updated 06:46 am EDT, Fri November 2, 2012
New Microsoft Windows Phone could be called Surface as well
Fresh rumors have surfaced that Microsoft is developing its own Windows Phone 8 smartphone. According to the Wall Street Journal, Microsoft is said to be ‘testing’ is own Windows Phone 8 hardware with a device bearing a screen “between four and five inches. A similar rumor emerged in early October, with the China Times also claiming that if it pushes ahead, Microsoft will reuse the Surface brand name on the handset.
Microsoft upset its Windows 8 hardware partners when it announced plans to launch its own Surface Windows 8 Pro and Windows RT tablets. Despite receiving , the Surface RT has been an apparent success. Its various store websites around the world have shown either sell outs, or extended wait times for the device in the days following its launch. However, while it may have ‘stolen’ potential sales from its Windows 8 hardware partners, the Surface RT has its limitations leaving space in the segment for alternative design approaches.
"We're quite happy this holiday [season] going to market hard with Nokia, Samsung and HTC," Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer told the WSJ. Whether we had a plan to do something different or we didn't have a plan I wouldn't comment in any dimension." WSJ’s sources suggest that Microsoft has not committed to taking the device to market – while the Surface tablet has a degree of differntiation, it is unclear how a Microsoft branded Window Phone 8 handset would differ from the hardware made by its partners.
Microsoft’s last venture into the handset space with the Kin was a complete disaster and was quickly withdrawn from sale. Even without development costs included, Microsoft lost at least $240 million in the Kin failure.