Windows Phone as an operating system is dead. Microsoft will now move forward in the phone space, using the Android operating system. Microsoft os not known for celebrating the end of its software dominance, but in the mobile phone space, it has a choice only between iOS and Android.
Even as Nokia releases its new post-Microsoft phones with the Android OS, other non-traditional parties are entering the mobile phone space. Other new-comers to adopt Android include Essential, gaming brand Razer, and high-end camera brand Red.
Microsoft found itself wandering in the desert, with its high hopes for mobile phone dominance laying shattered about the place, having chewed through Kin, Danger, and Nokia with no great retail success. Even constant rumours of a Surface Phone or an Xbox Phone tentatively titled the xphone, were not enough to attract the software developers necessary to populate an app store for a Microsoft-centric mobile phone.
So Microsoft was left with a choice of the two current software options with mass appeal: Apple's iOS or Google's Android.
Microsoft to develop an Android phone
Now that Microsoft has ostensibly chosen Android as the operating system for its new phone, some of its previous steps in the software space suddenly make sense.
Of late, Microsoft has been releasing a lot of Android-compatible software, including apps for Android phones and PCs, such as as Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, OneDrive and OneNote from the Office family, and upgraded Android versions of apps it bought, including Sunrise, LinkedIn, and Skype.
Microsoft has also released iOS versions of those apps, but often released the Android version first, and the iOS version a few weeks later. Even Microsoft wasn't releasing Windows Phone versions of its apps in lock-step with iOS.
With great software comes the need for great hardware
Microsoft hit the hardware gold mine when it put Panos Panay in charge of Surface. Surface 1 and Surface 2 were proof-of-concept, and Surface 3 Pro hit the bigtime, with Surface 4 Pro being a runaway success. The moderately updated 2017 Surface Pro (without the number 5) was a spec-bump to keep everyone happy while the Surface Book stole the show, followed by the kinda weird Surface Laptop, and the recently-released Surface Book 2.
Now that Microsoft has its boots in the Android camp, it just needs great hardware to go with it. Should they give the project to the team at Surface, and make a Surface Phone? Should they give the project to the Xbox team and make an Xbox phone? Should they resurrect Lumia, and make a new Lumia phone?
Would they dare to think different, and make a phone that's not primarily a phone? It could be an Android Tablet that also has phone features. It could fold in half and be phone-sized, and unfold and be tablet-sized.
They have the answer...
Yes, they already have the answer. Microsoft's not-so-secret partnership with Qualcomm has been all about bringing interoperability for Windows on ARM to a new breed of Snapdragon-powered devices. While everyone is happy with showing off prototypes that look like desktop PCs, laptops, or tablets, no-one at Microsoft or Qualcomm are showing off prototypes that look like phones.
Yet, you'll find plenty of Android phones powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon chips, including phones from Samsung, Razer, Google Pixel, Motorola, Sony Xperia, and others.
So if Microsoft is already working with Qualcomm on the Windows-on-ARM project, it's not too much of a step to take the same technology and create a mobile phone sized device.
But wait, wouldn't that just put WIndows on ARM (Windows 10) on a mobile phone? Yes it could. For businesspeople and enterprise, that would be great. However, for your average consumer, no. So Microsoft needs a Micro-Droid, a phone with Android software and a Qualcomm Snapdragon heart.
Microsoft's Android Phone
The arrival in 2018 of the new Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 chip is the perfect time for Microsoft to announce or debut a Microsoft Phone with a Snapdragon chip, running Android.
Expect the new phone to include:
Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 chip
Windows Hello facial recognition camera
Android operating system
Microsoft Launcher for Android
Microsoft Apps, including Office, Skype, OneNote, OneDrive, and more
Xbox integration, via the existing Xbox Android app
A 5.5" to 6.5" touch screen
A 3000mAh battery or better
LTE, Wifi, Bluetooth
USB-C fast charging
Access to apps from the Microsoft Store
Access to apps from the Google Play Store for Android
Possible integrated pen and ink features
Microsoft is approaching this project from a very specific angle:
It's not competing with the iPhone or the Samsung Galaxy or the Google Pixel phones.
It's not competing with Android tablets from Samsung or Lenovo.
It's creating a portable computer that also makes phone calls.
Until next time,
XYZ Media Group