3D Touch
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Microsoft's next flagship Windows Phone to come out in November on 3 US carriers, features 3D Touch

Over at the site @evleaks, a report about Nokia's (now Microsoft's) smartphone road map for 2014 has been teased with some device names like 'McLaren,' 'Rock,' 'Tesla' and 'Superman.' While 'Rock' is reported to be an entry-level Lumia 530 for T-Mobile and cricket, 'Tesla' and 'Superman' are described as mid-range devices for AT&T and Verizon, though no specifics are given. The Verge has previously described 'Superman' though as having a 4.7 inch display and a massive 5 MP front-facing camera.

I can add to the story quite a bit, specifically some details around 'McLaren.' But first, I should mention that AT&T is slated to get the new green Lumia 1520 sometime in late June or July as part of the Windows Phone 8.1 launch. I don't know if it'll be 32 GB internal or 16 GB, but with micro SD expansion, the ability to install apps and games to the card and 128 GB support, it doesn't matter anymore.

Likewise, I've heard that AT&T and T-Mobile are also getting the Lumia 635, which is the affordable, entry-level Windows Phone 8.1 device with LTE bands. It's the same as the Lumia 630, just faster data speeds.

  • AT&T Black - 7/16 or 7/17 $99
  • T-Mobile White - 7/16 or 7/17 $129

Those dates and pricing are certainly subject to change. The prices seem to me high for an on-contract device, especially with the Lumia 520 on AT&T going for $59 these days, so I'm hoping those are for the pay-as-you-go plans. If that proves to be the case, those are kickass prices for what is a decent entry level Windows Phone 8.1 device with a quad-core processor.

'McLaren' and 3D Touch

Referencing @evleaks they note that "The fall flagship, then, will be a device codenamed McLaren. Shipping in time for the holidays, McLaren should see wide release, with AT&T, Verizon, and T-Mobile all reportedly signed up to carry it."

McLaren is evidently the new nickname for what was previously called Goldfinger, or a carrier variance.

Indeed I have heard that the next flagship will not be an AT&T exclusive as well, with McLaren/Goldfinger launching in November. Releasing a Windows Phone 'hero' device on all major carriers is something many of you have been asking for, and it now seems like you'll get your wish.

Some of the model names include RM964, RM965, RM1001, RM1002, though the exact configuration of the hardware for this device is currently not known.

The specifications of McLaren/Goldfinger though are less important than what it does, which is 3D Touch. The Verge's Tom Warren revealed the existence of this technology back in November. While Samsung tried with the Galaxy S4 to use the front-facing camera as a motion detector, it was obviously a hack and a gimmick. The notion of real non-touching gesture support requires dedicated, specific hardware.

How the 'McLaren' achieves this is unclear, though you can surmise that Microsoft is leveraging what they've learned from their Kinect project for Xbox. Some of the features include APIs for gestures, side interactions and even heat maps.

Crazy stuff.

Believe it or not, some of these APIs for developers are in the current SDK, they're just not visible. What this mean though is developers will have access to this 3D Touch technology for their apps. It also means that Microsoft will have a small batch of third-party apps supporting this 3D Touch technology on launch day.

So, is 3D Touch a gimmick? It will depend on how often it's adopted by developers and how well it works. So far, it's the hardware behind the technology that is slowing down development. Presumably there's some proprietary work done here by Microsoft, as I've heard prototypes of this phone – sans 3D Touch – have been floating around since December.

What can you do with 3D Touch?

One of the coolest uses of this 3D Touch that I've heard about is called 'Mix View.'

I don't want to post images, though you can think of it this way: Imagine a Tile on your Start screen, as your finger hovers above the Tile, it wiggles a bit, giving you a visual indication that you're giving focus to the element. When pressing down in the air (without touching the Tile) it "explodes" into many smaller Tiles, up to eight with varying sizes, and each revealing custom content from that app. For example, a contact's Tile could display their phone number, last email, a text message, photos, etc. App developers can configure it to reveal anything so our Windows Phone Central app could display maybe top two or three headlines.

