The press has been buzzing with Surface Phone rumors recently, with the specs of several prototypes floating around last week. Now, Taiwan's Commercial Times suggests Microsoft is gearing up for a trial of the device.
This information is yet to be confirmed, and it's unclear where exactly it originated from. However, testing at this time could point to the fabled late 2017 release date that has been touted.
According to DigiTimes, Pegatron will control the manufacturing of the device. This would make sense, as it also produces Microsoft's Surface Studio, alongside a chunk of Apple's iPhones. The company has almost 90,000 employees in China, which is where the work is expected to take place.
Microsoft expanded its strategic agreement with Pegatron last year, alongside eleven other OEMs. “These hardware partners will pre-install Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, OneDrive and Skype on Android devices coming to market later this year,” said Peggy Johnson, Executive Vice President, Business Development.
According to the exec, this was part of Microsoft's mobile-first, cloud first vision. It's clear that the two companies have a healthy relationship, and the rumor wouldn't be too much of a stretch.
Ultimate Mobile Device
However, It's worth pointing out that Microsoft is yet to confirm the Surface Phone in any way. This seems to have no impact on rumors about the device, which have been persistent. It's difficult to tell if they are credible, or just a product of wishful thinking.
Rather than push into an oversaturated market, Nadella wants to wait until there is something unique to offer:
“We don't want to be driven by just envy of what others have, the question is, what can we bring? That's where I look at any device form factor or any technology, even AI.We will continue to be in the phone market not as defined by today's market leaders, but by what it is that we can uniquely do in what is the most ultimate mobile device,” he told the Financial Review.
Nadella wants Microsoft to offer “the ultimate mobile device.” This sentiment has been echoed by execs across the company, including the Microsoft France president.
If information about the production trial is correct, the Redmond giant likely has something game-changing in mind already. It could also signal that the recent prototype specs are in fact genuine. The prototypes allegedly sport the following:
- RAM: 4 GB or 6 GB
- Processor: Snapdragon 835 with Quick Charge 4.0
- Display: 5.5″ QHD (estimated)
- Continuum: Yes, with ability to run x86 apps.
- OS: Windows 10 Redstone 3
Apparently, Microsoft is also pursuing a 3-in-1 form factor with the Surface Phone. A display and keyboard accessory would connect to the phone via Continuum, acting as a laptop. Combined with the x86 emulation, that could just be just enough for the Redmond giant to dub it “ultimate.”
It would be a pleasant surprise to see the Surface Phone next year, but we're holding out hope until more concrete information arises.