Microsoft appears poised to put its Surface brand on a premium flagship smartphone sometime in the second half of 2016, extending the Surface franchise beyond premium tablets and laptops, multiple reports say.
The time could be right for a Surface smartphone because Surface tablets have sold well in recent years, and Panos Panay, the head of Microsoft’s Surface team, was promoted earlier this year to lead the engineering efforts for all premium devices, including Windows Phones, Xbox, the Microsoft Band and the HoloLens virtual-reality glasses, one report says.
In addition, Microsoft’s Lumia smartphones have neither sold well nor been critically acclaimed.
A phone bearing the Surface name has been put through benchmark tests, another report says.
The phone might operate on Intel chips and might run not only Windows 10 Mobile apps but also classic Win32 apps as well, turning the phone into a Windows minicomputer.
The phone might be timed with the release of Windows 10 Redstone update, said to let apps transfer presence from phone to PC. Users working on an email or browsing the web on a phone, for example, would be able to switch to their PC to continue working on the email or continue their browsing from where they left off. Users would also be able to make phone calls from a PC through their phone.