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Is Microsoft making its own Windows Phone in 2013? We discuss the options.

Concept Surface phone (Image via Jonas-Daehnert)

RUM: 3

It has been a few months since we last heard anything about Microsoft making its own Windows Phone again, so it looks like we’re about due.

A new “report” from the not so trusty China Times straightforwardly states that Microsoft will have its own Windows Phone launch sometime in early 2013 and that they’ve been working on it with a hardware partner for the last four months.

Evidence? Sources? Who needs those things on the internet!

However, some of our readers have asked to weigh in on the matter so instead of just ignoring this story (what we would prefer to do) we’ll give our thoughts on it. Obviously, with our snarky “who needs sources” banter above, you can get a feel for what side we come down on this topic.

OMG

Stop the presses...or intertubes or whatever powers this thing

 

The preamble

First off, we would never 100% rule out Microsoft making their own phone. They’re a billion dollar company, they can and will do whatever they want, when they want and if they decided to make a smartphone, gosh darn it they could. Seriously, who's going to stop them? They make the Xbox 360, Kinect, Zune HD, mice, keyboards, HD Web cams and tablets. They could do a phone.

But we just don’t see it happening. Not now at least.

For one, Microsoft has a lot invested with Nokia who as a co-partner has been driving Windows Phone development. We couldn’t think of a worse move for Redmond to make than throwing Nokia under the bus in such a way—talk about a vote of “no confidence”.

Second, Microsoft and HTC just announced “the Signature series” of Windows Phones with the 8X and 8S. In practical terms, Microsoft sees those devices as the base for all Windows Phone 8 devices—the “true” representation of the platform. (What that means for Nokia is a whole other discussion).

In other words, Windows Phone 8 already has its headlining hardware with those two companies (and to a lesser extent, Samsung).  Those devices, at least on paper, are outstanding achievements in terms of design, originality and hardware features. How could Microsoft possibly improve upon HTCs new design and bold colors? How could Microsoft one up Nokia with that amazing PureView camera or PureMotion HD+?

WP Central

Concept Surface phone by YrOnimuS

 

The Google Nexus angle

The first angle we can see for a Microsoft branded Windows Phone would to have a “Nexus like” experience. But that analogy doesn’t hold too well with Windows Phone.

Google’s Nexus line is the “pure OS” without any skins or modifications to it—just the straight up, latest build of Android.

Would Windows Phone need that? No one skins the OS and most of the differences, much to the consternation of some OEMs, are very superficial. So the comparison to a Nexus line just doesn’t add up. Unless…

…they want some low cost, direct to market phones that they can sell right to consumers with no carrier contracts-- devices that they can sell from WindowsPhone.com which represent the “true” experience but are not competing for carrier representation with their OEMs. This would allow Microsoft to fill in some of that market, offer directly updated phones with no carrier intervention and even eat some of the costs (much like what Google does to keep the price low).

While that sounds like a decent idea, there’s no evidence to support it just yet.

 

WP Central

Concept Surface phone by YrOnimuS

 

Contingency Plan?

drinkingThe second angle here for which we could see as a shred of hope for this Microsoft Windows Phone rumor is if this initial launch of Windows Phone 8 hardware fails to impress and catch on.

Let’s not mince words: if that happens, Windows Phone 8 (and especially Nokia) are in trouble.

That doesn’t mean the Lumia 920 or the 8X need to outsell the iPhone 5 or crush the latest Android phone in terms of market share, it just means there has to be some significant momentum built.

If not, investors will get very cautious of Nokia (even more so than they are now), you’ll see calls for Elop’s replacement and the future of that company could be at stake. Seeing as Nokia is the only OEM who is fully invested in Windows Phone, that’s a big risk if something goes wrong.

It’s only in that sense could we possibly think that Microsoft would consider making their own hardware—Nokia has gone bust and HTC is playing cozy with Android again. Then we may see Microsoft step in with the “let us show you how it’s done” bravado that stirred the creation of the Surface tablets. But even if that scenario were to happen, it would be a very different reason than why Microsoft is making the Surface.

In this case, Microsoft would be both trying to set the bar and trying to keep their brand afloat, whereas with Surface it’s about just getting their myriad of partners all on the same page in terms of design.

 

 

Betting against it

WP CentralFor now though, we find such situations unlikely. By all accounts, HTC and Nokia should have solid launches with their “hero” phones and Microsoft will not step in to jeopardize that by adding confusion with a self-branded device. We can’t think of a single pundit or investor who would read that as anything other than fear and uncertainty in their own partners.

