The Surface Phone concept – the start of a spectrum shift for smartphones?

Discussion in 'Mayberry Lounge' started by ehtheist, Aug 7, 2016.

  1. ehtheist

    ehtheist #FreeBanchan Banned

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2015
    Messages:
    6,288
    Likes Received:
    7,546
    Cliff’s Notes: If you could have a phone running full Windows or another full x86 OS instead of Android/iOS, would this be something you’d seriously consider when you were buying a phone in the future? Get ready - you may be presented with this choice in 2017.

    [​IMG]

    With Windows Phone looking like it is on its way out, one might think that MS is giving up on the smart phone market, but it seems like that is not the case. The rumoured Surface Phone would mark not an abandonment of the smart phone market, but a full spectrum shift for MS in the mobile arena and possibly the start of a spectrum shift for smart phones as a whole. Why would anyone suggest an MS phone has such potential? Because the rumoured Surface phone is likely to contain an atom processor rather than an ARM one and, as such, run a full version of Windows rather than some rinky-dink mobile OS. Simply put, the Surface phone, if the rumours are true and MS’s update trajectory to Windows 10 proves fruitful, will be a full x86 computer the size of a smart phone, and not an app-reliant ARM based mobile device as we know them.

    I’m curious concerning the Sherbro take on this concept – does it interest you? Imagine getting home and plugging your phone into a docking bay and having it output to a monitor/TV and have a keyboard and mouse and then it functioned as your fully on, honest-to-God computer. Or possibly even in a few years when wireless audio/video games kinks worked out, you literally plop it down and have it just output to your TV/monitor and wirelessly connect to human interface devices. The question is, if you walked in to get your next phone and you were presented with an ARM using Apple or Android based phone reliant on apps and app stores but were also offered a full x86 Windows 10 phone that worked like a regular computer, would you have an interest in the Microsoft phone using full Windows ahead of a phone using an app-store based ARM operating system? Do you think a lineup of phones that were full computers would have an impact on the smartphone market in a way that the ARM based Windows Mobile never could?

    Now of course, if this does happen, I don’t expect great things immediately. You look at the original Surface Pro vs the Surface Pro 3 and 4 and the improvement has been *drastic* going from a device that had smaller screens but was heavier and had poor battery life to a lighter device with a larger screen that has fanless options, far better battery life, and in general is a vast improvement to the point where it competes with tablets as tablets and with laptops as laptops and has Apple actually trying to steal in on its success with the iPad Pro. An initial offering of a Surface Phone would likely suffer in the realm of battery life, heat generation, and kinks to work out of the software – but, so did the Surface tablet line and it has improved *drastically* in just a few years and carved out a very real niche in the computing world. If Surface phones suffer initially from these types of pitfalls, are they something you’d be interested in a few years down the road when battery life, heat generation, etc, aren’t issues any more?

    Personally, I’ve always viewed ARM based tablets and phones as transitory technologies. The “there’s an app for that” mentality is a side effect of hardware limitations on small devices which lead to a phones and tablets having to be simply functionally inferior little computers, relying on ARM chips not because of functional capability so much as size, low heat generation and power requirements, and cheapness. The x86 chips just didn’t exist to make tablets and phones that could work like real computers – but those days are coming to an end, and x86 manufacturers like Intel have seen the writing on the wall and have spent years making their chips more heat, size, and power friendly. These days though I do wonder – ARM chips have become their own massive ecosystems and despite being outright inferior from a standpoint of what they can do, these inferior computing options have such huge lineups and apps in their ecosystems that I’m not sure x86 options will just make them disappear, if they make them disappear at all. ARM might be here to stay – the ARM based platforms are simply too big in both market and mindshare to have people drop them for much more functional x86 operating systems on phones. We’ll see.

    Lastly, if this is to happen, it wouldn’t remain an MS exclusive item for long. Third parties releasing full x86 phones may be in the future – a proper x86 Linux phone rather than a stripped down Android built for ARM, possible full Mac OS phones, and other companies releasing phones running a full version of Windows. A Surface phone would just represent the first major offering of a x86 phone running a full OS rather than a stripped down ARM based mobile OS.

