Microsoft is expected to launch at least two new premium smartphones this year. Now a forum member at Chinese website WP XAP has posted pictures that could give us the first good look at one of those phones.

The image show what seems to be a Nokia Lumia 950 smartphone, and as expected, it seems to be one of the first Lumia smartphones to support Continuum for phones. That’s Microsoft’s new software that allows you to connect a keyboard, mouse, and external display and basically turn your phone into a desktop PC.

lumia 950_01

The Lumia 950 is expected to features a 5.2 inch, 2560 x 1440 pixel display, a Qualcomm Snapdragon 808 processor, 3GB of RAM, a 3,000 mAh battery, a 20MP rear camera, a 5MP front camera, a microSD card slot, an iris scanner, and a USB Type-C connector.

It should ship with Windows 10 software and support for Universal Windows Apps.

That means you won’t necessarily be able to run desktop apps designed for Windows 7 or earlier. But you will be able to run modern versions of Office Mobile and other apps that are designed to support a range of device types, including phones, tablets, notebooks, and more.

Run Office on your smartphone and you’ll get a full-screen, touch-friendly user interface. Connect your phone to a docking station so you can use it with a mouse, keyboard, and monitor and you’ll get a user interface that looks more like a traditional desktop app, complete with multi-pane views for apps like Outlook and windows that can be minimized or moved.

Microsoft is also said to be working on a larger model called the Lumia 950 XL. That phone should have a 5.7 inch display, and a 3,300 mAh battery. Other specs are expected to be the same as those for the Lumia 950.

via WMPowerUser

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50 replies on “This could be Microsoft’s first phone that’s also a PC (kind of)”

  1. Left iOS for android, now I’m leaving android for Windows 10. Time to get in sync with my PC!

    1. RT is essentially dead, Continuum is a new strategy that seeks to have apps that can work in any usage type from mobile to desktop and the same app will adapt to each, thus the naming of such apps as Universal…

      Essentially, MS is making it fairly easy for developers to port their apps to the Universal apps that then allows devices that Support Continuum to easily switch between usage types…

      Like a phone with Continuum could connect to a monitor/tv with keyboard and mouse and the Universal apps can be used in a more desktop form factor, meaning Windowed apps, mouse cursor, etc. that you expect from a desktop experience.

      It’s not quite the same as the traditional Windows desktop but essentially combines all the benefits of both Modern/Metro with desktop usability and hopefully, with the ability to port desktop apps to universal, we’ll see more and better apps become available over time.

      Btw, Continuum also means using apps between form factors seamlessly, such as while using the phone like a desktop while connected, you can still use the phone like a phone with phone apps running on the phone screen at the same time, take a call, etc. and not interrupt what you’re doing with the desktop arrangement.

      And of course all your data gets synced between all your Windows based platforms. So you can also switch between devices and still continue whatever you were working on…

      It has a lot of promise, but it’s still early and a lot still needs to change but this is nothing like the limited RT they tried…

      1. Continuum only applies to “phone apps” (i.e. Metro, WinRT, now called UWP apps). You know, the kind nobody writes and nobody has aside from the fart apps from the Store. So this is more Dead On Arrival technology that is coming trickling out of the pipeline now merely because of its inertia.

        1. No, continuum doesn’t only apply to “phone apps”!

          Again, they’re going to also be porting desktop apps to Universal apps! The Centennial Project is suppose to help developers for porting Win32 applications or desktop applications to Universal Apps that support Windows 10, helping Developers of applications through a minimum few steps. Using things like a Tool conversion application that will analyze the installer application and turn it into a self-contained Universal Windows App.

          The centennial Project idea behind this is to accommodate the classic application in order to display the typical interface of Windows 10. Developers can save time to deliver Windows 10 applications without coding from scratch. Developers can also quickly upload his application to the Windows Store.

          Sure, still lots of work to be done but it’s hardly as short sighted as their original plan was…

          Even the minimum Windows 10 mobile will still let developers work with XAML and C#, XAML and C++, HTML and the WinJS Javascript library (now open source), and DirectX for games.

