Microsoft’s Looking to Reboot Mobile with New Software and Hardware

Posted on May 30, 2017 by Brad Sams in Mobile, Windows Phones with 178 Comments

With the demise of Windows Phone and Windows 10 Mobile well documented, those who have been holding out for Microsoft to break back into the mobile space with their own hardware and software have had little hope on the horizon. Further, with Microsoft seemingly putting an end to current RS3 development for mobile with the Feature 2 branch for current Windows Mobile devices, it appeared to be the nail in the coffin.

But, the road is not a dead end or at least, for the Microsoft faithful who want to see first party hardware again, there is hope on the horizon. Two independent sources inside of Microsoft have told me that there is a new hardware device being tested internally and that there is also a separate branch of Windows Mobile for this device.

I have been hearing about the software update for some time and the added hardware component makes sense as the company is pursuing “new experiences” with this device. Additionally, the UI is expected to be different than what we know today as Windows Mobile but the exact changes are still evolving as we are in the early days of development of this experience.

There may also be another ‘cut’ in the support for older applications with the new mobile experience. I have heard, but am not able to fully confirm at this time, that Silverlight applications may not longer work with the updated OS.

At this time, everything is still in early development and plans may change dramatically in the months ahead. The timeline for release is all over the map but seeing as active development is in the works and it is slightly beyond pure development stage, the release shouldn’t be too far way. But in the world of Microsoft, this could be a year or more (or less if it receives good reviews internally and gets fast tracked).

Last week on the Sams Report, I noted how Microsoft will likely re-enter the mobile space as this area is critical to the company’s long-term success; it’s in the second half of the episode that you can find here. Microsoft desperately wants to find a way to penetrate this market and has proven that they are willing to spend big money on trying to gain any notable market share in the mobile space.

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Comments (179)

179 responses to “Microsoft’s Looking to Reboot Mobile with New Software and Hardware”

  1. dhallman

    I hope we are talking about Windows 10 (S) on ARM as the new OS. Can't wait to hear more.

  2. rejohnson

    Easy. Don't let Verizon determine if phones get updated (not just when) and get MS phones into telco-independent stores such Costco.  Verizon was the #1 reason for the end of Windows Phone - wouldn't sell or allow their networks to support them.  If Verizon gets in the way (again), sue them unmercilessly, or better, buy them!

  3. Bdsrev

    This is very exciting news! the iPhone and Android are stale and there's no real innovation or improvement, we need Microsoft making phones!

    • BoItmanLives

      In reply to Bdsrev:

      Not sure that unsubstantiated rumors fed to the creepy MS blogger qualifies as "news"

    • Locust Infested Orchard Inc.

      In reply to Bdsrev:
      Quote: "iPhone and Android are stale and there's no real innovation or improvement"

      Very well put. Indeed, iPhone and iOS are stale, and rotten apples have been fermenting for just a shade under ten long years. It's no wonder the stench from the Cupertino Orchard is truly utterly pungent.

      As for Android, well that humunoid has no orifice to expunge its excrement, so its no wonder Android is stale beyond imagination.

    • Tony Barrett

      In reply to Bdsrev:

      Oh dear. Do we, really? Making phones that no-one wants running an OS that devs aren't interested in. Sure, it keeps the (diminishing) fanbase happy, but that's nowhere near enough. Having to start mobile *again* from scratch in 2017 is something only Microsoft's senior management think is a good idea.

    • skane2600

      In reply to Bdsrev:

      When it comes to smartphones the "low hanging fruit" has all been picked (maybe even the medium hanging fruit). For the most part, expect only minor incremental improvements. Staleness is inevitable in a mature market and there's no evidence that MS has a killer feature to contribute.

  4. rejohnson

    Easy. Don't let Verizon determine if phones get updated (not just when) and get MS phones into telco-independent stores such Costco.  Verizon was the #1 reason for the end of Windows Phone - wouldn't sell or allow their networks to support them.  If Verizon gets in the way (again), sue them unmercilessly, or better, buy them!

  5. Catnamedog

    As a reluctant Windows user - it is still the most popular PC operating system - I want to keep my involvement with MS to the absolute minimum.

    I bought my wife a Windows phone when they were on offer. Neither of us liked it, so at the earliest opportunity, I bought her an Android phone. Our family group is now totally, happily Android -ophile. True, there are things that could be improved, but they tend to be tweaks rather than failures. Windows 10 "start" button problem still hasn't been addressed or fixed to date.

    So for me at least, the war is over. Windows phone lost.

    P.S. As a previous Nokia (Symbian) user, I was pleased to hear that Nokia has now become independent of MS.

  6. kevin rose

    Why would they want to do this? There is almost nothing that needs to run on both desktop and phone (except email and calendar), so why would any sort of windows phone make sense?

  7. Larry Shepard

    This plan became obvious to me with the announcement of Win 10S. MS actually has a chance to make this work. We have to step back and look at this with new eyes.  It is difficult to see success with an old paradigm. MS has the tech and $$ to make this work. They must be willing to COMMIT for the long term. I can see a steady growth in this market as app development continues to mature and development/conversion become easier w/AI.   Their platform will run new cutting edge apps, multi-OS apps like PWAs, converted desktop apps along with "Continum" like functionally without the drawbacks. It actually will not be a long wait before the platform has 2 or 3x the number of apps when WP market share was at 5% and will grow steadily from there.

    MS's initial market will not be consumers, but it's likely the 0.05% WP faithful will return. MS will have to strike oil on business productivity to get off and running and it is not difficult to see this happening when you look at what they are doing right now.

    I think that Paul was hurt badly by the jettison of WP. He may not be capable of putting any faith in a "mobile" rebirth, failure would hurt too much. But the truth is that those who believe that the current mobile paradigm will last are short-sighted.. Personal devices like Echo wont solidify the status-quo either. MS may not be successful, but they are better positioned than Google or Apple to take us to the future, We'll see if they can do it over the next few years.

    • Tony Barrett

      In reply to Larry Shepard:

      That's MIcrosoft's big problem - they don't have the commitment. When things don't work, they draw a line under it and start from scratch again. This means devs and consumers who invested in the platform are left for dead. Do it once, people say 'what, really?'. Do it twice they get angry. Do it three times, they'll abandon the platform. MS have already done it 4 times!

