Microsoft is Offering a Customized Samsung Galaxy S8 for Preorder

Posted on March 30, 2017 by Paul Thurrott in Android, Mobile with 35 Comments

Microsoft is Offering a Customized Samsung Galaxy S8 for Preorder

Well, now. Microsoft revealed today that it, too, will offer the Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8+ for preorder from its retail stores. And its versions of these handsets will be customized with Microsoft app preloads.

“A Microsoft customization is applied to the Samsung Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+ Microsoft Edition when the devices are unboxed and connected to Wi-Fi,” a Microsoft representative told me this morning. “This customization ensures customers a best-in-class productivity experience with Microsoft applications such as Office, OneDrive, Cortana, Outlook and more.”

If you’re interested in such a thing, you can pre-order the Samsung Galaxy S8 or S8+ from any Microsoft retail location in the US only. The devices will become available on April 21, as is the case elsewhere in the US.

Based on Microsoft’s brief description to me, I believe that the phones they are selling are no different from the handsets you’d purchase anywhere else. But that connecting to the Microsoft Store Wi-Fi first thing will trigger the app downloads. If you just brought it home, I bet you couldn’t get them automatically.

Update: Microsoft has provided the following statement.

Customers who acquire Samsung S8 devices at Microsoft Stores will be provided a customized Microsoft image, after purchase, that provides Microsoft’s best-in-class productivity experience applications such as Office, OneDrive, Cortana, Outlook and more. The image does not come pre-loaded on the device. Microsoft Store associates will set up each device in the store to ensure every customer is ready to work, play and connect on their device when they leave.

As you may know, Microsoft has app preload deals in place with various Android devices makers. The deal with Samsung dates back to March 2015, after the firms had settled a contract dispute. But this is a bigger preload than with previous devices.

Very interesting.

 

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Comments (35)

35 responses to “Microsoft is Offering a Customized Samsung Galaxy S8 for Preorder”

  1. madthinus

    Very desperate more likely.

  2. SvenJ

    So does this count as Galaxy S8 Signature Edition?

  3. plettza

    Cool. A Samsung Galaxy running Windows 10 Mobile.


    Huh, whatddya mean there's no Windows 10 Mobile on this?

  4. PcGuy8088

    Sorry but I am tech savy enough to do this myself. After experiencing first hand MS Windows10 Mobile support with regards to their own apps and EoL the W10M hands off my Android phone Microsoft.

    • jrickel96

      In reply to PcGuy8088:

      I'd rather let them touch it than Samsung. You really have to pay for an app to get rid of all the garbage Samsung preloads. Microsoft might do it for you. My brother's S7 didn't work well until he removed pretty much all the Samsung garbage.

  5. rameshthanikodi

    Part of me thinks this is genius, but part of me thinks Microsoft should have no business selling Galaxy devices at their stores....but I could be wrong.

    • Darmok N Jalad

      In reply to rameshthanikodi:

      It just tells me that Windows 10 Mobile is in such a sad state that MS would rather promote their apps and services on Android. The problem with that strategy was that once you leave Windows Mobile, you can also slowly start going elsewhere for most of your apps and services, too. I'm fully gone from the MS ecosystem now. Legacy app support means nothing to me now. All I ever needed was Office, and Office365 makes it painfully easy to switch if that's your only hold up.

  6. DW

    Here is my wild theory... They are getting their foot in the door with Samsung, because they want versions of Samsung phones to use Windows Continuum. They've reported they will get Windows running on ARM. HP has already shown us running on their phone the Azure powered technology where you can run a "Desktop" app in a web window on the desktop (the x86/x64 app runs on Azure infrastructure). So now you have a best in class Android phone (Samsung Galaxy) when you want to use it as a phone, and when you dock it you have a best in class Windows Continuum desktop experience. Maybe this is what Windows Cloud is? Now if they can use that technology where they showed they could port Android apps to Windows, maybe we can run both Android apps in Windows ARM (the ones installed on the phone) side-by-side with Azure powered web apps on Windows ARM (x86/x64 legacy apps running on Azure infrastructure). Maybe I'm crazy, but that is how I see all these technologies coming to a head.

  7. JimP

    If MS is making customized versions S8, why not make Cortana the default DA including the ability to respond to "Hey Cortana" without having to launch the app?