Speaking of, if we wanted to be really cynical we could suggest that this story is purposefully creating fear, uncertainty and doubt (aka FUD) for the Windows Phone 8 pre-launch.

With Surface, Microsoft demonstrated (a) they can keep a hardware secret and (b) they aren’t afraid to do their own hardware if it suits them. For those reasons, we can’t dismiss the idea that they won’t ever take such a tract, but we’re just not seeing any evidence of it. The rest is, as they say, speculation.

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Comments

There are 122 comments. Sign in to comment

teaMJPx says:

This + Surface = :)

jdep1 says:

I would not buy another product from MS. If you could tell me a product from ms that has succeeded as much as the ipod/iPhone I will reconsider. Don't get me wrong I love ms but products directly from them will stop support.

erasure25 says:

Xbox 360? Lol.

aubreyq says:

LOL seriously.

i know what was the lol for why laugh at a statement of fact?? its Xbox 360 period.

DHX says:

Windows?

OMG55 says:

If you truely love MS products, you wouldn't have put ipod/iphone in the same sentence. Second, this could be looked at from another angle; it could be viewed as MS's problem is that they put too much trust in it's partners and they've directly contributed to the decline in MS hardware sales (The PC specifically due to unattractive designs). As for the zune, MS simply didn't advertise the zune at all at least in the states; if you had one, you were considered the minority. While i will be getting a second Nokie phone, "The 920", if MS did make it's own cell phone and it carries the design features of the surface, I'm in. The problem is, is that MS has already stated they will only sell the surface via its online store, so as not to piss-off its partners. I personally think that their partners should simply produce better designs if they want their product to sell against any competing product be it MS direct, Android, or Apple. This can only Make their OS more visible, then from a customers perspective, it comes down to personal preference based on design; is it not already this way in the flooded Android market. How to you think Apple has become a juggernaut in the mobile space??? By not putting their product destiny in someone else's hands. I honestly this this is the direction MS if going in; have you noticed that they're putting stores up like tents? Once the stores and sale within them reach whatever goal MS has set forth, I think they're going to add more of their own products in them until partners with poor designs or those unwilling to go all-in will be phased out....Nokia and HTC will not be one of those that will be phased out. So the MS store will only carry the best products still giving variety.

chasvs says:

What a seriously idiotic comment. Some folks just like to bash MS no matter what and this is one of them. Go elsewhere and troll please!

OMG55 says:

No disrespect, your comprehension level must be very low. I am pro-microsoft and run a all microsoft product with is my 300+ employee state/local govt organization. I also own and distribute windows phones within the organization; I am not a troll, i just don't have blinders on. Did you see the follow-up article now posted on WPCentral indeed confirming MS is making their own device? Do you not agree that designs should be held to a certain standard and the many phone and Windows PC makers failed in this category? Even if you don't, clearly MS seems to believe this, otherwise why would they have made the surface stating, "That it was design to set the bar" related to devices. Why do you think they've hand picked their lauch partners for WP8? Have you not noticed how many stores their putting up over the last 1.5 years (MS was and still is a juggernaut before Apple's popularity took off). Most of the people purchased Apple products for looks alone and to this day don't really know how to use them. MS is now making easy to use top quality visually appealing products because they've recognize what Apple did years ago and understand that the manufactures they put so much trust in has in part contributed to their decrease in popularity due lackluster designs and bloatware. I guarantee you that any MS signature computer you buy directly for the MS store won't be package the excessive bloatware to ensure the best performance (WP7-WP8 is designed as such). So while you living in a bubble, the rest of us will be realizing MS's vision of the NEW MICROSOFT.

Zune may have not sold that well in the long run but it was (and still is) a mighty fine piece of hardware.
As far as Microsoft's hardware successes goes, the XBox 360 has become the current best-selling game console. A success in it's own right even though historically MS is reported to lose money on each one made. Not sure if that's the case now with manufacturing & materials costs perhaps cheaper.

360 actually turned a profit in its second year but the warranty extension for the rrod failure brought it down for a while.

Nataku4ca says:

since no one mentioned this i'll plug it in here
 
mouse/keyboard, especially the white mouse that i still see all over the place (especially in school) i have one from 10 years ago and it still works like new lol

Duffau says:

Ever heard of the Kinect? In the Guinness book of world records for fastest selling consumer electronics device over the iPhone.