          While Continuum also involves the whole 2 in 1 user experience with Windows 10 as well, allowing automatic switching between tablet and laptop usage, among other advantages.

          Never mind the actual Windows 10 Mobile will also support porting of Android and iOS apps, which won’t require complete re-writes in order to port… They may not work as well as in their native OS but there’s a lot more potential to get the app ecosystem to grow this time around…

          Among other changes like .NET is now open source, allowing it to run on both Linux and Mac. It’s even possible to use a subset of the Win32 APIs. So we’re not talking about the previously locked down platform they offered before!

          1. Centennial is something else entirely, a sandboxing/vurtualization sort of dealie and so far totally unproven. I’m not saying it doesn’t have promise but it is unrelated.

          2. I would disagree that it’s unrelated, they’re not just “sandboxing/virtualization” but actually porting apps to Universal with that Centennial project, which means we’ll get at least apps from MS ported. While also placing elements that are suppose to make it easier to port apps without needing to completely re-write everything from the desktop apps.

            Btw, sandboxing is a good thing… It’s one of the features that Windows is finally catching up with GNU/Linux… Also, your ignoring how much is shared between Win32 and WinRT now, with the shared Libraries, Runtime components, Compilers, etc. So it’s not all virtualizations/emulators required to get the desktop apps ported to Universal… The ASP.NET should also merge as they move forward from 5 and it’ll mainly be a issue porting old legacy apps from that point on…

            Much of the new framework is becoming more a expansion from Win32 than a complete divergence from it now, while there are still some limitations but they’re pushing to eliminate those going forward and it’s not just a static system that will be as limited later as it is now.

            In terms of progress there’s already the Universal Office apps, which already support Continuum and will work with Office 365 for those who need to switch between devices. Something they didn’t have with W8’s release…

            Combine with pushing a lot more Open Source and actual efforts to make it at least easier to port apps from other platforms makes this a very different platform than what they were pushing before…

            The previous locked down nature of RT is especially dropped now and 3rd party developers don’t need to hack the system to work with it anymore.

            Sure, it remains to be seen if it’ll take off, nothing is guaranteed, but it’s not accurate, IMO, to compare it to what they offered with W8 as there are major changes that make it a very different offering with a lot more potential than it had before.

            Never mind the desktop now allows you to treat the WinRT apps like regular desktop apps now, as well as vice versa for desktop apps under tablet mode, and the user experience doesn’t have to be so mismatched anymore…

  2. I don’t know what is wrong with me. I am starting to agree with Microsoft and like their product strategy better than the direction Android (and Chrome) are going. Their design strategy just makes a lot of sense with how I work and want to consume apps and information. I am going to make a Doctor’s Appointment.

    1. You are beginning to awaken from the Apple/Google brain-sapping collectives.
      Welcome to a new world! One OS and Universal Apps for all devices. 🙂

      1. I always whined for full OS X to run on Apple’s little devices and let iOS just be a UI skin for the dummies who get confused if they see more than one window on their screen. But the bottleneck was probably just the computing power of those little devices.

      2. It’s not a new world. Windows Mobile has been around for almost five years. 15 if you count the work Microsoft did with Windows Phone.

        1. Windows 10 is new. Billy boy Gates is gone. Bouncing Ballmer the hopping bald looney is gone. Microsoft is not the same company it was, if it was I would be leading the charge against it. But Apple have taken control to new levels, surpassing IBM in the 1984 advert. Google is wanting to data mine everything and doesn’t give two sh|ts how it does it, constantly reminding itself not to be evil. It is ironic, no doubt, but Microsoft of today, is the lesser of the three evils.

          1. Not sure they’re a new company. I wish it was true, but they’re still pushing closed UEFI to make it harder to install other OSes, shaking companies down over BS patents, making it even harder to change default apps, releasing broken web browsers etc..
            Oh, and if you think MS care about your privacy then you should search “Windows 10 privacy”. It’s very scary the amount of information they collect; much more than Apple and Google. And then they give you directed advertising into the OS. With Google or Apple at least you could avoid browsing their sites.. can you realistically avoid Windows with every day usage?

