There is plenty of solid evidence that in 2016 Microsoft has been developing a foldable smartphone/tablet hybrid device and there is some evidence in the latest builds of Windows 10 that Microsoft is still looking at dual-screened Windows 10 mobile devices, but it is much less certain that Microsoft is still working on the so-called Surface Phone project.
Now at a Media and Analyst event organised within the Microsoft Hyderabad Campus, Anant Maheshwari, President for Microsoft India was asked directly by Digit.ini if the device was still part of Microsoft’s plans.
The relevant excerpt reads:
Digit: What is the last word from Microsoft on making smartphones? We keep hearing rumours of a Surface Phone. Is there one in the works?
Anant:I think given the world that we live in, we should never be talking about last words.
Digit: So are there any new words you would like to share with us?
Anant: I would say in the form-factors we are currently really focussed on, clearly the Surface line of products which has Surface Hub, the Surface Studio, the Surface Book and the Surface Pros, we have a lot of capabilities across those devices, and we are continuing the focus on those form-factors. As far as mobiles are concerned, we are working with all the major OEMs and OS players to create new applications and experiences. We want people to be able to access all Microsoft apps and services on the mobile form factor also.
Notably, Maheshwari did not shut down the rumours of a Surface Phone, but did say Microsoft was working with OEMs for mobile form factors, which could either mean loading Microsoft software on Android devices (more likely), or Microsoft licensing their dual-screen designs to OEMs (less likely).
For good or ill, the Surface Phone situation should become a lot clearer in 2018.
The full Digit interview can be read here.