Satya Nadella has had a few watershed moments in his relatively short career as CEO of Microsoft. From taking the $7.6 billion dollar Nokia write-off to shuttering over 18,000 jobs at the company, Nadella has made some pretty big waves during his CEO tenure. Choosing to forego the highly anticipated and much rumored Surface Mini in favor of the Surface Pro 3 could be a particular moment Nadella can hang his hat on. With the Surface Pro 3 on track to be another billion dollar business in the Microsoft portfolio, it would appear Nadella made the right choice to skip the planned Surface Mini as well. Shortly after decided to nix the rumored Surface Mini, Nadella stamped out another questionable Microsoft product, an upcoming Windows Phone flagship codenamed the McLaren (or Goldfinger).
Rumors of the McLaren included a 20MP camera, as well as a new 3D Touch technology that would reinvent the way smartphone users navigated their devices. The rumored 3D feature would allow users to manipulate on-screen options, menus, Live Tiles and other components, all without touching the screen of the instrument. Alongside the device were leaked screenshots, fan made videos and Microsoft Research employees demoing the Exploding Live Tile functionality that would accompany 3D Touch. The Exploding Live Tile interface was rumored to be a mix of the folder animations introduced in Windows 8.1 and the Zune Mix view of old. Expanding on the concept of information at-a-glance, a single tile would expand to showcase several other tiles of related information.
However, with Nadella rumored to have put the kibosh on the project, news and speculation around the McLaren subsided. Perhaps, Nadella’s choice to axe the phone was a no brainer financially speaking. Windows Phone flagships had done very little to raise marketshare, the technology behind 3D Touch was untested and there had been no indications of people finding wanting to hover their finger over their smartphone screens.
A short two minute video of the famed Windows Phone leaked by @szleaks and originally reported on by Windows Central gives us a new look at this canned device. Rather than the previously emulated demos, 3D Touch is demonstrated on what appears to be working prototype of the McLaren. The video doesn’t show much beyond the casing of the phone, which resembles a metal Lumia 1020. However, the video does spend around a minute and half demonstrating how 3D Touch would have operated. As previously described, hovering a finger over the screen enables item selections as well as scrolling.
With at least two new Windows 10 Mobile phones on the horizon, none of which are rumored to use any technology from the McLaren, the McLaren leaks become nothing more than another outlier in Microsoft’s history.