Surface Phone, Microsoft’s plausible next attempt in the mobile industry, about which we are listening from a couple of years now. It was the same situation for Google before the search giant announces its own Pixel phones. Are we getting closer to see Surface Phone? Maybe. Moreover, it may exist somewhere, at least in Microsoft’s highly confidential R&D Labs. We even heard from Satya Nadella, Microsoft CEO, talking about the company’s plans on next mobile phone. Based on his words, they definitely have a bold vision for its mobile division. If Microsoft is indeed releasing a Surface Phone, here is what you can expect from it. These are our personal choices that are based on leaks and rumors, and some of them are our wishes, but nothing has been confirmed so far.
Qualcomm Snapdragon 835:
It is more of an educated guess at this moment. Qualcomm has already released Snapdragon 835 SoC, and it’s going to appear in commercial devices, which will be releasing in Q1 2017. To be exact, Samsung Galaxy S8 could be the first device to sport it. We have seen leaked screenshots on Weibo regarding the hardware specifications of this next gen chip. It will adopt ARM’s big.LITTLE Octa-core configuration unlike the big.LITTLE Quad-core setup of Snapdragon 820.
Additionally, we will definitely see improved custom Kyro cores, so Qualcomm is likely to call them ‘2nd Gen Kyro Cores’. As a successor, we will witness improved single core performance over its predecessor, but the key difference would be in multi-core performance as it doubles up the core count from 4 to 8. We will end up seeing this chip in almost all Android flagships which will release in 2017. Who knows? Qualcomm may also bring Snapdragon 836 with small performance gain just like Snapdragon 821 (which released as a followed up version of Snapdragon 820). Microsoft will have no option other than Snapdragon 835 (or SD 836 if released) to power its Surface Phone unless they want to go crazy. This leads to believe in Intel Core CPUs.
Intel Core ‘i’ CPU?
Yes, things are becoming little confusing and crazy when we account Intel CPUs. We know what we are talking, we mean it. Microsoft is reportedly testing Intel Core ‘i’ CPUs for its next mobile phone. This piece of information was originally reported by Evan Blass a.k.a @evleaks via his Twitter account. He is one of the reliable leaksters as of today and majority of the leaks turned out to be true so far, so we simply cannot deny his words even though it seems crazy. Maybe, Microsoft is indeed testing Core ‘i’ CPUs on a mobile device to allow its phone to run full desktop apps when you pair it to monitor via Continuum dock. However, Intel CPUs, unlike the ARM-based SoC, operate at higher TDP, which always leads to excessive temperatures, so the chipset will need a much more efficient thermal cooling system to avoid thermal throttling. With that said we are yet to see how Microsoft will manage the thermal problems on Surface Phone if they employ an Intel CPU. This needs technological breakthrough since mobile phones always fight for space, unlike laptops and desktops. Meanwhile, we should not forget that Microsoft was the first smartphone maker who announced Lumia 950/950 XL with liquid cooling technology so that they may do magic again.
X86 app compatibility:
When Microsoft announced ambitious Continuum feature, we were absolutely thrilled of seeing how productive it was. However, the deep disappointment was that it didn’t support x86 apps because the hardware wasn’t powerful enough to handle desktop apps. Microsoft’s mobile operating system is based on x86 OS unlike the Linux-based Android and iOS, so the compatibility will not be a major problem with either ARM-based Snapdragon SoC or Intel chipsets. Moreover, mobile SoCs evolved equally compelling as some of desktop CPUs, so we won’t be surprised if Microsoft indeed brings x86 app compatibility for Surface Phone via Continuum powered by Snapdragon 835. Remember, the x86 apps will likely to work only when connected to monitor via Continuum dock because those are never meant for touch-based operations and running x86 apps all the times natively will cause significant battery drain.
- LG initiated full refund for Nexus 5X unit that facing boot loop issues
- Apple issued a statement on iPhone 6s automatic shutdown problem
- Apple unveiled thinner & lighter MacBook Pro with Touch Bar and Touch ID
5.5-inch QHD display:
All OEMs done with trials of different display sizes and majority of OEMs are settled with 5.5-inch because it feels like a perfect display size for all types of users. Apple, Google, Samsung did the same thing for their phones, but Microsoft is yet to follow it. It may happen with Surface Phone. Users will be able to enjoy the standard mobile OS at the 5.5-inch size and full desktop OS when pair to a monitor using Continuum dock. It’s dream phone concept, isn’t it? Furthermore, Microsoft is a leader in enterprise industry, and all of Microsoft’s services are now available through Cloud, so accessing Office 365 isn’t a complicated process at all in both standard or continuum mode. All of your documents, settings will be stored in Cloud and can be retrieved at any time with a simple sign-in.
We are expecting to see the 5.5-inch display and with QHD resolution to compete with other flagships when it doesn’t connect to Continuum dock. A 4K panel would be an overkill and hit battery badly while a 1080p panel will not be enough for a flagship phone in 2017.
4GB/6GB RAM models:
The RAM would play a fundamental role in keeping the apps running in the background. Since we are expecting full x86 app support, we will need as much RAM as possible. We are hoping to see two RAM models on Surface Phone – 4GB and 6GB. If we are not wrong, we will see x86 app support via Continuum only in higher-end 6GB RAM model because of its extra RAM capacity, which is more suitable to run full desktop apps. Microsoft may sell 4GB model just for hard-core Windows Mobile users who wants to use their phone as a phone but not as a portable PC. You may be thinking about 8GB RAM, but it is unlikely to happen as it will lead to more battery drain.
Windows 10 RedStone 3 Build:
The Surface Phone may run Windows 10 RedStone 3 build out of the box, which is expected to become official sometime in mid to late 2017. The details are scarce for now, but more details will be announced later.
Stylus: Maybe no
Do you wish to see a stylus with Surface Phone just like Surface Pro 4 or Surface Book? Meh..we are not thinking in this way. Evidently, we saw Samsung’s stylus-enabled Note series devices, but we don’t think Microsoft will choose to equip its Surface Phone with a Stylus. There are not many apps that can take advantage of Stylus on Windows 10 Mobile OS.
It isn’t as hard as aforementioned details since any reader, who take their daily dose of tech news, will say that Microsoft is (reportedly) aiming late 2017 to bring its Surface Phone. We have heard the same time frame from many third-party sources till now, so we are also inclined to believe this.
What are you guys expecting from Microsoft Surface Phone? Let us know in the comment section below and share this article with your friends if you like it.