Microsoft surprised some and impressed many with details of its Surface earlier this week, which does look much like the first lovechild of the tablet and the ultrabook. The device, which is reckoned to be releasing this Fall, has divided opinions to a degree, mainly because the Redmond company neglected to disclose some of the key details such as price and availability. Nevertheless, the fuss it has managed to cause in a few short days bodes well for a more competitive tablet market moving forward.
To add to the growing buzz surrounding Microsoft – which also showcased a promising looking Windows Phone 8 OS just yesterday – it is now being suggested the software maker has plans to create its own branded Windows Phone device. Nomura analyst Rick Sherlund cites industry sources, who he says have advised him that Microsoft may be negotiating with a manufacturer to create its own Windows Phone 8 handset.
The analysis is based on a reference device, which is a model used for the development process, but never intended to retail. A Microsoft-branded unit would certainly put the cat amongst the pigeons in the battle for smartphone OS supremacy, but before we get ahead of ourselves, Sherlund stressed that "it is unclear to us whether this would be a reference platform or whether this may be a go-to market (Microsoft) branded handset."
We expect to see a plethora of Windows Phone 8-enabled devices from the likes of Samsung, Huawei and HTC, as well as of course Nokia, a company which has a lot riding on Windows Phone 8 being successful.
If the reference does point to a Microsoft device, it would break the mold of the company’s usual patterns of development, but with the last 12 months showing great levels of transition within Microsoft, it could simply be a sign the outfit is changing up the way it goes about its business.
It could all just be a misunderstanding, but with the Microsoft Surface in the offing, an accompanying smartphone isn’t exactly incomprehensible. Personally, I would welcome such a device, and although Google didn’t make a good job of combining its own-brand hardware with its Android ecosystem in the Galaxy Nexus, I would rate Microsoft’s chances of getting things right to be a little higher.