Rishicash says:

The number of items sold doesn't indicate quality, desireability, performance, etc. Ford sells many, many times more cars than does Ferrari, but it certainly isn't a better car.

Woody91 says:

That's debatable. Supercars are notoriously unreliable & built on a kinfe edge. The appeal of a supercar is of course greater than a typical ford car however most middle range cars are often better "cars" in terms of useability, economy, saftey, cost etc..

220SeaChaser says:

If it looks anything remotely like that, I'm definitely down with it. Perfect for my 2013 upgrade :-)

jabtano says:

I'll agree I like how the devices in the pics look as well.

teaMJPx says:

hey man, I get it... Its just that the picture you see there looks nice! If Nokia or HTC made something like that it would be awesome... But they don't... So with that said... This + Surface = :) I don't care if MS is the one making it... The depiction of the concept/rendered phone is a great design! But yeah, MS has too much to loose with their partners... Then again, that's what I thought about the surface initially... Until I saw it... jejeje

teaMJPx says:

Sorry, this was toward Nickkk101

OMG55 says:

I don't think they will lose, if you've been in there stores, you will see that they display & sale devices from all manufacturers in it (Apple does not and will never do this in their stores, that where MS has an advantage). By doing so, you not only promoting your products, but theirs as well; translation....A WIN WIN

Nice looking phone.

Nickkk101 says:

er,...guys above don't get it....    Anyway, nice article Daniel. nailed it imo. 

I just said it looks nice...

ahmadcrofton says:

I wish... Upon a window(star)

kidjenius says:

that pic below "contingency plan?" looks a lot like you, Daniel. without the hair, of course

procen says:

Daniel you said the words already "Not so trusty, China times". Anyway I don't think MS will try to make their own phone it has Nokia and HTC, and both brings in very nice phones.

ricardios says:

Hope it's not true. I'm ready to buy a wp8 now. Don't want to wait longer.

OMG55 says:

Sorry, for that device, I'll wait! I also think that kind of device if hyped up enough would generate lots of buzz and MS would finally have lines waiting to purchase a product similar to iphone launches/release....it pains me to mention the iword, but its true, people are attracted to outward appearances. Look at the latest iphone, the didn't release any groundbreaking technology with it or a drastic redesign; the base design is still the same, yet it sells on looks alone. honestly, its selling on looks alone; if Apple would have put their logo on an ugly device back when they release the first iphone, do you really think it would have sold like it did? Steve jobs said he wanted it to look like the ocean surface on a calm day, he knew people would be visually attracted to it first, everything after that was secondary. You have to get them to come see if first by making it attractive, he did.

Yangstax says:

May be they had a plan befoe, but later cancelled it after they saw Pureview.  Or Nokia had threatened to pull Nokia Maps out of WP8. :)

dakken says:

Same here,,,I love the look of the 8X and will be getting one next month for me Bday,,,,but I REALLY love the look of that MS phone. Even if its not reall. Lol

barry.weston says:

I know secrets... :P

dakken says:

Its not nice to keep secrets =P lol

barry.weston says:

It is here :D reading this is too funny

ejlee072006 says:

A hell no!!! Please don't make a phone this will ruin it..just buy Nokia....

OMG55 says:

I hope the do buy Nokia! could they be building Nokia's stock value before purchasing them to ensure it's sucessful prior to purchasing??

tN0 says:

Only possible thing that could happen is that Microsoft builds a phone focused for business customers. While Nokia's Lumia devices are great for consumers, I can see them having issues with competing with old-schooled BlackBerry users. Maybe Microsoft and Nokia have a deal: Lumia for consumers, Surface Phone for serious business? Possible name: Surface Phone Pro, coming january along with the Surface Pro tablet.

dhaoracle says:

Nokia stil has a Grey and Black Matte colored phones. They could do well with thos colors.. 

Rude123 says:

Great Idea hope Microsoft read this Surface Business!!! I like that no need for crackberry.

MaulerX says:

I'm with Daniel. Not going happen for all the obvious reasons.

There was news today floating the web of WP gaining market share in Europe and closing in on RIM. It has been slow but WP is about to grow further thanks to WP8 just around the corner.

DavidinCT says:

If this was for real, and they said they were releasing a phone in early 2013, I would skip over the 920 that I want so bad.
 
Microsoft hardware has always been the best of the best (well, red rings of death aside), I've owned keyboards and mice from them years from the windows 95 days to todaty. Well designed and done right. Come on look at the design aspects of the Win 8 surface tablets, just wild and well designed stuff.
 
