Fresh details have reportedly emerged about Microsoft's rumored 'Surface phone', along with an image that is said to show the device - but it's worth approaching these developments with a dose of scepticism.
Rumors of Microsoft's Surface phone plans have been circulating for months, but the device is believed to be launching around April 2017. Given that the device is still almost a year away from its release, you should certainly take today's 'leaks' with a pinch of salt or two.
The aforementioned image appeared on Baidu today, published by 'nokibar' - a name you may recognize from recent leaked photos of Microsoft's cancelled Lumia 850 handset, as well as an accurate leaked render of the Lumia 650 that went on sale this year.
The image shows a device with what appears to be a USB-C port at the base, and a headphone jack at the top, along with a similar rear camera module design to that of the Lumia 950 XL.
Most notably, the handset is shown in a flexible protective cover that apparently has a built-in keyboard. The keyboard section appears similar in concept to the now-discontinued Surface Touch Cover, while the cover's grips around the device have a similar design to the official CP-637 case for the Nokia Lumia 930 and Lumia Icon.
With at least ten months to go before the handset is expected to make its debut, it seems a bit early for official marketing renders to already be available. An obvious conclusion might be that this is simply a fan-made image - but it is possible that the pic is authentic, if not necessarily representative of the final device.
For example, shortly after Nokia announced its adoption of Windows Phone as its smartphone platform in 2011, the company showed off various handset images illustrating what a Nokia Windows Phone might look like. None of the early device renders it showed ever actually launched as real-world handsets - they were simply intended to illustrate the direction the company was heading in. It's possible - but far from certain - that the image of the Surface phone is a similar 'official concept' render, perhaps intended to show partners what its future hardware might look like.
That's pure speculation, though - but either way, it's probably best not to view the image as a final or definitive representation of the 'real' Surface phone - particularly when you consider that the render shows Windows Hello support on the display despite there being no obvious front-facing camera or iris scanner. Still, it wouldn't be the first time that a Windows phone render lacked such attention to detail - a month ago, for example, Microsoft launched the entry-level Acer Liquid M330 on its Store showing Windows Hello support, even though the device doesn't support that feature.
It's worth remaining similarly - if not more - sceptical of details reported separately by Mobipicker.com. That report claims that, along with a 5.7-inch display and Snapdragon 830 processor, the Surface phone will come in three flavors with these key specs:
- 3GB RAM / 32GB storage (similar to the current Lumia 950 / 950 XL)
- 6GB RAM / 128GB storage (similar to some of the very latest Android flagships)
- 8GB RAM + 500GB storage (!!)
If your instinct is to think those purported specs are merely the product of wishful thinking rather than any inside knowledge from well-placed sources, you're not alone.
As we reported last month, Microsoft has already said that Windows 10 Mobile will support the still-unannounced Snapdragon 830 SoC, so it seems logical to assume that the company's newest handset will feature Qualcomm's next-gen processor line - but like some of the more eyebrow-raising details in that report, stating that the Surface phone will use that SoC may just be an assumption, reported as 'fact'.
As we get closer to the anticipated launch of the Surface phone next year, there will no doubt be more leaks and revelations. But with such a long time remaining between now and its release, approach the earliest leaks - especially those that claim to reveal details which even Microsoft may not have finalized yet - with plenty of caution.