    • Jules Wombat

      In reply to Larry Shepard:

      Nope Consumers never arrived, and those few that did will not come back.

      Developers got burn't three times by Microsoft change in platform. Never again.

      Enterprise will focus on Android, which is the default mobile/IoT/TV/Home/Automotive Operating system now.

  8. Jorge Garcia

    If it can't run the universe of existing APK's, then it's DOA, again.

  9. dstrauss

    I believe Microsoft may be working on a "folding phablet" or some such device as their LTE driven tablet device (maybe even with voice capability) but there will never be another Windows (Microsoft) phone...why else make the "Microsoft" experience on iOS and Android such a focus of development - even to the point of selling the Galaxy S8 in store?

  10. sharpsone

    The only way MS finds success in mobile is by attaching themselves to the Google Play store. Nobody wants a phone that doesn't have apps. When WP/WM had little market share I was able to convince family and friends to make the switch. One by one they abandoned Windows for IOS/Android due to the app gap. They liked the Windows experience and ease of use, but it wasn't enough to overcome the lack of quality apps.

  11. Bill Russell

    "separate branch of Windows Mobile"

    what happened to "one windows."? I guess that already happened as, sure enough, there still has been only one windows that has had any relevance - good 'ol desktop windows.

  12. bbold

    I think this makes perfectly logical sense, and while some may whine and bitch that us "Windows Mobile Diehards" need to get over it and let it die, we know something that many have forgotten.. mobile does make sense, and Microsoft needs a mobile solution or stratedy to keep some market share and so these customers also buy into Microsoft's other services in the ecosystem.

  13. Bill Russell

    Can't a company just make it on software applications? Why do they have to control an OS too to be "successful". No one is shutting out Microsoft's services and applications. Google created android because they knew MS would try to and apple certainly (although they didn't see apple coming) MS success in Mobile OS would translate to lagging application efforts overall as they target only their own OS. By day, I use Outlook on Android and Office 365 in Chrome. If their software works for me, it should be available on whatever hardware as a first class citizen. This is why I have been happy to see MS's struggles the last few years. Its for their own good and had benefited consumers to have more device choices, from back in the days of PC as the only practical computing device and Office as the only thing it runs on.

  14. Jeff Jones

    My guess is Microsoft is hoping Windows 10 S will start to inspire developers and then combined with a fresh Mobile platform, the Windows Store might have extra pull.


    I doubt anything will draw developers to the store in quantities needed, but that's probably what Microsoft is hoping.

    • BoItmanLives

      In reply to Jeff Jones:

      Why would Windows 10 Store edition "inspire" developers? It's literally just regular Windows 10 with the desktop icon removed. Artificial wall isn't inspiring anybody.

      • CaedenV

        In reply to BoItmanLives:

        a few things to keep in mind:

        win10s is very likely going to replace the "Home" SKU, which means that MS is pretty sure that they are going to get the app traction to pull it off (people who need non-store apps will have to pay for Pro upgrade).

        WoA has been shown to do quite well at running desktop x86 apps. If a dev can repackage an x86 designed app and have it run on phone... OMG that would be freaking awesome! Sure legacy desktop apps may not run in 'phone' mode very well... But in continuum... that would turn some heads. I would love a phone that can replace my laptop the way that the Lumia 920 did.


        Again, not saying they will succeed this time. But I think things are changing at MS. WP/WinMo was a dearly beloved child of the team that designed it, but to the vast majority of MS it was just a patent generating engine to lease patents out to Android devices. I think that MS is starting to realize that desktops and traditional laptops are the 'trucks' of the PC space, made for designers, creators, and enthusiasts. Mobile devices will be the primary device for home and office workers, and if they don't want to loose that market, then they need to jump in and commit this time.

        • skane2600

          In reply to CaedenV:

          The theory that win10s is going to replace "Home" appears to be just speculation unless you have some official MS announcement that says otherwise. If the only choices end up being "S" or "Pro" as you suggest, that MS better make sure the OEM "Pro" price is the same as the "Home" price if they want Windows to remain competitive.


          Given that all we've seen of WoA is a few demos, it's very early to say it has "been shown to do quite well at running desktop x86 apps. "

  15. Chris Payne

    If I could be cynical for a moment. Given the recent release of the "me-too" Surface Laptop and the new Surface Pro that doesn't push anything beyond the state of the game 3 years ago, Microsoft's new direction seems to be let's just make any old device for the sake of being in the game. With that in mind, they might launch this as the "Surface Phone" and it will at launch already be outclassed by other devices out there. But it will look pretty.

  16. YouWereWarned

    Fool me once, shame on Microsoft. Fool us twice? Nope. Not getting back on the "maybe" train.

  17. Waethorn

    Windows is boring. Nobody wants it on their phone, which they want to be their "fun" device.

  18. bbold

    Don't mix "mobile device" in with mobile phones. I'm sure Microsoft isn't trying to make a new phone, instead, as you yourself have reported, they are focusing on creating new product categories, including mobile ones. I don't see what's so short sighted or awful about that.

  19. cseafous

    So... Windows on ARM, always connected, Win32 apps emulated when docked with monitor and keyboard, eSIM that allows you to use the device in any country, Windows Ink support, and Progressive Web Apps available on the device.


    If they created a bridge that wraps iOS or Android apps in a UWP wrapper, I would buy this!

  20. Daniel D

    This is like someone who lost an ex and can't get over them. Microsoft mismanaged and then burned its developers with its constant mobile reboots and lack of support. Unless Microsoft plans to pay handsomely every developer who writes something for this thing, do they expect, even luke warm interest? No I take that back. Luke warm interest would be too much to expect.


    This initiative will require developer incentives into the billions to work. Yes billions.


  21. Jwilcox1701

    There is no failure. There is only lack of success until success is achieved.

  22. veermaharaj

    "Silverlight applications may not longer work"


    "Silverlight applications may no longer work"


    Please fix

  23. raburnettmcse

    Microsoft should copy Google Fi. I broke my Surface Pro 3 which was 2 years old. I was going to order a Surface Book or Laptop but then choose to try something else. See in the last two years my work habits have totally changed. Everything I do is in the cloud. I don't need a really powerful laptop as a portable what I really need is a always connected convertable with great battery life.