It's a fascinating expansion of the Live Tile concept, allowing more than the limited two-sided Tile that we have today.

Edit: As pointed out in comments, Mix View is very similar in design to what was originally found in the Zune desktop software (and seen above). Check out this video on Vimeo to see more of the old Zune MixView UI.

Notice also how this is different than the Microsoft Research project on interactive Tiles for Windows 8. While the Microsoft Research version is great for desktop or tablets, it is perhaps not ideal for Phones that have smaller displays. It should be evident though that Microsoft is looking to take the Tile paradigm to the next level.

Leapfrogging

So far, Microsoft has admittedly been playing catch up to the completion for smartphones. One could argue that Windows Phone 8.1 brings Microsoft's smartphone OS to near parity with iOS and Android in terms of raw features (there will always be differences and advantages to each, though).

Goldfinger/McLaren and 3D Touch look to be the first major hardware and software innovation that will allow Microsoft to surpass their competition. However, even Amazon's purported smartphone, due to be announced in the coming weeks, uses some 3D gesture technology, which means Microsoft is not alone on this front. Amazon's phone will be running an open-source version of Android, like their Kindle Fire range of tablets, though Amazon still has an uphill battle in getting a new phone on to carriers (they will probably sell direct, for obvious reasons).

In conclusion, whatever McLaren/Goldfinger turns out to be, it will be the big thing to watch this fall. I can say I'm certainly intrigued by the prospect of 3D Touch, though, like many things, a lot of questions remain.

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Reader comments

Microsoft's next flagship Windows Phone to come out in November on 3 US carriers, features 3D Touch

440 Comments

Seriously!! - Wireless charging is something you have to use to appreciate.

I love dropping my phone in the cradle in the car and plopping it down on my nightstand at home or on my desk at work.  ...Or by my couch at home or...on my desk at home. 

Yeah, can't live without Qi.

That and the 1020 camera. 
 

Yep. If Microsoft offers a Qi attachment I may consider this new model in the fall (AT&T). But otherwise I will stick with my 1020. Wireless charging or bust. Period.

I hope it come with These Specs:

Snapdragon 810

QuadHD Screen

and Better Pureview cam, 1520 was a little laggy and video recording was so so poor

I am now going to pray to the machine god evey day that this will have pixel sense (old surface 2.0) tech.... its actually amazing how it works and so surprised they haven't tryed to use it yet.... it would lead to the best palm rejection software ever because it could see you hand before it touches the screen... might take alot of power actually come to think of it but even still...

Unless they have managed to slim the pixel sense technology right down that would be a very think phone. But hey it would be the perfect technology for this if that were the case. Can only dream at this point. Although pixel sense mixed with Kinect would be even better.

+920. So true. So much, it (and the Nokia camera) has kept me from changing to iStone. Who would've thought.

This 3D thing sounds very interesting. If we could only get the damn 8.1...

I'm not sure about the other phones, but surely a phone codenamed Tesla will have wireless charging, right?  I mean, it's a perfect fit!

+1000 to that. I may move to Andoird just, well, a few apps I use a lot on my 920 just run horrible. Really tired of bad crashing apps. Worst offender - Audible. App STILL can't consistantly remember where I last stoped listening to a book. 

Anyway - the hardest switch is the wireless charging. I think you can get a Galaxy S5 cover that can enable Qi charging. 

Worst decision ever to remove it form the other Nokia phones. 

I thought wireless charging was cool in the beginning with my 920, but it became gimmicky for me. I couldn't really lose my phone when it was on the pad, it charged slower, and the pads are more expensive. So yeah, until it improves a lot, I don't care if a phone has wireless charging or not.

Icon aka 930 is like 6 months old!  That old in terms of smartphones because technology just gets release in a much shorter timeframe now a day! 

Microsoft needs to step up and release a high end Surface phone!  I know they have not done well with their Surface tablets but that their fault! 

Just don't screw up the next high end smartphone model!

 

Since the McLaren will come in November, the specs should meet or beat all the new LG, Samsung and iPhone6 offerings:

Snapdragon 805, 5.2" qHD display, 3GB RAM, 32GB Storage, microSD 128GB, 3400 mAh battery, Built-in wireless charging, 41MP camera w/o hump, 5MP front camera, 3D Touch & Mix View.

