We continue to hear whisperings of a Surface phone, despite the fact that Microsoft has pretty much flat out denied its existence at every turn. They have said they are interested in more hardware going forward, but so far that doesn’t include phones.
The idea of a Surface phone is to give Microsoft something as a premium reference device for its manufacturer partners to follow, it also gives it something to compete directly against Nexus devices and the iPhone.
It isn’t happening anytime soon though, unless Microsoft is trying to slip one by us. Earlier today, Microsoft’s senior marketing manager for Windows Phone, Casey McGee said there is no need for a Surface phone because of their super-close relationship with Nokia and its Lumia devices.
McGee states the companies are so close that the Lumia series “feels like our child too”. Microsoft also mentioned that they have some say in the way that flagship Lumia devices are created, including access to hardware early.
Microsoft even hinted that even if Nokia doesn’t agree with one of Microsoft’s design ideas, they usually go with it without much fight. Microsoft continues to be happy with the relationship with Nokia, and “the ability to influence what [Nokia is] doing.” He also mentions that they might have similar close control with other phone partners as well, as hinted further, “We enjoy having the variety that we do. We are so close to the process that it feels like our child too. Especially with Nokia”.
Part of me thinks that Microsoft should just let Nokia continue to do things as they are. Another part of me thinks the idea of a Surface phone isn’t a bad one. Ultimately, I’d like to see a Surface phone series that is more like the Nexus – commissioned by Microsoft’s specification, but built by a hardware partner.
Microsoft could even have their own direct design engineers involved in such a project. This would not only help with brand image by creating a “Microsoft phone” but it would please Nokia Lumia fans as well, even if the co-designed phone didn’t have Lumia branding at all.
What do you think, should Microsoft change up their hardware relationship with Windows Phone 8 or leave things as they lie?