. Windows 10 proper, with a minimalised console style cshell. Intel chip, dedicated graphics. Haptic feedback on the screen if possible, pressure sensitivity.   Bundle old legacy games into the store, add news UWP titles co-released with scorpio. Re-invent the phone and the gaming console. Make the candy crush, and facebook scrolling look a positively boring way to spend ones time. Make it the best damn VR phone that exists too.  Release video can use trap/dubstep/heavy metal, feature people playing music at parties, gaming in groups, people enjoying movies-excitement - people having _actua_l fun with their phone, rather than freemium games and apps boring their **** off. Call it something edgey, like "Tarnish" or "Malice".  That's the way you brand a MS consumer phone. The same way Razer brands their laptops. In fact, razer would not be a bad hardware partner for such a proposition. Their experiences with the edge may help.  Current phones are actually kind of boring. What do they do? chat apps, social networking and dull games. They are only marginally more exciting that a spreadsheet. MS owns the damned xbox. They have an OS that can run a whole range of games, out of the box. All its missing is the right software/hardware implementation, and you'd have a phone that no one gives a damn whether it has snapchat, because none of the other phones will do what it can.  
  • It seems that everybody tends to overlook one simple truth, nothing to do with technology at all, Microsoft has become over the last decade (and a bit earlier) a self-destructing entity. It’s vision to the public is incoherent, misleading and confusing. Somebody at the helm is obviously confused themselves. Let me explain, most of my development expertise was in the Windows CE domain. For some peculiar reason, Windows CE changed names like I change socks. Windows CE to Windows CE.NET (BTW confusing people into thinking it’s a new paradigm) back to Windows CE then onto Windows Embedded Compact until killing it altogether. Actually it was a more than decent hard real time OS, but in the true embedded time critical world continuity is needed and contrary to the consumer herd, jumping from one technology to the next without coherence is a killer. This was always a repeated question by my clients, (not in these words exactly but in gist) is Windows CE dead? This same attitude is the backbone of the current Microsoft way. Embedded has been dropped for IoT, COM has been dropped for .NET (not really since the infrastructure for .NET is still COM) WinRT is not Real Time but Run Time including a new and restrictive API just so that someone who gets paid for creating hollow buzzwords will be happy. Another problem is (true for all big corporations) they treat users as if they are all dumb users and will not let you setup your devices to really suite your needs, they in their little wisdom know what’s best for you. On the other hand most consumers are dumb and cannot handle changes, look just how bad users accepted Windows 8, BTW I believe that part of the reason iOS and Android are so popular is because these look and feel like Win XP and before. I myself hate my android but I use it now because of the ecosystem. As much as I liked my Windows phone it was bloody restrictive. The system apps were way better than my Android system apps, but that was it. Hardly any apps that I really needed, and honestly I don’t have many apps on my phone. So if Microsoft keeps sending confusing messages to the consumer they are in for a rough ride even if their technology is superior.
  • Jason, I think your strategy is consistent with MS' plans. It makes sense and fits with what they've communicated to date. One other strength that I'd like to see them leverage is Xbox. Microsoft actually has a significant source of consumer goodwill and access to build an integration that Apple and Google can't quite match, at least not from a branding perspective, and that's Xbox. I recognize this has no appeal to enterprise customers, but the MS brand is already strong there. Where MS has been especially weak with its phones and tablets has been on the consmure side, ignoring its chief consumer strength. With the move to bring Xbox into the Windows 10 family and make Store apps available for Xbox, all of the pieces are positioned on the board to provide a well integrated experience for gamers like no other "ultra-mobile" device, short of the new Nintendo Switch, but that lacks all of the broad appeal of Windows. Does a gaming system appeal to all consumers? No, of course not, but if you have enterprise appeal on one side and gamer appeal on the other, those are 2 big pillars from which to build a market.
