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Windows 8 Phone? No... it's not a typo

Remember i-Mate from the Windows Mobile days? They made the rugged Windows Mobile hand-set that could survive just about anything. Now it appears that the company is working to produce a Windows 8 Phone.

No... not a Windows Phone 8 device, but a phone running Windows 8.

Rumors have the company introducing a 4.7" device running Windows 8 Pro at Mobile World Congress 2013. The device will be powered by an Atom processor, 2GB of RAM and 64GB of storage, and work with HSPA+ and LTE 4G wireless networks.

Rum: 5

The Windows 8 Phone will have an optional docking station and wired handset that is dubbed the "hub". When docked the handset can act as a traditional desktop phone and make video calls. The "hub" also comes with a 23" touch screen display, keyboard and mouse allowing it to function as a desktop PC. There is also an auxiliary 10.1" wireless tablet.

Cost? $750 for the phone itself and $1,600 for the phone and "hub".  And no, we don't know if it can be dipped in ketchup and survive.

iMate Windows 8 Phone Hub

i-Mate never really took off here in the States but has grown into a major phone producer in the U.K. and Dubai. It is our understanding that i-Mate is planning to unveil this new Windows 8 Phone this week in Barcelona. For now we'll sit squarely on the fence with this one and keep the Rum o'meter at five until Dan can dig up some more details tomorrow at Mobile World Congress.

So... what do you think? Could a Windows 8 Phone have a niche in the market? Or is this a concept phone that will have trouble making it off the ground?

Source: Seattle Times (opens in new tab); Thanks, Rodney, for the tip!

George is the Reviews Editor at Windows Central, concentrating on Windows 10 PC and Mobile apps. He's been a supporter of the platform since the days of Windows CE and uses his current Windows 10 Mobile phone daily to keep up with life and enjoy a game during down time.

186 Comments
  • I have a wLooks ugly, yet alone another pointless item.
  • Looks like a iPhone right?
  • I have a HTC 8x, love windows. I have also owned all I phones and many androids, new and old. Bit this is pointless, like seachaser said, the OS would be dumb on a phone. Why put windows 8 in a phone when Microsoft already is trying to worm on wondows PHONE 8. No trolling here. Just facts.
  • I would agree it is pointless, but for a different reason... MS will make the exact same thing on Windows 9 ...or 10.
     
  • Why? Because phones are increasingly capable and why not use the capability? I think this is the future of computing- a device you can carry in your pocket with all your data, but can function as a full-up desktop PC with a fullsized monitor and keyboard. Just because you don't understand the future of computing doesn't mean this is pointless. And dumaal- you're right, this probably won't be marketable as Windows 8; more likely for a future Windows release. But showing they they can do this illustrates how close they are to a marketable solution.
  • Well, combinging the 2 platforms would be a better strategy, have a phone edition and a desktop P.C. edition and a Tablet-P.C. edition (similar to how Windows Mobile 6.X works).
  • Windows Mobile 6 works? That wasn't my experience.
    All it ever did was a battery pull (at least daily) on the couple of devices I had. 
    Windows of any sort on a phone....
    never again.
  • this shitty company went out of business.  If they have come back in any form or fashion run, not walk, the other way.
  • I agree.  I was rather disappointed with the results of MWC 2013.  I guess that's why we see this article.
  • Its a cool concept but I doubt it will take off.
  • I would buy it.
     
