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.


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