Microsoft has really been struggling to get a foothold in the smartphone market. Who can blame them? With the likes of Samsung, it’s increasingly difficult to survive in the unforgiving market of the high-end phone.
But as the company’s latest operating system (OS), Windows 10, keeps on growing and getting new builds, and as we slowly start to get a full picture of what its ecosystem will be like once it’s complete, I can’t help but shake the feeling that the upcoming Surface Phone will definitely be worth the wait, and even at this point, I’m eager to give it a try.
Hardware will be taking a back seat
There’s no doubt that the Surface Phone will be a high-end device in every respect. We can expect an aluminum / magnesium unibody, a 5.5-inch AMOLED, Quad-HD (2560x1440p) display, all powered by an Intel Atom x3 (SoFIA) 64-bit processor. Add 4GB of RAM and a 21-megapixel PureView Zeiss 6-lens camera to the mix, and you’ve got yourself a true beast in your pocket.
But it’s not going to be the hardware that will make everyone want the phone. It’s the software. Here are a couple of cool features I can’t wait to give a go.
Continuum – Microsoft will really try and push the whole ‘phone as a PC’ thing. With Continuum, you will be able to start an email on your mobile device, and finish it on your PC. That’s without needing to transfer, save, or draft anything. It will just be seamless like that. The same goes for, say, maps. You can find directions to a place on your PC, and then ‘send’ them to your Surface phone in a blink of an eye.
Cortana – From what I’ve seen in the latest Windows 10 build, Cortana will work wonders with Continuum. If we take the same example, finding a location on your computer, you will be able to tell Cortana to ‘send’ the location to your smartphone.
If you can’t remember where you placed your smartphone, you’ll be able to tell your virtual assistant to give it a ring. Cortana will also notify you, on your PC, if your smartphone is running out of battery.
Having a rounded virtual ecosystem is something Apple has been doing with great success, even since the first iOS. It seems as Microsoft is finally catching up. It’s creating a device that will go great with our computers, and giving that extra value we need if we are to switch from Android / iOS.
Microsoft is also eager to show Apple how Styluses are done. During the recent Build conference, the company announced that ‘smart inking’ was now available to all developers. Together with Wacom, Microsoft has also set out to create the Universal Pen Framework (UPF), so we can expect a lot more of pen action going around.
And if the Surface Pen, which came together with the Surface Pro 3 is any reference, we can expect a fast, responsive, precise and well-designed stylus.
There have also been renders (although I can’t confirm if they’re based on real plans or not). They’re showing that the Surface Phone will also have a stand, and a detachable rubber keyboard. I really wouldn’t be too surprised if the phone becomes the number one choice for professionals everywhere. Especially journalists.
The phone will most likely be released in the Summer of 2017. We still have a long way to go.
Image credit: Flickr / TechStage