  • Why? What would Windows 8 offer that Windows Phone 8 doesn't?
    UI would be godawful as Windows 8 is designed for tablets / laptops / desktops. App selection would likely be even worse.
  • there are a number of thing W8 can do over WP8. Now personally I think the W8 Pro is a little off, I would have expected Win RT since the current line of phones are running the same SoCs as Win RT tablets, minus a couple of cores. The point is, this would actually make an ecosystem. Right now, there is no ecosystem, MS keeps making us think there is. Tell me, what do wp8 and w8 have in common other than the kernel and "Windows" in the name...nothing. If you want to challenge me on that tell me the last time you were able to do things on your WP8 device exactly as you dis on your PC. Tell me how many apps function exactly the same. They don't. So my question is, how does having a WP8 complete my ecosystem of a W8 PC and a Win RT/Pro tablet anymore or better than if I had an iphone/android/Blackberry? It doesn't. Blackberry is the only one who is actually putting together and ecosystem between their phones and tablets. Only thing missing now is a PC. Blackberry 10 owners who previously owned a Playbook will have no issue with using their new phones since the OS is pretty much exactly the same, except a minor difference in the skin and the extra GB of RAM tht allows the inbox to always be open. Other than that they function exactly the same. Isn't that what ecosytem means, everything works together for a seemless transition from device to device? Need another example? Swipe in from the right side of your WP8, did a charms bar appear? Or, swipe from the left, did your open app come up and start working right where you left off? The point is, this is a step in the right direction to give MS a true ecosystem. Again, I think RT would be the way to go, but that's just my opinion.
  • No, thats not what an ecosystem means. The goal isn't to develop an identical user interface on each form factor. Using a desktop and a phone are two completely different activities that require different solution to suit how users interact with the devices. In my opinion Microsoft already went too far by running a tablet UI on a PC and a desktop UI on a tablet.
    Building an ecosystem simply refers to having all of your different devices interacting and sharing information such as media, settings, and accounts seamlessly. Microsoft could improve their platform ecosystem by improving the interaction between devices. The software that syncs content to my WP should be the software with which I manage my music library on my PC. I should be able to buy content on the Marketplace and have it available on my PC, phone, and Xbox. I should receive the same notifications on all of my devices. etc. The ecosystem is about content sharing and interaction between devices. Apple does it through itunes and their various online stores. Google does it through their web services. Microsoft has yet to perfect it.
  • That's essentially what I was getting at and I think you and I are on the same page just saying it in two different ways. The overall UI doesn't need to be exactly the same look, but deffinately should be the same feel. WP feels nothing like Win8 and winRT and that is the problem. Win8 PC varient should never have had the metro UI forced on us but only given us the option to run that UI but still allow us to boot into desktop if we preferred. In fact that was the initial impression everyone had when Win8 was first introduced. WinRT should essentially be considered the bridge between WP and Win8 with WP having the same feel as WinRT. But I say again, if you claim to have an "ecosystem" what makes having a WP any better than the others. I haven't seen much of an advantage.
  • The article is claiming Win 8 PRO,  which means, in theory, installing and running PC legacy apps, assuming the Atom processor and GPU were enough to power the app you're trying to run.  
    Possibly run old legacy games, install any emulators you wanted, pair with a bluetooth controller, run Steam (thought no one's going to be playing Crysis, obviously).  Can't do any of that on Windows Phone... at least not yet.
     Can't play Pinball FX2 or Gunstringer on Windows phone.  There's no Firefox for WP. The Win 8 app store may have less apps, but they have a different selection that you can't get on WP.  Maybe that will change w/ the upcoming Blue update, we can only hope.
    Or home automation options? Instead of hoping that a company makes an app for WP, you could just install the PC app.  
    Or home network options?  With a home network, steaming to and from the phone itself, and sharing files across devices, is practically built in.
    Seeing as that I'm already a Live user with all my contacts synced to Live,  switching over to a handheld device running Win 8 would be a simple as logging in and not missing a single beat.
    If the aesthetics of Win 8 on a smaller screen is the only downside, then its more than a fair tradeoff.  The big question is how smooth can all this really run.  I can imagine trying to open a legacy app and waiting for it to load all day.
  • I agree K_lando. I wouldn't mind a phone OS that was a desktop OS. That was why the Ubuntu phone interested me.
  • Be able to receive updates directly as I do for my PC and not having to wait for OEMs and carriers would be enough for me.
  • That and being able to manage the device directly via AD group policies? That's a win right there - or could be. One thing to realize straight away is that this is not a consumer device. Look at the pics and look at the OS. This was built for business.
     
