We've long heard rumors of there being a Surface Phone in development, or at least on the roadmap, though so far nothing of the such has materialized. Just the opposite, Microsoft has moved away from phones to focus on other products and services. The Surface Phone is one rumor that refuses to die, however, and now there is chatter that Dell might be tasked with making the device. Let's jump down the rabbit hole.
Over at WinFuture, there is a report of Qualcomm making a Snapdragon 850 system-on-chip (SoC) for Windows 10 devices. It's said to tie into Microsoft's recent collaboration with ARM to run Windows 10 devices on ARM hardware, as we have seen with a spattering of Windows 10 laptops with Snapdragon 835 chips inside (and there's chatter that a new crop of devices with Snapdragon 845 hardware inside is just around the corner).
The Snapdragon 850 is said to be a faster version of the Snapdragon 845, and not a completely new chip. It's being built specifically for ultraportable devices running Windows 10. According to the report, this is actually what showed up in a recently leaked benchmark at Geekbench, which at the time was widely believed to be the aforementioned Snapdragon 845 refresh. So that's wrinkle number one.
Wrinkle number two is that Microsoft's hardware partners are already lined up for this, and for the first time that will include Dell, in addition to existing partners in Asus, HP, and Lenovo. That's mildly interesting in and of itself, but the kicker is that Dell is reportedly working on a dual-screen device called Janus. MSPower surmises this could be the Surface Phone that we've been hearing about for such a long time.
Maybe it is, maybe it isn't. Either way, the dual-screen device is said be powered by the Snapdragon 850 discussed above, and feature bits that are commonly found on smartphones, most notably a gyroscope. This is something that isn't typically found on laptops, which hints at Janus being a foldable smartphone or a tablet.
Bear in mind that these are all rumors, and it's possible that none of it is true. However, if Dell does end up releasing a Surface Phone, it will be interesting to see how the market reacts, especially with the prospect of running a full version of Windows 10.
Top Image Source: Wikimedia Commons via Jjpwiki