Rumors of Microsoft's Surface Phone have been circling the tech space not for months but for years now. But it seems that smartphone enthusiasts have to wait another year for the company to launch the Surface Phone.

Given that Microsoft already has laptops and tablets under the Surface brand, it makes sense for the company to extend the brand name to mobile phones as well.

Previous rumors have pointed that Microsoft is working on three Surface Phones, which will have different prices and specs to cater to all market segments.

Speculations are rife that the company will hold an event sometime in October where it will showcase a number of products, such as the Surface all-in-one device. However, the Surface Phone is not likely to be launched at the event.

A ZDNet report cites sources familiar with the matter and suggests that if the Surface Phone materializes, then customers should expect the handset to arrive "considerably later." Although the report does not state how long customers will have to wait for the Surface Phone, rumors suggest that Microsoft may launch its smartphone line in fall 2017.

Microsoft planned to launch a Surface Phone in 2014 but due to component issues the company scrapped the plan.

Microsoft is also said to have planned to launch the Surface Phone in fall 2016, but Intel shut down all its mobile developments, which is believed to have delayed the Surface Phone to 2017.

The mobile OS market is dominated by bigwigs such as Android and iOS. According to an International Data Corporation (IDC) report, in 2016, the combined market share of iOS and Android was more than 99 percent. Windows Phone had a market share of 0.5 percent.

IDC also predicts that the Windows Phone market share will decline further in the near term.

"IDC anticipates further decline in Windows Phone's market share throughout the forecast. Although the platform recently saw a new device launch from one of the largest PC vendors, the device (like the OS) remains highly focused on the commercial market. Future device launches, whether from Microsoft or its partners, are expected to have a similar target market," says IDC.

The disappointing market share of devices running on Windows Phone could be a reason that has made Microsoft shift its focus from the Surface Phone.

The company has not confirmed any detail about the Surface Phone and customers will have to wait before it reveals more information on its smartphones. Till then, rumors regarding the Surface Phone should be treated with a pinch of salt.

Photo: Mike Mozart | Flickr

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