          2. UEFI pretty much has to be closed, otherwise it’ll be easy to hack/attack… UEFI is essentially a firmware level OS that can do things like access the internet without needing to boot another OS, it can run its own GUI, run apps, etc. if left completely open there’s a world of hurt malware makers could do to you directly from it and never even need to boot your main OS…

            It’s not like the good old limited but harder to create malware attacks for BIOS days… UEFI has a lot more features and capabilities but with that comes new vulnerabilities that have to be protected against…

            Besides, they’re not preventing anyone from working with UEFI and the Linux Foundation already has a boot loader that works with Secure Boot enabled, among a couple of others now. It’s just a pain for the developers without any real resources or simply don’t want to work with anything proprietary…

            So you’re mainly limited only if the device is using a 32bit UEFI, which covers most cheap mobile devices with less than 4GB of RAM, as the required compatible boot loader needs to be 64bit to easily work with UEFI, you can still work with 32bit but it’s more complicated, and that doesn’t work with 32bit UEFI but those old devices are starting to be phased out as 64bit becomes the defacto standard going forward.

            As for Windows 10 privacy, it remains to be seen how much of that is something we should really be worried about or not… Since most of that is for the actual products like Cortana… It can’t get accurate results if it doesn’t know you from a hole in the wall or even understand you that well if it doesn’t learn things like your speech patterns. Also, Windows 10 continuous updates for the life of the product requires feedback so they know what updates to provide and make changes according to how people actually use the software instead of just guessing and releasing a product to see how it fares method they’ve been using up till now.

            MS is also still continuing the Insider program for users willing to beta test for them and it’s likely the small print includes them and justifies MS allowing the Insider members to run Windows 10 for free (no upgrade required)…

            It’s not like Google who outright refuses the forget you right, among other things they’re still fighting in courts for things that clearly aren’t required for the actual products or services they’re providing and thus we know is shady…

            Right now, people are just worried about Windows 10 but nothing has really been confirmed or shown to be anything we really have to worry about. So, we’ll see…

          3. I know what UEFI is, and I have nothing against it in principle. The problem is MS are pushing OEMs to remove the option to disable it.

            And regarding Windows 10 privacy the T&Cs and settings dialogs are so very very much worse for privacy than *anything* that’s come before. It’s not so important that we know how they are using it by outward uses like directed advertising, but that they could be collecting it for pretty much any purpose they want, and not just which pages you view, but who you IM with, they can read your files, pretty much anything. And it’s already been confirmed that they’ll be adding directed advertising to Windows apps like Solitaire. How would you feel if you were writing a job resignation letter and adverts for Monster would start coming up? That’d be WAAAY more freaky then anything that’s happened before.

          4. No, MS isn’t pushing OEMs to remove the option to disable UEFI… It remains up to the OEMS. Only for certain mobile devices would it get pushed to be locked down but what else is new for phones, etc.

            A lot of that has to do with the service providers who want overkill security before they’ll let their services run on a mobile device and don’t trust existing DRM measures. Along with ISPs who prefer to sell you locked down devices… and MS has mainly been following a monkey see monkey do policy for their mobile efforts… but that doesn’t translate to the rest of their markets.

            While on privacy, what you’re stating is what is worried about. None of it has been confirmed! It’s a bunch of what if’s… Like reading metadata is a highly exaggerated security concern because it’s simply not practical to read it all or interpret it all for as much info as many think it can offer, among other examples where what if’s don’t turn out to be actual concerns we should really be all that worried about.

            The actual system they’re setting up has to be analyzed before we know anything for sure and that’s going to take time. Speculation based mainly on just the license agreement and hinted at monitoring systems only goes so far and it remains to be seen if it even applies to everyone or only to select groups that actually opt for it, like the Insider members who get to run a free copy of Windows 10 for as long as they’re members…

            It’s fine to worry and demand answers but it’s far too soon to panic and declare privacy lost. Much of this may just fall under, do you want to help MS improve prompts and just consistently answering no…

            Besides, never underestimate 3rd party developers… They’ve been handling all of MS product shortcomings for as long as Windows has been around. Every version of Windows got their support over the years and I bet we’ll see a privacy app, whether we actually need one or not, show up before we know it.