Hopefully, the WP apps would surpass 350K by end of the year.  I would like to see the 41MP camera become the standard for all MS lumia high-end phones.  That would shake off all the competitors.

Kill the carrier exclusivity for good!

I'm waiting.

 

 

Damn bro, once can only hope for those specs. I can already see the iblogsphere arguing that we still not need wireless charging, or 3D, or 41 mpx, and that the iFon seis is still the bestest no matter what. 

I'm just disappointed that the new MS flagship device will come out long AFTER Win 8.1. It should have been used to help launch the new OS.

Look at the new Surface 3 and a couple weeks later Intel Demos its new Boadwell slim tablet and the Surface 3 is already out of date.

MS always seems to be out of step with the times.

That's just the way the tech field goes, no one waits for anyone. That Microsoft is "late" like you say can be used as a force to drive innovation. Besides , Broadwell tablets aren't much of a threat to the SP3, its pretty slim as it is.

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I'm pretty sure the difference of Broadwell being announced and Broadwell being available in ANY device is pretty much an obvious reason why NO OEM is going to sit around and wait on it.

Manufacturers have time delays from announcement to actual production of the component!  It usually like 4-6 months just to get the first ones out the door and it takes another 3 months to ramp up production if nothing goes wrong so you looking at 9 month time frame from introduction to getting components on the lowest cost bases.

With hardware, there's always something better coming up so if you want to wait for the better hardware you'll end up waiting forever.

Just like Surface Pro 2 got a refresh at some point, the Pro 3 will probably get the same.

The laptops Intel showed were reference designs, we'll see how long before actual devices running on Broadwell hit the market

there is some truth to microsoft being out of step with intel, but there's a huge difference between broadwell being announced in a reference design and it actually making it into products. since the product cycles are so short now it would pretty much mean doing away with a whole cycle of surfaces (i.e. no sp3 with haswell). the iphone launches in early september, android phones launch in the spring so you can see the rationale behind the autumn product launch. (not to mention the 930 is kind of the flagship launching with 8.1, but even microsoft seems to treat it like a stopgap)

It's interesting that over the years we've had hardware iteration after iteration where we were waiting for the software to catch up.  Now it seems the foot's on the other hand!  Now we have Windows 8.1 sitting around waiting for hardware - even Intel - to catch up. 

Truth is Intel went to sleep for half a decade.  They couldn't produce low power chips.  That let ARM in the door.  That created iPhone.  Now they've woken up.  And like everyone who wakes up, the first thing they do is fart and hit the head.  Next they brew up a cup of coffee and the brain cells start to work.  Intel is now at the stage where the coffee is just starting to penetrate the brain.  Slight essence of fart still lingers however.  Interesting days ahead.  Doncha just love metaphors?

Has ARM now gone to sleep too?  I hate it when my arm goes to sleep.  That means it'll be up all night.

MS is usually way ahead of the times with innovation...it's just gets way behind in implementation. 

Skylake is so much better! It can directly drive SSD.
I guess we'll have to wait unril Christmas 2015 and Windows 9.
So stop complaining about the old Broadwell...it's so 5 mins ago...

McLaren had their own phone back in the day

I wonder if the McLaren name relates to the actual F1 manufacturer or Malcolm McLaren

 

Anyway if it is indeed related to McLaren F1 I am getting it.

Hondas coming back get ready for the euro bashing to begin

Errr...ahem...McClaren F1 hasn't been doing too well the last few years. Mercedes would be a better name this year.

 

Err ahem look back in history johnny come lately

 

Who knows maybe Merc can beat McLaren Hondas record of season wins this year

 

Yeah, butt hat's history... and history is not something you want to associate with technology.

True, McLaren F1 was great back in the days. Not only Honda engines days, but also early Merc engines, in late '90, with Mika Hakinen in the cookpit.

