Surface Phone: Rumors Point To Desktop Apps, Microsoft's Delayed Release For Win32 Support

If rumors are true, Microsoft would finally be unveiling its highly anticipated Surface Phone sometime later this year. While the Redmond-based tech giant has not confirmed anything yet as of writing, the increasing number of speculations emerging from the rumor mill suggests that things are finally underway in the development of a handset that would meet the description of what CEO Satya Nadella termed as the "ultimate mobile device."

Based on the patents that have emerged thus far, it seems safe to say that the Surface Phone would not be playing on the same field as industry leaders like the iPhone X and the Galaxy Note 8. Rather, Microsoft would be targeting a brand new segment that might very well be launched with the release of the equally long-rumored Galaxy X.

While most of the smartphone market is focusing on slimming down bezels and removing headphone jacks, Microsoft seems to be intent on ensuring that its upcoming device would be a game-changer in terms of productivity. Microsoft would likely accomplish this by designing a hybrid handset that is just as capable as a full-fledged desktop or laptop computer.

This was outlined by rumors suggesting that the Surface Phone would have the capability to run desktop-grade apps natively, as stated in an MS Power User report. By doing this, Microsoft will essentially make the hybrid into a mobile, always-on extension of its Windows 10 operating system, which is being used by a huge percentage of the enterprise industry.

In a lot of ways, the ability to run desktop apps would be the Surface Phone's ace against its more mainstream rivals. This, however, is probably also the reason behind the smartphone's hybrid design. A transformable device, after all, is incredibly useful in the business industry, and it is something that might truly make a difference for the tech giant's smartphone efforts.

But according to a recent report from Italy-based, there might be some limitations to the Surface Phone when it gets released. According to the popular blog, Microsoft is working on two application layers for the Surface Phone, dubbed RAIL (Remote Application Interface Layer) and VAIL (Virtualized Application Interface Layer), with the former allowing the hybrid device to run legacy Win32 apps and the latter allowing the handset to run Win32 applications through a virtual server.

The Italy-based blog, however, believes that the Surface Phone would be equipped with these features after it gets released. Thus, when the hybrid device does get unveiled later this year, it might not have Win32 support out of the box. Support for Win32 apps, however, would likely be rolled out in a future update for the Surface Phone.