Sometime in the near future Microsoft is planning a new smartphone-type device. That statement is intriguing for a number of reasons.
Firstly, how could Microsoft. a company which has managed to blow its mobile credibility over the last ten years, going to deliver something substantially different than what has gone before? The message coming from Microsoft - Satya Nadella and down - is that the next Microsoft smartphone will be unlike anything currently available.
So when I say smartphone-type device it's because my expectation is that this will be both more and less than a smartphone.
Secondly, how will this release impact on mobile partners? Actually that's a declining number which might make damage limitation rather easier than it might have been. The only partner of note still building Windows phones is HP and Elite x3 is clearly filling a stopgap role until Microsoft is ready with its new design. Why would HP take on this no-win role? Probably in return for some early advantages in building devices for the new Microsoft platform.
Finally, who is going to buy this new device when it launches? Current and past Windows phone owners have been burnt often enough to be extremely cautious of backing Microsoft on smartphones again. Existing iOS owners are far too loyal to Apple and also have phones which entirely meet their needs. Android owners want something cheaper and more flexible than is likely to be in Microsoft's plan.
Which means that a new Surface Phone is going to have to be both game-changing and universally appealing to attract any buyers.
With the maturity of the current smartphone market it's hard to see such a leap being possible.
So what happens when Microsoft launches the Surface Phone (if that is to be its name)? Not very much I'm afraid.