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article imageMicrosoft's Surface Phone allegedly the 'ultimate Windows Phone'

By James Walker     Dec 2, 2015 in Technology
A new report on Microsoft's mobile efforts claims the company will finally be ready to launch its long-rumoured 'Surface Phone' next year. The hardware team is said to have gone back to the drawing board again and is now targeting a mid-2016 launch.
Microsoft is looking to build the "ultimate Windows Phone," according to Windows Central's Daniel Rubino who cites sources "familiar with Microsoft's plans." Under the leadership of overall hardware group manager Panos Panay, the team responsible for Surface tablets is working with the smartphone division to build something all-new in time for the second half of 2016.
This isn't the same "Surface phone" that has been repeatedly rumoured before though. Rubino writes that the much-anticipated, Intel-powered metal device has now been cancelled. That handset would have launched in May 2016 but has now been abandoned in favour of something entirely new. As with the recently-launched Lumia 950 and Lumia 950 XL, it appears the designs for the original "Surface Phone' may have been acquired from Nokia. Microsoft would now rather come out with something designed entirely in-house.
The under-development Surface Phone which the company is working on now is reportedly known internally as "Panos' Phone," a reference to Microsoft's Panos Panay, creator of the Surface. With Panay now in charge of Microsoft's smartphones as well as its tablets, he wants to build a device using his own designs. Panay himself hinted at this during the launch event for the Lumia 950 and Lumia 950 XL, appearing to deliberately disown the phones as Nokia carryovers in the process.
Those devices have been generally well received but have failed to make a significant splash in the mobile world. Fans have failed to be won over by what many see as the same polycarbonate plastic that Nokia used. In short, the 950 and 950 XL aren't as premium as people thought and hoped they would be.
Microsoft has heard the feedback. The company is going back to the drawing board to build something that Panos Panay can be proud of, creating a design that is worthy of carrying the Surface name. According to Rubino, Intel is still involved with the project but what it brings to the table remains unknown.
However, with a little speculation, it's easy to see how an Intel chipset could boost Windows 10 Mobile. The platform's Continuum feature on Qualcomm's Snapdragon 810 processor lets phones transform to a PC-like interface when connected to a display, rendering the desktop interfaces of universal apps. With an Intel processor under the hood, Continuum need not be limited just to apps from the Windows Store though.
Theoretically, an Intel-powered Windows 10 phone could let you keep fully-fledged desktop programs like Photoshop with you wherever you go, making a complete transformation to desktop Windows 10 when connected with Continuum. It remains nothing more than fan speculation but the theory holds up and seems plausible. Whether Microsoft can make it happen remains to be seen.
More about Microsoft, Surface, surface phone, lumia, Windows
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