    (for your reference, if you want to see an article on what is being speculated for the Surface phone)
    http://www.itbusinessedge.com/blogs/unfiltered-opinion/microsoft-surface-phone-what-it-could-be.html
     
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2016
    Bald1, Exi, TeTe and 1 other person like this.
  2. JSN

    JSN Bitch Lasagna

    Joined:
    Nov 24, 2005
    Messages:
    38,987
    Likes Received:
    10,888
    Location:
    CTE City
    I have mixed feelings because I am more drawn to something like a Surface tablet. For a phone I could see running a full OS being a plus, but I would tend to think that in practice its functionality might be shit any time it's not connected to a docking station.
     
    TeTe and ehtheist like this.
  3. ehtheist

    ehtheist #FreeBanchan Banned

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2015
    Messages:
    6,288
    Likes Received:
    7,546
    Oh yeah, I agree. I can actually see some potential pitfalls that might limit the viability of this being inherent to the computer vs phone problem. When you get home or to work and plug your computer in to your monitor/keyboard/etc, how the hell do you answer your phone? Do we all then become headset wearing twatnozzles? Is having a cheaper, secondary, less functional computer as a smartphone actually desirable because there are inherent problems to using your phone as a phone and computer at the same time? Honestly, I’m not sure these can be fully overcome until wireless video and audio output becomes really slick.

    MS has been attempting to address these issues for a while now, and watching Windows 10 updates closely tells a story of them attempting to build two user experiences into a full OS – having a phone mode vs computer mode depending on how it’s functioning at the time, and actually letting it do both at once. But again, I’m not sure this would be a truly satisfying solution until wireless video and audio outputting becomes better than it is. That being said, I think we’re on the verge of seeing wireless video output becoming both robust and commonplace…

    I hope devices like these catch on once they come into existence, but I'm not sure they're the silver bullet to kill ARM smartphones or anything like that. I do believe they might be pretty compelling for people with certain needs though, and phablet type x86 phones are particularly interesting.

    (MS’s attempts to deal with what you’re talking about so far)
    https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/Continuum
     
    Exi, TeTe and JSN like this.
  4. JSN

    JSN Bitch Lasagna

    Joined:
    Nov 24, 2005
    Messages:
    38,987
    Likes Received:
    10,888
    Location:
    CTE City
    I don't trust Microsoft to deliver. I do think there's value in delivering the most stable OS possible for a smartphone. If Apple moves toward this concept I will be more intrigued.
     
    Reyesnuthugr, HelloJapan, Exi and 3 others like this.
  5. ehtheist

    ehtheist #FreeBanchan Banned

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2015
    Messages:
    6,288
    Likes Received:
    7,546

    I cannot figure out Apple’s strategy on this. The iPad pro seemed like the perfect opportunity to try and get a tablet type device using their full on Mac OS, but instead they decided to make it a XXXL iPhone. I would think they’d like to create tablet/phone style Mac OS devices, but I wonder if they aren’t addicted to the tremendous success and money of their iOS so much that they’ll shackle their devices with ARM OS’s for longer than they have to. Heck, they might actually want to push to replace x86 machines with ARM based iOS ones because they want to keep their iron-tight grip on their customer base’s activities.

    In short, I think Apple could be the ones making this move instead of MS, but I wonder if they won’t because they’re making so much money peddling iOS devices and it is more lucrative for them to keep the restrictive iOS platform. Time will tell – and who knows? If MS comes out with a Surface phone and it makes a dent, maybe it’ll be the thing that makes Apple start to transition into x86 tablets and phones.
     
    Exi, TeTe and JSN like this.
  6. JSN

    JSN Bitch Lasagna

    Joined:
    Nov 24, 2005
    Messages:
    38,987
    Likes Received:
    10,888
    Location:
    CTE City
    yeah the pro and then the new Macbook, I see both of those devices and think, "kind of neat in some ways, but who in the hell are they for?" Especially on the Pro side.

    I'm actually pretty impressed by a lot of the things Microsoft is doing right now, but for the time being I feel like their bread and butter is Windows and Windows sucks rhino cawk. For work I need a Windows device but I don't do work on my personal computer so there's really no reason for me to be in the market for something that runs Windows (or Windoze as @therealdope calls it haha).
     
