It’s looking like Microsoft will take the wraps off the long-rumoured – and much-anticipated – Surface Phone sometime in 2018. Here’s everything we know about the handset to date, including its release date, specs, features and price.
Microsoft has had limited success in the mobile market, struggling to acquire any meaningful amount of market share. Many see the Surface Phone as one last attempt to make Windows Phone a hit, while others think it’s too far behind Android and iOS to be a real competitor.
But with the Surface team – the innovative group of people responsible for disrupting the computing industry with the Surface Book, Surface Pro and Surface Studio – spearheading the operation, there’s a chance the Surface Phone could defy all odds and be the next big thing.
Read on to find out what we know so far.
Watch our Microsoft Surface Phone explainer:
Latest Surface Phone News:
What is the Surface Phone release date? Sometime in 2018, according to the latest rumours.
How much will the Surface Phone cost? $699 – $1,100 (£499-£799) approx.
What’s new about the Surface Phone? Rumoured: Three variants, Snapdragon 835 CPU, 5.7-inch display.
Watch Now: Microsoft Surface Studio – What you need to know
Related: Samsung Galaxy S8
Microsoft Surface Phone Release Date UK & US – When will the Surface Phone come out?
We can’t say for sure when the Surface Phone is going to come out, but we know that it’s on the way. In November, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella told the Australia Financial Review that Microsoft is working on the “ultimate mobile device,” admitting that the Redmond-based company “missed the mobile boom.”
But that’s not the only evidence we have.
Back in January 2016, it emerged that Microsoft had obtained the following domain name: surfacephone.com. The domain currently redirects to Microsoft’s homepage, but given Microsoft’s existing naming conventions for devices (Surface Book, Surface Pro, etc.), it’s obvious what the intentions may be.
Microsoft Surface Phone Features – What’s new about the Surface Phone?
So we’re all agreed that Microsoft can’t screw this one up, right? Well, it’ll need solid hardware and compelling software to dethrone Apple, Google et al. Here’s what you can expect to see from the Microsoft Surface Phone…
Microsoft Surface Phone Design – All-metal, three variants
Rumour has it that the Microsoft Surface Phone will be available in three distinct variants.
One report suggests these will be as follows: Consumer Edition, Business Edition, and Enthusiast Edition, so we’re guessing the first will be a reasonably priced flagship, the second will be a BlackBerry replacement, and the third will be a power user device designed to compete with the Samsung Galaxy Note 8.
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The other design rumour is that we’ll see a new all-metal aesthetic adopted to bring the phone series in line with Microsoft’s Surface Book. The firm has reportedly been hard at work to make sure the Surface Phone fits with other Surface devices, sporting the same premium finish you’d expect from the Surface series.
Related: iPhone 8
Microsoft Surface Phone Specs – 5.7-inch screen, Snapdragon 835 chip?
As I mentioned earlier, we’re expecting three distinct Surface Phone models. Usually, that would mean we’d expect to see three different screen sizes, but leaks thus far suggest all variants will use a 5.7-inch (presumably edge-to-edge) display.
Instead, the differences will reportedly come in the form of storage and memory upgrades, as follows:
- Version 1: 3GB RAM / 32GB storage
- Version 2: 6GB RAM / 128GB storage
- Version 3: 8GB RAM / 500GB storage
Now that final version sounds ludicrous, frankly. But back in 2016, we saw Apple introduce a 256GB iPhone 7 Plus, as well as the OnePlus launch of the OnePlus 3 and OnePlus 3T, both of which feature 6GB of RAM. So there’s no real reason why Microsoft couldn’t match such valiant efforts.
And on that note, it’s highly likely that the Microsoft Surface Phone will come packing Qualcomm’s one-year-old Snapdragon 835 chipset. The new chip has already started appearing on devices, and is a direct sequel to the top-end Snapdragon 820 and 821 chips, which featured in the Galaxy S7.
The new products will run on Qualcomm’s ARM-based SoCs and, according to Terry Myerson, who heads up Windows Devices, will be a “range of thin, light, power-efficient and always-connected devices”. That means we should see the full Windows 10 desktop experience.
All this makes the prospect of a Surface Phone seem much more likely.
Unfortunately, we don’t know much else about the Surface Phone in terms of hardware. There have been zero camera leaks, although we’d expect big things from the Surface Phone camera. For a start, Apple, LG, and Huawei and Samsung have all shipped phones with dual-camera configurations.
But it would also seem appropriate if the Surface Phone had some kind of Intel RealSense arrangement that could capture 3D images. After all, Microsoft has made much of HoloLens and Windows Holographic, so being able to capture and import 3D images onto Windows using your smartphone would make complete sense.
Related: Google Pixel XL review
Microsoft Surface Phone Software – Windows 10, Microsoft Wallet, Continuum
One thing you can count on is that the Microsoft Surface Phone will run on Windows 10. Microsoft wants Windows 10 to be the “last version of Windows”, and will keep updating it across all platforms. That means Windows 10 Mobile isn’t going away anytime soon, despite its somewhat limited success.
We’re not exactly sure what changes Microsoft plans to make to Windows 10 to accommodate a Surface Phone, however. Rumours suggest that Continuum – Microsoft’s cross-platform productivity feature – will play a bigger role on mobile, while another source says we’ll see a new Microsoft Wallet mobile payment system.
Microsoft Surface Phone Patents – The future, revealed?
Patents are a great way to see what sort of technology a company is working on, but it’s important to remember that they’re by no means a guarantee that the tech will ever be introduced in a consumer product. That said, it’s still worth keeping an eye on Microsoft patents if you’re desperate for clues about the Surface Phone.
One granted Microsoft patent shows dual- and triple-hinged devices that can be configured into various shapes. For instance, they can be folded out like tablets, or folded back inwards to create a smaller phone-like handset. There’s also the opportunity to place it in a tent-mode for media consumption.
Unfortunately, there’s every chance we’ll never see this technology in a retail-ready product from Microsoft.
Should I wait for the Microsoft Surface Phone?
We’d only recommend waiting around for the Surface Phone if you have the utmost faith in Microsoft. The company has a proven track record of failure in mobile, so it’s hard for us to believe Microsoft’s next smartphone effort will be any better than previous attempts.
It’s also worth noting that there are already plenty of great smartphones on the market to choose from right now. Apple fans may have been swayed by the new iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus, while we’re quite keen on Android flagships like the Samsung Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8 Plus.
Related: MWC 2018
Watch: Microsoft Surface Keynote Recap
What would you like to see from Microsoft’s next smartphone? Let us know in the comments.