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

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.



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32 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.
Rating: 38 Votes
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32 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.
Rating: 13 Votes
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32 months ago
Satya Nadella is the new Steve Jobs.

Oh how the tables have turned.
Rating: 11 Votes
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32 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.
Rating: 6 Votes
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32 months ago
With apple stagnating in its quest for ever thinner and lighter - Microsoft have an opportunity here.

The Surface studio is a touch screen implemented correctly - great innovation. All apple can respond is - 'can't be done'.

If Microsoft can carry on this innovation in new smartphones - then don't count them out.
Rating: 6 Votes
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32 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.
Rating: 6 Votes
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32 months ago
Short answer: Ha!

Long answer: Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha!
Rating: 6 Votes
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32 months ago

Who needs marketing when journalists do your work for you. Microsoft making more phones, brand change, news at 11. The prob with windows on mobile is the crappy UI.


Actually, as an IT professional for almost 20 years, and someone is forced to learn every commonly used OS as well as WP7,8,8.1,10, I can definitely say that the problem with the Windows Phone OS is not the "crappy UI" at all. In fact, after having used both iOS and WP together for many years (currently have an iPhone 6S and a Lumia 950 with WP10), I can say that I absolutely, without a doubt, prefer the UI of the Windows Phone.

Let me explain: iOS is indeed a clean and easy to use OS, with an equally clean and easy to use UI. However, the UI has become old and hasn't been keeping up with the times very well. It remains about the same as it was back when I first got a 3GS (some additional features, but not many). In comparison to the way you can make Android look, considering it's so customize-able, as well as the much more modern look of the Windows UI, iOS seems more like a Fisher Price UI. Basic, cartoon looking buttons meant to cater to children or old people who are out of touch with technology.

There is a reason why Android completely dominated and ripped all the market share away from iPhone. Now, WP is a different story. As much as I love the OS, and find it to be the most convenient (once set up properly), as well as the most aesthetically pleasing, the reason why WP didn't take off like Android, was that A) it tried to break into an already saturated market way too late in the game. B) especially with an OS that has as many problems as it does (underdeveloped), and ultimately and primarily C) because of it's horrific excuse for an app store, which had very little to start with, making it even less appealing, and D) because it's SDK (Software Development Kit) was difficult and convoluted to work with. Not to mention E) It's not nearly as customize-able as Android.

If they resolve the app problem, by ideally by making a new SDK that would allow for easy adaptation and porting of existing apps already written in multiple languages, allow for easy development work (making it more simple to use), perhaps offering something never been seen before in terms of acquiring apps, then at least the app problem would be resolved.

If they dumped a bit more money into R&D and application support, to iron out any of the bugs that are found, and quickly (it would take forever to get fixes for known problems or new builds, much longer than either Android or iOS), it would be more appealing.

And by releasing a more fully developed, fully supported, and innovative product all under a Brand name that is currently a powerhouse in the industry with "Surface", as long as it lives up to the quality of the other products under the brand name, they will indeed pull market share, and a lot of it, considering just how popular and successful Surface products are.

The Surface Studio is one example. It truly is a professional touchscreen done right. Haters can talk about how the dial is a gimmick, and perhaps it is under some lights, but considering it can be developed to work with any software, the imagination's the limit in terms of what it can be used for. I feel it is a great new tool for a professional touchscreen.

Going back to the W10 Mobile UI - The reason I like it so much, are the Live Tiles.

This is the single most impressive feature about WP. Live tiles, imo, is not only the greatest feature of WP, but is a feature that I sorely wish was implemented in both iOS and Android. Both iOS and Android have updated their icons over the years to provide additional information e.g. "A number in the corner of the icon to show how many unread texts you have", but that's pretty much all it does. A live tile is customize-able in terms of it's size and what it can display. If you use a super tiny tile, you get minimal information, similar to iOS, but still more. You can swap to a more medium sized tile (which is around the same size as an iOS icon, and you will get even more info. Swap to large for more, and even larger for the most. Depending on what size you want which tile to be, it can allow me to completely read most of my messages, emails, phone call information, news of any kind, calendar items, the weather, pretty much everything you can possibly think of.

What makes this so incredibly good is that it saves time. I can simply unlock my phone and look at my desktop (equivalent of looking at your first icon page) and get every piece of information I want, then put my phone back in my pocket. Super quick and convenient. To do the same with iOS, I have to open an app, get the info I want, close the app, find another app, perhaps flipping multiple pages in order to get to it, open that up, close it again, and the back and forth tediousness of it all, in comparison, is lengthy and annoying. For those who haven't had the chance to experience the convenience of Live Tiles, you may not care, because you don't know, but considering I have both, I can see first hand, side-by-side, just how much time I save using WP, it adds up over time. 20-30 seconds a pop multiplied by how ever many time I check for updates a day (say 10 to make it simple), times 7 days a week, times 4 weeks a month, times 12 months a year and it all adds up to roughly 18 to 28 HOURS a year, wasted on simply searching for information that you could have gotten instantly with Live Tiles.

Think about that. You can save an entire day every year, simply by using Live Tiles. They are indeed that good.

Now, don't get me wrong. Live tiles can't give you everything you want. There are times when the live tile just isn't enough real estate to give me everything, and so I will have to open up the app to get the rest, but still, it's great to have at least some or most of the info I want in a quick and easy manner. Also, a live tile isn't just one face of a tile, like an icon is, live tiles can scroll, pan, flip which increases the amount of real estate it has to display information without using up your screen space. For instance one side of a the weather live tile, may tell me what the temperature is, whether it's sunny, rainy, cloudy, snowy, etc., along with humidity, winds, and an hourly forecast for the next few hours, but then it will flip, and provide me with the entire weekly forecast on the other side of the tile.

Live Tiles are simply amazing. It sucks that other OS's haven't adapted this yet. Perhaps Microsoft has a patent on it, which if that's the case, I can't blame them for not selling the rights to it, because it's a game changer for me. I have determined that it's worth not being able to have all the apps I would want, or to even suffer with more frequently occurring bugs, to have the live tiles.

Apple really has to step it up. Ever since Jobs passed, it's like the company can't innovate. They need something or someone to fill his shoes and fast.
Rating: 5 Votes
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32 months ago

Satya Nadella is the new Steve Jobs.

Oh how the tables have turned.

Steve Jobs didn't make vague proclamations. He'd show off new products when they were ready to ship.
Rating: 5 Votes
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32 months ago
Microsoft: kings of usability. Can't wait to see what they bring to the table.

They've already got a desktop OS poorly optimised for touch. My money's on a clickwheel interface for their phones.
Rating: 4 Votes
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