Microsoft has been hammering away at its selection of smartphones since it bought Nokia two years ago, and 2016 could see the introduction of a new model: The Surface Phone.
The device, which has not been announced or officially recognised by Microsoft, would be roughly designed around the Surface tablets, could be aimed at businesses, and would aim to turn the company’s failing smartphone efforts around.
Here’s everything we know about the Surface Phone:
Microsoft has a big presence at Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona, Spain, and could be looking to introduce two high-end Lumia devices. The event occurs in late February.
The announcement of a brand new Surface Phone may overshadow the Lumia devices, but the eyes of the media will be watching and Microsoft could be looking to take drastic steps to get Windows phones back on track.
If Microsoft decides not to announce a Surface Phone at MWC, the announcement could be made at Build, the company's big developer conference, in April.
As the name would suggest, the Surface Phone would be designed by the Surface team.
The Lumia handsets are made of plastic and, as was Nokia's idea, have colourful designs. Contrastingly, the Surface tablets are metallic and angular and the Surface Phone could go the same way.
One of Microsoft's strongest selling points for a Windows phone is that it runs Office and other software that businesses use everyday.
A report from NPU suggested that Microsoft was going to focus solely on businesses when it came to the Surface Phone, leveraging the Windows name and software to sell units in high quantities.
The iPhone is fast becoming the most-used device by businesses, and Microsoft is keen to reclaim the lost business.
Just like the high-end Lumia devices, the Surface Phone will run Windows 10 Mobile.
The aim of Windows 10 is to run seamlessly, and cooperatively, across multiple devices, including PCs, laptops, tablets, and smartphones.
Services and apps, such as Office, can be developed for one operating system -- Windows 10 -- but run across multiple devices.
Windows 10 has a feature called Continuum that, when paired with a dock, allows a Lumia device to act like a PC, complete with a mouse, keyboard, and monitor.
The idea is that a user would only need one device -- their phone -- which can transform.
Microsoft has positioned itself well by leveraging Windows 10, and Universal Apps, to make this happen and it could be a big selling point for the Surface Phone.
An app listing in the Windows Store referenced a 'Microsoft SIM card,' and the company has been quiet about what the means.
One suggestion is that Microsoft is looking to become a mobile operator, licensing space from carriers and passing it on to users. Another is that the company wants to take an Apple-style approach, passing on carrier services to a blank SIM card.
Either way, Microsoft could be looking to bundle the Surface Phone will a Microsoft-branded SIM card.
The Surface Phone would fit perfectly into Microsoft's lineup, adding a business-orientated phone to a portfolio that is, by and large, mostly about enterprise.
The Surface Pro and Book, for example, appeal to on-the-go businessmen and bundling a Surface Phone alongside the tablet would make sense.
Windows 10 is also designed to run on a smartphone, with features such as Continuum and Universal Windows Apps giving a full experience on a smaller screen, which appeals to business clients.
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.