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Monday, 12 September 2016

The Death of Lumia to the birth of Surface Phone

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Bad news for fans of Windows Phones, as Microsoft may kill its Lumia lineup of devices by the end of 2016. According to a report by WinBeta, a Microsoft employee has said that the company is planning to "end sales" of the phone in December 2016. It isn’t exactly sure what the person meant by saying “end sales,” but it is being speculated that Microsoft will stop production of the range in December. Further, the report also notes that Microsoft has been cutting prices and offering discounts on its range of smartphones, possibly in an attempt to sell its remaining stock.    

The ‘death of the Lumia’ has been brought up multiple times by both users of Windows phones and non-users. Microsoft’s line-up of Lumia devices has been pretty thin as of late. The newest devices consisting of a low-range, mid-range and 2 flagships (in order):
  • Lumia 550
  • Lumia 650
  • Lumia 950
  • Lumia 950 XL
Many would argue that those options don’t provide anything special to Windows phones and therefore do not entice people to take a look at the platform. The 950 and 950 XL are the exception here – providing Continuum, a ‘PC in your pocket’.
Now, it appears Microsoft is working to end its Lumia range. According to an employee at the company, who wishes to remain anonymous, the company is preparing to “end sales” of the range this year, December 2016. It does, however, seem a little odd to actually end sales, instead, we believe that Microsoft will be ending production of its Lumia devices. This latest piece of information fits in line with recent actions from the company, where it has permanently cut the prices of many of its Lumia devices over the past few months. This seems to be an effort to sell off remaining stock and coincides with December being the final month since the price cuts have become larger as time has progressed.
On top of Microsoft cutting prices, some of its retail partners have also, for example, Amazon, who has been regularly offering sales and price cuts on various Lumia devices in different markets.
There’s also been the issue of how Microsoft has been offering its Lumia devices on its Microsoft Store website and in physical stores. Over the past few weeks, several people have stated that the physical Microsoft Stores have been moving their Windows phone collections into smaller areas and out of the way from customers. For its website, the company removed the link to its Lumia range from its homepage in the US, while subsequently changing it on its other regional sites from Lumia to Windows phones.
We reached out to Microsoft regarding these findings. The company declined to comment on the ending of its Lumia range, stating only that there’s “nothing to share” at the moment. They suggested keeping an eye on their Microsoft Store page for the latest Windows phones.
Latest rumours suggest that the Surface Phone might be powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 830 SoC. Earlier this year, Microsoft had reportedly listed MSM8998 as one of the chipsets that would support Windows 10 Mobile and it’s speculated that this might be the model name for the Snapdragon 830 SoC. Rumours suggest that Qualcomm’s next flagship chipset would be able to support up to 8GB of RAM, and would be manufactured using the 10nm process.

As well as the ending of the Lumia range, there’s also the question over what Microsoft has planned next. With Lumia’s looking to be ending in December 2016 and the company already stating that Redstone 2, due in 2017, is focused on Windows 10 Mobile – is it just coincidence the dates are pretty close? There are 2 large updates planned for 2017, presumably early-2017 and then later in the year. The Surface Phone has been a hot topic. Microsoft is rumoured to be holding an event in October 2016, announcing a Surface all-in-one, however, some speculate that it is likely they’ll announce other devices, while others believe the rest of its upcoming devices will be announced early-2017. Holding an event for only 1 product could seem a little odd, particularly when they announced new Surface products and Windows phones at a press event at the same time previously.
While all this is going on, Microsoft’s Director of Engineering (Windows Fundamentals), Laura Butler, who was recently involved in several Windows Insider planning meetings for Redstone 2, has been very vocal on Twitter recently, specifically mentioning a Surface Phone. While the tweets do not give much in the way of confirmation of the device, it does fuel yet more speculation:
The use of a double-negative, “not NOT,” doesn’t help much either. This is one of a few tweets, though:
It is certainly unusual to see a senior figure at Microsoft directly mention the term Surface Phone.

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