In a way I hope it does not happen, well maybe for Windows Phone 9, as I am buying a 920 but, if they realease one, I dont have the funds to buy one off contact but, I will....
 
If Microsoft releases a high end phone, I WILL buy it...I stand by their products that much. Very few other companies I feel that strong about.
 
can you tell I am a little bit of a fanboy here ? :)

Sarang68 says:

You are not alone!

ebradley says:

I hope it don't happen for 2 years after the release of the 920.

PolishHitta says:

Not gonna happen. Microsoft already promised that there not gonna make Microsoft mobile hardware

Cellus13 says:

I'd rather have Nokia phones. Microsoft is fine with their partnership with Nokia. HTC... I wouldn't count on them.

OMG55 says:

I don't care if the pay Nokia to make this phone an release it as a special editon MS phone made by Nokia, JUST BUILD IT AND RELEASE IT ALREADY!!! I  want this

texantony says:

Lets just back to beepers / pagers! 911!! 911! And by the way, who cares, world ends in a few months! :-)

lancguy says:

Let's face it people Nokia is hanging on by a shoestring and wouldn't be around without the cash infusion Microsoft gave them.  I think the L920 is going to do very well....but, and this is a big but, I do see Microsoft buying out Nokia and do what Google did with Motorola.  I'm not sure that would be a bad thing really.  Microsoft could have total control over manuafacturing and get all the patents Nokia owns in the process.  I don't see this happening right now, but it is within reach.  Nokia is currently at 2.76 a share with a market cap of 10.2 billion.  Microsoft currently has a market cap of 247.2 billion with a tonne of cash on hand.  And with owning Nokia they could manufacture their own tablets.  Like I said I don't really see this happenning right now but it's not outside of the realm of possibility.....

ZX9 says:

Nokia has a lot of hype for the 920 built up, not just on this site, but all over. I don't want to jump to conclusions, but I think Windows Phone 8 will cause a jump in awareness and market share. Even if it's not a ridiculous jump, it'll be on the right track.

Still rockn with Nokia always

tbonenga says:

OMG!!!! What would the people with their heads so far up Nokia's butt do???? This is hilarious.
Truth be told Microsoft better do it asap. All the hype and push on the Nokia Lumia 900 and it hasn't even sold a million. Does anybody know the preorder numbers for the iPhone 5 or Galaxy 3? Each one of them have way more preorders than the 900 has sold. I know there's a small minority of people that love Nokia but they just don't sell to the masses.
So this would be bad for Nokia but it would probably make W8 mainstream. Kinda like how the Xbox dominates the game consoles.

Nokia sold millions of lumia 900 phones and im with Nokia cuz I remember them as a kid I still rep ninja turtles lol

tbonenga says:

Engadget September 30,2012 10:17PM " How would you change the Nokia 900 " clearly states the 900 sold a low 600,000 in the U.S. Not sure where you came up with the millions from. You kinda told your age. Nokia was popular with feature phones but kinda died out in the U.S. When smartphones took over about 10 years ago.

tangalisk says:

Actually, if you take world wide numbers, the lumia line sold 4mil units in q2 2012. So the "millions" is actually correct cos there is actually a world outside the US.

Im 24 and the US is all about popularity like apple and Nike and other popular but not the best shit look at beats popular but not the best iPhone popular but not the best Nike popular but not the best shit even my team the Dallas Cowboys #1 most popular team in the NFL but not the best I can go on and on on what's the best quality and what's just popular

How can you say that when the Lumia series didn't sell so good with all the advertisement push, also being made by Nokia - world renowned and trusted in the phone industry - that Microsoft could do something better, and sell more "Surface" phones? What exactly does Microsoft have that Nokia doesn't? Reputation in the mobile platform? Better advertising? What?

tbonenga says:

M-O-N-E-Y $$$$$$$ MICROSOFT has lots of it. Nokia is only alive today because of Microsoft's pocket change. Nokia and Symbian was a sinking ship. It was to late for Nokia to jump on the Android ship. Microsoft gave them survival money and Nokia went with windows. Nokia hasn't done well at all in the U.S. Low single digit market share for W7. This is exactly why Microsoft needs to make a branded phone. If you game than you know people laughed when Microsoft introduced the Xbox. They said it would fail. Sony and Nintendo were to big and dominant. Well we all know who's laughing now because the Xbox is #1. Microsoft just lost the #3 spot to Google (most valued American company). The main reason is Android dominance. Microsoft better so something quick or they'll never get that spot back. That's exactly why they need to make a top notch Microsoft branded phone.

