Neowin has learned today that Microsoft has given heavily guarded Windows Phone 8 handsets to developers that were identified as "star developers" or "VIP's" during the Windows Phone 7 lifecycle. These developers have been given early access to handsets to begin development on the promise that they have an application ready for launch.
It may seem logical, but multiple sources have confirmed that a number of handsets are in the wild but are under strict monitoring conditions. We don't know for certain, but these are supposedly early Nokia prototypes, very similar to the current Lumia range.
Hopefully we'll finally learn how the platform fits into the consumer story in just a few short weeks, and if Microsoft is smart, perhaps they can beat Apple to their big announcement on September 12. Either way, it's good news that Microsoft has already begun the push to getting applications ready for launch.