    I replaced my Surface 3 Pro with a Surface 3 with LTE and FI sim. This works fantastic. I can access cloud from my PC for $10 a GIG a month globally. If Microsoft was smart they would use their global partnerships to copy Google Fi and launch a universal LTE and WiFi plan.


    Microsoft may not be as dumb as we think if they launch 15-18 hr tablets with Continuum and universal LTE and wifi plan I would jettison Android phone in heart beat.

  24. MeaditatingAmigo

    I like the Windows Mobile UI. I don't want to go back to Android. I don't care what they do under the hood as long as they keep the UI fairly intact - including live tiles. If they give me static icons for apps, there is no difference between the Windows and Android experience.

    • Bill Russell

      In reply to MeaditatingAmigo:

      the masses didn't like the tiles. Its more of a geeks appeal - like mission control or something. It like me vs my wife. I have all this complicated wiring and all sorts of cool equipment down in the basement, computers amplifiers speakers. Flashing LEDs, ocilloscope. I'm thinking she will be impressed with how technical I am to hook all this up. Nope - i get - "what a mess. Clean up this disaster, we need to redo the basement", etc.


      So, you don't want to go back to android and actually have things to do besides admiring flipping tiles. Well at least you can install Launcher 10. If all you want is tiles its not bad. How about iOS. No tiles there though.

    • Barry Hicks

      im all for the existing UI too. Just enjoy the entire Windows 10 experience. Also happy using my Aussie Cortana while we wait for the kiwi.In reply to MeaditatingAmigo:


  25. waverunning.geek

    Windows 10 Mobile has the best UX out there, but until Microsoft fixes the app store situation, they will remain irrelevant.

  26. Gregory Newman

    Folks If Microsoft's software Engineers can combine elements of the Windows 10 Mobile OS and the Windows 10 on ARMS CPU software technically they could create a new OS that can run current Windows 10 mobile Apps, UWP Apps. and x86 Win32 Legacy Desktop PC programs best run in Continuum mode. This would create the Smart phone / Pocket PC hybrid. This device could run millions of Available Desktop PC Programs and be more useful than a Standard smart phone. the first Microsoft device to do this would probably be a 2 screen mini tablet like shown in the 2 recent Microsoft Patents. you can look at Documents, PC Programs, Games or Apps on one screen and edit or control them from the other screen. that's cool technology

  27. JimP

    This could be huge. There's a massive pent-up demand for new Windows Phones among the remaining 1%. Hopefully, this comes sooner rather than later.

  28. veermaharaj

    With as many code proficient employees as they have, they should break the employees into teams and choose all the different categories of applications, media, internet, utilities and have employees take a couple hours out of their work week and build basic apps to fill these needs and maintain them.

    If there is no community to build apps, msoft needs to provide that baseline to start so people who are willing to give the platform a chance come in with a base level amount of functionality covered.

    They also need to remember that always on internet and pervasive cloud access is not a real thing everywhere. So for every cloud enabled feature, like syncing music from groove to a phone via onedrive, there needs to be a fully functional offline equivalent, aka, ye olde Zune Desktop sync or Windows Media Player MTP SYNC/Play for sure.

    Even apple has this functionality and even though they have pushed it to the background, it is still there, still fully capable and covers everyone's media needs, they don't have to mess with it. Since WP8 msoft have broken local media sync and have never fixed it. As limited as Zune sync was in WP7 it was fast and reliable and worked no matter what. Even Wireless sync over the Local WiFi was great, put my phone to charge and in the morning all my music and podcasts were updated and ready.

    God dammit msoft, fix the basics then work on the high concept cloud enabled bs.

  29. waverunning.geek

    "Additionally, the UI is expected to be different than what we know today as Windows Mobile"


    This sentence bothers me the most. The UX is better than anything Apple or Google has to offer.


    The problem is, and always has been, the lack of decent apps in the store. Microsoft could easily remedy this situation by offering various incentives, but there's no evidence in them doing this.

    • Tony Barrett

      In reply to waverunning.geek:

      In your opinion, 'the UX is better than anything Apple or Google has to offer'. I'd say based on market share, >99.8% of the world disagree.

    • Dawindbag

      In reply to waverunning.geek:

      I liked Metro too, but UX isn't what matters anymore. It's ecosystems and platforms.

      The only way MS makes any inroads in mobile at this point is if it's a natural extension of Windows 10. This is what CShell and Windows 10 S is all about and frankly, it's what Windows 10 Mobile should have been. One platform, one codebase, one unified app ecosystem.

      That still may not be enough, the biggest opposition to UWP and Windows 10's app ecosystem is the web browser and I'm not sure how you overcome that. I think this always connected PC initiative might actually have a chance of moving the needle because that makes a Windows 10 app more compelling than a web app in mobile situations. But, a lot of stuff has to come together.

  30. Michael Iafrato

    I have been thinking about this for a while. I loved the WP UI. I loved true Cortana intergration. What I couldn't handle was the lack of app support. If we had a Seattle mesh up, MS with Amazon. The Amazon App store has MOST of the Android apps in it. Those that aren't in it can be ported in or sideloaded with an APK. If Microsoft took the AOSP and made it a MS phone that could run both Universal Windows Apps and Android Apps, and invited Amazon to the party with their App Store this could work. MS would provide the backend, the Windows programs, etc. and Amazon would provide the App support and other front end services. With this then MS could position their Office Eco system to the Amazon products, ie - Fire tablets, etc.

  31. YouWereWarned

    If you are lucky enough to reach a ripe old age, you'll look back and wonder why you WASTED so much of your life waiting for Microsoft to <fill in the blank>. PARTICULARLY, waiting for them to launch a successful mobile phone line. It was never a corporate priority, and now it is just too late. You can't unburn the house down.

  32. Gregory Newman

    As far as apps for any new Microsoft device is concerned. This new device mentioned in this article has to run UWP Apps and other Apps that are in the Full Windows 10 Desktop PC Store because full Windows 10 is on 500 Million active PC's of various types and 80 percent of New Desktop/Laptop/Ultra-book coming out of factories are Preloaded with Full Windows 10 software. I think developers would be FOOLISH just to make Apps for Android and Apple devices when they have hundreds of Millions of Microsoft Windows 10 devices that they can port Apps to. the future is Windows 10 more and more of devices are sold everyday of the week that use Windows and this is not going to stop for years to come.

