Microsoft reportedly testing its own smartphone in Asia

The Surface RT tablet has now been on sale for a week, and while Microsoft has declined to comment on exact sales numbers at this early stage, the huge throngs of people queuing to get their hands on the new device, along with widespread reports of models being sold out for several weeks in numerous markets, point to some pretty decent sales so far.

Surface is just the beginning of a new wave of hardware from Microsoft; CEO Steve Ballmer stated last month that MS is now a "devices and services company" and reaffirmed this in an interview last week, in which he asserted that Microsoft will indeed bring more hardware to market wherever the right opportunities are present.

This has fuelled speculation over what Microsoft might build next, and one suggestion that repeatedly gets churned out of the rumour mill is that the company is planning to build its own smartphone. With Windows Phone 8 hardware having just launched - and the Windows Phone 7.8 update just a few weeks away - it's perhaps not surprising to see the return of this story, this time from The Wall Street Journal.

It's claimed that Microsoft has been liaising with component manufacturers in Asia to test a new proprietary smartphone of its own design. The nameless sources at the parts supply companies claimed that Microsoft is putting the new device through its paces "but isn't sure if [the] product will go into mass production". One unnamed source - one of many "people familiar with the situation" - claimed that the device's display size was between four and five inches diagonally.

The most convincing end to speculation about a Microsoft-branded smartphone would be the news that Windows Phones from its OEM partners - including HTC, Samsung and, of course, Nokia - have sold in phenomenal numbers; such a scenario would leave Microsoft with little need to develop and sell its own phone hardware.

With the first wave of Windows Phone 8 devices only just going on sale, these are certainly early days. Whether it's true or not, we'll likely be hearing plenty more on this rumour for some time to come.


Source: The Wall Street Journal | via TNW 
Image of 'Surface Phone' is purely illustrative and wholly speculative,
and not based upon any credible information regarding any such device.

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A Surface phone, in my mind, runs Windows RT and has a flip out touch cover / kick stand.

Which brings up this point. MS has Windows 8, Windows RT and Windows Phone 8 to manage.

Apple has OS X and iOS 6.

So why can't RT just run both tablets and phones like iOS does for iPad and iPhone? Wouldn't that be somewhat more efficient for MS?

I would be really surprised if Microsoft released their own phone... I guess we'll have to see, but I just can't imagine it happening at this point...

this would be good considering nokia is sinking fast and most wp oems just rebrand android sets. also the nexus line is cheap crap.

"claimed that the device's display size was between four and five inches in diameter"
Must be a circle, lol
strange phone

Ha! Very well spotted - I've now corrected that rather foolish error on my part... thanks for pointing it out!

What about the fact that microsoft has put many millions of dollars into Nokia. If you take this into consideration then there is "NO WAY" that microsoft would blow their own money in making their OWN phone, simply take over Nokia completely and then maybe you might have a Microsoft/Nokia phone,but NEVER a microsoft one.

o don't get these sentimental thoughts people have over business matters. If the scene is right and its strategically sound then MS will launch and be another player in the hardware scene, people will choose the device that they deem a best fit for them. Nokia will not be crying in the corner. Competition is what drives innovation and a decent company will thrive at the prospect of health competition.

~Neowin~ said,
poor Nokia

Why poor Nokia? The one that makes great device will sale most. There is no problems.

~Neowin~ said,
poor Nokia

Nokia has the advantage because this is Nokia's area of expertise. In addition, if this phone is to launch, its not likely to come to market for a year which gives MS's partners plenty time to get their **** together.

This is not the same as MS creating the Surface because the PC manufacturers need a kick in the ass. Smartphone OEMs seem to be pretty innovatve.

RedFlow said,
Kind of a stab in the back to Nokia if you ask me.

So when google do a nexus device it's stabbing their OEM partners in the back too is it?

There's nothing wrong with the 'halo' device concept - it's a good way to set the bar in the market.

RedFlow said,
Kind of a stab in the back to Nokia if you ask me.

Hardly. Stephen Elop of Nokia has said he would welcome a Microsoft phone as it would drive more interest in WP8 phones.