            You’ll mainly only have to worry about Windows 10 Mobile, as that’ll be the more locked down platform with far fewer choices, unlike the desktop you can’t avoid using the App Store, etc.

          5. Ok, we’ll see, but from the dialogs I’ve seen on a VM running Windows 10 there’s a shed load of dodgy settings which default to very invasive “values”, and many that can’t actually be changed. There are many articles and discussions on the subject.
            And we already know there’s directed in-app advertising in Windows 10. And I don’t think it’s up to 3rd party developers to fix the privacy invasion.. and it’s already been shown that some of the settings can’t even be “fixed” in the registry unless you have the Enterprise edition.

            Anyway, I don’t really care, I was just pointing out the BS in @darth_something:disqus posting.

          6. and it’s already been shown that some of the settings can’t even be
            “fixed” in the registry unless you have the Enterprise edition.

            No, that’s only for the built in options but registry options can be added/deleted in any edition. So that alone won’t prevent a 3rd party fix…

            Anyway, when dealing with speculation you’re entitled to your opinion and we can agree to disagree… We’ll see soon enough how it all plays out…

          7. I agree with some of your points. I used Microsoft BASIC back when it was a defacto standard on 8-bit machines, then boycotted it, except at work. I used DR-DOS, OS/2 then the very first Linux distros, BSD, Mac, Solaris etc. Even now my main driver is Linux, I use Windows to power my tablets and phone after leaving Mac/iOS and Android (and Chrome OS) behind. The closed UEFI is an issue, just as it is on Mac hardware, but I have no problem installing a modern Linux on hardware I’ve tried – even when UEFI cannot be disabled, as it can in most cases. The patents disputes with the likes of Samsung are settled last I heard and this nonsense from Mozilla about changing the default app for browsing is just silly, I did it, no problem. As for a broken browser, I assume you mean Edge, seeing as it’s not even been generally available for mass use for a week, I’d cut it a little slack, updates will follow. As for the privacy thing, what I’ve read is not as bad as Google’s policies and I have never seen advertising in the OS, if I do it will be blocked or scrapped. The only blatant advertising I’ve seen in an OS is Canonical feeding local user searches to Amazon to promote their wares, or Android and iOS which are advertising anarchies. But your last point, can I avoid Windows? Yep. I did for decades and generally I still do except for the tablet and phone case uses I’ve already stated, Linux will always be my primary OS.

          8. Re Patents – “settled” in the sense that they’ve shaken down the companies over patents that Android apparently infringes, but never actually went after Google, and still get Samsung et al to pay for the licenses. So, no, they haven’t changed in this respect. There are no new Android OEMs to shake down.

            Re Edge – just check how it scores at html5test – it does about as well as Safari, which is left in the dust by FF, Chrome and Opera.

            Re privacy – do the search and read some of the articles. MS will know who your FB friends are, do keylogging, access your files, capture handwriting, and lots lots more. And unless you’re running the Enterprise version, you won’t be able to disable much of it, even with registry fiddles.

            And while you avoid Windows for every day usage (so do I), the vast majority of people realistically cannot.

          9. LOL, Don’t use it then, nobody is forcing anyone. Use Android or Chrome and have EVERYTHING you do watched over in the smallest detail. Or use Apple where they treat their users as little more than dumb cattle.

            Microsoft IMHO, may be no saints, but I just don’t accept they are as bad as the others and if they are the European Commission here will be hauling their feet over the coals like they did before.

            Ultimately, I don’t give a rats a$$, I will NOT use Google or Apple, and I only use Microsoft in a limited way. You do what suits you, but don’t pretend that Apple or Google have some moral high ground.

          10. Relax man, I was just pointing out that MS is still very controlling and invasive of privacy. And I think I’ve already mentioned that with MS Windows 10 you too can “have EVERYTHING you do watched over in the smallest detail”. I didn’t say Google and Apple don’t, but you were suggesting they were the only ones doing it.

            Anyway, I still don’t care.