    Exi, TeTe and ehtheist like this.
  7. ehtheist

    ehtheist #FreeBanchan Banned

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2015
    Messages:
    6,288
    Likes Received:
    7,546
    Also, I think MS might be rushing the x86 phone thing. We are on the verge of having tech that will make a viable x86 phone – but those first devices will look a lot like the Surface Pro compared to the iPad in that they will be heavier, clunkier, and with a shorter battery life. In a way it’s good that they’re pushing this envelope, but my husband immediately expressed interest in a Surface Phone that runs full Windows when he saw me looking at an article on it, and I suggested he wait until the third of fourth generation before he dove in. Early adoption of something new like this usually leads to owning a device that’s a great idea and has some very impressive functionality, but also a lot of pitfalls that get worked out over the course of a few generations.

    If 2017 is the launch for these devices, they’ll likely be expensive, have bad battery life, and software kinks to work out. By 2020 the battery life/clunkiness/software stability gap will be narrowed tremendously and MS’s predictable advertisement of “The phone that can replace your PC” might actually be worth listening to.
     
    TeTe likes this.
  8. ehtheist

    ehtheist #FreeBanchan Banned

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2015
    Messages:
    6,288
    Likes Received:
    7,546

    Yeah. It’s an odd alternate reality type of scenario, but looking at mobile platforms I actually feel like MS has been the ones pushing the envelope the most in the past year and a bit – but they might not be the ones to bring any sort of spectrum shift to fruition. They might be the ones that get Apple, Android, and other big companies thinking “Crap, we’d better get on making some x86 mobile devices, and make them good before we lose out on a new and potential filled market niche.”
     
    TeTe and JSN like this.
  9. JSN

    JSN Bitch Lasagna

    Joined:
    Nov 24, 2005
    Messages:
    38,987
    Likes Received:
    10,888
    Location:
    CTE City
    Hmm speaking of bad battery life, it seems like there is an enthusiastic market who'd be willing to pay for a version of a given phone that is maybe twice as wide and heavy and all that extra space is battery. I was thinking about this the other night that they wouldn't even have to optimize space- just find a battery roughly the size of the rest of the guts, leave a gaping hole where the current battery is (or just put them in parallel), and modify the current body to be however much deeper it needs to be. I think people would be good with that and that is an arbitrarily easy thing to implement.
     
    TeTe and ehtheist like this.
  10. TeTe

    TeTe Troll Whisperer Staff Member Senior Moderator

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2008
    Messages:
    43,664
    Likes Received:
    90,275
    Location:
    San Diego
    My current phone is an HTC One M8 running windows 10, my previous phone was a Windows phone. Needless to say, I'll be buying this when it comes out. I'll probably have to pay full retail I'm sure because Verizon won't offer it, but whatever, I had to pay full retail for the HTC phone I have now.
     
    ehtheist likes this.
  11. ehtheist

    ehtheist #FreeBanchan Banned

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2015
    Messages:
    6,288
    Likes Received:
    7,546

    Frankly, I’ve always found this obsession with thin devices to be nuts. I actually got to try a Surface Pro 3 for a couple of week and I returned it – because as they were bragging about how thin the device was, the thermals on the device lead to hardware throttling which actually had it performing worse than my husband’s Surface Pro 1 which is damn near twice as thick. While some hardware-philes seem to really care about having a phone so thin they can slip it comfortably into their arse crack, a lot of people would be happier with a phone that’s twice as thick and slightly heavier than the current flagship phone types if they had better guts, thermals, and battery life. But, it’s all the rage – tiny phones with 1080p+ (soon to be 4k) screen resolutions that are stupidly thin, at the expense of heat, performance, battery life…

    I hope some developers start to cater to those of us who don’t care about how thin or high res a phone is, but care more about it running well, long, and cool. It’s just not sexy to say “Well, it’s far from the thinnest phone on the market, but look at the damned thing go!”
     
    Bald1, TeTe and JSN like this.
  12. JSN

    JSN Bitch Lasagna

    Joined:
    Nov 24, 2005
    Messages:
    38,987
    Likes Received:
    10,888
    Location:
    CTE City
    I'm unclear on what is driving this thin craze TBH. From what I've been told, the research is very clear that people want more battery life and are very much willing to accept a thicker device, but maybe this is coming from people who haven't handled a device like that and the more in depth testing shows the opposite? Otherwise it seems exceptionally quixotic to keep aiming for thinness despite what consumers want.
     
