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Surface Phone rumors include specs, prototype progress on x86-ARM64 emulation

By Jules Wang November 27, 2016, 4:18 pm

There’s been increased leak and rumor activity on the Microsoft mobile space. From Dell’s Stack computing to the hopes of connecting a huge emulation bridge between x86 apps and ARM64 chips and the slippage of the Surface Phone. The development arc of Windows 10 seems increasingly inclined towards a singular piece of hardware with docks and screens and peripherals for whatever task is at hand.

As much as we’d like to get away from the talk, there’s still the anticipation of when we can get our first taste of this world. Well, according Nokiapoweruser‘s “trusted sources,” things are coming together for some prototypes of the Surface Phone.


What we know about the prototypes is that they are running the Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 with support for Quick Charge 4.0. Windows 10 Mobile is present in a 64-bit form on all units as well as similar screens of high pixel density — the measurement and screen resolutions taken from the sources are guesses.

One unit has 6GB of RAM and is said to be capable of running x86 apps only in Continuum and not independently on the device. Another version of the phone is equipped with 4GB of RAM and cannot run x86 apps at all. There is also a “Laptop Accessory” dock and other tidbits in the works as Microsoft is “seriously pursuing the 3-in-1 form factor.”

x86 app emulation on ARM64 chips is in development as part of the feature package for Windows 10 Redstone 3. The Surface Phone is said to be launching with Redstone 3 in “late 2017.”

We should note that prototypes don’t indicate what we’ll see in a final product or products. Microsoft has a berth of lead time to hash out bugs in Redstone 3 and prevent how Windows 10 Mobile launched on the Lumia 950 and Lumia 950 XL. So far, the killer app for Redstone 3 seems to be x86 emulation, so if development is on-track, it’s likely that we’ll see the more capable spec set (6GB of RAM) to serve the feature. But Microsoft could just as easily launch both versions of the phone.


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