Surface phone delayed to 2017
Thu 5 May 2016
The launch of the Microsoft Surface phone, expected in October 2016 has been pushed back. It is now expected to be released in April 2017, insiders say. The Surface phone is intended to replace the Lumia series of Windows phones, which have proven disappointing in sales and in user reviews.
There are various factors which may have played into the delayed release of the Surface phone. First, Microsoft EVP of Windows and Devices, Terry Myerson, said that the focus of the company would not be on a Windows phone this year. He said “(I)t’s not the core of where I hope to generate developer interest over the next year,” while reiterating that Microsoft remains committed to producing a competitive Windows phone. The phone will come, but it’s not as much of a priority as other commitments the company has made.
Also, the Surface phone release date may very well be pushed back until the completion of the Redstone 2, and possibly Redstone 3 operating system updates. Both of the OS upgrades are believed to include many new features for PC and mobile devices.
Microsoft could use the extra time for development as well. They intend the Microsoft Surface phone to be the most secure phone in the world, so the additional time could go to furthering encryption, biometrics, authentication, and security features. Microsoft also intends the Surface phone to be a viable alternative to a computer in situations or places where owning a computer is not practical or economically feasible. For that to happen, the phone was intended to run Windows software.
That may have been reasonable were Microsoft to incorporate Intel’s Atom chip into their design. But with Intel’s announcement that they would suspend production of Atom chips for phones and tablets, plans for the Surface phone may need to be adjusted. A delay until 2017 allows Microsoft to work with Intel on production of an appropriate chip, possibly from the Kaby Lake group.