The Microsoft Surface phone has long been rumored, but the recent buzz about the Windows 10 phone indicates it could actually get released this year, probably in October for a price ranging between $699-$1,100.
The device is expected to be a part of Microsoft’s renewed efforts to target the smartphone market. The company’s existing Windows Phone OS based devices have mostly faded into oblivion in comparison to the competition from Android devices and Apple’s iPhone. In fact, rumors say that the Windows Phone OS based Lumia range could be scrapped in 2017, according to a WinBeta report from September 2016.
So, could Microsoft move out of the smartphone industry? Well, the answer is no.
What Surface Phone rumors indicate is a change in the company’s approach — the company could switch from Windows Phone OS based smartphones to Windows OS smartphones, a ZDNet report indicated in March 2016. Simply put, customers might be able to seamlessly use the same operating system across their PCs and Microsoft devices.
The Surface Phone could, if Microsoft is able to implement such an OS across devices, not only change the company’s fortunes, but also change the way we use smartphones.
The device is expected to come loaded with high-end features.
Here are 10 expected features of the Microsoft Surface Phone:
Foldability: A Microsoft patent application, which surfaced in January, indicates the company is planning a foldable smartphone with a hinge-based mechanism. While the mechanism is similar to the rumored Galaxy X smartphone, according to the patent application, the device will also have a ‘Tent Mode’ akin to the Lenovo Yoga Tablet. The hinge is also expected to feature a display, so when the device is laid out, it gives the feel of a seamless tablet display.
Snapdragon 830/835 processor: 10nm technology based processors are expected to be employed in major flagship as they will provide better performance and battery life in comparison to existing 14nm processors.
They are expected to be included in flagship smartphones including the iPhone 8 and Samsung Galaxy S8, and Microsoft is also expected to follow suit, although it is not yet evident whether the company will go for the Snapdragon 830 or 835, since rumors about the device are pointing towards both.
Windows 10 OS: This is expected to the biggest feature of the device and its USP. Microsoft has already showcased desktop connectivity and seamless interface between PCs and smartphones with its Continuum devices. With the Surface Phone, Microsoft is expected to go a step further by using the same OS across both devices. If the company indeed gives the Surface Phone with such a feature, it could make the device desirable since no company has till date, offered such a feature.
Surface Pen compatibility: The device is expected to be compatible with Microsoft’s Surface Pen stylus, according to a Bussiness Insider report published in 2015 – functionality similar to what Samsung offers with its Note series. The feature makes sense since the device could possibly be a 2-in-1 device.
USB-C Port: Similar to the Samsung Galaxy S8 and iPhone 8, the Surface Phone is expected to ditch the 3.5mm audio jack for a USB-C port, which will serve both as a charging port as well as an audio input, according to Mobile Choice.
Improved Cortana: Microsoft is expected to make its voice assistant, Cortana smarter in 2017. The company is expected to put out an artificial intelligence (AI) version of Cortana on the lines of the Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa. The Surface Phone could be the first phone to come with this feature.
Indications about Microsoft’s Cortana plans emerged from the company acquisition of AI and natural language processing startup Maluuba in January.
Quad HD display: A leaked image of the Surface Phone emerged in May 2016, showing a 5.7-inch Quad HD display, Neowin reported in May 2016 . While the resolution seems high-end, another feature that company could probably go for is an edge-to-edge display. It is a feature that many companies are opting for their flagship devices and while no details have emerged about the display, there is a huge probability the Microsoft too could opt for the popular flagship feature of 2017.
128GB storage, 4GB RAM: The device is expected to have 128GB onboard storage, according to a Phonearena report published in June 2016. .
21-megapixel rear camera: The device is expected to feature a 21-megapixel rear camera with a Carl Zeiss lens, similar to high-end cameras on past Windows Phone devices such as the Lumia 1020 and Lumia 930.
Xbox-like gaming features: Microsoft has started porting gaming features across different devices, ranging from gaming consoles to PCs. The Windows 10 Creators Update is expected to bring along gaming related features in its Game Mode. If, as rumored, the Surface Phone comes with Windows 10 OS, there is a possibility that many such features could be ported to the Surface Phone as well.