“3D Touch” Windows Phone and Surface Mini rumors reemerge

Microsoft has some interesting hardware in the pipeline for later this year—if the rumor mill is churning out accurate reports—such as a 3D touch-enabled Windows Phone and the fabled Surface Mini.

Unnamed sources told Neowin that the “3D Touch” Windows Phone, codenamed McLaren, may arrive in October with a 5.2-inch 1080p display, 20-megapixel camera and a 64GB storage option. Microsoft Mobile—formerly the devices and services division Nokia—may also be working on a 6-inch phone with 3D Touch capabilities.

As reported by Windows Phone Central last month, 3D Touch would allow users to manipulate the space above the screen to show additional information. For example, a user to could expand a Live Tile by pressing down in the air, bringing up shortcuts or notifications from that app.

The concept isn’t entirely new: Samsung’s Galaxy phones have long offered an “Air View” feature that lets users interact with apps by hovering a finger above the screen. But this feature only worked with a handful of Samsung apps. If Microsoft can support 3D gestures throughout the operating system and convince app developers to embrace the feature, it could at least give Windows Phone a unique hook.

As for the Surface Mini, it’s supposedly back on track for a summer launch, according to the well-known industry leaker evleaks. Previous reports claimed that Microsoft had planned to launch the device at a press event in May, but pulled it at the last minute amid doubts over its sales potential.

It’s unclear what has changed since Microsoft’s apparent decision to hold off on the rumored Mini. While Neowin has claimed that Microsoft is waiting until its touch-based version of Office is ready, ZDNet’s Mary Jo Foley reports that this version isn’t coming until next year. In other words, take the Surface Mini’s rumored reappearance with a grain of salt for now.

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