Microsoft Corporation is playing an elusive game with its mobile strategy. Many clues suggest that the firm is indeed working on a Surface Phone but the firm doesn’t want to jinx its ultimate phone. Latest clues suggest that the Surface Phone will run a full version Windows 10 OS with complete support for desktop apps.
Many firms have tried to make phones that can double as a PC without much success. You might still remember the Padphones from ASUS and Ubuntu phones that Canonical made. However, Microsoft controls the PC market; hence, the firm has the right mix of scale, drive, and deep pockets to build a smartphone that could run desktop apps. This piece explores Microsoft’s plan to reignite interest in Windows-powered phones as work continues on the Surface Phone.
Microsoft plans to outfit Surface Phone with desktop apps
Microsoft Corporation wants to debut Windows 10 mobile with support for ARM chips by 2017. The firm is working with Qualcomm to create ARM chips with an inbuilt emulator. Using the ARM chipset in the Surface Phone will give the device power to run x86 Win 32 apps such as Photoshop and Chrome. The firm did a demo of a ARM chipset for Windows 10 mobile running Adobe Photoshop to show how users can have a seamless experience using the Surface Phone to run Win32 apps.
The firm hints that having Windows 10 running on the ARM chips could provide the Surface Phone with the full suite of Microsoft Office and Photoshop and other apps in addition to HD video playback among other things. Nonetheless, you should note that the Surface Phone might not be able to run x64 variants of the app – the good news though is that many x64 apps have an x86 variant.
Terry Myerson, chief of Windows and device at Microsoft says the firm’s mobile strategy is aimed at making the familiar Windows 10 OS available in smaller form factors. He also notes that “at the same time, it’s so important to us that all the applications that are written for Windows over the last 25 years continue to run and continue to run well” on Windows 10 mobile.
Win32 apps might solve the chicken-egg problem for the Surface Phone
Microsoft built a number of decent phones in its Lumia line but the devices just couldn’t hold their own against the iPhone and Android devices. One could argue that the Lumia devices didn’t come to the market with enough bells and whistles. However, the main problem that killed the Lumia was the lack of apps. Both Android OS and iOS are home to millions of free and paid apps for just about anything you want to do on mobile.
Microsoft however had only a handful of apps in its store and those apps were not usually on par with iOS and Android apps. Developers didn’t want to build apps for windows because Windows phones didn’t have many users and users didn’t want to buy Windows Phone because Windows phones lacked the hottest apps. Microsoft’s plan to push Win 32 apps on the Surface phone could solve the chicken-egg problem on apps and carve out a niche for the firm in the mobile market in one single stroke.