updated 03:05 pm EST, Thu February 18, 2010
Microsoft said readying own WP7 flagship
Northeast Securities analyst Ashok Kumar today claimed that Microsoft is developing a self-branded Windows Phone 7 handset. The device would be a full-touch candybar design made by ASUS and would serve as a centerpiece for the mobile OS. Microsoft had originally intended to ship the phone late this year but has reportedly encountered hitches that have pushed it back to early 2011.
The company has repeatedly denied any claims that it would make its own phones and argued that it prefers a partner model that avoids alienating other companies. However, this has been called into question by the widely leaked details of its Project Pink phones, which should divide branding equally between Microsoft and Sharp. ASUS has already had a larger-than-usual influence over Windows Phone 7 as it made the reference phone used at the Microsoft keynote (pictured), though this isn't necessarily the reference for any future model.
It's also not clear whether Kumar's sources may be confusing the new hardware development model for Windows Phone 7 with a direct Microsoft project. Unlike the open development of Windows Mobile, the new platform requires a certain minimum level of display, processor and features, with Microsoft handling drivers and other components that would previously have been left to individual partners. The Redmond, Washington firm thus has much more control over the final experience than it did in the past, which many critics noted was responsible for a slew of slow, small or otherwise basic devices.