Cancelled Lumia McLaren gets unearthed and resurrected for a formal review

Cancelled Lumia McLaren gets unearthed and resurrected for a formal review

Anyone remember the cancelled Microsoft Lumia McLaren? Prepped as a sequel to the Lumia 1020, it was supposed to be a cream-of-the-crop Windows 8 handset with innovative features like hover-touch and an elaborate PureView camera. Never formally announced and quietly shelved in 2014, the McLaren never saw the light of day, but it has been prominent in the Windows Phone mythos, with many leaked photos and accounts from developers and beta-testers reciting its tale.

In an inspired bit of smartphone necromancy, Windows Central unearthed and brought to life a near-finished Lumia McLaren unit! During their time with it, the website managed to publish an entire review – one that was never meant to be! It outlines a forward-looking smartphone that was, perhaps, too ahead of its time to turn into a major success.

The McLaren was ahead of the pack in the 3D Touch department

The McLaren was ahead of the pack in the 3D Touch department

Boasting a refined metal design with curved edges, the McLaren was clearly shooting for the premium tag. With a 5.5-inch Full HD LCD screen, a Snapdragon 800 CPU clocked at 2.3Ghz, and 2GB of RAM, the McLaren was not to appear super-charged, though, given the year-old processor it uses. But Lumia phones' magic was never in their spec sheets, rather in the use of bespoke Microsoft-developed hardware and software solutions.

The McLaren relies on a 20MP PureView camera with a proprietary optical image stabilization system that occupies most of the massive camera hump. This same system was later downsized, refined, and incorporated into the Lumia 950 and 950 XL Windows 10 flagships.

Alas, we can't get an impression of how well the camera performs, as the camera software was never finalized for this unit – it only takes basic 8MP photos without auxiliary options. However, Windows Central checked in and confirmed the camera is a 20 megapixel unit

There's also the intriguing hover touch functionality. As your finger hovers over the screen, Windows' Live Tiles move in waves or reveal an 'exploding' Live Tile MixView feature with shortcuts and data. The functionality is enabled by various sensors in the display and sides of the McLaren. While this sounds similar to implementations by Samsung and Apple that we have on higher-end phones today, people close to the project told Windows Central that testers and developers simply didn't gel with the 3D Touch concept at the time.

The whole read and the video review are available below. Enjoy digging into what could have been, but didn't come to be – for various and complicated reasons.



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10 Comments

1. dubaiboy78

Posts: 442; Member since: Sep 19, 2014

MS is dead

2. Barney_stinson

Posts: 672; Member since: May 30, 2016

Not gonna happen!! Not even in your dreams!!

4. NoAllegiance unregistered

You can only make that statement if there last hope and their most anticipated device, the Surface phone flops. Or the second iteration. Let's hope it is not like KinOne and KinTwo series...

5. sgodsell

Posts: 6902; Member since: Mar 16, 2013

Let's get real. What is a Surface Phone going to bring to Windows Phone that will now make people buy them? Esp when Microsoft already has Continuum and has access to the Windows Phone app store, and can use Microsoft's Universal apps. Is it going to bring a stylus to their Surface Phone like the Galaxy Notes? Is it going to have an x86 class CPU? If it does use an x86 CPU, then it wouldn't be able to use the existing Windows Phone apps which are optimized for phone usage, and to run specifically on Arm CPUs. So please tell everyone here what a Surface Phone could bring to the tablet that would make people want to buy them.

6. Barney_stinson

Posts: 672; Member since: May 30, 2016

I was talking about MS not their phone!!! You buy android MS will still make money!

7. MrElectrifyer

Posts: 3960; Member since: Oct 21, 2014

"If it does use an x86 CPU, then it wouldn't be able to use the existing Windows Phone apps which are optimized for phone usage, and to run specifically on Arm CPUs." All Windows Phone apps can be easily converted to the UWP without changing any UI layout. That's all it takes to run them on x86 processor, while further unlocking access to millions of Win32 Windows Desktop applications that can be utilized via Continuum. It'll be the gateway to practically having 1 computing device suitable for all tasks.

3. Barney_stinson

Posts: 672; Member since: May 30, 2016

And you do notice that it's a Nokia product & it was future at that time !!! If only they could dare to release at that time

8. 7thspaceman

Posts: 1597; Member since: Feb 14, 2011

forgive me for being negative but as a windows smart phone fan I look forward not backward. Steve Elop or Microsoft should have got the McLaren out to the public for sale minis the software that did not work. their failure to do so caused Windows smart phones to look like crap because they had no flagship smart phone to compete with the Samsung S6 or the Apple iphones or other flagship smart phones that came to the market. Elop came to the mobile world congress with the Lumia 640. This mid ranger was not bad but damn it was no flagship. The troubles with the Surface smart phones are 1=they are late to the market place it will be over a year since the 950 & 950 XL's were released by the time they appear. 2=Rumor has it the Surface smart phones wont run any x86/Win32 desktop PC programs like some Windows smart phone fans want because they will use ARMS CPU's. They will run the new Microsoft "Universal" Apps like the full Windows 10 desktop PC's can that's good because Businesses and smart Developers are submitting Microsoft Universal apps. why? because you can make "one" MS Universal App and it will run on Windows 10 mobile smart phones and ALL Desktop PC's, Laptops, Ultra books, and Windows 10 PC tablets that run the full Windows 10 operating system that is on over 350 million computers of various types world wide and that number is growing. I predict the Surface smart phones will be well made and complete the eco system of Microsoft devices Microsoft now has a laptop through the Surface book, it already has the tablet through the Surface pro tablets, Microsoft smart phones from here on are rumored to be the new Surface brand of smart phones. Microsoft will continue to make them even if it's OEM partners stop making Windows smart phones because they are needed to complete the Microsoft devices ecosystem to sell to their Enterprise customers and Windows smart phone fans

10. joey_sfb

Posts: 6794; Member since: Mar 29, 2012

The reason they don't want to launch the phone is because they don't want to lose money. WP is losing lots of money for MS. Microsoft main cash cow are software especially the enterprises software, server, exchange, SQL, Skype for Business. Office as a service. They make ton of money there. The form MS CEO is contend with throwing money into mobile hardware for the hope of making money in the future but not the current CEO. He believes in mobile apps and software as a service. I work in a large corporate IT Dept using Microsoft software solutions. We pay Microsoft millions in software licensing. It's easy for me to see why WP is not growing. Because there no money to be made there even for Microsoft proven by failed Nokia acquisition.

9. elvis_17

Posts: 32; Member since: May 26, 2016

Deam this phone could be totally awesome, hey they could make Surface phone with this feature of 3D touch display and the camera looks awsome

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