    Bald1, ehtheist and TeTe like this.
  13. TeTe

    TeTe Troll Whisperer Staff Member Senior Moderator

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2008
    Messages:
    43,664
    Likes Received:
    90,275
    Location:
    San Diego
    I don't understand it either. I'm bad about dropping phones anyway. I'd like something with a little substance.

    Don't care about it on a tablet either.. I have a Surface 3 and Surface Pro 3. I didn't buy them because of the size. I mean, they're usually used like a laptop anyway.
     
    ehtheist and JSN like this.
  14. odog

    odog A cat trapped in a dog's body

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2007
    Messages:
    12,872
    Likes Received:
    8,033
    Location:
    Terminal City
    My needs for a phone are minimal.

    Make phone calls. Text. Google things sometimes.
     
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2016
  15. ehtheist

    ehtheist #FreeBanchan Banned

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2015
    Messages:
    6,288
    Likes Received:
    7,546

    Keep in mind that the Windows 10 of current Windows phones – Windows 10 mobile – is a very different beast from the Windows 10 that might run on your computer and is more akin to Android or iOS than actual Windows. The proposed Surface phone will run full Windows for x86 architecture chips that can run anything your PC can, even Android/iOS emulation and PC legacy programs from decades ago, whereas current Windows phones run an app-store reliant ARM chip that can’t run legacy and x86 programs in general. Current Windows phones run “Windows 10” but it’s not Windows 10. The proposed Surface phone would run real Windows 10. This would be precedent setting and possibly be something that challenges the paradigm of how smartphones are built to work – possibly being the operative word.

    But yeah, I know you’re the other Windows phone user in here. I tend to use them because they’re cheap, expendable, and they work well with all of my documents and Onedrive. You seem to like the Ferrari of Windows phones in your pocket – so, we’re very different users.
     
    TeTe likes this.
  16. JSN

    JSN Bitch Lasagna

    Joined:
    Nov 24, 2005
    Messages:
    38,987
    Likes Received:
    10,888
    Location:
    CTE City
    I know my company recently stopped allowing windows phones for people who want to tie Outlook into their phone email. I wonder if this is a widespread trend? This would be a good workaround if your phone was now your PC but I doubt that group of users was very big in the first place.
     
    ehtheist and TeTe like this.
  17. TeTe

    TeTe Troll Whisperer Staff Member Senior Moderator

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2008
    Messages:
    43,664
    Likes Received:
    90,275
    Location:
    San Diego
    But, if an app is made for windows 10, it's usable on all devices... thank God. So developers more likely by default to make an app for win 10 phones... case in point. Bank of America. They shit canned development of their Win 8 mobile app because they didn't think it was viable. Now I have an app again because they realized developing one for tablets and PC is... and therefore there's one available for phones.
     
    ehtheist and JSN like this.
  18. ehtheist

    ehtheist #FreeBanchan Banned

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2015
    Messages:
    6,288
    Likes Received:
    7,546

    Honestly, my needs for a phone are just above minimal, with the real selling points being “Is it cheap so I can replace it when I trash it, does it do the basics, and can it run Word/Excel/Onenote documents well?” Ironically as MS is moving their phone lineup in this much more ambitious and likely expensive direction it might actually push me to go back to Android phones since an expensive x86 phone is just a liability with how hard I am on my phones. If MS goes all in on x86 phones, it’ll likely be years before they release anything like the Lumia 5xx and 6xx lines which I can get for peanuts when I drop a tool on the next one, or it ends up caked in drywall mud and just doesn’t work as well any more. So MS’s ambition may be the parting of the ways for me from a phone line that I’m very fond of…
     
    TeTe likes this.
  19. Guestx

    Guestx Guest

    I have desktop and laptop computers to desktop and laptop shit. And a phone to do phone shit.

    The idea of my phone being able to run desktop programs really doesn't do much for me.
     
    blopdak and Sohei like this.
  20. QuitYourCrying

    QuitYourCrying Double Yellow Card Double Yellow Card

    Joined:
    Aug 6, 2016
    Messages:
    1,404
    Likes Received:
    1,463
    I would love it if my iPhone could run macOS, but I'm not holding my breath for that one.
     
    ehtheist likes this.

Share This Page

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.