Microsoft has had a tough time finding the perfect smartphone to push its Windows operating system, even after buying Lumia. Now the company is reportedly working on a fresh start to help push Windows 10 onto its ideal smartphone, which is being called the Surface Phone.
The Microsoft Lumia smartphones haven't seen huge sales and some have reportedly been pulled from production after the failure of the Lumia 950 to reach popularity. The company, according to inside sources, is therefore taking some time to let its OEM manufacturers sell their handsets while it works on the Surface Phone.
The Microsoft Surface Phone has allegedly been "green lit" and is being worked on by Panos Panay and his Surface team, the people who brought us the Surface Tablet. Three versions are expected: Consumer, business and prosumer/enthusiast.
Here's everything we know so far about Microsoft's first Surface Phone. We will be updating this feature as more rumours appear so keep checking back.
Microsoft Surface Phone: Release date and price
Initially Microsoft was reportedly aiming for a May 2016 release for its Surface Phone. This has allegedly since been scrapped, following the Lumia 950 failure, and a new date of early 2017 is being targeted.
According to a report from Windows Central, Microsoft is aiming to launch a Redstone 2 update with new hardware in April 2017.
Expect the Surface Phone to be high-end and super premium with a quality build, top specs and a price tag to reflect that, following in the footsteps of the Surface tablet line. According to the same Windows Central piece we can expect Microsoft to focus on the phone being the most secure in the world as well as the best for productivity.
Microsoft Surface Phone: Design and build
Microsoft was initially rumoured to be working on an all metal Surface Phone, which was the device set for release in May. This date may have been pushed back, as we mentioned previously, but we suspect the metal build idea won't be going anywhere if the Surface Phone ever does appear.
The Surface Tablet offers a strong, solid build and its performed well for Microsoft. Given the same team has apparently been employed to work on the Surface Phone, it's likely they will stick to what they know has worked in the past, which includes a premium, metal build.
There have been rumours of a kickstand to allow the phone to stand on its own, just like its full-sized older sibling, the Surface Tablet, offers. If so we'd expect a stylus to make an appearance too, on the business model at least.
Microsoft Surface Phone: Display
As three Surface Phone variants have been touted, a selection of sizes is likely.
For the consumer, the handset should be between five and six inches, rumoured to be a 5.7-inch, while the business and prosumer models will likely have larger screens. This could allow for easier access to multitasking and seeing data over a larger display.
Microsoft Surface Phone: Processor and power specs
Microsoft is reportedly working with Intel on its Surface Phone. This will likely feature the best Intel has to offer in mobile chipsets at the time of its release.
It is unclear if Intel will be creating a new chip specifically to run the Surface Phone. But since the phone should double as a PC, thanks to Continuum, expect there for be plenty of power. Here's hoping it will be battery efficient too.
Microsoft Surface Phone: Camera
Microsoft may leverage its Lumia purchase heritage to create a new camera that rocks the smartphone world. It would make sense to bring in the strengths Lumia has in this area.
It will at least be Skype friendly, so an impressive front-facing camera would be an obvious addition.
Microsoft Surface Phone: Software
Microsoft will almost certainly use the Surface Phone as a vehicle to help push the huge investment it's made into Windows 10 OS.
Microsoft will want the Surface Phone to launch with a perfect OS that unites its hardware platforms. Expect the Surface tablet and phone experience to be similar and for them to offer most things you can do on PC. Whether that will require a connection to a monitor or not is unclear.