    • HoosierDaddy

      "I think developers would be FOOLISH just to make Apps for Android and Apple devices when they have hundreds of Millions of Microsoft Windows 10 devices that they can port Apps to."

      Most WM users want apps that are mobile in nature much more than they want more desk-centric apps. There is little point in creating navigation apps or apps for paying for your coffee, etc. that can run on desktops. So the 500 million+ desktop Windows installs aren't potential targets for mobile-centric apps.

      The only way mobile developers will want to create WM versions of apps is if MS can convince a very large percent of Android and iPhone users that they absolutely must have Windows desktop apps on their phone more than they need their existing mobile apps on their phone.

  33. chaad_losan

    Until it can run x86 apps via full screen mode from the phone AND run android apps on the phone. No one will care.

  34. rameshthanikodi

    If Microsoft is going to release a phone, I hope they call it a Lumia. Calling it a Surface will damage a good brand (they've arguably already made a risky bet with the Surface Laptop).

    Any phone Microsoft releases at this point is going see little success, and any good ideas will be ripped off by the faster moving cutthroat smartphone market with larger market share.

    Even the people who are the most invested in Microsoft's ecosystem will be skeptical of whatever Microsoft is going to do for the phone. They've burnt both users and developers by rebooting with WP7, WP7.8, WP8, and now WM10. They've rebooted so many times at this point, yet another reboot isn't going to save them. They should have continued to release phones after the 950 if they were serious about mobile. They can spend all the money they want, but it's clear that Microsoft is not serious about it.

    I don't blame Microsoft for trying, but at this point, they could have no phone OS of their own and nothing will change. I personally would say kill it with fire, but whatever.

    • allanwith

      In reply to rameshthanikodi:

      I disagree with you on the name. I actually think they should instead go all in and call it simply "Surface".

      If they want a phone to succeed they need to throw everything at it to show that they believe in it. There can be no half measures this time. The Lumia brand is done with and tainted by now, it can never be revived. The Surface brand is pretty strong (by Microsoft standards) and they need to go with that, imho.

      Calling it "Surface" would place it right smack at the center of Microsoft's device aspirations and even signal that it is the most important device of the all. It would be a bold move, but I think that is what is needed at this point.

      Surface <--> iPhone

      Surface Tablet <--> iPad

      ? <--> iPad Mini

      Surface Pro <--> iPad Pro

      Surface Laptop <--> Macbook / Macbook Air

      Surface Book <--> Macbook Pro

      Surface Studio <--> iMac

      ? <--> Mac Pro

      ? <--> Mac Mini

      Surface Hub <--> ?

  35. crasher35

    If Microsoft were actually serious about mobile, they wouldn't have killed the Android bridge because 'it worked too well...' If the Android bridge was that great, it could have saved Window on mobile.

    • Locust Infested Orchard Inc.

      In reply to crasher35:

      It's all too easy for us to berate Microsoft for terminating "Android bridge", better known as Project Astoria, or as I'd prefer to refer to it as, Project Castratia, for reasons that ought to be self-evident, but it has been suggested Microsoft had possibly sound legal basis for its abandonment.

      Unlike Project Islandwood, an iOS bridge, Project "Castratia" allowed apps to run essentially unmodified with little or no developer involvement required, thus raising some convoluted legal issues where Microsoft would build its own workalikes for certain Google APIs that aren't part of the open source Android project. As Android currently employs Oracle's Java libraries without the consent of Oracle, Google had been embroiled in a six-year legal battle with Oracle over the dispute of what constituted fair use of the Java code in Android.

      In spite of Google being victorious, about this time last year (late May 2016), in Oracle's copyright and patent claims, I suspect Microsoft do not wish to be faced with a similar licensing row over Java with Oracle, though Google's judgment does set a legal precedent.

      Later in September 2016, Oracle lost again to Google, with Oracle's latest motion to have the case reheard on grounds of misconduct on the part of Google's lawyers for failing to disclose the intention to develop tools to run Android on the desktop via the Android App Runtime for Chrome (ARC).

      Google has since begun migrating from Java to its open source sister, OpenJDK, provided for free by Oracle under the GPL. In Google's I/O a few weeks back, Google further distanced itself from the long legal reach of Oracle, by its announcement for support for Kotlin as an official programming language for Android Development, which received wild applause from I/O's attendees.

      Having some appreciation of the legal minefield that surrounds Android, the unceremonious death of Project Castratia (Astoria) should be viewed as a cautious but wise move by Microsoft. Though once Google rids Android of all its possible infringing copyright and patents belonging to Oracle, Microsoft could reignite Project Astoria. By then however, Microsoft would have released Windows-on-ARM, and possibly crafted a seismic shift in mobile computing by creating a new category of devices, whether that shall be the mythological Surface Mobile, only time will tell.

    • HoosierDaddy

      In reply to crasher35:


      They may have killed the Android bridge because it would kill incentives for developing native mobile apps. Why develop for WM when "those people" (Windows phone users) can use your Android app? Remember, that was a nail in the coffin for OS2, which as arguably supperior to Windows at the time.


      And if you recall the "Windows isn't done until Lotus doesn't run" days, MS knows the competition would be more than happy to tweak things to force MS to react to the problems those tweaks cause to Windows phone users of Android apps.

    • rfeeley

      In reply to crasher35:


      You appear to have missed Locust's point. It's not about whether the Android bridge worked, it's about whether Microsoft had solution(s) it was creating--Windows on ARM--which it thought was better to base it's future on. I'm sure you can agree it's huge positive to not be entirely reliant on Google/Oracle for your mobile existence. E.g. Samsung.

  36. mmurfin87

    Speculation here, but this could be a WOA device. Would make sense to follow up Surface Laptop with a Win10S mobile device, but you can pay $50 more and run Win32 apps on your phone if you want.

    • plettza

      In reply to mmurfin87:


      I've been thinking about this too. I was going to speculate on a mobile device of about 6". An all day battery champ.


