Kevin Gallo, director of Windows Developer Platform at Microsoft, alluded to the handset's existence in June when he spoke of plans to develop smartphones targeting the business sector. What follows is everything we know about the Surface Phone so far.
Design Specs. We're told to expect an aluminum and magnesium unibody. The image above is from prolific tipster ‘Nokiabar', who has a reliable record when it comes to leaks. He has previously spilled the beans on the Lumia 650 and the canceled Lumia 850.
The rumored specifications are impressive, to say the least, so we'll take them with a pinch of salt. Microsoft will offer three Surface Phone variants, the lesser of which will come with 3GB or 4GB of RAM and 128GB of storage.
The other two models will scale up to 6GB/256GB and 8GB/512GB. MicroSD expansion might also bolster the already generous storage options.
The rumors also indicate that the Surface Phone will support the Continuum software used in Microsoft's Lumia 950/950 XL. Continuum turns the phone into a big-screen projector, allowing it to connect to an external display such as a TV or monitor.
The new phones are expected to have USB Type-C ports, a fingerprint scanner, and Microsoft's Surface Pen peripheral. The top-end model might incorporate a 20MP Carl Zeiss lens in the rear camera.
Release Date. Early reports suggested that Microsoft's next smartphone will break cover before the year is out, but there are also rumors that production was halted to accommodate Intel's Kaby Lake processors.
There are arguments for both. An end of year release would capture the holiday market and serve as a counterpoint to big hardware releases from the likes of Apple and Samsung.
However, waiting until next year would allow Microsoft to tie the handset into the rumored Surface Pro 5 and Surface Book 2 launch.
We hope to see Windows 10 Redstone 2 around that time too. If the 2016 launch is chosen, we'd expect Microsoft to hold a hardware event in October to announce the release.
Price. If Microsoft wants any chance at success, the upcoming Surface Phone(s) need to be priced competitively. We've heard that prices might start at $699 for the lesser model, reaching as much as a whopping $1,099 for the top-spec version.