    Personally I think it will be about as successful as the Cisco Cius tablet but as an idea it's not too far out there. Maybe in a few years when the business world is ready to move beyond Win7... maybe.
  • DUMBEST QUESTION OF ALL TIME!!!!!
     
    ID BUY THE HUB IMMEDIATELY!!!
     
    To answer your question...
     
    VPN... RDP... Movie Editing... Music Editing... File Access...
     
    dont... just dont even ask questions like that anymore!
  • That would be neat if it approaches the phablet sizing area. I don't know if I'd buy one, but I can definitely see why someone would.
  • That stupid made-up word is used as a derogatory term by people who think that any phone larger than an iPhone is too big! So stop using that word and don’t trust anyone who does!
  • Apple fanboys must refer to the iPhone 5 as a "phablet" then, or would that be a paradox? ;)
  • You obviously do not know what the word means.
  • Irony is if this comes to fruition it already has more apps than windows phone 8.
  • Whats ironic is that it would have more apps than any other OS period.
  • Well said. This looks killer. A full fledged OS in my pocket. Whooo hooo, sign me up when it becomes available!!! If it comes with a HDMI connector, it is a day one purchase for me.
  • No, it's Windows 8. Try again >:I
  • As others have commented already, Windows RT is the aim here and this isn't the first time the W.OS has been seen working on a phone. Essentially it's a tablet in a phone-sized form and for sure, this is the future of Windows: There will be Windows and Windows Pro (Like Surface and Surface Pro) rather than the current three options. I don't think this is too far away (Windows 10?) and has been the stated (ok, alluded) aim of MS since it's ONE mission started. It's an interesting concept to dock I'm this way, but I believe people will prefer two (portable) devices instead of the dock, which is priced similarly to Surface Pro 2 so why bother with the less powerful dock? All good stuff though and nice to see other companies considering the potential mashup of devices and services made possible by W.OS (my ironic term for the ecosystem).
  • What would be the point?
  • Although I doubt this particular device will ever see the light of day, the point would be ultimate mobility. You would be able to leave your PC, or your tablet, at home or work, and grab just the phone. You literally would be able to never have to stop working.. Wait!!,, Screw this!! Lol.. This is the mans plan to work us 24/7!!! Lol!
  • +1.
  • I thought that was the point of the Surface RT/Pro. But I could see it being useful in that manner but something that small would too closely rival a Windows Phone 8 device and probably confuse a lot of people.
  • Huh, I thought i-mate was dead.
  • If this is true I can see alot are gonna follow and make windows 8 phones
  • Definitely worth a look for business use.
  • I WANT ONE :)
  • I want one too....but if I buy it, my wife would divorce me for sure, since I already spend all day on my Lumia 920 and Surface RT.
  • Ha ha save your marriage.
  • I have bribed her by buying a Lumia 920 for her as well.
  • I thought this was a joke when I sent it in, but if they say there's a chance it could "Surface" then cool!!
  • And....no. No, this won't do very well.
  • Do not want. As terrible an idea as Google's new ChromeBook.
  • How this phone would still be more functional than the pixel
  • So true!
  • Seems legit
  • I want one.!
  • I would definitely consider!!
  • How nice. Pitty Asus already did this with the Padfone. Except the Padfone doubles as a tablet. And isn't as expensive.
    So...I can't say this is anything that appeals to me. And at those prices, I highly doubt it will ever take off. I can't see a market for this honestly. Not with the integration you already get with WP8.
  • Wow!
  • I think its pretty cool, to bad I don't have that kind of money kickin around.
  • Giggity.
  • How is this possible if windows 8 doesn't support the screen size? Isn't that why windows blue is coming out so windows 8 can fit on 8 inch screens? Plus how would you make a call or text?
  • Its extremely possible. Screen size just takes minor tweaking, and call, and text?? Apps fool!!.. Lol
  • Windows 8 is not bound to screen sizes, but screen resolutions... There are alot of 1080p mobile-displays out there which would be sufficient to run Windows 8 Pro.
  • They should have done this in the first place. It looks nice with the background, something they didn't include in the current version of Windows Phone.
  • With all your problems you better stick with something else then WP .. who needs a background behind a screen full of tiles? please explain? stare at the lockscreen of open the picture hub
  • That is a slick setup.
  • I owned a couple of imates phone back in the day, and I don't remember them manufacturing phones, they just used rebranded HTC phones before htc started selling directly to consumer, and that how imate died :/
