When the Lumia 1020 launched last summer with its bulbous 41-megapixel camera, it was a weird looking smartphone that found favor with the photography-inclined. It's been 15 months since the 1020 was released, and we haven't seen much physical evidence that Microsoft was planning a follow-up—until now.
The above image, posted for sale on a Chinese auction site and then spotted by Reddit, shows a silver handset sporting a similar large camera housing. As The Verge notes, it also uses the same polycarbonate/aluminum materials as seen in the Lumia 925. There's always the possibility that this smartphone is an elaborate fake, but faint markings on the smartphone, along with its general incompleteness, would indicate that this mystery device might actually be Microsoft's rumored McLaren device, which the company canceled in July.
McLaren was believed to be a 1020 successor that would launch around December and come with 3D Touch, essentially Xbox Kinect-like gestures for Windows Phone. Microsoft is continuing to look into 3D Touch for future smartphones, but decided to scrape McLaren's 2014 launch. A closer look at this prototype also shows a few other differences from the 1020, mainly its LED (instead of Xenon) flash and no physical hardware buttons along the bottom bezel, which supports that this was Microsoft's "look ma, no hands" Kinect smartphone.
We've reached out to Microsoft for clarification on what this device might be and will update when we hear back, but right now it seems safe to say that we can file this leak under "what could have been." [Geekongadgets via The Verge]