  • That's why I see it as "an entertainment phone". Enhanced not just for games, but also for tv, movies, audio, VR. A full media portal. It could also function as a easy way to get VR on your scorpio, and stream from both PC and xbox.  HD audio, enhanced streaming capabilities, enhanced screen colour etc - a console based cshell ui that is primarily focused on excitement and fun.  Apple positioned itself as "freindly and fun" technology and brought the consumer sphere by making everything else look dull and overly complicated. And thus we have the era of the smartphone. MS could position itself as "Creative and exciting" and make everything else look dull and overly simplistic. It has games, it has art via the stylus, music via its many win32 app platfroms like fruity loops. It has, dope stuff, that has pure mass appeal - and whether this phone was for watching netflix at the highest quality, playing music at your party, or playing full on  FPS games - this is a product that would be without completley peerless in smartphons if MS went that way. May as well throw in active stylus as well, bring in some artists. Nobody has the number of gaming companies, or the backlog of windows titles, or the number of relevant gaming patents to do anything similar.  Honestly if there was a "Razer" phone, or a Scorpio companion phone, I'd much rather be seen with that than a business branded nokia. It would be hip, rather than dull. And by carefully blending the portable gaming console and the smartphone, MS would very much be creating a new device category, especially if they revisted the hardware design to maximise for entertainment and interactivity.    Branding is everything, and microsoft has a brand, and a style of product with the sort of mass appeal that makes scrolling through social media apps like watching paint dry. A side which so often gets lost in the dull business side, that yes needs love, but can't be seen to overshadow consumer device branding! I normally wait for phones to become cheap - but I'd buy this in an instant. People would quee, there would be real hype, they'd talk about it - it would have serious momentum and it would easy as to build on it, with the scorpio tie in, VR, the windows store media and MS many game companies. And unlike every other portable gaming console in history, it could have hundreds of titles at the moment of release, due to windows legacy games (which literally just need a controller overlay). I can't see any way, a well conceived entertainment phone, branded with the console rather than the business image wouldn't be a wild success. 
  • And unlike the switch or the nintendo DS, or anthing else - as a phone, without complicated periperhals required, or even keypads (you'd want to refine the touch technology tho) - it would be a device you'd actually carry with you everywhere.  I'm not even an avid gamer, and this isn't just exciting to me as a concept - this is plain good business. Games are huge, movies and streaming are huge, music is huge - and art and music making are hip. The mixture would be very hard to mess up, and would have zero public association with windows 10 mobile, or business, or any of the failed cultural zeitgeist. It would simply be the first entertainment console phone hybrid.    If you see here:,2... There are technologies in r&d for producing haptic feedback using fluids, or ultrasound. Surely _one_ of these technologies could be brought to market and make the touch screen of smartphones a real game controller (and incidentally, a enterprise haptic keyboard). 
  • Here's one way Microsoft could make the Surface phone succeed... Build it. All other issues aside, they have to actually make a device.  To get back in the game the device itself will have to be the game changer they have been promising for a few years now.  I'm sorry to say I've lost the faith.  I don't believe it exists or they have any idea what to do to make it.  I love the Windows Mobile OS but I just don't believe Microsoft's heart is in it. Even if they prove me wrong and actually make a great device they have to be willing to stay the course and fight for market share.  A market that has seen them enter and withdrawl several times and will be reluctant to trust them.  Rebrand it from smartphone to mobile device all day long but it will still be doing the same things as a smartphone to start.  It will take time for people to start to use or care about whatever differentiates it from smartphones. I hope I'm wrong but I'd honestly bet against it happening. Prove me wrong Microsoft!!!
  • Microsoft please prove him wrong. but I think he's gonna be right  
  • They said they're building the device. As Panos Panay said, it takes time to build something like that. We just don't know what exactly their idea is of what they're gonna build.
  • You said that you "just don't believe Microsoft's heart is in it".  They're a corporation.  Investors expect a return on their investment.  MS is in the business of making money.  "Heart" is a nice thought, but it has nothing to do with it. 
  • You may be taking that a little too literally. Perhaps they don't seem to have the will to do it would be a better way to say it.
  • There was an article earlier about what should happen to Windows Central should Windows Mobile fails..... I do not believe windows mobile will ultimately "fail" It will come back strong albeit in a different. That is something I can feel at my core.... But what should happen??? is that Jason Ward should become Editor and Chief at Windows Central. That is obvious. This guy is the future.
  • Windows central isn't all about mobile unlike blackberry, all pretty Tech companies have non mobile OS's outside of their mobile operating systems so there's still News to report on.
  • Really? Please show me any new information this article gave.
  • Not about the new, but the level-headedness, the unbiased outlook, the class. Much Better!
  • Anyone can present information. All you do is do some internet research, try to ascertain the facts, and then rewrite them into a pretty little article. It takes a lot more thought to come up with concepts, proposals, and analysis, as we have seen Jason do time and time again.
  • That is precisely why I say Jason is the man.
  • By producing nonsense click bait articles that repeat the same stupid theme?   
  • Thanks Arnold and Zach I appreciate the support. Side note:
    We already have a great Editor in Chief😎
  • A lot of fanboy concepts are thr on internet. Concepts that look nice but never will be fruitioned just that Jason gets a prime space on this site.
  • The most important things for me in a mobile device (what I carry with me always) are the phone and camera (and the means to upload the pictures to social media). The quality of the camera is probably the main thing that first drew me to Windows Phone so I hope that remains a prominent feature.
  • Aaand it has to be MOBILE! I'm affraid that we could end with bulky 5-6 inch device :/
  • The camera is no longer a differentiator.  Any decent smartphone has a capable camera. 
