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Surface Phone? Microsoft says it needs “breakthrough” Windows handset

by Jacob Kleinman | December 28, 2015December 28, 2015 2:00 pm PDT

surface phone 1 copy

Microsoft revealed two flagship smartphones this year with the Lumia 950 and Lumia 950 XL, but the company could be working on something groundbreaking for its next release. In a recent interview with Windows Weekly, Microsoft marketing chief Chris Capossela teased what could be the long-rumored Surface Phone.

Capossela didn’t confirm plans for any specific device, but suggested the company will try to replicate its Surface strategy with a new smartphone. That means offering something new and unique instead of simply chasing the competition or playing it safe.

“We need some sort of spiritual equivalent on the phone side that doesn’t just feel like it’s a phone for people who love Windows,” he said. “It’s got to be a phone where it’s like, ‘Wow, that’s a real shock or that’s a real breakthrough, and that’s going to make me pause before I buy my 17th iPhone.’ And we need time to actually go build that.”

Capossela’s comments suggest this device is still just an early concept. However, one recent report claimed Microsoft is already hard at work on the device. It’s apparently being developed by Panos Panay with the rest of the Surface team, and referred to internally as NorthStar or simply “Panos’s Phone.”

The device’s breakthrough feature is allegedly an x86 processor from Intel, making it possible to run PC applications. That could go well beyond what the company’s current phones are capable of with Continuum.

The Surface Phone (or whatever Microsoft ends up calling it) isn’t expected to launch until late next year.

Jacob Kleinman

Jacob Kleinman has been working as a journalist online and in print since he arrived at Wesleyan University in 2007. After graduating, he took a...