  • I would totally dig the concept. I've been waiting for years to have something like this since the old Pocket PC days.
  • Well this would be a surprise, especially if this was announced toward the end of MWC
  • Love the idea. Why not just have one OS to learn instead of two? Personally, I think the first company to create an OS that works on all your devices will conquer the world!!!
  • This would be amazing. Was hoping Windows Phones would turn into Win RT but if we can just jump straight to Win8 then why not? I'd buy it w/ the tablet in a second.
  • I actually want, I may be willing to sell my Lumia 920 for it :) color me crazy, a full os on a phone? I can just see the looks of my iPhone friends. @_@
  • I for one welcome this idea! I can't count the times that I've found my self trying to navigate my phone the same way I do with my tablet. Switching,apps, searching ...
  • As soon as a company capitalizes on this idea, I will buy it!!!
    While I love my Windows phone, I was really hoping Windows phone 8 was exactly that- Windows 8 with phone support, gesture support, desktop and all! Being a developer, develop once for all devices will be nice.
    With the 1080p phones out now, having one phone that does it all, wherever you are, will rule all devices- period!!!
  • 4 Gb RAM, 256 Gb SSD, 4 Cores, Micro USB 3, Micro HMDI,... I would definetly make this my main 'P'ersonal 'C'omputing device. Heck, External 21" monitor, keyboard, mouse, and a 'SmartGlass' controling Tablet, and you can take my $2,000+
  • Forgot to say; running Photoshop CS6, AutoCAD 2013, Nuance PDF Pro, etc. plus all the newer Touch Apps. Bloody hell!!! Where do I sign.
  • This would be amazing and I think it would sell like hotcakes. Bring it on.
  • I'm down with this. Way down.
  • Why do you tease me i-mate? A phone that docks into a telephone hooked up to a touch screen monitor? Sick, that tablet looks thin as hell
  • If MS needs an OEm to create their surface phone, i-mate would a great choice.
  • that company went out of business in 2009.
  • Awesome concept!!! Hope this comes to fruition. *_*
  • i-Mate devices were made by HTC back in the day.
    Microsoft wouldn't license Widnows 8 for this sort of device either.
  • Sure they will license W8, it is Windows after all.
  • It's an attractive looking phone. Although, I'm not sure how Windows 8 would feel on a 4.7" screen.
  • The surface pro can barely keep a 5 hour battery life, how is a windows 8 phone going to be able to last for a day?!
  • True, but the phone looks thick and the screen is much smaller, perhaps the battery is huge
  • Surface Pro doesn't run on Intel Atom. Device should acheive much better battery life.
  • Is this RT or pro version?
  • Win8Pro will run on Atom!
  • Cool concept. Windows Blue? Not sure why the phone would need to be anything more than RT though. Would like to see it in action though. Interesting.
  • This is what I want. With the exception of changing to wp8's interface when undocked. Also add better CPUs.
  • This may be Intel's way into the phone market. Oh, that would make things interesting.
  • Indeed-if Intel can further reduce the power requirements of teh chipset they may actually stand a chance. 
  • Okay, I hate it when people come up with mock-ups because they get my hopes up.  If the picture were accurate I'd say sign me up right now for the entire package...especially the tablet.
  • I'd buy this. This is actually something I really want.
  • It's obvious this is the direction Microsoft would like to go in. But technology isn't quite there yet. But one day, your computer will be your phone.
  • I like the idea, but I'd go with the 2.3 GHz Quad Core Snapdragon 800, 4 GB RAM, 128/256 GB Storage, SDXC Slot, Nice front & rear cameras, better design of the device & dock (maybe anadized black aluminum, also can't stand the square corners), wireless headset on the dock, & 5-5.5" S-LCD 3. Also, needs to have all 3/4G frequencies to work on all carriers (2 versions, GSM & a CDMA/GSM one for Sprint/Verizon). Finally, price, $999 for the whole setup; phone, dock, tablet. No keyboard, mouse, monitor included. Let people go buy what they want seperately if they want/need those items. I already have a desktop, so no need for that stuff myself.
  • This is the future. 27" touch screen monitor with gesture and camera support. Atom 64 bit device with 4GB memory, Win Pro, and a wireless charging station for second screen searches and calls. QWERTY and phone headset and stylus and sound bar sold separately. Encrypted WiFi replaces cabled Ethernet
  • I would buy into one if it had bigger screen. Perhaps 5.3 to 5.5 tops.
  • I would love to have a Windows 8 phone.
  • Great concept, but I don't know how close to it actually happening we are at this point. So much in its infancy with MS right now, I have no doubt this is a direction they could see their platform(s) going.
  • Imate used to be made by HTC, since they had no manufacturing facitites. Are they still paying HTC for this?
     
