For months now we’ve been hearing about Microsoft’s rumored plans for new Windows smartphone hardware, with talk of a device that would move Microsoft past the days of Lumia phones and into a new era: the era of the Surface phone. Sure, that branding is far from a lock, but the idea of Microsoft moving towards some new high-end hardware designed by Panos Panay and his team has been looking like the platform’s future – but when will it happen? Instead of the late-2016 ETA that had been bouncing around, a new report claims that our Surface phone could be even further out – while also mentioning the possibility of multiple hardware variants.
Rather than late 2016, this new account puts our Surface phone ETA out in early 2017. As the theory goes, Microsoft could be positioning that new hardware to debut alongside the next big platform update to arrive following this summer’s Windows Anniversary Update – right now being referred to simply as Redstone 2. Expected to land in spring 2017, Microsoft may want to welcome that new release with some matching hardware.
That hardware could consist of as many as three Surface phone configurations, each positioned to arrive at various price points (or for different markets). We haven’t heard much in specific about the difference between these variants, other than that they should represent options for general smartphone consumers, business users, and enthusiasts looking for some real cutting-edge hardware.
Interestingly, that consumer edition isn’t expected to be an underpowered budget-priced model, and the arrival of the Surface phone may mark Microsoft’s backing away from that segment.
Information on other features sounds like more guesswork than anything at this point, but Microsoft’s recent focus on stylus input could hint at a pen-driven device making up at least part of this new Surface phone lineup.
Source: Windows Central