Rumor: Microsoft making smartphone for 2013 release [Update]

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."

Via: Phone Arena
Source: China Times | Image via Microsoft

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36 Comments

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This is likely tied to Qualcomm's idea of making a "reference" mobile phone hardware design they can give away to all the Chinese "shanzhai" clone manufacturers. Shanzhai is a massive market - bigger than the entire US mobile phone market.

It wouldn't be a surprise if the reference design was capable of running WP8 out of the box. So yes, and no.

I like that the comment from the Microsoft Spokesperson does not deny this But I don't like that the phone won't be released this October because I'm due for an upgrade this month (and I need it because my phone is broken in many ways), and I will no doubt have to take out a 2 year contract on another Windows Phone

Studio384 said,
Surface Phone Dammit, now I have to choise between Lumia and Surface.

Both!

And I see it as good choice options for customers!

I have been saying this for quite some time now. Why doesn't Microsoft just release the phone through Nokia period? HTC and Samsung owners of Windows Phone always get the short in of the damn stick when all favortism and exclusives goes to Nokia. This is the reason for my dislike and hatred toward Microsoft and Windows Phone. This is also why I will probably not be buying a Windows Phone 8. I do not care for Nokia phones.

There is one reason Windows Phone is not a dead platform yet and that would be Nokia. In a year they have done more for WP than all other OEMs combined ever have. And MS does not grant Nokia exclusivity, Nokia themselves differentiate from the rest of the field by investing on (app) development and working on innovation.

At this time there is no smartphone over the entire spectrum that comes close to the Nokia Lumia 920 as far as innovation goes. Nokia has been instrumental in getting WP where it is and will continue to do so. They are on the front lines and the rest can only watch and collect the spoils of war when they can.

I find the average whiners on how Nokia 'gets exclusivity' amusing as it's a completely bogus ill-informed perception where it's more like HTC and Samsung do not care either way, they just push out another model and be done with it.

JSYOUNG571 said,
I have been saying this for quite some time now. Why doesn't Microsoft just release the phone through Nokia period? HTC and Samsung owners of Windows Phone always get the short in of the damn stick when all favortism and exclusives goes to Nokia. This is the reason for my dislike and hatred toward Microsoft and Windows Phone. This is also why I will probably not be buying a Windows Phone 8. I do not care for Nokia phones.

Hatred... towards an OS? ...because of a few exclusive apps? ..of which the important ones are build by Nokia anyway...

You don't think that's something you might need to work on? I don't think it's healthy to have such strong feelings towards a product.

they are definitely not making a phone *i hope for Nokia's sake* i am placing my bets on the B&N + Microsoft (NewCo) 7" Surface Microsoft ReaderTablet Devices.
they are too dependant on Nokia's hooks to the 3rd world countries, Asia and middle east to try something as backstabbing as that. unless ofcourse it would be Nokia making the fone.

but like i said: 7" touch screen Reader with stylus optimised for note taking while reading is my guess.

Iink the rumor holds some truth and here is why. Nokia is Microsoft's Partner, Microsoft doesn't own them. The PC OEM's are again Microsoft Partners, but not owned by MS. Unlike Apple, Microosft doesn't feel that competing against friends or partners is a bad thing or somethign yiou shouldn't do.

Apple has shown hate and spite against every software dev or OEM if they were once partners and those decided to comoete on any level.

I see several reasons why MS would make a phone. They get to have the benefist Apple has with the hardware. They can customize the OS to take advantage of how the hardware is designed and tailored to the device. The downside could be, MS seems to be limiting devices with the OS.

I personally want any device that runs WIndows to be as what Windows has always been - Flexible, capable and low in cost, but a great value.

This whole thing is just bogus... Working on a phone with Nokia might be half believable, but some Chinese maker? Not a chance in the world.

M_Lyons10 said,
This whole thing is just bogus... Working on a phone with Nokia might be half believable, but some Chinese maker? Not a chance in the world.

why not a chance? microsoft is working on surface tablets with some chinese maker (tainwanese more precisely but the production is actually in china), also want to mention nokia phones are actually made by compal in china.

nokia would better make next flagship thinner and lighter while maintain the same quality, especially the optics.

The 920 optics won't fit in an iPhone 5 (or 4s actually) body. If you want innovation like this it _will_ mean having a thicker, more heavy phone.