    2. It seems as Microsoft is the new open forward thinking company and Google is starting to become more closed and anti-competitive. Trading places

      1. Well, that’s not very fair. Microsoft has been in the desktop OS business for much longer than Google has.

      2. Imagine where they’d be right now if they weren’t so focused on trying to destroy Android over the last few years.

      3. Don’t let all these nice ideas confuse you, Windows 10 Mobile is not as open as you think.

        The user doesn’t have the ability to access much via the file explorer, you are sandboxed to the users folder.

        Also, you can’t sideload apps like Android allows. You need to be a registered dev.

        In terms of user freedom, Windows 10 Mobile is somewhere halfway between iOS and Android.

        1. “Halfway” is how I’ve always described Windows Phone. You get some of the benefits of being open, without being too open. You get some of the benefits of having a more tightly controlled environment, without it being overly restrictive.

          I’ve always appreciated the software freedom and flexibility of Windows on a PC, but I do recognize the need for more control and security on my mobile device. Resources (battery, etc.) are more limited on a pocket size device and the device exists, mostly, for the sole purpose of having access to communications. So, I appreciate not having apps and services run wild and consume all of the available computing resources. The average user can’t be relied upon to manage the device that well (think about grandma and her browser toolbars), so the device needs to be somewhat locked down. I’ve never like Apple’s implementation, and I think Windows Mobile can hit the “middle” just fine.

          1. This all makes sense, if I was shopping for a smartphone for my grandfather.

            I really wanted to buy a Windows 10 device, and the Lumia 950 looks like a great phone, but Windows 10 Mobile is just lacking too much in terms of “power user” features.

        2. On the plus side this also means Windows 10 Mobile runs more efficiently than Android and can be more responsive without needing as much RAM as a desktop OS…

          Btw, MS did release a side-loading tool for Windows 10 Mobile. Basically, users will be able to deploy an .AppX to a device connected via USB or available on the same subnet without requiring access to the complete Visual Studio solution. WinAppDeployCmd for Windows 10 does not even require you to install Visual Studio 2015.

          The newer .NET is also Open Source now and about 90% of the API’s are common between the Mobile and Desktop now… And for the actual developer tools they’re supposedly making it a lot easier to port Android and iOS apps to Windows 10 Mobile and giving them API access so they can actually work correctly… Though, how well this new system works remains to be seen.

      4. Also, Microsoft is only “open” to the extent that it encourages developers to be on board. There are alot of open source components to Windows, but the OS is not open source, like Android is.

        Microsoft and Google will not have traded places until Windows, as a whole, is open source.

  3. I kinda hope Microsoft would open up Continuum further and allow x86 and desktop apps in phone form factors. Would be awesome if you can carry around your phone which turns into a full PC with just a screen and keyboard.

    1. That’s what Universal Apps are for, they’re bridging the gap between Modern/Metro and traditional desktop apps… Allowing developers to port their desktop apps to Universal and those will be what will be available to these mobile devices…

      It’s just, for now, you’ll still need a device running on x86 to get sufficient access to those desktop apps until enough of them port over to Universal apps…

    2. Intel and Microsoft announced a partnership for phablet phones on the X3/X5 processors a few months back, should be for devices this year or early next. But yeah, you should be able to run x86 software (non-Universal) in Continuum mode, just like Universal Apps. I’m not sure it would make much sense to allow them to run on the phone display, but you never know, I use x86 legacy apps on Win10 using a HP Stream 7 (7 inch display) quite comfortably when scaled up a bit.

      1. Nope. Microsoft has made no announcements about running legacy apps on phones unless they’re ported to become universal apps.

        Just because Intel makes phone chips now doesn’t mean that they’ll be able to handle desktop software written for systems with desktop (or notebook) chips.

        1. Point 1. Maybe. But they haven’t ruled it out either. Frankly, neither of us know for sure until the hardware is out, but there is no technical reason why it cannot work.

          Point 2. Codswallop. Intel chips are Intel chips. On hardware running Windows 10 with an x86 processor, there no reason why desktop software would not work any differently.

          1. Well, on point 1, we can rule out the X3 because it can’t run a full desktop OS.

            Only the X5 and X7 SoCs are capable of running full Windows… but otherwise I agree with your point.

