Leaked images may show upcoming Microsoft Lumia 950, 950XL – ExtremeTech
There’s been a great deal of discussion in recent months about what Microsoft would do with its phone division, given that the company wrote off its entire purchase of Nokia and announced it would cut back on the number of phones it sold per year. CEO Satya Nadella confirmed that Microsoft remained committed to launching high-end Windows Phones, and hints and rumors have been emerging about the company’s upcoming devices.
Now, leaked photos may have captured the company’s plans to skip the long-rumored Lumia 940 and leap straight for a pair of two devices — the Lumia 950 and 950XL. It’s been suggested that Microsoft may have skipped the 940 because the number four is unlucky in China. That’s certainly possible, but the Chinese market isn’t particularly strong for Redmond; Microsoft has a 0.8% market share there, according to ITProPortal.
Regardless of the reason, the new phones pack some solid specs. The Lumia 950 is expected to offer a 5.2-inch screen at 1080p, a Snapdragon 808 processor, 3GB of RAM, 32GB of internal storage, a 20 megapixel rear camera, and a 5MP front-facing camera. The Lumia 950 XL is rumored to offer a 1440p screen at 5.7 inches and the Snapdragon 810 processor. Presumably this new phone would use the tweaked version of the 810 with improved thermal characteristics and a few performance boosts, and the larger form factor should help dissipate heat from the SoC itself.
These new photos show a svelte device with what may be a USB Type-C connector. That would make Microsoft one of a relative handful of companies that deploy Type-C this generation. The standard is widely expected to catch on quickly, but if any devices ship this year with USB Type-C support, they’ll appear in the back half of the year.
The specs and capabilities should be more than enough for a solid range of devices, particularly since Windows Phone has a reputation for running quite well on older hardware, where both iOS and Android have been known to stumble.
The Windows 10 question
The big question for Microsoft, of course, is whether or not its new Windows 10 Mobile operating system can meaningfully improve adoption and uptake in the mobile phone market. Microsoft was rumored to be investigating the possibility of releasing Android devices with a Windows Mobile skin or particular suite of apps earlier this year, and while many of you pushed back against that idea, I still think it makes sense to investigate the market, particularly after Nadella was willing to commit to slashing the Nokia business to zero. Microsoft’s decision to cut off its own mobile manufacturing division proves that the company is willing to reposition itself to better track the mobile market, even if that means suffering some short-term earnings pain.
Even if Microsoft is considering alternatives to Windows 10 Mobile, however, that doesn’t mean the firm is going to quit on its brand-new operating system. Instead, I think it likely that Redmond will put a full court press on developers to create new Universal applications that can scale from Windows 10 Mobile through Xbox One and even Windows 10 itself. That kind of functionality and cross-platform tracking could be a particular boon for business and corporate users. Figuring out how to extend that kind of scale to gamers could be tricky, but again — the option to play hit games across every platform that a person owns could give Microsoft’s sales a kick, provided that the company does the legwork to get popular games ported over in the first place. In general, Windows 10 Mobile has a steep hill to climb.
These top-end devices will likely set the tone for how Microsoft’s new OS is received and could shape the entire future of the operating system. Hopefully Microsoft takes the time to get it right.