Apple clearly has decided to not put hardware (specs) first, but squeeze the most out of whatever Ive wants the phone to look like. It's obvious that they are after design first and innovation if possible in that design framework.

Nah, I believe that this "microsoft surface phone" is simply a 4G Microsoft Surface tablet, maybe able to place phone calls. I don't think is a phone.

"Neowin has contacted Microsoft for a response on the matter. This article will be updated if and when a response is received."

What's the point in even bothering to contact them? You know what the response is going to be. "We don't comment on rumors."

Well considering they made the Surface to show their vision of what a Windows 8 tablet should be like, it would be interesting to see where they think the shortcomings of the current phone lineup are.

The Surface is an awesome device - which, admittedly, I'm not buying this fall, I'll wait to fall 2013 for a Tegra 4 Cortex A15 powered device with actual Kepler CUDA cores. Now, if MS releases a Surface phone with excellent build quality - like VamporMg in Surface - that is a big incentive to buy their device instead of others. Throw in some sort of special communication ability even if it's a gimmick between Surface & Surface phone and I'm sold. 2013 is my year of purchases, apparently. Meanwhile I'll keep using the MacBook my boyfriend loaned me for the next months (since I didn't want to buy a Tegra 3 device and had alredy sold my laptop) and learn the Mac ecosystem (frankly not that different...)

Actually, I'd say within the mobile space Google is becoming the next Microsoft.

Apple is still Apple. Microsoft is trying to become Apple.

.Neo said,
Actually, I'd say within the mobile space Google is becoming the next Microsoft.

Apple is still Apple. Microsoft is trying to become Apple.

Apple also wants to convince people they should not use PC anymore and they should use a tablet instead. Greed is killing these people. It would have been nice if apple was making ipods and iphones. microsoft would have continue making good OS and softwares and google continue improving their best Search Engine and online services.

spy beef said,
Apple is becoming Microsoft.

Microsoft is becoming Apple.

M than Apple. So no, theyaren't becoming liek them. Not even in the slightest sense.

S3P€hR said,
Apple also wants to convince people they should not use PC anymore and they should use a tablet instead.

I meant strategy-wise. Apple always provided both hardware and software, whiling keeping the software side locked to their own hardware. Nothing has changed in that department.

.Neo said,
Actually, I'd say within the mobile space Google is becoming the next Microsoft.

Apple is still Apple. Microsoft is trying to become Apple.

Actually no, you're right if you say that Google is becoming the next Microsoft, bet Apple is becoming the new Microsoft to. Microsoft is becoming the next Apple and Google (since they do in web, software and hardware).

Studio384 said,
Actually no, you're right if you say that Google is becoming the next Microsoft, bet Apple is becoming the new Microsoft to. Microsoft is becoming the next Apple and Google (since they do in web, software and hardware).

See my explanation above why that's not the case.

Hrmm it made sense for them to go in on the surface/tablet but with Nokia in their backpocket not sentirely convinced they would go down this route.

Although maybe this allows them to fully control the OOTBE experience and design to the max as well as reducing the profit margins to maximise low price impact to consumers no doubt MS Win8+MS Surface+MS Xbox+MS Wp8 would offer customers quite a unified experience.

Osiris said,
Hrmm it made sense for them to go in on the surface/tablet but with Nokia in their backpocket not sentirely convinced they would go down this route.

Although maybe this allows them to fully control the OOTBE experience and design to the max as well as reducing the profit margins to maximise low price impact to consumers no doubt MS Win8+MS Surface+MS Xbox+MS Wp8 would offer customers quite a unified experience.

I think the surface served its purpose as a flagship device. It inspired competitors to do better and innovate better products. It helped push the Win8 platform. Im sure the Surface will be an amazing device though.

Nokia is probably being see as the Flagship for now, but Microsoft releasing one will be nice.

Googles Nexus phones arent the best hardware out there, but it set a bar for people to beat.

Microsoft is just scratching the Surface...
A product line with the look and feel of the tablet would be sweet!
Keyboards, Mice, Phones, etc.

Sotto_Zero said,
Microsoft is just scratching the Surface...
A product line with the look and feel of the tablet would be sweet!
Keyboards, Mice, Phones, etc.

scratching the Surface... oh the puns...