            On point 2, the X3 isn’t exactly your typical Intel chip as it was mostly derived from ARM template and is actually made on the 28nm FAB… It mainly only has Intel processor cores and modem but just about everything else isn’t Intel, including the use of a Mali GPU…

            While Intel’s other Phone Optimized SoCs may be more fully Intel based, still use Imagination PowerVR GPUs, but they’re still designed to only run mobile OS, limiting choices to just Android or WP/W10M…

            The X5/X7 are the exemptions because those are actually tablet SoCs and the same used in devices actually running W8/W10, and are full Intel chips, including the GMA…

          2. Salient points. I’ll agree with X5/X7, being able to run x86 legacy apps is not beyond the realms of fantasy.

            As for the X3, I’m not reading anything off the datasheets that would preclude it running x86 apps, it uses a standard Intel 64 bit instruction set. Honestly, I cannot see how the inclusion of Mali GPU affects anything, other than limiting what it can graphically drive. The Mali is not going to drive two independent displays AFAIK and is limited to 1280×800. Source:
            On that basis, unless an additional, superior GPU was supplied as an extra and the Mali disabled (possible but doubtful), I cannot see it powering Continuum and therefore no x86 apps on an external display.

            (However, again in theory, a device with this X3 could drive a 1200×800 panel, like I have in my HP Stream 7, and run the x86 version of Windows 10 and apps fine. Of, course I doubt it will happen as it is targetted as a phone processor.)

            Truth be told, my original post was based on info I read some time ago, everything I’ve looked at again today before replying, tends to point to the X3 being used on lower end phones anyway, IIRC Continuum, etc was never intended for such devices anyway.

          3. Simply put, the phone SoCs are only ever meant to run mobile OS. It takes more than just a 64bit instruction set to run a modern desktop OS…

            They’re not going to tell you everything they stripped out but a lot gets stripped out because a mobile OS doesn’t need the full range of instruction set support a desktop OS requires.

            Even the GPU is specifically limited, it’s part of how the whole mobile market works and why ARM, especially, can be so cheap because anything not required can simply be left out of the design.

            Intel isn’t yet as customizable but SoFIA is based on a existing ARM design that they modified for their usage. The Intel cores are more implanted than anything else and even though they’re Silvermont cores they have limitations like Out of Order processing is disabled, leaving only In Order Processing… So it is a much more performance limited platform and doesn’t support everything the higher end SoCs support.

            The initial 3G Dual Core models don’t even have Burst Mode support and thus limited to 1GHz and 1.1GHz clocks. Trading performance for better power efficiency as they needed to compete with ARM’s A7 SoCs. Only the later Quad Core LTE models get Burst Mode clocks up to 1.4GHz.

            The Mali GPU isn’t even high end by ARM standards and doesn’t support all the graphical requirements of a desktop OS. So even if you could get the drivers it wouldn’t work that well and you’d likely be limited to below the max rated resolution, which is barely HD as it is…

            At least with the previous Intel Phone SoCs, Merrifeld,Moorefield, etc you didn’t have to deal with essentially crippled cores but you do with SoFIA SoCs.

          4. Yes, the X3 is only intended as a cheap low end phone SoC, as for x86… Having Intel cores doesn’t mean it has the full instruction set and running a OS involves more than just the CPU these days.

            Besides, have you ever tried running a desktop OS entirely from the CPU, especially on a device with less performance than even the previous Bay Trail ATOM?

            It’s simply not practical, forget any advance features.

        2. The chips can most definitely handle it. Someone managed to get QEMU-KVM working on the Zenfone 2 (Intel Atom) to run Windows 7, rather natively.

        3. You don’t “port” to a WinRT (UWP) app. You rewrite from scratch, ripping out much functionality to fit the more constrained WinRT platform. Some apps sacrifice little, others are not practical at all.

  4. This can’t come soon enough. I just hope it isn’t out of reach on cost. That would kill it.

    1. Microsoft will give it (the software) away if it helps them gain a foothold in the mobile ecosystem. No doubt the cost of the hardware will be very competitive, since their whole strategy depends on it succeeding.

      1. Nah. It’s not going to be cheap. The hardware is pretty impressive. I bet iPhone 6 price

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