  • I'm short, the office of the future. Completely mobile. Grab your phone and bug out. You can set up shop anywhere in the building or in rental offices in minutes Employees are no longer tied to Ethernet drops or fixed station domain authentication or a pbx phone line.
  • Give it a Wacom pen and I'd be interested.
  • Interesting concept. I want to see it come to fruition because I'd like to see how it works out in real life.
  • Great idea.
  • Interesting concept rendered unacceptable due to the generic slab design and Apple-esque round physical button. Oh well, they don't call i-Mate "i-Mate for nothing.
  • Microsoft didn't say anything about their being Windows Phone 8 Pro? And what Intel Atom would they use? "Bay Trail" Is the information about this right?
  • I agree. The first device to truly replace the PC entirely will be the future. I would very very strongly consider this phone. If Nokia made one with a slightly larger screen and a physical keyboard, I would buy one sight unseen.
  • Count me in to buy one! Please HTC, make them!
  • Don't you want a real computer that also is a phone??  Smartphones today are just very limited weak computers.  Theiry are limited due to battery life, heat and memory in terms of functionality.  
  • should lose the iButton. but over all i think it looks pretty good. still to many details missing though if it is legit.
  • So if it's 64gb wouldn't it only have like ~20 GB because of the massive resource w8 takes?
  • Apple lawsuit in the making....
  • I like. Surface RT is too limited. Surface Pro has the power but is hefty and gets quite warm. This could be a happy compromise.
  • I want!
  • Is it "innovative" or "Silly" ???
  • This is all not going to matter. This device is more along the line of the WinMo platform than the true Smartphone.
     
    With the supposed integration of Blue coming, this may all be unnecessary. If this is a true "Pro" device, it is simply another form factor from the tablet side.
     