However, that is same as saying that Commodore 64 was great home computer, and Nokia 5110 was equally great early GSM phone. Yet I wouldn't like my top-of-the line computer to be associated to CBM64 in any way.

Likewise McLaren. I am actually McLaren fan, and I still think this is bad timing to call your flagship McLaren.

Sounds awesome. Now let's hope we get 64gb and ideally 128gb variants, wireless charging (without a clip-on back) and Glance in this top-of-the-range device and I'll be first in line. The new 930 is a good model but 32gb not really enough and Glance not being there is disappointing.

I know! I've held on to my 920 for over a year and there is nothing that compels me to get a new Windows Phone. It's so darn awesome and uncompromised. 

Other than a few issues with 8.1 the performance of the 920 still remains so good that I'd also have a hard time justifying a new purchase.  If we're not getting a 1020 successor then I'll just buy that.

I think I'm going to keep mine for 3 or 4 years before buying another MMO product. Hopefully by that time WP already reach the level where market share is bigger than the green robot.

Nail.  Head. Hit.  I don't do incremental.  I prefer quantum leaps.  920 was the best phone since the HTC HD2 which was the best phone since the iPhone 1.  Everything else was incremental.  Whatever makes me give up my 920 will be the next legend.

Then MacLaren it is! The 3D API is a heaven for Developers!
You can do just about anything via hovering.
It's the next Legend! You can't go back to the old hardware.
Try it - and you're hooked!

I just got the Icon a few weeks ago. I had the Nokia 822 and didn't want to get rid of it either. But my daughter needed a phone so I gave it to her so I could upgrade.

We are 4 now. I wanted to get a new Windows Phone about two years after my black  920, this phone sounds like the right one. I am excited, WP seems to rise. More apps, more features and new things!

The 1020 was worth the upgrade.  Best phone i have ever used by far and longest i've ever used/owned.  I would upgrade at least two or three times a year before the 1020. *I get them free from work. :)

I hope they do what they did with the Surface 3 and just go to town on this next flagship device.

Great camera, Wireless charging, 3d touch, Water proof??, etc etc.  Sapphire would be nice since Gorilla Glass 3 blows.

I'm still waiting up on the 1020 successor to ditch my 920 for. This 3D Touch thing sounds like a gimmick to me. Why would I want to hover above the screen to do the same thing I could do by touching it? Maybe I'll be proven wrong, but it seems like an unnecessary port of Kinect that doesn't add anything useful. Nobody cared when Samsung did it either.

It's all in the implementation. There are lots of things I can think of that would be impossible to do well without 3D.

Did you not read the article?... Exploding tiles into a larger view is awesome!.. And, it would definitely be a lot faster if you could just hover your thumb over the screen... But, I'm sure MS will also have a touch solution for these new tiles like you're saying... Nevertheless, options are great.

I think the 3D touch will introduce a new layer of interactivity to apps, interfaces etc. Think how you would implement that 'mix view' with touch alone. Whether it's a gimmick or not will probably come down to how MS & devs use it.

Imagine it like this, say you want an update from your ESPN tile on the latest game scores. While the tile itslef can provide some info, you can get more info, expanded view/enlarged tile with more info by just hovering your finger over it.

Just pick up your phone and play with your startscreen, you hover more than you know and if implemented the right way it could be pretty awesome. Remains to be seen though.

I do that all the time on Windows to see what an icon is (more information, same explosion we are talking about) and file names.

I have the Lumia ICON and trust, basically a 1520 with a smaller screen. So if you get one you wont be sorry. The specs with the McLaren wont be that much better to be honest..

McLaren has the WOW effect
You will cry your eyes out if you buy any old-fashioned "top" model
You should try out a prototype..you simply can't go back - like EVER!

They're working super hard on that, but if the company doesn't want an app, they can't force them. You'll be surprised at how often companies say 'no' to a Windows Phone app, even when someone picks up the tab for initial development.

Basically put it's like this : We don't have apps because it isn't selling well because we don't have apps because we're not selling well...........
Well you know how it goes

Not so much. They simply don't want to hire a WP developer for phase 2 of the app. Microsoft will pick up the tab on development, but the company then needs to take the reigns for maintenance and future updates. Sometimes, they're reluctant to do so, partially because of marketshare, partial because they have their own 'mobile strategy.'