      As Microsoft have claimed, it won't neccesarily be a phone but more a tablet that has phone capabilities. But I believe it'll be a Surface Pocket or something similar that has an ARM and can run Win32 apps. Now these apps would be limited on a small screen and you wouldn't want to run them on the phone itself and that's where Continuum comes into play with a dock that has more meat in it - graphics accelerator, USB-C ports, display outputs, (maybe even storage or RAM in it?), etc. which make the Win32 apps work as intended.


      One device that, when docked, is powerful enough to run Photoshop, Lightroom, games, VirtualBox, etc.

  37. brettscoast

    Interesting post Brad

    Unfortunately i don't see this happening unless they can provide a possible low end windows surface phone running windows 10S that 32bit apps can naively run on.

  38. boody abuelkhear

    I wish it will have a headphone jack

  39. siko

    I think (...) with current advancements, ARM SoC powered device with eSIM or LTE capabilities, perhaps a foldable screen, something that could be called 'Surface Go' ... would be the next category for me; as it will run all my win32 apps too (that are distributed through the store of course!)

    We'll see

  40. tbtalbot

    Microsoft boxed themselves into a corner when they walked away from their phone. They could have had a strong position with even a 6-10% market share in US. Now they've completely undermined their UWP strategy. Hopefully they can find a way out of this. I've just switched to Android from WP10 and wish I had my WP10 back but w/ the better apps. Android is a MESS and iPhone is a PRISON.

  41. 1armedGeek

    MS needs to market ANYTHING it really wants to sell. None of that glitzy advertising. Apple can get away with glitz because people already know about their products. Microsoft has to educate people about what their products are, what people can do with the products and why they are better than the competition.


    I liked MS web advertising where they showed actual types of people using the Surface Pro: architects, restaurant owner, medical student, etc., to highlight what the product can do.

  42. fbman

    Not falling for this again... I loved my Nokia 930. The interface was brilliant and held out as long as I could, but I jumped ship when there was no sign on the horizon of any replacement. I am actually very happy with my iphone.


    I dont want to get excited when its launched and then its pulled a year later.. not falling for that again



  43. LuxuryTravelled

    Isn't scaling down Windows to work on a large phone form factor better than a phone operating system trying to be scaled up? It would be easier on the 'one devise' dream...

  44. jjaegers

    I think this will likely clearly be a full blown Windows 10 device running a 6" inch form factor... that will be the change... it will go from Windows Mobile to just Windows running in a tablet mode...

    • Locust Infested Orchard Inc.

      In reply to jjaegers:
      Quote: "will likely clearly be a full blown Windows 10 device running a 6" inch form factor"

      I would dearly love to see a 6.5" edge-to-edge device running Windows 10 with cellular/LTE/VoLTE capabilities (preferably an x86/x64 device).

      Though if the OLED screen if foldable, an 8.5" edge-to-edge device could be plausible.

  45. mercblue281

    Anything is better than nothing at this point. The supply of Lumia Icon's for Verizon users is surely dwindling.

    • Paul Thurrott

      In reply to mercblue281:

      Actually, nothing is better than just failing again and again.

      • Polycrastinator

        In reply to Paul Thurrott:

        Own the back-end and the productivity software that runs on other people's platforms. I'm not sure why this is a bad strategy.

      • mercblue281

        In reply to Paul Thurrott:
        I don't think so - there is a huge market - and yes it is dominated in the os/ecosystem by 2 companies. If there are pockets of the market and niches where that duopoly fails (and I believe there are many) then why not press on or at a minimum continue to make alternatives available to OEM's.
        They've got the Azure, Office and on-prem infrastructure - continuing to push for W10 on end-user and/or pos, kiosk, IOT endpoints only helps drive better utilization of their own infrastructure and solutions.
        They appear to be continuing development to ensure windows works on ARM and x86 - I presume this development is not that much of a resource drag. Certainly not like buying the actual hardware manufacturing capabilities of Nokia.
        If this endeavor fails or never makes it to market - I don't see a terrible downside for at least trying.
        • EZAB

          In reply to mercblue281:

          Here's my take on this. The Feature2 Branch is only to continue development of Mobile on x86 for old devices that only run x86. What Brad might be referring to is new Hardware and software that only runs x64 with lots of Ram. The problem is the Hardware doesn't exist yet, at least not for Insiders. I have not heard anyone talk about this yet. Correct me if I'm wrong.

        • hrlngrv

          In reply to mercblue281:

          . . . there is a huge market . . .

          Name a phone maker interested in making at least 1 million Windows phones.

          Maybe Windows has a future on phones, but the only path to that future requires MSFT to make nearly all Windows phones until they hit some % of all smartphones, maybe 3%, maybe 5%, maybe 10%. Globally. Windows phone may have exceeded those %s in a few European and Latin American countries, but it's never come close to 3% globally. MSFT is STILL looking at needing to invest MORE billions of US$ to make Windows phone viable.

      • Vuppe

        In reply to Paul Thurrott:

        In a sea of failures there are few successes. Maybe this iteration is innovative enough to create demand.

        Perhaps stop being so pessimistic and be cautiously optimistic. No one really expects Microsoft to succeed here, but attitudes like yours basically doom the project before it can doom itself.

        We're supposed to be cheering Microsoft on. Wouldn't a world where Windows has a 20% share in the mobile market make you happy? If they can miraculously break back in and get this right it could be great for everyone.

        • hrlngrv

          In reply to Vuppe:

          . . . doom the project before it can doom itself . . .

          Sometimes that's exactly what managers need to do, that is, prevent wasting money on projects more likely than not to fail. MSFT is NOT in business to make interesting tech. It's in business to make money. If it can do so with interesting tech, great, but if particular bits of interesting tech are much more likely never to make money, then better by far not to pursue those bits as early as possible.

          How do you believe Windows would ever reach 20% share on phones? It never reached 3% globally when MSFT was apparently serious about it. It'd take Google and Apple screwing up hugely and MSFT being in position with available hardware at exactly such moments. That means spending A LOT to have that hardware ready, but if Google and Apple don't cooperate by screwing up, MSFT would waste that money.

          • Vuppe

            In reply to hrlngrv:

            I don't "think" it will reach 20% market share. I'm not delusional. I'm simply stating we should be optimistic.

