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Lumia 950 XL leaked images foreshadow Win10 Mobile's future

Matt Hamblen | Aug. 6, 2015
Recent leaked images of a Lumia 950 XL smartphone prototype point to it as Microsoft's next flagship running Windows 10 Mobile.

lumia 950xl prototype
This leaked image is of a purported prototype of the Lumia 950XL, which is presumed to be the Windows 10 Mobile flagship from Microsoft. It first appeared on the Chinese Web site Credit: WPXAP

Recent leaked images of a Lumia 950 XL smartphone prototype point to it as Microsoft's next flagship running Windows 10 Mobile.

The device, with a 5.7-in. display, will reportedly be announced in September or October alongside the Lumia 950, with a 5.2-in. display.

Both could ship in November and are expected to be high-end phones, although pricing is one of the few details about the devices that hasn't been leaked.

Many of the specifications have been widely reported and confirmed by analysts who have knowledge of the devices.

Recently, Chinese Web site posted images of the XL prototype, including a home screen on the display showing an icon to touch to connect to the Windows 10 Continuum feature. That innovative feature would allow for the XL to connect to a keyboard to help mimic the functions of a desktop. The Verge confirmed various phone features from the photos.

Microsoft's Continuum and the universal platform concept -- where apps run across different devices -- will be key to helping the Windows 10 operating system catch on with smartphones.

So far, Windows Phone hasn't gathered much market traction, although there are many analysts and developers eager to see a third alternative OS to iOS and Android on smartphones. Juniper Research said Microsoft shipped only 8.4 million smartphones in the second quarter of 2015, accounting for less than 3 percent of the market.

In addition to the Continuum icon shown in the leaked photos, the XL will support Microsoft's Surface Pen capability, for taking notes on the display, and sport a USB Type-C connection. Both the 950 and 950 XL will have 20-megapixel rear cameras, putting them at the top end of the market, according to online sources and analysts.

Innovations aside, analysts are concerned with how much the devices will sell for and even then don't see a big uptick for Windows Phone sales.

Noting that Microsoft has already adopted a strategy of a high-end Surface Pro tablet, analyst Jack Gold of J. Gold Associates called the XL "essentially the Surface Pro of the Windows Phone market."

He added, "I don't expect Microsoft to continue to build and sell low-end phones where there are no profit margins." Getting out of the low end "was what Microsoft's recent restructuring was all about."

In late June Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella signaled some "tough choices" were coming. By the end of July, the company had racked up $10 billion for a write-off of its Nokia phone business purchase, severance for 18,000 workers -- mostly in its phone division -- and restructuring costs.


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