U fail to understand what Microsoft is about MULTIPLE OEM BASED a variety of choices not just one like apple did Bill Gates believes in a world with choices but same software cuz it works that way imagine if apple was the only computer company those bitches would boost prices fuckn sky high and u would have to pay that cuz u would have no choice its good to have competition and one more thing Nokia wasn't ever going with google android Steven picked windows cuz its the best and they have plenty of money there still number 2 world wide it was number 1 the last 14 years still above Apple

jcagga says:

only in America

89caps says:

That's the whole point of the article, it's a discussion about how that can but if it is in their best interest now. I think it is good to give some perspective instead of saying "anything is possible with Microsoft, so why talk about."

jwinch2 says:

I wish Microsft would do this and if they are smart, they would hire the guy who did the concept and let him design it.  
 
 

Man am I sick of hearing the "throw Nokia under the bus" mentality with the mention of any device MS pushes aside from theirs, if its anyones fault, its nokias!! Nokia has done everything they can to NOT include windows or MS in their advertising whatsoever...they are trying to build the ecosystem and Nokia with their exclusive Nokia only apps(like ESPN) and competing services (Nokia music, Nokia drive) its only furthering their progress. That's the main reason im going to buy a WINDOWS PHONE 8x, and not a Lumia. I love using MS services and windows and that's what im buying...Nokia might as well skin their Os, which I wouldn't put passed them anyways...they were the ones to throw MS under the bus, just like they did with the other windows oems and im tired of their tactics. The 920 is one hell of a phone, but Nokia is just rubbing me the wrong way, and alot of Nokia's fans are starting to do the same...make every other windows phone device seem inferior because they don't have what Nokia offers..they do, its just provided by MS and now, that's viewed as a bad thing? Not to me!!

gzlesk says:

So you will be useing Nokia maps and drive on that new phone of yours. Nokia supported the ecosystem more than anyone else has even though they were late to the party. They have exclusive apps but eventually in the timeframe of 3-6 months everyone gets those apps. Without Nokia no one would, after any time period. So when your using Nokia Drive or maps and useing an app Nokia paid money for on the platform you remember which company got that for you. Because it wasnt HTC, and it wasnt Samsung. Thats why I support Nokia because although there a burning ship they give the best customer experience and in a few months everyone on the platform gets to enjoy the fruits of their labor.

Sorry but ill put the credit where its deserved and that's with the boatloads of cash Microsoft gave them to boost their ecosystem, and instead of benefitting everyone, it benifitted only nokia with the exclusive apps. 3-6 months? its been longer than that for ESPN as well as a handful of others...I get what your saying but with the cash ,Nokia couldn't have done half of what it did, and they pay MS back by not proudly claiming the Lumia a WINDOWS phone? I just don't like that...

jcagga says:

" and alot of Nokia's fans are starting to do the same...make every other windows phone device seem inferior". Truth hurts isn't it? They are inferrior because they are inferrior in everyway, at least in spec wise. Early birds get all the worms.

Inferior spec wise?? The lumia 900 has the exact specs as my Focus S aside from 4g Lte and had bugs galore! And nokias other offerings? 710? 800? Not even a ffc!! I may not get the level of "support" from Samsung, but my device hasn't needed it, no purple hues, poor signal strength or inferior camera lenses in my Windows Phone ;)

jcagga says:

Everyone here is talking about Nokia lumia 920 vs 8x.....

lancguy says:

I wasn't trying to "throw" either Nokia or Microsoft "Under the bus".  Nokia Maps is apparently very good and it sounds like Microsoft is giving up on their own Street's and Tips solution in favor of it.  But I'm not gonna buy the L920 because of the apps included.  I'm buying it because of the superior hardware combined with a superior operating system.  I could care less if Nokia is promoting Windows 8.  Mircosoft MUST promote all the windows phones (particulary the flagship phones).  It comes down to them having the superior device based on hardware spec's.  I've never owned a Nokia Phone.  What is drawing me to the L920 is a combination of the hardware and the operating system.  If HTC put out a phone on par with the L920, I'd probably go with that since HTC would be cheaper.  My original post was solely about the possibility of Microsoft buying out Nokia and the benifets of such a venture.