Typically reasons are business (we cant justify development resources to sustain this given limited customers) or just plain old political\ personal biases (e.g. For longest time we heard Instagram dragged their feet because founder didn't like Microsoft)

More often than not, if it's a business, like a bank, cable company, retailer or local utility, they have a specific departmental budget that they can work within, and don't think hiring yet another developer to maintain an app for Windows Phone is worth their time and resources.  

This is where not having first mover advantage and coming late to the (mobile) game can continue costing Microsoft.

To me this is pure insanity. If a company is willing to code and pick up the bill for app development, to get your company's app in their store, why wouldn't you do it? Is it so hard to support an extra app on the back end? Wouldn't more exposure and potentially more money be a good thing for a company to grow their business? Isn't that what business do? Grow and make more money? Crazy...

Time for MS to make some offers that "can't be refused". Sometimes I wish for the bad old days of a monopolistic titan Microsoft that wasn't afraid to throw its weight around.

That's why they have to push the device area first by innovating with a unique phone available to all major US carriers, they are doing it right, I hope this is the long waited Surface Phone.  After they attract public attention and spend a lot of cash in advertising, it will be the opposite way, developers will focus on Windows Platform first.

 

 

Well until the tide turns, do what I do: Nag every business you want an app from. Let them know this is headed towards a 3 ring circus and they need to get onboard. Let them know how disappointed you are that they don't have a WP app.

This is what I do as well. No campaigns, no form letters, just personally written emails telling them I am a customer that would like a WP app.

I do this as well. I even go so far as to tell the company I won't buy their products until I have an app.

(I'm talking to you starbucks) 

I have emailed that company like 6 times. The last one said Make an app and I will return to your stores, until then, I will keep my $6 a day and make my own coffee. 

Same with Google. I made outlook.com emails and closed all my google accounts and emails. Deleted my profile from G+ and told them until they wanted to support ME as a customer instead of having some beef with MS that effects ME, I was done with them. 

In the Microsoft world, it's becoming pretty much exactly that... as apps are unified on both phone and PC, both in terms of code and purchase, it pretty much becomes the ecosystem, since all of the services come integrated to the OS and/or as apps in the store.

Hopefully something in there will be flagship status with no compromises. Looks like Superman might be the 830 and 832 maybe?

Glad to hear exclusivity to one carrier might be ending. I'll be renewing one of my lines in Nov/Dec, so I guess I'll be giving this new flagship a try then. We've come along way and I'm glad to have been here from the beginning. Ain't competition great?

Even though it is it still looks like you wont be able to say for example buy it on one carrier & use it on another as id assume by the amount of model numbers specified each will only support their specified network

Call them what you want but that is one thing that Apple got right with the unlocked iPhones you can buy directly from Apple now.

Wasn't the 928 exclusive to only Verizon in the US? Or did you mean just that there are none announced for these devices?

It means that at this moment it will probably have one marketed model number while the the rm numbers just identify the usual carrier varying features ie Verizons ehrpd/lte or sprints lte/cdma or T-Mobile's UMA

928 is a carrier exclusive, has nothing to do with the US. It's Verizon's phone, just like 822 on Verizon, the 521 and 810 on T-Mobile and the HTC 8XT on Sprint.

Since McLaren is not a carrier exclusive phone, there are no regional restrictions on it.

I personally would want it to be a phablet as well. I do hope they make a 5 and 6 inch version and you pick what you want.

4.7". My HTC One M7 is pretty much perfect sized imho. That and my carrier needs to pick up a Windows phone period. : /

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yea but that's pretty much a 5" screen in any other phone. take away the front facing spearkers and those bezels and you can even fit a 5.5" screen in there (lg g3)

I assume as a flagship, the McLaren will have at least a 20MP camera sensor with OIS and all the fancy audio mics.  It seems as though this 3D thing would need to be "always on", so I'm also hoping for a big battery.  I'd love a replaceable one, but that's just crazy talk these days.