  8. Jorge Garcia

    I think everyone (Including Google and Microsoft!) underestimates Samsung at their own peril. Does anyone think that Samsung "gladly" installs Windows or Android on ANY of their hardware? If they COULD replace Android with Tizen, they certainly WOULD, and if they COULD replace Windows with something else that involves less of Microsoft and more of Samsung, they WOULD. In their minds at least, someday, they WILL run all of their own proprietary software, everywhere on Earth. I cannot believe that Google and Microsoft are both willingly supporting Samsung's engineering efforts, when Samsung would cut their throats in a heartbeat, if the marketplace ever gave them the opportunity to do so. At its core, the DeX software they've spent a lot of engineering resources to create, is a Windows knock-off based on Android, developed by one of the mightiest hardware makers on Earth, and as such it is a HUGE development IMHO. How hard would it be for Samsung to create a line of laptops, etc. that run DeX instead of Windows? SO EASY at this point, the R+D is basically done. Would those laptops suck for us nerds? Maybe, but for your average millennial, if it can browse the web (yes), do basic office tasks (yes), AND run the latest version of Snapchat (for Android at least) (yes) THEN IT IS A WINNER.

  9. Jorge Garcia

    I hope they have snacks and sleeper sofas available for their customers while they wait for that "image" to download and install. Such a shame, MS makes such nice software and hardware (when they want to)...but is now relegated to near-beggar status in the consumer space, all because there turned out to be not enough room in the mobile market for three competing app platforms. It's almost like the SEGA story all over again. Great stuff produced, but no room left at the table.

  10. c4995z

    Hopefully it will be very interesting. Why force customers to stop by a MS store, and make it US only, just to load a few MS apps which could easily come preinstalled.  Microsoft will only win at consumer mobile when the best hardware vendors want to load 10 mobile because there is demand for it. Customers will only demand 10 mobile  when it offers a better experience and runs all available apps. The Nokia misadventure already demonstrated that better hardware, which arguably Nokia offered, could not pull through a weaker, because of missing apps, software offering. Hopefully this is the first of two steps in creating a winner out of 10 mobile. First demonstrating that 10 mobile can run successfully on leading flagship hardware, followed by rs3 adding the ability to run mobile apps from iOS or Android under the Windows Unix subsystem. The Gordian Knot of the app gap must be solved, and not at the drip, drip rate of UWP. Laptops, tablets, and cloud books also need the app gap solved quickly before chromebook apps become good enough that they become a reason not to buy Windows devices in general, not just phones.  The mythical Surface phone will not create a winner for 10 mobile.  The Surface mission is to demonstrate market leading, innovate, devices which fulfill the windows vision, not to be a mass market device vendor. Hopefully this will be interesting, not another disappointment. Waiting for a "Bigfoot" phone; rumored, but never seen in the wild, from Microsoft has grown old. 

  11. MacLiam

    I am more interested in this hybrid offer than tempted by it. I still prefer any high end Windows phone to either the latest iPhone or stratosphere-class Android device, but I do have a pretty nice 15 month old 6P that is my regular backup phone, and which with Project Fi gives me connectivity options not readily available on my x3 when T-mo coverage is weak.


    The real problem here for me is the Samsung connection. I had an acceptably smart S4 a few years ago that cost me some serious bucks at the time and which was simply abandoned at the Kit-Kat level by Samsung and T-Mobile when other S4s on other carriers were moving up to Lollipop. Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice ... well, Samsung made its choice and consequently lost its commercial opportunity to fool me twice. When I was willing to get back into Android, I went with Google's own devices in order to guarantee timely OS and feature updates that were devoid of add-on bloatware and me-too alternatives. When I move out of the 6P several months or maybe even a year down the line, I'll take a close look at the then-current Pixel offerings.


    If Microsoft can cut a marketing deal with a manufacturer of high-reliability bone-stock Android devices -- well, let's call a Pixel a Pixel -- there is a very good chance I would be one of the first in line at that time.

  12. ne0kn1ght

    One thing that has been very nice is the ability to use the "Messaging Anywhere" feature for SMS between Skype on my PC and Skype on my Windows phone. I think that is the one feature of my Windows phone I will really miss  the most when I switch over to the Samsung S8+. Does anyone know if there is a way to get the same functionality between Windows 10 PC and a Android phone through Skype or Cortana?