            Microsoft is looking at the bigger picture right now – a future where people choose ecosystems. Theirs is not a complete ecosystem, like Google trying to work up from phones they're trying to work down. It's a long-play, not a shortsighted profit-grab.

            • hrlngrv

              In reply to Vuppe:

              . . . I'm simply stating we should be optimistic. . . .

              Why? Given MSFT's history in mobile, especially its recent history, is there any reason to optimistic? Or do you mean we should consciously abandon rationality and be blindly optimistic? That is, become cheerleaders?

              I figure MSFT faces adversities of scale, that is, the first 1% of user share for Windows phones may be profitable for MSFT because that's the fan base. The next 1% may be break-even because those are value shoppers not tied to anything. After that, every additional 1% of user share will cost MSFT, and I figure MSFT would lose money getting to 5% user share for Windows phones. If Windows phones would be a loss leader, how many US$ billions would be acceptable for MSFT to lose annually on Windows phones in order to achieve relevance?

              • Vuppe

                In reply to hrlngrv:

                We don't need to be cheerleaders to be optimistic about Microsoft's future.

                Perhaps I worded my position poorly because people keep putting words in my mouth I never said. Oh wait, that's just the internet.

                I just caught up on First Ring Daily and Paul's hypocrisy on Tuesday astonished me. He stated the "next thing" is AI/machine learning/ambient computing. That's entirely reasonable, but admitted without a mobile or home presence Microsoft is poorly positioned for this "next thing" while in his next breath attacked Microsoft for exploring an attempt to reposition itself to be successful.

                At this point it's entirely possible that Microsoft needs a massive loss leader in order to achieve relevance or it will fade into the background and become a shell of its former self.

        • ZeroPageX

          In reply to Vuppe:


          I'd love to be optimistic, but I've been bitten before. The app situation is already bad, and now they are ditching the majority of them. They scrapped their efforts to make a better UI and move past the app whack-a-mole with Windows 10. The stuff that made Windows Phone better than iOS and Android. Now they want to start over yet again? I wonder if v1 will ship with clipboard support?


          We'll see what they do, but I have no faith left for them.

        • anchovylover

          In reply to Vuppe:

          Paul's job isn't to cheer MS on Vuppe! What on earth gave you that idea? This isn't a fan site. Paul's job is to report on the news in an unbiased fashion and to give opinions in the same fashion. There are plenty of sites to go to if you want a MS cheer squad.

  46. ben55124

    If mobile is critical to MS success, they should sell to Apple.

  47. frand771

    I can't believe what i read now. Microsoft wants to reboot again in the mobile space. It's already lost because there are no developers. I don't see why developers could come back to develop for Microsoft. MS will only targets pro and has no dev support at all. And MS has lost the trust of their fans (i was one of them until i know development of W10m is over. So i move to android) and believe i will never come back) and i'm a lambda consumer.


    Now from the pro side, ok i want pro apps but as a human i want to use too consumer apps. I go to the airport i'd like to have my airline company app or checking an hotel or car renting app or taxi app or banking app. Why compagnies would develop again for Microsoft if noone will use it???


    Ok it's clear the device may be awesome and affordable i wouldn't even consider buying if developers don't show love for the OS. MS did all they can to lose their dev community. No developers you waste your money Microsoft

  48. BigM72

    Paul, you are confusing me. Today, you are saying they are desperate to gain traction in mobile and are willing to spend money on this. But you have also been applauding them for cutting their losses and "getting over" mobile.


    Surely, if they cared about mobile, they shouldn't have killed their Nokia efforts which had traction in certain markets such as Europe and South America.


    How does repeatedly killing their efforts and starting over make any sense versus constant iteration and building up a head of steam and giving assurance to people that they are in it for the long haul. They will have lost any potential customers by now. Who would buy a device from them now, only for them to give up again after 6 months?

    • Demileto

      In reply to BigM72:

      The traction Lumia phones had was in the budget phone market, where profit margins are small and the target user base is unlikely to spend money in apps and games; the majority of these users also switched to Android without thinking twice. Microsoft needs an userbase that is willing to buy flagship Windows phones and dump money in the Store for mobile to be worth their efforts.

    • Paul Thurrott

      In reply to BigM72:

      Brad wrote this. So there's your confusion.


      They should never release another phone, period. This is a lost cause.

      • bbold

        In reply to Paul Thurrott:

        But this isn't a phone, it's a "different mobile device." (ie new category) right? "Courier"?

        • garyprusso

          In reply to bbold: I think you and Paul are in sync on this. I assume that Paul is implying that the mobile phone category is dead even though hundreds of millions of Android and iPhone devices will be sold over the next 2 or 3 years. As Paul suggests, the next wave is ambient telecom devices.
          Nevertheless, I'm putting money on the fact that the Panos Panay team is hard at work on a 6-inch surface device with built-in LTE. As you say, they're probably also working on a foldable Courier-like device that will run Windows 10S or maybe a Windows Flavored Android. It would be silly to think they're not also working on the next wave of ambient telecom devices too.
          • bbold

            In reply to garyprusso:

            Agreed. And you know what's coming out at the end of this year, right? A Surface Pro with LTE capabilities. So the 'new mobile device' is already happening. What's wrong with making it a tiny bit smaller, including an option for W10Mobile if people WANT it, and calling it a Surface Mini or Courier, etc?

  49. Jules Wombat

    Well obviously the UI will be different as Android doesn't support Live Tiles. Microsoft will be dumping anything unique about Windows Mobile/ Phone experience for the sake of forking Android as their W11 mobile platform.

    BTW nice to see Brad is not money grabbing, by posting this as a standard article.

    • Bill Russell

      In reply to Jules Wombat:

      Most consumers found the tiles to be too overwhelming, like a NASA control panel, and don't like that apparent complexity. Ever notice the rabid iPhone user following still with a static grid of icons? That's what the masses like. They like jumping right into snapchat.

      • Locust Infested Orchard Inc.

        In reply to Bill Russell:
        Quote: "Most consumers found the tiles to be too overwhelming"

        Most consumers are too inept to know what's best for them, to make one more efficient and productive, so they fall back on what's easy, that which are least taxing on the grey matter.

