Skip to main content

Microsoft Hints At A Mobile Future Without Smartphones

Microsoft's end of year earnings call last week described Windows Mobile revenue as 'immaterial' - in effect the mobile platform no longer earns money for the company.

With the need to continue providing security updates for partners like HP and Alcatel, as well as for enterprise customers who went with Microsoft Lumia phones, it's probably fair to say that even after its death, Windows on phones is still losing money for Microsoft.

Interesting language coming from people in the important places in Microsoft's hardware and Windows platform world suggests that Microsoft isn't done with mobile however. Dona Sarkar, Joe Belfiore and Satya Nadella have between them described a different take on the mobile device from Microsoft.

And its not a smartphone.

In fact despite the rumours of a new Surface Phone device coming from Panos Panay's hardware team, I suspect that this device will not be called a phone and will be a very different device from what we consider a smartphone to be today.

In fact based on the language being used, renders used in Azure materials and recent patents I suspect what Microsoft will actually deliver will be much more akin to the Courier concept it revealed a number of years ago,

It will fold, but is unlikely to have a folding screen. It will support a Surface Pen and it will make calls, but what it actually promises to be is the next step forward from a phablet. An actual usable tablet which can fold down to a smartphone form factor when not in use.

It's interesting to see how many of the concepts in this seven year old Courier video are only now coming to market - that drag and drop between apps seems to have resurfaced elsewhere recently for example.

Would such a device sell? Is the concept any more likely to sell than the Continuum USP which failed to set the mobile world alight? I don't know. If the promises of the Courier video are kept this could actually turn out to be a viable offering.

But only if Microsoft have fixed the Store before it arrives.


Popular posts from this blog

F1: Robert Kubica Impresses In Renault Test Run

The car may be old but its the performance of the driver that's the story here. Robert Kubica returned to F1, after a fashion, earlier this week with an extensive test run in a 2012 Lotus Renault F1 car at Valencia.
The age of the car and the circuit were likely determined by F1's current rules which ban testing, but the reason for Kubica being in the car is far more interesting. Considered by many to be a potential World Champion and certainly one of the fastest drivers of his generation, Kubica's F1 career seemed to be over after a 2011 crash whilst driving in the Rally of Andora. His Skoda Fabia was penetrated by a guardrail in the high speed accident partially severing his right arm.
Up until last year Kubica has been competing in rallying, with the expectation that the limited movement in his repaired arm would prohibit a return to single seater racing.
So this week's test is both interesting and confusing. Interesting because Kubica completed 115 laps of the ret…

F1: Robert Kubica's Williams Test Asks More Questions Than It Answers

Comparing driver's times at a tyre evaluation test like last week's Abu Dhabi event is difficult at the best of times, but when trying to assess the performance of a driver who has been out of the sport for six years, that difficulty level is raised even higher.
On the face of it Robert Kubica's test for Williams was a success. Fastest of the three Williams drivers present the headlines look promising. However, taking into consideration the different tyres used to set those times muddies the water considerably.
Kubica ran a three lap qualifying simulation on the new 'hyper-soft' tyre - which should have given him a two-second advantage. Correcting for tyres it would appear that Kubica was significantly slower than Sergei Sorotkin - who was on the harder 'soft' tyre - and marginally quicker than Lance Stroll, the team's only contracted driver.

Stroll's family fortune currently funds Williams, so there' no chance that he will be anywhere but in a…

Panos Panay's Defence Of Microsoft Surface Hardware Sounds Eerily Familiar

This weekend I went out with my ten year old daughter to select a laptop for her school year beginning in January. The schools requirements are quite specific, requiring a Windows 10 device, with a preference for a touchscreen and a stylus. She chose a Surface Pro, after trying a large number of different options. Having seen the way I use my own Surface Pro - and tried it herself there was only ever going to be two options - and the other was a Surface Laptop.
I tell you this so that you understand I am a buyer of Microsoft's products through choice, not compulsion. I'm on my third Surface device now. 
So when Panos Panay dismissed reports of the death of the Surface hardware line, I was very interested to see exactly how strong these denials were. Especially how they reflect what has gone before. To whit: Windows 10 Mobile.
Panay claimed that Microsoft is in hardware for the long haul. Almost exactly mirroring the words of Terry Myerson, when he claimed Windows Mobile was g…