  • Honestly, I am not seeing everyone (smartphone users) flock to a "Surface" Ultra-mobile PC unless they all are using 6" phablets when it comes. W10 on ARM is targeted at 6" and up devices, so unless some newer details have surfaced, then that sub 5.5" category of something fitting in your pocket is not valid yet. I could not pocket getting one let alone pocket one altogether... Despite my thoughts here, I am excited to see what comes no matter what it is.
  • Aspect ratio is more important than size when dealing with "pocketability" (yea...i just said it). I think it's too soon to validate or invalidate looking solely at screen sizes
  • Best wishes for windows phone, not Surface Phone.
    Cuz old is gold . No matter the facility or advantages of new products.
  • Whatever: It'll be different. Microsoft is more and more embracing Linux. If ever MS closes tue app gap,
    it will be with Android apps
    that run on a WSL-type of Software
    beneath W10(M). Linux cloud servers are the industry standard, the mobile apps universe (Android and iOS) is based on Linuxiod operating systems (Unix, BSD, Linux). Guys, prepare for even more Linux-ish stuff in your industry and your life. Microsoft just may buy Ubuntu,
    maybe Dell will. Microsoft is giving Linux more room,
    they are integrating Linux in their Business plans and their company. Maybe a future "Windows Phone" or whatever will run Android apps on an embedded Linux subsystem. Whatever will happen, it may very well be something completely contrary to what the media is expecting.
  • Agree with you somewhat here, but I don’t think it will be android apps, seeing that most of them needs Google Play Services now, I think they will implement another type of Linux app sub-system.
  •   Somewhat behind our backs
    (not really perceptible for the regular consumer and media), 
    Linux has taken over the world. 
    The war is over, Linux has won by far.  Not on the regular PC desktop, but everywhere else. 
    "Everywhere else" however seems to outnumber "the desktop" by far.  Microsoft cannot win anymore the old way, 
    they are about to change their business model. Microsoft is embracing what it some time ago considered fierce competition and "cancer".   Microsoft will allow you to run x86 code on ARM if it needs to be, 
    and they will support you in case you want to run Linux
    under Microsoft Windows or host a Linux server on Azure. Android apps? Why not. They know how to do it. 
    Just get Android and/or Androud apps on board.
    Cheaper that way anyway.   Maybe Microsoft will even buy Ubuntu.
    Ubuntu is just cutting away some fat
    in order to become an attractive take-over target or investment opportunity.    It looks as if Microsoft is going to become a one-stop-shop for all of your IT-needs.  Windows is not much of a cash cow any more, 
    Office, Azure and services are.  Interesting times ...
      We will need to keep our minds open. 
    The world is changing in ever more ways.  Windows Central better rechristen themselves one more time,
    this time as "Microsoft Central". :-)    
  • Even Bill Gates stated in his time that Windows was not a cash cow, he leaned to Office as the go to flagship money maker for microsoft and that was years ago. Nothing new now.
  • Android apps running natively on an Android distribution running on top of WSL (Windows Subsystem for Linux) is exactly what Astoria was. The thing is, while WSL runs very well, Android and its apps aren't battery friendly and make the whole experience pretty bad on a battery-powered device. And for apps to work properly, they have to let that subsystem run all the time to service Android background apps, hitting the exact performance issues real Android devices are faced with.
    On top of that, the existance of such a solution means apps developers will see Android as the universal apps platform, so instead of being a temporary solution until UWP catches up, it could effectively kill UWP.
  • Agreed, not if MS shows the system level code to manipulate the app, the performance increases, if it is really modular in the fact that it can compile to multiple platforms.
  • Microsoft's biggest single and ultimate reason for failure is complete lack of any marketing of Windows Phone, Mobile or how you want to name it. You see oodles of apple-stuff in TV-series, prominently pointing the apple logo to the viewing audience at home. Android is another thing, there the sheer abundance of google's presence on the net took care of it's marketing. Where was Microsoft during this? I haven't seen any MS commercial anywhere on Dutch TV or of any Windows Phone running phones. Plenty of other brands running Android, either from the brands themselves or from retailers. A new iPhone features on the news. Windows Desktop OS news does reach the news, but mobile... nothing. THAT is where MS fails so miserably. It doesn't and hasn't EVER pushed Windows mobile in any worthwhile way.
  • But we know the lack of marketing for Windows Phones is by plan ;). How else do you pave the way for the unorthodox rule book Microsoft is building for Mobile?
  • Microsoft and Nokia marketing Windows phone really hard at the beginning. It didn't help at all. Why would they continue wasting money marketing a failed product?
  • What failure? They had 3% world market alone.. Thats in millions. Many manufacturers don't even get that much! Imagine how much sales they got when Windows Phone was at highest sales. When they stoped marketing the product, Windows phones were getting better and better sales, i guess Microsoft was not calm enough, they want big market immediately like how PC got...