        In reply to Bill Russell:

        Quote: "That's what the masses like. They like jumping right into snapchat."

        That's analogous to saying: 'that's what the masses like. They like to laze around, do no work, drink their favorite alcoholic beverage all day, yet get paid for doing diddly-squat.'

        The masses need to be encouraged to take the effort to do the right thing, for their betterment and wellbeing, and that of society in general.

        Consequently Snapchat ought to be outlawed, with Snap Inc. terminated. It provides no societal benefits whatsoever.

  50. Stoicjim

    Microsoft needs to buy, either in it's entirety or a significant stake in, a mobile carrier (like T-Mobile) to make sure their hardware is widely available and not relegated to a few handsets on a display in the corner of the showroom.

    • bbold

      In reply to Stoicjim:

      Good idea! I think they should make a deal with T-Mobile, seeing they are the only carrier (pretty much) out there who carries a current Windows 10 Mobile phone and sells it, the Idol 4S, which I own and absolutely love. The other carriers (except Cricket) can kiss it. They suck anyways.

    • EZAB

      In reply to Stoicjim:

      I also agree. Please keep in mind the HP Elite x3 is an ATT certified phone. I have to believe HP will refresh the current model with the new Qualcomm chip. (With what version of Windows 10, who knows)? They need to transition to a x64 OS and away from the mobile x86 I believe. Maybe even come out with a consumer version of the Elite x3?

    • robincapper

      In reply to Stoicjim:

      That only fixes the US, which although not insignificant, leaves a large chunk of the world to fail. Sadly they had real presence in some markets but doubt anything beyond truly revolutionary tech would get them back in the game. The Folding Tablet Phone isn't it, ARM or not.

      I still look at my old Nokia 1520, what could have been with pen and the creators/office apps they are launching now

  51. jwpear

    I hope this is true.  Not because I want a Windows Phone, but because I yearn for something to bring some excitement back to Microsoft.  They are completely boring these days.  I find I don't enjoy reading the articles about Microsoft as much as I used to.

    While WP was a failure, it at least brought something to get excited about.  It was different and I like pulling for the underdog.

  52. skane2600

    There are so many incompatible versions of "One Windows", what's one more? And before I get jumped on, yes, there's common code in each version, but that doesn't mean all apps can run optimally on every version.

    • CaedenV

      In reply to skane2600:

      right; not jumping on you, just edumicating you on how the whole 'one windows' works

      Windows has traditionally been a huge mess of code. Where the kernel ended and the UI or application platform began was very tangled and nebulous. The big push of the failed Project Longhorn (the remains of which became Vista) was in large part to untangle the mess... though it really wasn't realized until windows 8, and even now there still seems to be some bleed between the different parts of the OS.

      So, the whole 'One Core' thing is essentially (note: oversimplificaiton) the kernel. These are the core processes of interacting with the hardware, basic security, driver model, etc.

      On top of this 'Core' of Windows you can add and remove parts fairly simply. You can add on a Phone UI, or desktop, or Xbox UI, or have no UI at all for an IoT device, or a holographic UI. You can slap on whatever interface suits the device in question, which is pretty slick.

      Similarly, you can throw on different application support engines. DotNet, Silverlight, x86 EXE/MSI, Xbox game packages (and apparently Android app packages work too well). These are not part of the core, just as the UI is not part of the core. But at the same time, they rely on the Win10 Core to work. Depending on the security, platform, and device being used, only 1 specific application package will be allowed (xbox), or many different ones will work (desktop). But I think that as time moves forward we are going to see lines blur and different devices will be able to run more and more kinds of apps (granted, like win10s, they may need to be packaged and signed to work).


      Hope that clears it up for you!

      • skane2600

        In reply to CaedenV:

        Well, we only have the "10,000 foot view" of the architecture of both the pre-Win10 Windows and the current version since the full documentation has never been published by Microsoft. I already knew about Windows 10 core and how more functionality can be laid on top of it to serve different purposes. But consider that if the kernel of each of the Windows 10 platforms didn't share a single line of code but supported the same user API, it wouldn't make any difference to developers (although presumably it would be more difficult for MS).


        My original point wasn't to jump into the architecture of Windows 10 but rather to acknowledge that "One Windows" doesn't have a lot of significance to developers or users unless apps restrict themselves to the common api and ignore all the application support engines. A boat and a car may both use an internal combustion engine but if I need a ride to work in the desert the commonality doesn't help me.

  53. Tony Barrett

    I can only imagine that in 10 years time, when there are 5B+ Android devices out there and Windows usage has dropped to a rounding error, MS will either finally have cracked mobile (8th time lucky!), or will have just drifted into the ether and become a services company who rely 100% on other platforms.

    I guess MS realize to give in on mobile is essentially giving in - full stop. Without their own mobile platform, they don't have the top-to-bottom control they need to feed revenue and lock-in customers. The problem is, there's no indication whatsoever that Microsoft is going anywhere other than down in mobile. Either they come out with something completely revolutionary without the name 'Windows' anywhere near it, or they really are going to have to throw in the towel.

  54. Tallin

    I was skeptical until I saw how Paul is so strongly against this. Now I know it will succeed. ;)

  55. GetEdumated

    I jumped to Android about a year ago and I really hate it so I'm a little excited but also skeptical that they can pull it off this time.

    • Bill Russell

      In reply to GetEdumated:

      If you hate "android" (the OS variant running on dozens of different relevant hardware and UI variants, ranging from meh to excellent), I would then recommend iOS for you.

    • CaedenV

      In reply to GetEdumated:

      Agreed, I simply don't like how Android works, and every update breaks the way I do things. Never had these issues with WP8/10. My workflow worked well with the OS, and updates pretty much all felt like improvements rather than steps back (or in the case of Android, large steps sideways).

      Android feels like the purest Google project; like throwing spaghetti at a wall and seeing what sticks. You may like a feature, but are in the minority, so they axe it and try a different/similar feature that may or may not work as well, but because it is a change it gains a few 'how to' articles, people discover it and use it, and Google takes this feedback as a positive development move rather than a simple education move.

