Microsoft Surface Phone: Will this dream Android phone by Microsoft ever happen?

Microsoft Surface Phone: Will an Android-powered Microsoft phone ever happen?
Surface Phone fan concept // Raphael Barbosa
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The Surface Phone with Android makes real sense. But why hasn’t it happened yet?

The prospect of a Microsoft Android phone is, to many, a dream. Among other things, it will be an epic fist-bump between Microsoft and Google as they toil to create what could be one of the best phones in the market…

The Surface Phone. One that’s powered by Android, that is.

All the cards seem stacked right. We know for a fact that Microsoft delivers amazing hardware and, though they make do on their own, they also play well with others. In fact, the company has been working towards making the user experience across their apps seamless regardless of the platform, be it Mac, iOS, or Android.

Clearly, there’s a clamor for it too. There have been dozens upon dozens of think pieces before this one, all championing for the first Android phone by Microsoft to finally happen.

So why hasn’t it happened yet? In today’s post, we’re going to take a look at where things are at currently and where, if at all, they might want to go from here.

Surface Phone in 2019: Where we’re at…

Microsoft Surface Phone: Will an Android-powered Microsoft phone ever happen?
Concept art for the Microsoft Surface Phone

Not to deflate your expectations, but as things stand, there are currently no official plans over at Microsoft’s side of things to create an Android phone, much less a Surface Android phone.

Last we heard of any movement regarding the Surface Phone was back in May of 2018, when it was revealed via a leak that Dell was working on a Surface Phone that was meant to run an ARM-based Windows 10 OS with Qualcomm Snapdragon 850. Obviously, that plan fell through.

Here’s a quick timeline:

  • 2019 – Still no word about release date or availability
  • May 2018 – Rumors about Surface Phone with an ARM-based Windows 10 OS emerge
  • April 2017 – Microsoft silences rumors to announce that they are, in fact, making a Surface Phone
  • May 2016 – Rumors about Microsoft’s plans to create a Surface Phone emerge

Right now, there’s no movement whatsoever in any sort of reported development regarding the phone.

Why an Android-powered Surface Phone should happen

Even if there’s no guarantee that an Android phone by Microsoft will ever see the light of day, it’s still fun to visualize the world we’d live in should, say, one existed.

Here are some reasons why we think an Android-powered Surface Phone will do everyone good.

Microsoft produces top-notch hardware

Microsoft has historically delivered great hardware. Their Surface line is nothing to scoff at.

I mean…just look at these:

Microsoft Surface Phone: Will an Android-powered Microsoft phone ever happen?
The Surface lineup (as of press time)

With their resources far and wide and very deep pockets, Microsoft can doubtless put out a very well-designed smartphone, regardless if it carried Android or otherwise.

Microsoft already has amazing UI to build things off of

Microsoft Launcher is one of the most beloved launchers in the Google Play Store. Much of it is due to the user experience, which accounts for many useful functionalities as well as overall aesthetic.

Microsoft Surface Phone: Will an Android-powered Microsoft phone ever happen?
Microsoft Launcher is a beloved launcher app among Android users.

If Microsoft made a skin on top of Android 10, they can very well build it around their successful launcher. The end result, presumably, could be a fast, reliable, and lightweight Android experience.

Microsoft would be a great contributor to the Android OS

Let us all be reminded of the fact that Microsoft has a big block of cheddar. They have money to spend.

Being that Microsoft, at their core, looks for ways to innovate and improve, it isn’t hard to picture how Microsoft to use its resources to introduce great Android features, making it ultimately a better operating system.

Microsoft Surface Phone: Will an Android-powered Microsoft phone ever happen?
Among others, Microsoft can offer seamless app integration between mobile and desktop.

Microsoft can introduce more seamless app integration

Skype, Office, and other apps owned by Microsoft play well with the Android ecosystem. Many of their apps are even awarded the Editors’ Choice trust badge, to the assurance of many Android users.

With its own Android phone available, Microsoft will have reason to develop an even greater integration between apps and Google’s OS. Think really helpful stuff like linking your Surface Phone with your Windows laptop.

Microsoft is a welcome addition to Android OEMs

Microsoft Surface Phone: Will an Android-powered Microsoft phone ever happen?
Microsoft has deep pockets. They obviously can bring a lot to the table as an OEM.

Microsoft’s entry to the smartphone market means another key player in the industry. This can directly affect the higher-end market, on which we expect the Surface Phone to land if at all.

With new features and innovations, consumers can expect an even tighter competition amongst brands, which ultimately just mean even more great phones.

The one thing that keeps all this from happening

The big elephant in the room is the fact that Microsoft and Google have directly competing product lines. For Google’s Gmail, there’s Microsoft Outlook. For Google, there’s Bing. For Hangouts, there’s Skype.

Obviously, a Surface Phone that runs on Android will insist on having these apps baked into the phone’s experience.

Microsoft Surface Phone: Will an Android-powered Microsoft phone ever happen?
Don’t get your hopes up. It might be long before we see a Surface Android phone, if at all.

There lies the problem. At the very core of the Android experience are Google’s native apps for basically every function you look for a phone: email, video messaging, browsing, and more. Finding a setup where one will compensate for the other is going to be difficult. And if it’s taking it this long, it’s safe to assume that the affirmative is likely the case.

Where things can go from here…

While there is definitely interest for an Android-powered Surface Phone, it’s simply going to be as elusive as a rainbow-maned unicorn. It’s unlikely that it will happen anytime soon.

However, Microsoft has options.

Microsoft Surface Phone: Will an Android-powered Microsoft phone ever happen?
The Microsoft Lumia 950, one of the very last smartphones to come from Microsoft Mobile

While Windows Phones have long been dead, the possibility of having ARM-based Windows 10 might just have the pull for a certain demographic, particularly professionals. That being said, the typical mobile experience has been established some type of way already, and it’s unlikely that that will shift in the foreseeable future.

What do you guys think? Are you looking forward to a Surface Android phone? Do you think Microsoft should make one already? Chime in the comments below.