A new rumor from a Chinese publication states that Microsoft is working on its own smartphone for a release in the first half of next year.
According to the China Times, Microsoft is working with Chinese manufacturing partners to create the smartphone, and has been working on creating the phone since "more than four months ago." The report also states that Microsoft doesn't want to leave phone design and manufacturing in the "hands of others," which is why the company has chosen to make a smartphone, as it will have control over "material selection, design, services, [and] software and hardware integration."
Earlier this month, a device identified as "Microsoft Surface Phone" was discovered by a Windows Phone benchmarking app. In June, however, a Microsoft representative stated the company would not be releasing its own smartphone.
Neowin has contacted Microsoft for a response on the matter. This article will be updated if and when a response is received.
Update: A Microsoft spokesperson has issued the following response to Neowin: "We are big believers in our hardware partners and together we’re focused on bringing Windows Phone 8 to market with them."