Surface Phone needs to be unique to revive Windows Phone

Martin Brinkmann
Sep 16, 2016

Windows Phone looks like a dying platform. The platform did not do well when Nokia was still producing phones for it, and it did even worse after Microsoft's acquisition of the company.

No new phones in a while from Microsoft, and it looks as if the company made the decision to let the Lumia brand of Windows Phones die off completely.

Third-parties are still manufacturing devices and even putting out new devices, but they are usually aimed at the business and enterprise market, and not consumers.

The HP Elite x3 for instance is such a device. It runs Windows 10 Mobile and currently available for preorder at $799.

If you compare new devices for the Windows 10 Mobile platform to Android or even Apple, you will notice that little is happening there right now in terms of hardware.

Microsoft seems to have stopped producing phones altogether, and except for the occasional announcement by a third-party manufacturer, there is little to report on that front.

Rumor has it that Microsoft is working on a Surface phone to revitalize Windows 10 Mobile. Microsoft managed to carve out a niche in the laptop market with its Surface devices in the past couple of years.

These devices have been well received all in all, and are perceived as high quality devices for the most part.

Surface Phone

Can a single device, or a device family, revitalize Windows 10 Mobile? If Microsoft plans to release a Surface Phone or phones, it seems likely that the devices will share traits with the company's current Surface laptop lineup.

This would mean excellent build quality and hardware.

But that may not be enough to help kickstart Windows 10 Mobile, considering that Apple and several Android manufacturers are also producing high quality devices. If you add the application disadvantage on the Windows platform, you see why Microsoft needs to bring more to the table than just a great device.

To help Windows 10 Mobile, Surface Phone needs to provide unique features that are useful and attractive to users.

Sure, you can try to price the device aggressively and this will surely help as well, but it seems unlikely that this is enough to convince Android or Apple iOS users to switch platforms. This is especially true if you consider that app availability on Windows 10 is still severely lacking behind.

So what could Microsoft add to its Surface Phone that would make the device unique and therefore an attractive choice?

Cutting edge hardware would certainly help: best in class camera, battery life or storage for instance. But that is just another level in the arms race and can be matched for the most part by other manufacturers.

One feature that would set a Surface Phone apart would be support for legacy Windows programs. While it seems unlikely that this is ever going to happen, support for Win32 applications would resolve several of the issues that Windows 10 Mobile is facing right now.

First, it would push the available programs past what is available for Android or iOS. Second, it would make the device attractive to Windows users who might like the idea of running applications they use on a daily basis on a mobile device.

Microsoft pushes its Universal Windows Platform, and introduced an option recently to bring Win32 and Net programs to UWP by using a program called Desktop Bridge. These converted programs work only on PCs running Windows 10 after the conversion though.

The focus on UWP, and the fact that desktop programs on a mobile device would be a usability nightmare for the most part, make this very unlikely though.

Another unique feature that could set the Surface Phone apart from others would be an option to use it for a variety of convenience features.  Continuum is a step in the right direction, but how about tying the device closer to PCs?

Carry portable desktop programs around on it that you may run on any device you connect the device to, sync data automatically, use it as a password manager and for authentication.

Now You: What do Surface Phones need to offer to help Windows 10 Mobile?

Surface Phone needs to be unique to revive Windows Phone
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Surface Phone needs to be unique to revive Windows Phone
What do Surface Phones need to bring to the table to attract new customers to the Windows 10 Mobile platform, and revive Windows Phone?
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  1. Dan Donx said on January 15, 2023 at 10:29 am

    What mental age of reader are you targeting with the first sentence? 10?

    Why not write an article on how to *avoid* upgrading from W10 to W11. Analogous to those like me who avoided upgrading from 7 to 10 for as long as possible.

    If your paymaster Microsoft permits it, of course.

  2. Dexter said on January 15, 2023 at 11:14 am

    5. Rufus
    6. Ventoy

    PS. I hate reading these “SEO optimized” articles.

    1. cdr said on January 15, 2023 at 3:32 pm

      I used Rufus to create an installer for a 6th gen intel i5 that had MBR. It upgraded using Setup. No issues except for Win 11 always prompting me to replace my local account. Still using Win 10 Pro on all my other PCs to avoid the bullying.

  3. sv said on January 15, 2023 at 6:40 pm

    bit pointless to upgrade for the sake of upgrading as you never know when you’ll get locked out because ms might suddenly not provide updates to unsupported systems.

    ps…. time travelling?
    written. Jan 15, 2023
    Updated • Jan 13, 2023

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on January 16, 2023 at 5:49 am

      This happens when you schedule a post in WordPress and update it before setting the publication date.