They are just sensors, they are not battery drainers, thats why I think this will be a hit not those functions that Sansumg uses on their Galaxy phones that uses the camera and drain the battery and does not work well.

 

And this will be better than anything widgets does for Android. I love the 3D concept and new tile plans.

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This tech could be useful even on daily tasks such as browsing. Some menus are drop down menus that you can only access while hovering the mouse above it, now you can so the same with this technology and with your finger.

Dan, the "Mix View" sounds great, thought I Bing Image Search it... Got lots of upskirt images and dogs! At this stage I'm assuming this is not it :-D

This would be great.  There are some web sites that you just can't use when on a touch interface, regardless of the platform (IOS, Andriod, or Windows).  These sites drive me nuts, but there seems to be a whole lot of them out there.

Sprint has let its users down in too many ways..... I don't know why I stay with them. But I have stuck with them, and at least my 8XT has been decent for me. Their coverage really needs a boost still.

Same here!! I've been with Sprint since 1996 and debated often to leave for another carrier that has a Nokia device but as bad as the coverage I can't leave because I like the unlimited data. I was really hoping now that Microsoft and Nokia deal has completed. I was hoping that Nokia phones would become available on Sprint. I originally had the HTC Arrive for years and when it was time to upgrade I chose the HTC 8XT over the Samsung Neo because originally the HTC 8XT had a built in FM radio. I've actually been pleased with the HTC 8XT screen resolution aside because the performance hasn't been too bad and it was the first Sprint WP8 device to get GDDR3.  I think the Neo didn't get GDDR3 until March of this year.

Us Sprint users can only hope one of two things. 1) That the Sprint / T Mobile merger goes through because that's the only option to get a Nokia phone and 2) That HTC release the rumored HTC One Windows Phone 8 version this fall.  Because it looks like Sprint will never get a Nokia device.

It would appear that the boycott by Sprint of all things Nokia survived through the acquisition...or dare we hope for some HTC One WP8.1 variant?

Once this doesnt mean bulky hardware I am in. One of the biggest deciding factors with many people purchasing smartphones comes down to how beautiful the hardware looks. This phone needs to be a looker and have the feature set in order to capture the masses.

Yup, 5", 3D Touch, small bezel, 140g, super thin and highest end specs. That's the only way this thing has any hope of selling in the multi-millions.

Well, well, what do we have here? A phone that will be priced upwards of $900, and hence, not much uptake. And then 2 years later, Apple will chip in and 'invent' 3-D gesture technology and sell 50 times the number, at maybe $1000 per unit. ....but, boy am I excited! And I'll go around spreading the gospel of WP, and try my best to let people know that MSFT means innovation too. :)

The pricing is unknown as of this moment. Probably won't be together than $600 though. People on contracts will get it for no more than $300 or even for free.

It seems odd that even though we are almost equal to other platforms we're still being treated as a stepbrother :/

I am waiting to see what innovations MS can bring to the current set of devices with their software instead of improvising on the hardware. They need to retain their user base first before adding gimmicks to the newer devices.

Wait. Unless Microsoft changed Nokias old plans, Goldfinger is not the "1030". Different devices.

Sigh. I want a 1030 as well. Don't really give a crap about 3D yet... we'll see if they can change my mind.

That's not what I recall, the earliest goldfinger rumours (& related) always suggested a 1020 successor of sorts (roughly same imaging perf. but shrunken cam. module, + a new UX paradigm), it does seem to have "evolved" from that more recently though, annoyingly.

I just hope I'll be able to browse websites that have "hover" drop-down menus in them easier. It sounds stupid, but it drives me positivley insane that I can select the drop-down items.

Still waiting for windows phone 9 screw Microsoft with there flaky release dates and updates taking forever I get it when it had windows phone 9 on it....

MS isn't going to release WP9 until Windows 9 ships. MS adding .1 to their releases is the equivalent of Apple adding 1. Calm down.

What you describe is too much to ask for..Microsoft being the next big thing...wow. Sounds awesome.

