Microsoft made waves when it entered the hardware game to create the Surface tablet built for Windows 8. There is speculation that Microsoft is planning on building a Surface phone to complete the pair, but that it’s holding out to see how Windows 8 resonates with customers this holiday season.
Frankly, I don’t see a Surface phone as a necessary step for Microsoft. The reason it pushed a tablet was because of hesitance on the OEMs’ part to break away from Android (an already prolific tablet OS outside of the iPad ecosystem) and embrace a new version of Windows. Windows hasn’t done very well in the mobile market since the iPhone changed the way phone makers think about smartphones back in 2007.
It’s for this reason that I believe Microsoft decided to move forward and build a tablet that inspired OEMs to embrace the Windows 8 and Windows 8 RT. Failing to announce a price or any real specifics allowed for OEMs to come out with their own products and set a benchmark for value in the market. It was a move of kindness by Microsoft after having “stepped on the OEMs’ toes” by creating a competing product.
Now, the Surface is set to come out this month and we still don’t have a definite price. The idea that Microsoft would introduce a phone at this point is somewhat anti-climactic because Nokia, HTC, and others are already set to unleash their (fairly impressive) line of Windows Phone 8 devices to the market.
Microsoft doesn’t need to push or challenge these companies, and making a phone is a lot harder than just about any other device. Remember the challenges Apple faced during the first iPhone? People complained about so many things, despite the general honeymoon phase with the new mobile OS. Even in the fourth edition of the iPhone, antenna issues became a hot topic among users noticing that their signal strength dwindled if they held the phone a certain way.
Microsoft may come out with its own version of a Windows phone, but it’s not a push that needs to be made. OEMs are already innovating and embracing the OS just fine.
At least Windows phones can’t be as easily confused with iPhones.