  • 10.5 million phones was the peak in late 2014 and numbers started dropping again after that. Android sold over 300 million that quarter for perspective! How embarrassing for Microsoft. Those 10.5 million phones were all low end $30 phones too. If they sold that many L1020 or 930, then it would be an ok number. The high end phones all flopped hard, hence Microsoft stopped making them and killed the L940.
  • One area that MS has failed to succeed in, in my opinion, is that when they build a mobile phone, they do not build it for all carriers. 950XL was only built for AT&T and T-Mobile. Spend the extra money, extra time and build the phones for all carrier platforms. There is no reason to do a carrier exclusive phone, especially when the phones OS is not popular like others. I love my Lumia 950XL, I am a Windows Phone fan all the way. I think the Surface Phone would be a great contender in the phone world, but as long as it is available for all carriers, otherwise, it will fall flat on its face AGAIN.
  • That isn't up to Microsoft. Verizon needs to cooperate and Microsoft hasn't proven they are worth Verizon's time. Exclusives is exactly how you get a phone popular. If people truly want it, then it will be successful as an exclusive and the other carriers will start paying attention. It worked for everyone else, except Microsoft. At this point, it is quite obvious the major issue is with the product.
  • Nah, MS do this too. Take the L930/Idol. Released in the US, exactly where Windows Phone customers were not, but kept from real customers everywhere else in the world (at no benefit to US phone networks) leaving us with low end offerings for ages for no reason other than MS felt that a successful high end handset might undermine Nad's plan to 'retrench' phones straight down the drain. Then they release year old tech as if a brand new flagship and hope no-one noticed. They did notice. Nad's plan worked perfectly.
  • Nobody bought the L920 or L1020. Widely releasing the L930 would have been a waste of money. Microsoft chose to release them in the important markets only. People were not interested in Windows phones so Microsoft had to make some tough decisions.
  • But instead of releasing them in the important markets such as Europe, where Microsoft's customers live and where we did indeed buy those previous handsets, they release them only in the US where we almost universally don't live. The important market is the one with all your customers in it. The empty one with the tumbleweeds rolling through, not so much. Are you sure releasing it a year late in the important market was supposed to be a way to boost sales?
  • This!
  • I am quite sure Europe was one of the only places the L930 was released. The Icon was on the biggest carrier in the US and it flopped. I am sure Microsoft knew how the L920 sold in Europe and weighed the odds. They needed a hit in the US if they wanted developers. Verizon was the best place to do that so they released their premier phone with them. If they released it in Europe, it also would have flopped, but without any chance of reward. Sorry to say, but the big developers are US focused. You need to be relevant here to get their attention.
  • The Icon and the L930 are exactly the same phone. That's the problem. A year later and we got an old phone. And it still sold (but not in the US). Just imagine if it hadn't been marketed by monkeys and was sold to the waiting wallets where customers actually are before it became the oldest tech on the flagship shelf? Personally, I think there's room in the world for a phone Americans don't like. That's true of everything else. Heck, the number of 'apps' for the ZX Spectrum was huge considering the web was not a thing and the internet was available for almost no-one. That was way before the US even caught on to the idea of home computers. I have nothing against my US chums, but we can have a party without you if you're busy. Just saying.
  • It would have flopped in Europe too and Verizon probably wouldn't have carried it. Again, Microsoft/Nokia knew how many they expected to sell in Europe and on Verizon. They made a decision based on those numbers. They wouldn't have sold many in Europe either, just like the L920. At least with Verizon, they had a chance at a hit and getting some traction in the US market.
  • Why wouldn't Verizon have carried it? What do they care if it's being sold anywhere else in the world? So long as they're the only US carrier with it. Windows Phones were selling like crazy for a while there in the UK. I can assure you that the lack of availability of the L930 really hurt the Lumia brand at the height of their popularity, as the massive-screened L1520 was too much phone for most shoppers. No option at upgrade time = lost customer. It tumbles very quickly. It is not rocket science.
  • Windows phones were not selling like crazy anywhere. A small percentage of a specific market isn't "selling like crazy". The best quarter Microsoft had they only sold 10.5 million phones. That is terrible especially when you consider only the cheapest phones were selling. Verizon may have wanted total exclusivity of the L930, but more likely Microsoft looked at sales of the L920 in Europe and didn't see any reason to rush the L930 out. They probably decided that the lower end phones were more important since they were the only ones that sold at all. People don't buy high end Windows phones. The experience is no where near as good as the competition.
  • Lumias in Europe were big thanks to that relations between Nokia and big telecoms. It all was working so well!
