Monday, 28 November 2016 14:58

Microsoft Surface Phone surfaces


Rumours of a new Microsoft Surface, Windows 10 Mobile phone have hotted up with Nokia Power User (NPU) revealing leaks from what it calls a “trusted source.”

The NPU article reinforces what Microsoft chief executive Satya Nadella told the Australian Financial Review last week, “We don't want to be driven by just envy of what others have, the question is, what can we bring? That's where I look at any device form factor or any technology, even AI. We will continue to be in the phone market not as defined by today's market leaders, but by what it is that we can uniquely do in what is the most ultimate mobile device.”

The rumours point to a significant development of Continuum, the ability to run Windows 10 Universal Windows Platform (UWP x86) apps on the phone and support an external monitor, keyboard, and other USB devices.

But perhaps the most exciting rumour is that Microsoft has developed an x86 on ARM64 emulator — not Continuum — something that will allow ARM-based Windows 10 Mobile devices to run Win32 apps. Unfortunately, the ability to run Android apps on Windows 10 Mobile is still a long way off.

The x86 on ARM64 emulator is called CHPE according to “Walking Cat” and it appears to be coming with the Redstone update to Windows 10 scheduled for Q3, 2017. If this is correct, and if the ARM hardware has enough horsepower and memory then it brings line of business Windows programs to Windows 10 Mobile. Undoubtedly that capability will be added to Continuum.

Back to the Surface Phone. It looks to have the Snapdragon 835 (not released yet); 6GB RAM; 5.5 or 6”, QHD, OLED; stylus; and will have Surface styling cues. The image below is a mock-up, but one thing is for sure it will have a kickstand.

Surface phone

On running Android apps on Windows 10 Mobile, Project Astoria announced last year apparently allows side-loaded Android apps to run on Windows 10 Mobile devices. But Microsoft has officially cancelled the project, so development, if any, is happening outside Microsoft.

There are more rumours of dual boot — Android and W10M — and Alcatel has launched a stock standard Idol 4S that will run either OS. Licensing issues are not clear yet.

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Ray Shaw

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Ray Shaw  has a passion for IT ever since building his first computer in 1980. He is a qualified journalist, hosted a consumer IT based radio program on ABC radio for 10 years, has developed world leading software for the events industry and is smart enough to no longer own a retail computer store!

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