Microsoft may not release anymore phones in 2016. In fact even its rumoured Surface Phone may not emerge till early 2017 if a report by WindowsCentral is to be believed. According to the report, Microsoft is readying three models of the Surface Phone which will target the average consumer, businesses and enthusiasts.
In the meantime, Microsoft is working on improving Windows 10 for the phone with two updates called RedStone 1 and RedStone 2. RedStone 1 is actually the recently announced Windows 10 anniversary update which will launch in July end and RedStone 2 will be something that gets released in early 2017 coinciding with the launch of the Surface hardware.
This also means it is the end of the line for Microsoft’s Lumia brand which it inherited from Nokia when it acquired its hardware business.
While the new Surface hardware is being readied, Microsoft is apparently targeting OEM partners to use Windows 10 in their phones. It hopes that as it is not the sole driver of the OS and hardware, more brands may come on board.
For the Surface phone, Microsoft is also waiting for a new Intel chip called the Kaby lake, which may be used across an array of Surface branded products like the Surface Pro 5 and a new Surface Book. Microsoft is reportedly trying to avoid the chipset level hassles it has faced with Intel’s Skylake family of processors. If this is the case, the launch of the entire product line could get pushed back to spring 2017.
For the Surface phones, however, Microsoft could make inking a big feature. It has already unveiled a universal pen framework in the new Windows update. It could also come with a bolstered Continuum feature which could either work with the help of an x86 Intel processor in the phone or in a dock.
Overall this means that Microsoft will likely not release an affordable smartphone in the next year or so. It will likely focus on reinventing what one can do with a smartphone.
After a bit of cloak and dagger, Microsoft has launched the Lumia 650 in India for Rs 15,299. Only earlier in the week we had reported that the phone could be launched soon in India, and now it is available.
“We crafted the Lumia 650 with the finest detail while delivering a consistent and familiar Windows 10 experience. Lumia 650 brings the best of Microsoft productivity, beautiful design and an affordable price. The device is perfect for enterprises and Windows fans alike,” said Ajey Mehta, Country General Manager, Microsoft India.
Many believe the Lumia 650 to be the last Lumia branded smartphone from Microsoft. The phone was announced a couple of months ago without much fanfare.
The phone runs on Window 10 for mobile like most Microsoft products. It has a 5-inch OLED screen with a 720p HD resolution which is reinforced with Corning Gorilla Glass 3. The phone is powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 212 processor which is a quad-core chip clocked at 1.3GHz. It has 1GB RAM and 16GB of internal storage. There’s also a memory card slot which supports SD cards with up to 200GB of storage.
The phone packs in a 2,000mAh battery and has a 8-megapixel camera on the back and a 5-megapixel camera on the front. It is also a dual-SIM smartphone supporting 4G networks.
Microsoft has emphasised on the design of the device. It has an anodised aluminium frame with chamfers which makes it look elegant and it is quite slim at 6.9mm. The phone is billed as enterprise focused offering. One of the unique features of the phone is that it allows IT managers to test an update of the operating system with their own business systems and apps before deployment.
As it is based on Window, it comes with signature Microsoft experiences like OneDrive and Cortana. It also supports Office 365.
While there are some unique experiences on the phone, Microsoft will find it difficult to compete in the market as phones like the Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 are offering consumers better value with more features and better hardware specifications.