  • Yea, right on EU bro. Nad did it first with his trench, now Trump's trying a wall instead. This America First lark is all well and good, but only if you give the rest of us free shipping on your products direct from the US. And no, destroying our phone manufacturers isn't going to work as an alternative.
  • Making Bing much, much more relevant for Americans and focusing on Certain while keeping the service practically US only didn't help much either...
  • If it was working so well, why was Nokia switching to Android?
  • Because they were trying to work with Microsoft? Bound to cause a few anxieties, after all being an MS customer certainly does.
  • What? Nokia had tried Windows phone and it had totally failed. They were switching to Android so Balmer made the choice to buy them instead.
  • A bit of advice.  I believe tech bloggers should remain factual when it comes to this subject.  Microsoft has failed in mobile, there isn't any anounced "new device" and IOS and Android are not looking back.  These "Surface Phone" wishes are only that - wishes.  Bloggers loose credibiility when facts or confirmed news are not used.  Sorry Jason but reposting this topic....and it's not the 1st re-write, is getting a little long in the tooth.  Daniel (on the other hand) has taken the "I will believe it when I see it" approach and so am I.  However, what you just posted as a comment to your write up...actually should have been the writeup.
  • I agree with everything you wrote, but what's a guy/gale do or write about when the product you cover is all but dead.
  • W10M is not dead, not really.  Rather than dead, W10M is
    ... hmmm, I lack a word that would appropriately describe its state of existance.  Maybe we need to create a new word for this .... :-)   .
  • The word is "stasis".  Better yet is a two-word phrase - "life support". 
  • undead :))) zombie like
  • Do you know what an editorial is? If so, are you claiming there isn't room for it in journalism? I'd like to hear a response from those who upvoted your comment as well
  • Sure, I know what an editorial is. This, however is old unsubstantiated wishful thinking. Questions to Microsoft's lack of action would be more appropriate at this point. Actions speak louder than words...well in Microsoft's case (Complete Silence). I am with Build Microsoft needs to set the record straight!!!
  • It's clear that your personal bias is conflicting with your ability to evaluate Jason's creative license being an editor of this site.
    As far as what it seems what you wish Jason would target as a subject, he has and even as far as referencing them in his initial comment.
    He has exercised his ability to write an editorial in a very balanced way. This is what is leading me to my next question; Are you SURE you know what an editorial is?
    I also noticed you didn't answer my second question in my first comment to you, which I'm still very interested in hearing, especially with your initial claim that you know what an editorial is; do you believe there is no room for editorials in journalism?
  • Hi ITMedCEO thanks for your response. In response to your statement I refer you to the four articles linked at the end of this piece where I hold MS accountable for ensuring it's success in mobile by addressing very specific points. Now I also refer you to this article where the title clearly states "How Microsoft could ensure 'Surface phone' success. Now the term Surface phone is used in the title for this topic which Microsoft's CEO factually referred to as an 'ultimate mobile device, because Surface phone is the term the industry at large and fans have dubbed this device. But it is clear I'm holding MS accountable to an expectation it has set. Nadella made the statement's about an ultimate mobile device and targeting a device beyond the curve in mobile. These are confirmed facts. To that I clearly state the company needed to be working on an ultimate mobile device strategy - not just a device. No one else is going to ensure their success for what Nadella claims the company is going to do thus my piece: "How MICROSOFT can ensure Surface phone success." Now, I base this article off of the recorded claim by the company's CEO that MS is making an ultimate mobile device, and the factual and recorded assertion's the company has made that they are committed to mobile. As well as the recorded statement by Nadella that says he is targeting a device beyond the curve in mobile and that the company won't be using rivals old smartphone rules. These are recorded facts from Microsoft's leadership that an ultimate mobile device is on Microsoft's timeline.
    With that in mind I took into consideration the factual evidence of the challenges Microsoft will encounter if they execute what Nadella said they would execute by way of an ultimate mobile device: -Getting the device into users hands. -Differentiating between the
    smartphone and mobile spaces. - Winning OEM partner support to a nee form factor. - Closing the app gap and garnering developer support. These are all issues that one would be hard pressed to claim are not actually factual and relevant challenges to Microsoft's entry into the mobile space with an ultimate mobile device the CEO said it would bring to market. Furthermore, I then took the challenge of presenting a detailed method by which this multibillion dollar company could address each of those challenges. Now, if MS is going to succeed in mobile they absolutely must address each of those challenges. I think my very thought out and detailed expression how I think they can do this, and inviting the community, people such as yourself, that have supported MS to do the same, shows quite a bold and serious commitment to holding Microsoft accountable to addressing this issue; and doing so thoughtfully and strategically with a long term vision in view and not just with a new device. Finally, my opening paragraphs of this piece clearly acknowledge the limited information we have and the fact that we would be speculating based on the info we do have. Thanks for your input, but how about following up by lending your voice and thoughts to the discussion regarding how you feel MS can address these four challenges I've outlined with the ultimate mobile device the company's CEO stated is coming. Perhaps someone at MS will see your input and know that you're one of the many that are holding Microsoft accountable to a high standard of commitment.😎
  • No, problem and thank you Jason for your well thought out write-ups. I have been a fan of Windows Mobile platform since the PocketPC by Compaq...remember that? Have had the HTC HD1, HD2 and Pro. I have Lumia everything up to the 950 XL. Now, I have given in to the Samsung S8+. The lack of vision and leadership at Microsoft in the Mobile space is painstakingly frustrating. I say this Jason or Daniel (whoever)...if you can land a interview with a MS Higher up to discuss future plans or even address what you have written here would be start. I will be more than happy to contribute. I commend your enthusiasm and commitment to the cause. I do hope for some sort of turn around. But, again like Daniel has stated...if they don't mention anything at this upcoming Build my next mobile device maybe the Galaxy S9+, sadly.