    I know at one time they had compatibility with Android and Messaging Anywhere but I think that evaporated when they moved the feature to Skype.


    If anyone has an idea to replace that functionality it would make my transition from Windows phone to Android much better.


    Thanks!

  13. dcdevito

    Good idea, poor implementation. MSFT needs to try harder. Imagine an Android handset without the Google account requirement. Imagine the enterprise potential

    • wshwe

      In reply to dcdevito:

      Without the Google Account requirement where are people supposed to go to download other apps? The Amazon App Store isn't very good IMHO.

      • dcdevito

        In reply to wshwe:


        If it's for enterprises they won't want an app store, most large enterprises have their own internal app store for just their apps. This is what IT admins want. It's the biggest reason they chose iPhones right now, with an Enterprise Apple developer license you get your own personal private app store.

  14. JerryH

    So the way this usually works Paul is that - for example - if you start up your phone with a Verizon SIM in it at first boot and are going through the configuration where it tells you to connect to Wi-Fi, it will download some Verizon crapware. Android has this hook in it during setup. Likely Microsoft has taken to using this same hook, so you can probably get around it (if you don't want all that stuff) the same way you get around similar auto-downloads from Verizon or AT&T. You don't put the SIM in when setup asks for it. You set it up as Wi-Fi only and put the SIM in later. Then you don't get the crapware. Likely MS will have this work the same way so I doubt that your comment about it likely only applying if you connect at the MS Store Wi-Fi is correct. More likely this will work anywhere if you have the SIM in place when you first setup the phone and connect it to Wi-Fi during setup.

  15. kherm

    Paul, you should cancel your Samsung preorder and preorder it from the Microsoft Store and report on your in-store setup experience.

  16. Martin Pelletier

    So the S8 is the Surface Phone ? :)

  17. tsay

    A constant, nagging feeling that Samsung's commitment to Google/Android is becoming more and more tenuous - whether Tizen or something else; if the opportunity arises to jump and in so doing take a significant number of loyal customers to an alternate that allows them to have greater control of the solution and monetization opportunities, then they will.


    Off topic, but related...was out buying a new 4k TV last month.


    After 2+ decades of top end Sony loyalty, rejected them out of hand for only offering Android based TVs, leaving really only Samsung or LG.


    Samsung, well the remote spying/logging issues and the recent corruption charges of their boss....


    Went with LG simply because felt more comfortable using a WebOS based platform than anything else. Rational or irrational it just felt less intrusive in my living room than anything else and after the recent blow up in their faces of Google chasing advertising revenue over ethics, it just felt right.

    LG paid for WebOS, invest in developing it and include this in the price of their TV.


    My business is software. I'm happy to pay for software. I'm happy when my customers pay me for software. It doesn't have to monetize me through the back door...unless it offers me the option to voluntarily purchase something through it of my free choice.

    That's an honest relationship and a straight up transaction and I way prefer that to "free".

  18. wolters

    I've made Cortana my default digital assistant on my Moto Z Force Droid and along with Arrow launcher and my Microsoft apps, it is as close to a "Microsoft Phone" as I'll get...

  19. brettscoast

    Now that is a good idea. Pity it's US only. That would make setting up a new phone a more seemless experience.

  20. RM2016

    Actually this could be a great test to see how well Microsoft's no-profit app attack works as viable business model, but I doubt we will ever see sales data on the Microsoft Store models. 

  21. yaddamaster

    Contacts integration with Outlook will STILL be broken.

  22. kjb434

    As long as I don't need a google account and can set Bing as default everywhere, I would be interested.

  23. RichardP

    I guess they made a great deal with Samsung. Are these sold at rebate because of this? Sure hope so.

  24. jmagno

    Include also the windows 10 interface and launcher (live tiles) and it will be perfect!

  25. plm

    So what ever happened with this? I've been using a Moto G5 plus for the past few months and can't seem to fall in love with Android. I thought the Moto would give me a pure Android experience to help with my transition from my Lumia 830. Now I'm re-thinking this strategy with either this S8 or an iPhone?


    Anyone have experience or thoughts?

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