Microsoft itself admitted that it failed in the mobile business, but the firm is still not willing to give up on phones entirely and is still looking into ways to innovate on this side of the market. Inventing new product categories seems to be Microsoft’s new thing after the Surface and the Surface Studio, and now the company is trying to do the same thing with Windows phones.
In an interview with the Australian Financial Review, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella has emphasized that the software giant doesn’t want Windows phones to be similar to Android devices and iPhones, but to come with unique features that align with its new strategy.
“We don’t want to be driven by just envy of what others have,” he said. “The question is, what can we bring? That’s where I look at any device form factor or any technology, even AI.”
Nadella went on to explain that he wants Windows phones to be “ultimate mobile devices,” hinting that something big is indeed in the works at Microsoft.
“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,” he continued.
“Therefore [with Nokia assets], we stopped doing things that were me-too and started doing things, even if they are today very sub-scale, to be very focused on a specific set of customers who need a specific set of capabilities that are differentiated and that we can do a good job of.”
The secret feature that could help Microsoft at least get closer to the idea of an ultimate mobile device is the possibility of running x86 apps on smartphones, a feature that the company seems to be working on right now. Microsoft is believed to be developing an emulator that would launch in Windows 10 Redstone 3 and which would allow x86 apps to run on ARM processors that are available on Windows phones.
This could coincide with the release of the Surface Phone, which according to people familiar with the matter might take place in the fall of 2017 as well, just like the Redstone 3 update.