  • There is only one way for the Surface Phone to be successful. It needs to be as revolutionary as the iPhone was in 2007. For this to happen, it cannot be running Windows or anything that works or looks like Windows. They need something new and mind blowing. Period. A mobile device that turns into a desktop isn't mind blowing in the slightest bit. Anyone who needs a PC, already has one. Their is no good reason for a typical consumer to deal with Continuum, especially when a better experience is had with a $200 laptop. Microsoft is stuck in a Windows rut and needs something new and marketable.
  • Agreed!  Personally I don't want or need a PC for a phone.  I just want a phone OS.  A few articles back I wrote about having a PC for a phone only lends itself to be wrought with issues.  Typical PC issues.  Namely viruses.  Yes.  I know it's easy to say anyone with common sense would know how to avoid that.  Yes.  Well guess what?  When it comes to PCs there are lot of people who just assumes it will work.  They'll be under false pretense that their PC phone is virus immune.  I can see Apple running those PC vs. MAC type commercials showing how easy it is for your new PC phone to get ransomeware and other unwanted stuff on your PC phone.  Sure the readers here might not think it's an issue.  But put such a phone out to the masses and I do believe this will be an issue for many.  So I too hope they stay away from a PC phone.  I know MS will most likely go the PC phone direction, but I hope they don't.  
  • This is where I believe w10c will be very useful. In addition to cshell, I think this will meet the requirements of the masses. Enthusiasts will know it's w10 limited to the store and there is an upgrade path for them.
  • W10c is a Chromebook competitor. It does not sound like it has anything to do with mobile. Locking a device to the Windows Store defeats the purpose of using Windows in the first place.
  • Yea, allegedly. Do you think it's just limited to JUST that? Has Windows ever been limited to a specific form factor (where applicable of course). Cshell + w10c + woa is ms way back to consumer market through enterprise (edu is an enterprise) without directly competing with ios and android. That's right up ms's alley and something they WOULD do
  • OK it might be refolutionary in terms of form factor or some technology but so what if they did not keep traction with basic consumer base of WP/WM10 and UWP. This will end so bad again. Look at those fancy sci-fi devices proposed from time to time with Android and all availble apps but it fails even than. Examples: Kyocera Echo which was something what now ppl thinks Surface Phone will be, also all those modular phones, Yota with eInk on the back (brilliant BTW!) etc etc.
  • Does anyone take these articles seriously anymore?
  • No, but the comments are fun to read.
  • This. I don't even read these articles anymore, just go straight to the comments lol
  • maktaba, the answer is no.    I just usually go to the comment sections of Jason's articles to see all the funny comments.   Mostly just stupid articles which are click bait in nature.   More like comedy central than windows central.   Literally, whatever short term clicks they get damages themselves longer term with these types of articles, over and over.  
  • Couldn't agree more, well said.
  • If MS wants their take on mobile to suceed, marketing is key. They really need to sell to consumers the notion that whatever it is they're putting out isn't a smartphone. More importantly, they need to convince people that it's relevant to them. Most people I know only use PC's to work. Heck, even I'm considering a tablet for media consumption so I don't need my laptop to watch youtube or check Fb, which is what I mostly do on PC when I'm not working. That is key: to convince people to use those additional features. Otherwise, all the potential in cellular PC's becomes pointless as most consumers will scoff it off.
  • Did Apple have to convince you the iPhone is awesome? Dude, anyone who picked that phone up in 2007 immediately knew it was the future. If Microsoft has to convince you their product is good, the product isn't good.