      I am particularly hating the notifications system on the latest release on my Note 5. I want to go back so badly. Yes, the phone is faster, and yes, it gets slightly better battery life... but my music/podcasts don't show up as the 1st notificaiton anymore. I get a new notification and it could be anywhere on the list rather than being the next thing down from my active listening... or I get notification sounds, and nothing on the list at all!

      Android is a big stinking heap. It always has been. WP had issues in the app department, but the OS felt much more cohesive, consistent, and it just worked!

  56. John Craig

    yeehaw!! About friggin time

  57. SvenJ

    WM 5-6, break-break, WP7, break-break, WP8, break-break, W10M, break-break, ?? Really? If, as Paul says in the premium comments, this is something other than Win 10 (S) on ARM, seems nuts. It would have to be unbelievably compelling for consumers and lucrative for developers to switch from Android/iOS or support it as well. There are the built in Windows faithful, but not sure there will be enough of us left in a year to make a difference.

    I think there is room for a Phone/PC hybrid, a phone sized device running Win10'S', with a phone interface on the device itself. Yes this has been tried before, but it has always been a phone OS, trying to scale up to a full screen, with app support designed for small screens and mobile operation. The potential for running 'desktop' applications, given the right peripherals, using the phone as the 'CPU' has appeal in certain situations. Many of those are enterprise or business, but that is the space in which even consumers are doing productive things. If it can be done more places on a phone, that has to be a plus. Hopefully they are doing more than throwing new pasta at the wall.

  58. navarac

    Sorry, another Windows Phone handset is too little too late. I loved my 1020 and 950 handsets and the Windows UI, but the app situation is beyond dire. I held out for a long time, but recently my bank and another must have app died and could not be re-installed. Now I have a Samsung Galaxy S8 plus. At least the eco system is there.


    I still have a Windows 10 PC and a Surface Pro 3, but am also actively looking at Linux. Just in case, you understand :)

    • evox81

      In reply to navarac:

      How painful, if at all, has the transition been for you? I'm going on two weeks with a Galaxy S8+ and while I have to admit the apps are great, and Android has improved considerably since my last experience in 2013, I'm frequently frustrated by it too.


      Primary pain point: I miss Windows in the car... Spoken SMS handling, navigation prompts that come through as calls to interrupt music, dialing Cortana from the phonebook, etc.

      • Nick Vlittas

        In reply to evox81: I also miss Cortana's ability to schedule appointments and to-do items and directly integrate them into the calendar unlike the Google Assistant.....there is so much I miss about WP.....don't get me wrong I love Android but man would I be on board to a new Windows Mobile experience that kept the best of the old system and would breath some new life into the platform. I am pulling for it.


        • navarac

          In reply to Nick Vlittas:

          I firmly believe that Microsoft missed the boat even more by ignoring the phone eco-system these last 2 years. Sorry, I'm not for going back only to have it pulled from under me again in another year or so. They have a reputation for doing just that.

      • navarac

        In reply to evox81:

        A bit of a pain in the first instance finding my way around, but having the apps is more important than what is the base OS to me. Yes it is frustrating but then so is Linux v Windows until you get used to it.

        Phone use in the car in the UK is a dodgy issue, so even hands-free I tend to ignore it. The car has in-built sat-nav anyway.

        I think my primary pain-point has been Microsoft. I have been burned too many times now to even consider a refresh of Windows Phone/Mobile (whatever the latest name is). Remember Zune and a list of products that is too long to detail here.

        Bottom line: Apps/Programs on the device is what is primarily used, not the underlying OS - that is a support mechanism.

  59. madthinus

    A play to convert Windows 10 Mobile to a "feature phone" ;like device with curated selected apps with Microsoft services makes more sense.


    If they must, ship a Android device with Microsoft services by default.

  60. Brandon Mills

    It better run Android this time around. If not, don't even bother me. Don't waste your time or effort. Besides MS, you don't *care* if you run Android when you really think about it. You need them in your mobile ecosystem way more than you need them in your OS.

    • Icybubba

      In reply to Brandon Mills: Evrything has to be Android, let's not have competition so we can continue to have better technology....no it has to be Android this and Android that


      • mjw149

        In reply to Icybubba:

        Not sure what you mean. Android is open source, so it represents honest competition, not vendor lock-ins.


        But anyway, it will be Windows S. Because that will work.

        • siko

          In reply to mjw149:

          Because Android is open source it is honest?

          Hahahahahaahahahahahaha.

          Okay, seriously, so I can fork Android and point it to my own store and not use it with a google account?

          • Daniel D

            In reply to siko: Depends which fork of Android you want. Yes there is a version where you can in fact setup your own store and accounts, but if you use it you forfeit the Google Play Store and all Google apps entirely. Which of course, means consumers don't want it. The other has the Google apps, but lots of restrictions on installs, placement of icons etc and much better tools for devs. Nonetheless a completely open source Android that no one wants or needs does exist, so Google can say it isn't a Monopoly on Android and your last statement can never be true. Just no one uses it of course.


            • siko

              In reply to Daniel D:

              Of course. And that's why saying it's fair is non sense too.

              And again, as long as scroogle makes money with my data without cutting me in, I will not use their technology or products. (Which I think are off inferior quality compared to MS's or Apple's).

              Just my 2 cents

    • skane2600

      In reply to Brandon Mills:

      I think the moment Android got popular, MS's phone efforts were doomed. So while I agree they shouldn't beat the dead horse I don't see why they'd want to achieve last place in the commodity Android phone business.

    • EZAB

      In reply to Brandon Mills:

      Microsoft needs the unsecure Android platform like they need a hole in their head! Google and the phone companies won't secure it, why should Microsoft?

      http://bgr.com/2017/05/26/android-malware-cloak-and-dagger/

  61. EnterMegatron99

    I've been fooled far too many times to have anything to do with another MS phone. Let's see where we're at in 5 years. My guess is that these new devices will only exist in commercial applications. Warehouse inventory management w/built in scanners, etc. Maybe...maybe there will be a few sales force folks that have to have them, but this game is over.

    4th reboot's a charm? Not for this consumer.

  62. Bart

    You'd think MS would learn of their mistakes at some point.... Then again, they like to shoot themselves in the foot all too often

  63. amrahulbhatiadelhi

    I like Android a lot because i can watch mobdro kodi on it. Anyways, windows phone os is died so I dont care.

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