Microsoft appears to be restructuring its ailing smartphone business with a revamped strategy to overcome the monopoly of brands like Apple and Samsung in the premium market. There has been a series of rumours about Microsoft's new smartphone series under its flagship Surface brand, and a new leak has shed more light on the unannounced Surface Phone.
Microsoft accidentally leaked the list of processors compatible with the Windows 10 Mobile OS, which includes MSM8998, according to a report by NokiaPowerUser last week. The entry has since been removed from Microsoft's "Minimum hardware requirements" page, but the codename MSM8998 has been linked to Qualcomm's latest Snapdragon 830 chipset.
The new chipset is expected to support up to 8GB RAM and use Samsung's 10nm FinFet processor. If this could power the upcoming Surface Phone, it would be an industry-first. However, the launch of Microsoft's Surface Phone is not due until 2017, which could also mean many other competing OEMs might be on the verge of deploying such high specs in smartphones sooner than later.
If the rumours are to be believed, Microsoft is expected to launch not one but three variants of the new Surface Phone designed suitably for businesses, enthusiasts and normal users. But the Surface Phone is not going to be a device Microsoft would sell in large numbers. Instead, it would be a style statement and show the best use of Windows 10 on a mobile device, Forbes reported.
The mobile space hasn't been Microsoft's strongest suit ever since Windows Phone 7 was launched. Lack of developer support and slow adoption of basic features has resulted in an unfavourable outcome for the company. Microsoft's Windows Phone-powered Lumia phones have suffered in the hands of giants like Android and iOS, but the company's efforts to change that might come to fruition in 2017.
It is already clear that the company's Lumia 650 is the "last Lumia" ahead of the launch of a new and effective phone portfolio. The Lumia 950 and 950XL series did not generate as much excitement as its rivals did in the market. But the company has been primarily focusing on its cloud services, keeping the hardware sector as a secondary source of income.
It remains to be seen if the launch of Surface Phone will place Microsoft on a par with giants like Apple and Samsung. There is no specific date fo the launch of the new phone in 2017, and there's still a long way to go.