  • Apple showed you something that was a massive jump from anything that existed before. No one thought of phones as anything more than devices for talking and texting, even though they already had cameras in them for half a decade, colored screens and internet capabilites. Mobile devices these days are about as advanced as they can get for what they are. MS wants to reinvent the wheel but, unlike Apple, they're doing it on something most everyone already knows and uses. See the difference? Apple also had Jobs behind it, who'd pioneered a return to form that MS simply does not have, even with their Surface line.
  • I agree. I don't see Microsoft releasing something that replaces the modern smartphone and it will be nearly impossible for them to compete this late in the game. Nadella seems to know this and is trying to keep Microsoft services relevant. Not much else they can do.
  • (2nd Comment) As a Fan of Windows. I have really been paying attention to the details. So I have two perspectives that I've been looking at things. 1. I have a business with 12 Desktop CPUs running W10 on them (8.5 out of 10 satisfaction). I must say as frustrating as customers have been, I'm able to side with both the fans/customers and Microsoft. I personally have been bombarded with work trying to balance running the business at the same trying to innovate with new products and services. This is no easy task at all, as customers are always in your face about things because their main concern is *how the company can help them.* On the flip side the onus is on Microsoft to produce because they have made promises and they also have a loot of skin in the game along with millions relying on them everyday. So because of this, it comes down to how structured Microsoft's plans are for what's to come. 2. I also have been using Windows phone since the infamous HTC HD7 *Big Ups to all my ride or die Windows Fans* (Currently using 950 XL) So I understand the rollercoaster and have also really learned the virtue of pertinence with Microsoft's Mobile efforts. As fans I do think we are kind of looking a little too much into this Mobile situation. I think it might be kinda obvious that Microsoft is cooking up something different than your everyday smartphone with 5" screen because things just haven't worked out the way they have been doing it and they were too easily willing to sale a Microsoft edition of an Android phone. To me I look at that situation as Microsoft saying I'll sale this old passé device to throw Samsung a bone and hoping for some Google support on Microsoft devices because not too much longer from now we'll be offering this new robust device that will make that Android device a throwaway. Plus, Microsoft knows they are planning to kinda get away from the whole "phone" things. I can just see them saying I'll sale it for commission and because it might be the hottest old "archaic version of phones today" on the market. They also have made it very clear that they want OEMs to make devices so partnerships are very important to them. I'm sure Microsoft would love to have Samsung make great devices like they do for Android OS but as fans we have to understand that things take time. Because at the end of the day all we're gonna do is complain, complain, complain and then when Microsoft comes out with their new crazy device we'll be drooling all over it. Because we know there's no real alternative that we are completely satisfied with. Other smartphones OSs have their strengths but at the end of the day we know as fans the comparison just ain't there. I know this is long but I just wanna instill some light because I know the frustrations everyone's dealing with and as a business owner I know they're cooking something. I'm very sure of that, it's just a matter of timing. So ask yourself, if you give Microsoft the right amount of time to complete their Mobile visions and it turns out to be everything you might need/want in a hand size device. Would the wait be worth it? Yeah because to be honest it's not like the current Windows mobile devices are much different from the New IPhone and Galaxy. There are some features/capabilities they might have over Windows but other than the apps, what are you really missing out on? So I say just let Microsoft be great people. They have innovated in a lot of categories lately and I'm sure they can finally do the same thing for the Mobile category too. Just don't be that person that acts as though your mad at Microsoft for some reason because they finally make it with Mobile (as a lot of people do when they see someone or something become successful). Sorry about the long message. And Great Article as usual btw @JasonWard
  • The point is one:
    Does this device exist on their labs? If yes why they didn't point if its a phone or something (cause Mobile devices are the tablets also) ia this device's name Surface Phone or not? Also Nadella said that last year and since then there is not an update or something about this device. With all this info on hand I doubt that this ultimate mobile device exist at least as a prototype and if it ever exists. But even if this device ever come to life I am sure that microsoft will do some things good and many (more) things bad. And of course not good promotion (as Microsoft doesn't promote that good the last year's)
  • Surface Phone does not matter if Microsoft kills Windows 10 Mobile in build 2017, being silent also won't help. Anything Microsoft does with Surface Phone's hardware can come to Android or iPhone in a year or 2, its software where Microsoft has to impress and they cant do something like Continuum which Samsung already copied, Microsoft has to do something unique, like with live tiles. Live tiles is what made lots of fans and we have not seen anything big since full screen background wallpaper launched on W10M. Many of us don't need new features in PC because we can do anything in PC, modify anything, just have to search online. And mainly we don't use all these features, we just install apps and use it, or install games and play it! We need features in mobile! And current Windows 10 Mobile!
  • If Surface phone looks or operates anything like Windows phone, it is dead already. That UI has already proven to be a commercial failure time and time again. Microsoft would be crazy to try the same exact thing again.
