'Northstar': Images reveal Microsoft's cancelled aluminum-bodied Windows 10 Mobile flagship

Over a year ago, in February 2016, an unannounced high-end Windows phone appeared on benchmarking service GFXBench. That appearance came just a few months after Microsoft had launched its Lumia 950 and 950 XL flagship phones, and indicated that the company was already working on its next range-topping handsets, with (at the time) next-gen Snapdragon 820 processors.

That device had the model number RM-1162, and today, images purportedly showing the handset were published on Chinese social media site Baidu by @nokibar, who has previously revealed snaps of Microsoft's cancelled mid-range Lumia 750 smartphone, and a video of Nokia's 'Moonraker' smartwatch.

The annotated images highlight some of the key features of the aluminum-bodied device. Based on these notes, the earlier benchmarks, and the logical progression from the 950 and 950 XL, the handset's specs were expected to include:

  • 5.5-inch display with Quad HD (2560x1440px)
  • Snapdragon 820 processor
  • 4GB RAM
  • 32GB storage
  • 20MP rear camera with triple-LED flash
  • 8MP front-facing camera
  • Dual front speakers

The handset was developed under the internal codename 'Northstar', and a report in 2015 claimed that it referred to development of the much-rumored 'Surface phone'. If it had come to market, it would likely have done so with Lumia 960 branding. Microsoft eventually cancelled its plans to launch the device, leaving room for its hardware partners to release their own handsets, such as the Alcatel IDOL 4S with Windows 10, and HP's Elite x3.

Source: @nokibar (Baidu)

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