Microsoft CEO Stokes Surface Phone Rumors With 'Ultimate Mobile Device' Comments

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Satya NadellaMicrosoft CEO Satya Nadella has stoked speculation this week that Redmond is prepping a new line of smartphones under the Surface brand for launch in early 2017.

In an interview with the Australian Financial Review published on Monday, Nadella said the company was conducting innovative research that would ensure it continued to have a presence in the smartphone market. However, rather than follow a present trend, Microsoft would attempt to re-define the field in a single-handed pursuit of the "ultimate mobile device".

Underlining his philosophy, Nadella said that the company would not launch into a device category without bringing something different to the table, because it was more interested in how individuals and organizations were using devices, and less in the devices themselves.

"We don't want to be driven by just envy of what others have, the question is, what can we bring? That's where I look at any device form factor or any technology, even AI," he said. "We will continue to be in the phone market not as defined by today's market leaders, but by what it is that we can uniquely do in what is the most ultimate mobile device."

Rumors of a "Surface Phone" that would complement the popular Surface Book and the highly praised Surface Studio have been bubbling away for a while. Some rumors suggest a device running Windows 10 Mobile OS, others predict a range of devices, some of which could sport a keyboard flip case reminiscent of Blackberry phones. Meanwhile, several observers have pointed to the HP Elite x3 – part smartphone, part mini PC – as a potential indicator of where the company could take its mobile ambitions, possibly as soon as early next year.

The introduction of a Surface Phone would represent a bold return to the smartphone market for Microsoft, after its consumer phone ambitions fell flat following the company's Nokia mobile acquisition over two years ago. Microsoft subsequently laid off hundreds of employees tied to its smartphone business in May, suggesting the company had all but given up on the consumer phone market.

Top Rated Comments

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46 months ago
With the love the Surface Studio is getting and the more "universal" OS that Windows is becoming makes me wonder if Microsoft isn't the sleeping giant. While Google and Apple are going after each other, Microsoft could be getting their crap together and really turn the market on its ear. Time will tell.
Score: 38 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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46 months ago
I actually used and developed for the Windows phone. A real shame it was canned because I think Windows on the phone was a nice OS and it was really nice to develop for.
The only problem was the tiny tiny market share.
If they can make a second attempt to enter the market I'd say Microsoft is the one to watch. They are going from strength to strength at the moment. If they can only reach critical mass the apps will follow.
Score: 13 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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46 months ago
Satya Nadella is the new Steve Jobs.

Oh how the tables have turned.
Score: 11 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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46 months ago
Short answer: Ha!

Long answer: Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha!
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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46 months ago
Unless it has access to the Apple App Store or Google Play Store then I can't see it being a huge success.
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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46 months ago
The "Ultimate Mobile Device" had already been invented, and MS is out of the game for good.

Unless he's referring to implants, that are far away in the future.
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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