We\’re about two weeks out from what might be the most anticipated phone release of the year – the Galaxy Note 8. After last year\’s Note had a defect that recalled all the units, many faithful Note users have been even more eager to get the next iteration of the device. There are a lot of things we know based on previous designs, leaks, and the Galaxy S8 lineup. We know that there will be a SKU with the Snapdragon 835. We know that there\’s going to be pen input included. It will have a big, tall display with rounded edges, a great camera experience, retina scanning, and an awfully placed fingerprint reader. If the S8 is any indication, we\’ll likely see a productivity dock that will change your Samsung into an Android computer. If the title of the article didn\’t tip you off enough, I\’ll come right out and say it – I think that list of specs is the perfect lineup for Microsoft\’s first Windows 10S mobile device. The Stars Align There\’s been a waterfall of events that I think is leading us to this moment. First, take Microsoft: they don\’t have an offering right now. Windows mobile was just sent out to pasture, their Lumia brand hasn\’t had a new phone in almost two years, and OEM support for Windows phone was never strong. Changing the strategy a bit, CShell promises to package full Windows 10 to a screen that fits into your hand (which may be rotated 90 degrees from normal windows). They\’ve also released Windows 10S – their operating system that will install apps only from the app store. Finally, they announced that starting with the Snapdragon 835, full Windows will come to cellular mobile chips. At the same time, we\’re hearing that the Surface mobile device, whatever that will end up looking like, is still a distant device. It will revolutionize the mobile computing world, but it\’s not ready for the mainstream yet. This has a created a gap for Microsoft in the mobile market. The Samsung, though admittedly halfhearted, would be a way for Microsoft to a) have a device for the diehards and the enterprise users, b) hype the market for their OS, and c) show investors they haven\’t abandoned the space. At the same time, we\’ve seen Samsung doing its best to gain more ground in the enterprise market with Knox and DeX. Microsoft and Samsung have shown the enterprise market they are working together on the Continuum-like DeX by Samsung showing off how well the Microsoft Android apps work on a large screen, and in return, Microsoft has been selling the S8 and S8+ in their stores. All the pieces of the puzzle When we think about where Microsoft is ​differentiating itself from Google and Apple, we see that the new Note is lined up to have it all. Starting with security, Windows Hello is all about your face. This year, Samsung moved its front facing fingerprint reader to the back and put it far too close to the camera in favor of the iris scanning sensors on the front of the phone. It seems like a small point, but unlocking a phone is the first step of using the phone, and I think this common vision and having support for iris unlocking is an important first step in putting Windows on the Note 8. Samsung is also up to speed with Microsoft\’s favorite input method – the pen. The Galaxy Note line has been a big screen, pen housing phone since 2011 – over 6 months before Microsoft announced the Surface Pro for Windows 8. With the first and second creators updates, we\’re seeing Microsoft put more emphasis on Windows Ink and the stylus input. It\’s clear that both companies have also been working together on this technology with the release of Samsung\’s new line of premium laptops and tables running Windows 10 and all sporting S Pens and Windows Ink capabilities. It\’s not hard to see how these companies have complementing values and beliefs when it comes to pen input and it would make sense that Microsoft would want to have Samsung\’s device represent its newest mobile efforts and capabilities. We have poked into this a little bit already, but the hardware leaks make perfect sense as well. Samsung will be using the Snapdragon 835 processor. Microsoft has a Windows build running on that processor already. We know that sometime in 2017 a device with that processor will be released running Windows 10. If we\’re to believe the leaks, we also expect the note to bump the RAM up to 6GB and the base storage capacity will start at 64GB, like the S8, but will have the option to have up to 256GB built in, with an SD card expansion slot as well. It will have the same ultra-premium build that the Galaxy S8 has, and looks to be bumping up to two cameras. All of this would make a capable Windows machine, and dual cameras could give us some 3D scanning capabilities to boot (as long as we\’re speculating). And then there\’s Continuum. Or DeX. Either way, both companies are working on making the portable device something that is more capable than either a phone or a desktop computer. We saw this first launched by Microsoft (successfully, sorry Ubuntu Touch) when the Lumia 950 line came out with Continuum. Other OEMs have supported the technology, most notably HP with the Elite X3, which included the desktop dock and had an optional Lapdock which turned the phone into a laptop without the help of a wired connection. The problem was that Windows 10 mobile didn\’t work like Windows 10 in every way, leading to user frustration and a quirky OS. Not long after, we saw Samsung turn the S8 and S8+ into a desktop using the Android operating system. The challenge there is Android apps, for the most part, aren\’t well optimized for a large screen and mouse and keyboard input. Many reviewers were underwhelmed and found it not useful as a result. Having the Note 8 run a full version of Windows 10 using CShell answers all those problems. No longer is the Continuum experience a fragmented version of Windows 10, and Samsung doesn\’t have to rely on an operating system and app ecosystem that\’s optimized for a vertical aspect ratio and touch input. The relationship and tools exist So if it\’s the right time for both companies to work together on a wonderful mobile experience, if the device is already going to happen, will they do it? I think so. In my mind, Microsoft needs this a lot more than Samsung does. The Android Galaxy Note 8 will sell piles of units. People have been waiting years at this point and it seems like they\’ve forgotten about the whole battery issues of the 7. Microsoft does have a couple of neat tricks it can bring to the Note 8 to make it a better device, but I would guess it was Windows who had to do the convincing, and not the other way around. You can see this in a Windows store. Samsung has its Android phones which do Microsoft-like things in its stores. The Samsung lock screen on their Windows 10 laptops has extra security features. I think these OEM bonuses might give us a hint that Microsoft is looking for something in return. ​And it might not be something they\’ll ask Samsung to do at the factory. Some of us will remember a time when Microsoft worked with Xiaomi to release a custom Windows 10 mobile ROM for their Mi4 Android handset. There were rumors that they had built one for the OnePlus 3 and a handful of other devices as well. It is well withing the realm of possibility that Windows simply wants Samsung\’s blessing in releasing a ROM for consumers to choose. Or they could be asking Samsung to install it at the factory. I would guess each company wants the other to take responsibility for it. If it happens, it will be interesting to see how it works. Put it all together and what do we get? There were questions about running Windows on the S8 when it came out. Daniel Rubino begged Microsoft to release a ROM in a podcast or two closer to the release of the device and the detailing of CShell. Microsoft has been picky about how it presents its products. I think the Galaxy Note 8 has the makings of the perfect non-Microsoft Windows 10 phone to hold us over until the eventual release of the super amazing, vaguely revolutionary Surface mobile device.

you forget the key."APPS"

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