    I will say, all this is intriguing and exciting no matter what shakes out.
  • Looks like iMate jump
    the gun into the future by 3 or more years with the new Windows 8 Phone.  
    All I can say is wow! 
    To bad the CPU and memory are substandard for the OS or I would jump to buy it.  
    I'll just wait till Nokia make a Windows 8 Phone with a decent CPU in it and memory like 128GB.   I know, it be three years from now!
    But this is the future now!
  • I would make this a Car PC.  It would be amazing!
  • Amazing idea.. Now a computer that is portable n can be put on big screen when at work.. Nice.. Take my money
  • Many people write it this way already, even some bloggers, this would drive consumers insane. 
  • I'll buy it! Windows 8 OS + Phone? Hell yeah!
  • What kind dump  people  are working in Redmond  these day for Microsoft?  this is the kind technologie they should be  working on   this a great concept.   having the ability to carry around my PC  in any form  is priceless  This  the bridge  that window phone need  to  get a good  bit out  Apple and Android   smart phone market share  Bill Gate need come back to save  Microsoft from Steve bumer  Someone else is using  your  software better than you   wow !   
  • It sounds Great on Paper, but I'm leaning towards it staying a Concept 
  • I would want one.
  • The battery life will be even shorter
  • That depends on what Atom they use, if they use next generation Intel Atom "Bay Trail" then we are in good hands because Bay Trail use is less power than ARMv7 Snapdragon 800 series processor.
  • This hurts my head. But only because Microsoft has caused this problem. I have all this processing power in my hands, but I can't run apps like remote desktop. Why is that? I thought this move to NT kernel was supposed to help bridge the gap. This just shows that there is a niche/need/whatever for more usefulness in the palm of my hand. Paul Thurott mentioned this in a posting and I completely agree with him.
  • This could be awesome. I heard hTC wanted to make a 1080p 5" quadcore phone then have an ASUS padfone style tablet the phone would dock in and run Windows 8/RT for ARM. That seems more practical. but I could see this as an option.
  • Looks awesome...but out of my price range to consider actually buying. 
  • So its like a Motorola Atrix then, except this has a real O.S.
  • I bet if they did this, it would have to be windows rt. I understand there was a W7 phone, but still...
  • I like the concept but not the iPhone look. That's a turn off for me. As much as im tired of these iPhones and ipads I don't want another phone especially coming from a wp8 to look like an iPhone. I just hope WP's can stay looking unique than others
  • That tablet looks shizzle! If the final product looks like the concept (which it likely doesn't) I'll get me one :D
  • Finally, Minecraft off of a windows smartphone.
  • I unno bout this.. Microsoft is spreading themselves thin enough... How bout they ditch the w8p idea and fix wp8.
  • Sorry guys but there're no news about Windows Phone 8? No updates? Nothing?
  • Something like this with KB is expected. And this is very obvious when Nokia came onboard, it will be called Communicator 3000 or something like that running W8.
  • Expected battery life : 30 minutes ;-)
  • Would be better as a 8.9 inch tablet with phone functions. 4.7 is too small for a desktop class OS with corresponding apps.
  • What i would like to see is two OS's: Windows RT for mobile (phones, tablets) and Windows (desktops/laptops), just like iOS and MacOSX, so you can use the same apps on your phone and tablet and apps for your desktop/laptop. 
    Now Microsoft has 3 OS's and (especially for a dummy) that can be confusing sometimes.
  • Although it shouldn't, the Windows Phone branding is already confusing enough to the average consumer. In Canada, Rogers messed with it even more by making their "Windows 8 experience" include Windows 8 as well as Windows Phones, and call them Windows 8 devices. I feel like a legitimate Windows 8 Phone is just going to confuse everyone more than they already are.
  • Interesting concept , can't wait to see how it goes !
    Not sure I'll be an early adopter for something like this (came from Atrix , WebTop anyone) , I'll wait until its mature enough to used on daily basis . Btw , Didn't iMate close down ?
    Just mentioning the name iMate brings memories of that sad iMate i used to have back in the day .
  • I predict this since years... this is the future of enterprise computing...
    One Device ! The tablet is not a computer.. its just a wireless connectet touchscreen.
    With the next generation quadcore Atoms 22nm this will be the enterprise desktop 2014...running lync and uses citrix or vmware to rum highperformance apps at the serverside...
  • imate phones I had were rebranded HTC before HTC used their own brand name.
  • Nooo.. Stop this nonsense. Windows 8 phone will just be doing what apple does and that is basically scaling their OS to scale every system. I enjoy having a slightly different but similar enough system to be constant with my windows 8 laptop. Also the phone part of that has a round part button thing on the bottom...iphone has that... And s3 has a different shape... Lets keep windows phones and windows 8 phones nice and slick by doing away with those extra details.
  • Why not a tablet os into a phone ain't google and icrap doing the same thing backwards a phone os into a tablet.