  • Trust me many still love the UI... But Microsoft is not improving.. Burst tiles was on research but never came, maybe cancelled. They are not focusing on big changes. Windows Phone always felt incomplete, like many things are gonna come and it was coming until Microsoft stoped it. One example is the windows phone home screen, swipe right and it does nothing! What where they planning to do there?
  • It is on the way, taking time.  Project Neon just barely started...But Microsoft are the authors.  They only need to put out something from their side and everyone looks.
  • Funny, because the iOS UI is as non-exciting as new pair of socks. Yet people are all over that stuff like ants on honey. What exactly failed in the Windows 10 M UI from your perspective.
  • People saw it on the shelf and didn't buy it. WP7 devices were everywhere and performed better than their Android counter parts, yet no one bought them. People who did buy them, didn't continue buying them. The UI wasn't​ a success. People want simple interfaces that get them quickly into apps. There is no reason to stare a home screen, especially when you cannot easily access the info you MIGHT randomly see on a Live Tile. For whatever reason people didn't like it. WP7, WP8, W10M and Windows 8 were all huge failures. They were all based heavily on the same Live Tile UI. No product that contained Live Tiles has been a success. Why do you want Microsoft to continue failing?
  • I agree on this.  The live tiles were the main differentiator, and not enough people bought the phones.  It's easy to conclude that consumers do not want live tiles, and would rather have a phone like iOS/Android that just have grids of app icons.  They need to ditch live tiles.  Very rarely have I ever used the info from a live tile...maybe for weather, but that's about it.  They should revamp the main screen completely.  They have multiple videos showing future concepts that all have very unique future-looking user interfaces, but we never see them in real life - those are what they need to make.  We need a UI that has never been done before, and looks easy to use, but also straight out of the future.  Beyond that, they need very unique hardware, so when someone's friend sees it, it's something they want to have as well.  The patent concept shown recently, where the phone could fold out three times, in order to get a tablet-sized screen large enough to actually watch a movie, would be awesome.  Perhaps another one where you fold out a panel with a real game controller, so we don't have to use crappy touch controls in games.  The Moto phones with different attachments I have seen commercials for look like something new and fresh, but not sure how well they are selling.  Beyond things like that, it may takes something we've never seen before, like a phone able to produce real holograms on surfaces.
  • The UI isn't the issue.  It's just as capable as the iOS and Android UIs - just different.  It's the app store offerings - a simple chicken and egg problem.  No customers, no reason for developers to invest in learning the coding languages and the APIs for building apps.  And no apps, no customers. 
  • It isn't a chicken and egg thing. Apps do not come before users. Android didn't have apps when it was started, neither did iOS. The difference is, Google and Apple created compelling platforms that were able to entice users. Microsoft didn't. Microsoft had a chance in 2011 to release a great platform and create a user base. Instead they released a mediocre platform that totally flopped. Windows phones never gained any traction at all.
  • I think the issue was that the live tiles show random info. Just imagine if you were able to customize what the live tile showed? Microsoft didn't do enough things with the live tiles they should have continually improved what you could do with them and they didn't. No wonder people didn't like them.
  • iOS UI is simple and smooth.. Thats it.. Windows 10 Mobile's Live tiles were more than simple, with more useful information and customizable. When Windows 10 Mobile released the looks got even better, we could see Microsoft improving alot. Most important, it was a true Personal Smartphone. But after that, we saw nothing. The performance problem was the early stages of Universal App Platform, even on my low end PC its very slow, but that was not a real problem as it was at least working. Nothing about the W10M UI failed, but it was Microsoft's support which failed. Even now, Microsoft could start supporting W10M by adding lots of features and many will start buying. But now only problem for Microsoft is the manufacturers, they need someone like HMD or Samsung, they should have never layedoff Nokia. And since they removed many phones from getting updates, they have to tell the truth by Build 2017!
  • People don't want MS phone, support has nothing to do with it.  MS missed the boat in 2005-2007... the rest is history.   Nothing they are going to do with Win10m or anything else is going to get those customers back, generally, Apple brought the goods to the table... its over.   They don't have to tell the truth at this build just like they haven't for about 3 or 4 builds.   "Wait till next build"  is the motto IT professionals use, learn it, live it.
  • Nope. People wanted. Apps was the problem. Check anywhere in the net, everyone only wanted Apps! When Microsoft stoped supporting Windows Phones and layed off Nokia, developers also stoped development of apps!
  • Lack of apps is just a symptom of poor sales. Microsoft needs to bring its A game back in 2011. They didn't. Today, Microsoft is lacking apps because for years, it released platforms that were inferior to the competition for whatever reason. This caused sales to be poor and developers to ignore it. You just want to say apps are the issue instead of admitting the platform always sucked.
  • " Lack of apps is just a symptom of poor sales. "  Many would argue that lack of apps is a