So I got an Icon and a Surface RT, both of which are now obsolete, unless an upgrade can give the Icon 3D touch. I'm getting this technology monkey off my back, going cold turkey, get a cabin in the woods, grow a beard, get some raccoons to talk to and live life again. I swear.

Cyan, where's cyan?

That there is funny, I was thinking my 1520 seemed to always hang in there with updates, new features regarding 8.1, although I think it can do the hover thing if updated.

Microsoft branded. They can't use the Nokia brand on any future Lumia devices as per the terms of the deal. They can only use it in devices that were presented up until 25th of April. So the 930 is Nokia's least phone.

I can't imagine it being Nokia branded especially here in the US. No need to perpetuate the Nokia brand giving that Nokia can get back in the game as early as 2016. If this is indeed a true hero phone, I'd love it to have the Surface brand because it looks like MSFT will have a hit with the Surface Pro 3.

They can use Microsoft Lumia + whatever model they want but I hope they forget about the Lumia brand and just name it "Surface Phone" if the phone itself deserve the Surface name of course.

 

2 years between flagships. How in the hell can you not release a flagship for 2 freakin years. This is what I would expect from a dying platform like Blackberry, not Microsoft. I convinced my father and stepmom to switch to WP. They have been waiting since January for new releases. just last week they decided they were done waiting and will be getting new iPhones. Way to go MS.

I doubt you will buy a flagship more often than once a year. Even if so, almost nobody cares about over9k flagships.

P.S. And yeah, you can choose between ATIV SE, Lumia 1520 and upcoming 930 (or Icon in US). I own a 1520 and I love it.

Huh? How do you define a flagship?

1020

1520

930

Icon

All well within the last 12 months...  I have to think either you weren't looking for a flagship WP or you are in the US and don't want to jump through the carier created hoops.Any of the devices above are genuine hardware upgrades compared to the 920, maybe not what you are looking for but substantial non the less.  I don't know what your parental units do with the phone but I gave my mom my 8x and for what she does with it, I could have bought her a 52x and she probably wouldn't have known the difference (my mom in fairness rejected android because she just didn't like how it worked but loves the WP OS with larger tiles for the stuff she cares about and this is her 2nd smartphone ever)

1020 was niche device on 1 carrier that was not a spec upgrade from the 920 flagship other than the camera. 1520 was another niche device on 1 carrier that I actually considered for myself. 930 not available in the US and the icon which I love is only available on 1 carrier.

I wasn't complaining because I needed a new phone, I'm criticizing them based on the millions of potential customers they could possibly win over if they had more flagships this past year. The idea is to gain market share is it not? And I can guarantee that if we were talking about Apple taking 2 years we would everyone would be criticizing the hell out of them. I feel MS has seriously dropped the ball the past year right when they were gaining momentum. Plain and simple.

I do hope this carrier locking goes away here (also in the US and had to order the 1520.3 to get the phone I wanted on TMOUS) but with the TMO-Sprint deal, it looks like all the positive changes happening as a result of TMO moving to be more like the rest of the world and forcing the others to defensively loosen up a bit will probably go away and be replaced with more of the status quo.

I don't know how MS could have forced the carriers and device manufacturers to do something they didn't want to do though so I think it's hard to blame them directly for that.  They are doing a lot of things to try and make the exclusivity make less sense and drive down the unsubsidized price of the devices and they now make HW so we'll have to see how that works out here in the US. 

**COMENTARY**

Its unfortunate that we have to alter our lives to get the device we want or be denied it here but it's the business model that the populous has accepted and lived with in the name of having a lower up-front cost as part of a credit based society where people want something before they can afford to buy it in cash.  Good for smartphone acceptance (since they were/are fairly pricy for top end stuff) but bad for choice because at the end of the day, the companies are out to make a profit for providing you that service.  In an ideal world they'd just trust that the service they provide is so good you don't want to change providers (imagine that).

Maybe MS was getting their shit together. Now, we have phones coming to all carriers with a step up in specs. MS had to get the Nokia monkey off their back. Can you imagine how frustrating that relationship must have been? One wants to do one thing, the other something else, in the end a watered down compromise.

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