Surface Phone?

I love my Windows Phone. Unfortunately it’s time to upgrade and I can get a very good Android phone for $200 cheaper than the new Lumia 950. So I’m going to have to say goodbye to the Windows Phone for a few years. That being said Microsoft has done a good thing getting their ecosystem into Android, so although I’ll have an Android it will be running the same ecosystem apps I’m used to (oh Office, you make my life so much easier).

But I’m not here to lament the cost of the new Lumia, but rather to look ahead at what might be. A Surface Phone.

There have been rumors of a Surface Phone for years, pretty much since the first Surface was unveiled. But the Surface wasn’t just a tablet. It looked at tablets and said “instead of trying to do that slightly better what can we do to move beyond that?”. Thus was born the Surface Pro line, and yes it took a few years to get it right, but I take a look around at the students here and there are almost as many Surfaces as there are Mac Books. Microsoft may not have beaten the iPad, but they have beaten the Android tablet. And they won not by making simply a better tablet but by making a tablet that doubled as a fully functional laptop. The Surface Book is the next extension of this, making a great laptop that doubles as a tablet.

Which got me thinking. Why would they make a Surface branded phone that was just a flagship level phone. If that was it then the Lumia 950 was the right time to do it. It’s the move to Windows 10, the first real flagship of the post Nokia era (the 930 was really a Nokia product, not a Microsoft product), and the first phone with Continuum.

And that’s when I realized it. Continuum was a killer feature and yes the 950 has it, but it doesn’t make full use of it.

So here’s my prediction.

There is a Surface Phone being developed. But it’s not just a better phone that has Continuum. It’s a mini-computer that doubles as a phone. It’s a Continuum first product.

My idea of what it would be:

  • Likely an x86, but it could be ARM.
  • Wireless connection with Continuum
  • Runs full versions of office, browser, & likely other programs when linked with Continuum
  • When linked with Continuum it isn’t *like* a PC is *IS* a PC. Only limitation is storage space.
  • Yes, this is still a fully functional smart phone

You walk to a desk, put your phone on the Continuum base and up pops your computer on the monitor. You have full access to the files on your phone, full access to files on the cloud, desktop programs, universal apps, you name it.

This won’t be a cheap phone, as the minimum amount of storage would likely be 128GB. But it’s not a phone, it’s your portable computer. It’s more effective than a netbook, more useful than a tablet, and more portable than a laptop.

I’ve been wrong before (we still don’t have projected multi-touch interfaces for our phones) but I think this is a concept that would work. And it meshes with the idea behind Surface. It’s not just a tablet, it’s a laptop replacement. This wouldn’t be just a better phone, a Surface Phone would be a portable PC.

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