  4. Anonymous said on January 16, 2023 at 8:24 am

    Anyone willing to downgrade to this awful OS must like inflicting themselves with harm.

  5. basingstoke said on January 16, 2023 at 11:18 am

    I have become convinced now that anybody who has no qualms with using Windows 11/10 must fit into one of the following brackets:

    1) Too young to remember a time before W10 and W11 (doesn’t know better)

    2) Wants to play the latest games on their PC above anything else (or deeply needs some software which already dropped W7 support)

    3) Doesn’t know too much about how computers work, worried that they’d be absolutely lost and in trouble without the “”latest security””

    4) Microsoft apologist that tries to justify that the latest “features” and “changes” are actually a good thing, that improve Windows

    5) Uses their computer to do a bare minimum of like 3 different things, browse web, check emails, etc, so really doesn’t fuss

    Obviously that doesn’t cover everyone, there’s also the category that:

    6) Actually liked W7 more than 10, and held out as long as possible before switching, begrudgingly uses 10 now

    Have I missed any group off this list?

    1. Heinz Strunk said on September 19, 2023 at 3:57 pm

      You have missed in this group just about any professional user that uses business software like CAD programs or ERP Programs which are 99% of all professional users from this list.

      Linux doesn’t help anyone who is not a linux kid and apple is just a fancy facebook machine.

  6. ilev said on August 24, 2023 at 7:34 pm

    Microsoft has removed KB5029351 update

    1. EP said on August 24, 2023 at 9:21 pm

      only from windows update though
      KB5029351 is still available from the ms update catalog site

  7. Anonymous said on August 24, 2023 at 11:05 pm

    1. This update is labaled as PREVIEW if it causes issues to unintelligent people, then they shouldn’t have allowed Preview updates ot install.

    2. I have installed it in a 11 years old computer, and no problems at all.

    3. Making a big drama over a bluescreen for an updated labeled as preview is ridiculous.

    This is probably another BS internet drama where people ran programs and scripts that modified the registry until they broke Windows, just for removing stuff that they weren’t even using just for the sake of it.
    Maybe people should stop playing geeks and actually either use Windows 10 or Windows 11, but don’t try to modify things just for the sake of it.

    Sometimes removing or stopping things (like defender is a perfect example) only need intelligence, not scripts or 3rd party programs that might mess with windows.

  8. john said on August 24, 2023 at 11:17 pm

    Windows 11 was a pointless release, it was just created because some of the Windows team wanted to boost sales with some sort of new and improved Windows 10. Instead, Microsoft cannot support one version well let alone two.

    1. John G. said on August 25, 2023 at 12:08 pm

      Windows 11 is the worst ugly shame by Microsoft ever. They should release with every new W11 version a complete free version of Starallback inside just to make this sh** OS functionally again.

  9. EP said on August 25, 2023 at 3:10 pm

    motherboard maker MSI has recently released a statement regarding the “unsupported processor” blue screen error for their boards using Intel 600/700 series chipsets & to avoid the KB5029351 Win11 update:–UNSUPPORTED-PROCESSOR–Error-Message-of-Windows-11-Update-KB5029351-Preview-142215

  10. EP said on August 29, 2023 at 7:32 pm

    check out the following recent articles:

    Neowin – Microsoft puts little blame on its Windows update after UNSUPPORTED PROCESSOR BSOD bug:

    BleepingComputer – Microsoft blames ‘unsupported processor’ blue screens on OEM vendors:

  11. Leonard Britvolli said on August 30, 2023 at 10:33 pm

    While there may be changes or updates to the Windows 10 Store for Business and Education in the future, it is premature to conclude that it will be discontinued based solely on rumors.

  12. sembrador said on September 5, 2023 at 9:32 pm

    My advice, I left win 15 years ago. Now I’m a happy linux user (linuxmint) but there is Centos, Fedora, Ubuntu depending on your needs.

  13. EP said on September 6, 2023 at 11:55 am

    motherboard maker MSI has recently released new BIOS/firmware updates for their Intel 600 & 700 series motherboards to fix the “UNSUPPORTED_PROCESSOR” problem (Sept. 6):–UNSUPPORTED-PROCESSOR–caused-BSOD-on-MSI-s-Intel-700-and-600-Series-Motherboards-142277

  14. Raphael Benzo said on September 24, 2023 at 9:52 pm

    I try to disable the Diagnostics Tracking Service (Connected Devices Platform User Services) but it wont let me disable it, any help will be greatly appreciated.
    Tank you for your help

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