Microsoft back in smartphone business with dual-screen device

Microsoft is making its return to the smartphone market, a decade after its last smartphone software was released, with a device called the Nokia 9 PureView. The Nokia 9 PureView, pictured above, has a dual-display design.

Computer and software company Microsoft announced on Tuesday it is now making its return to the smartphone market, a decade after its last smartphone software was released.

And a decade after the company’s owner, Nokia, gave the world its first dual-screen phones, Microsoft will also make other devices, said Peter Skillman, a senior vice president of Microsoft Devices who oversaw the company’s smartphones during the days it ran its own mobile business.

In an interview with the Financial Times, Skillman said the first Microsoft smartphone will come in July but that the company is just getting started. While he declined to share any details about the phone, Skillman said it will come with dual-screen design.

“I think it’s a fundamental mistake to think of a smartphone as the one device where every experience goes on,” Skillman said. “It’s like you have one brain.”

Nokia’s first dual-screen mobile phones came to the market in 2008, a year after Microsoft acquired the mobile operating system maker that makes the phones. But Skillman explained that when Microsoft was developing its own software, it made sense to develop a phone around the phone software, the same way other computing devices like the PC had multiple screens.

But he said the company now realizes it should have developed the operating system first and then worked to create a specific phone for the software. The result, he said, was “piecemeal stuff” that left some important features in a state of ambiguity.

“We should have really thought through our strategy and our vision and the way it interacted with other things,” Skillman said. “The complexity in doing that seemed extreme.”

It seems like Microsoft may have learned from the mistakes of the past. The company is now planning to design phones in-house. And it said it also plans to build accessories that will work with the phone, such as chargers, wallets and covers for the phone.

Microsoft phones have struggled. Last year, the company made a show of selling a new type of smartphone called the Lumia 1000 but then held off on releasing any more last year, and so far this year has had no new smartphones.