How is the 8x not on par? One has pureview, the other a dedicated image chip..one has Dolby, the other beats audio , amd specs wise they are the same aside from on board storage so I just don't understand the argument. Oh wait, you can use gloves with the Nokia...is that it? Lol

jcagga says:

Think about all the great note apps taking advantage of lumia 920s screen. I for one can use OneNote app with my pencil in lecture. Sure 8x has beats amplifier, is that technologically revolutionizing? No. lumia 920 is the very first phone to have resistance/capacitive hybrid screen.

Rob41664 says:

Some of us Nokia fanboys have been with WP from the beginning. I have had both the Samsung and HTCs and neither has been even remotely close to the support Nokia offers. The entire ecosystem is benefitting from Nokia and all handsets will be getting Drive and other apps that Nokia has gotten in board. Either HTC or Samsung could have gotten money from MS had they bothered to promote their devices at all.

Nokia has no choice, they have to win back their customers from Samsung and showing a huge level of support is a good way to do it. HTC and Samsung have huge portfolios, and what, windows made up maybe 1 percent? You gotta spend resources on what sells and makes you money, every company does that, and if the 8x sells well, you will see a similar level of support as Nokia..

jessecabrera says:

Nice looking phone...a bitch to hold

NIST says:

Wouldn't that phone mockup need to be in screaming yellow or baby blanket blue?

I plan to get a black Lumia or 8X. Colors are NOT for me, a grown man!

Yes I would like this, along next to my courier please :-). But in all seriousness, I think they should sell a phone. Competition is always good and raises the bar of expectation. I say sell a phone unlocked in Microsoft Stores (only) at a price of $499 and let it have the works. Leave it up to the other OEM's to differentiate or to make their phone better than "the bar" set by Microsoft.

mythos13 says:

I don't believe it at all. There is no way Microsoft would pull such a ruthless stunt. They still haven't got over how they took down Netscape but throwing Nokia under the bus would be far worse. It would make me anti-Microsoft.

Plus I don't think they could ever make phones as compelling as Nokia does anyway--technology like Pureview, Navteq,etc have been in development for years.

Microsoft will own Nokia sooner than later.

OMG55 says:

If it would make you anti-MS, how do you feel about Apple? their trying to take Samsung out over icon frames with rounded corners, because the phones themselves look nothing like the iphone IMO. after-all, it's the device design that attract people before they see the OS. However, manufacturers are trying to change this now by highlighting what the device can do. Have you seen the, " The Next Big Thing Is Already Here" commercial by Samsung? The only physical feature they mentioed in the commercial was screen size, everthing else was about functionality. They know that design-wise, they cannot compete against apple, so they change strategy to feature comparison's and everyone else is doing the same with the excepion of WP8; WP8 along with Nokia & HTC are now attempting to compete on a design + features level.

Just focusing in on one thing here: As for the HTC phones being the "pure" Windows Phones, at least in naming, it's actually a rather smart move for Nokia to remain the "Lumia" company. In reality, many people are turned off by the Windows branding. There is a misplaced stigma regarding a lack of security and speed. However, the Lumia brand is new, unfamiliar to most, and so far mostly positive. Nokia distancing themselves from the Windows Phone branding strengthens them, even though it shouldn't be so.

As for HTC, being the "flagship" for the platform with some very aesthetically pleasing and reasonably high performing phones which fall into line with a hardware image set forth by Nokia should hopefully strengthen perception of the WP brand itself.

Hopefully the two pronged attack works for MS. Have what most would agree will be the best overall smartphone on the market for the year (Lumia) which people realize after the fact is a Windows Phone, AND have a very attractive, fast, reasonably thin phone to be the headliner.

doctorweir says:

Nice concept art. However to be fully surface and even sexier, its needs the angled sides.
Now it looks a bit brick-ish...

David Ray says:

PLEEEAAAASSEEE!!!!!! All joking aside. The phone looks slick (I know its a concept). But a surface phone and a surface tablet would be rockin and rollin. Bring it on.

vtgts300kw says:

Would make more sense for Microsoft to partner up more closely with Nokia, perhaps Microsoft branded handsets?

kullkid92x says:

i see this in another perspective. one that benefits all. a user mentioned it above and i think it makes sense. nokia has the lumia line going for them, alot of people are putting the 900, 710, or 800 in its own smartphone category. little do they care its running a microsoft OS. but here is where HTC comes in with those new live colors and two-tone handsets. those are no lumias so maybe now people start noticing on that HTC phone is running a microsoft OS called windows phone. oh wait isnt that lumia phone from nokia also running that OS? and BAM you have 2 pronged attacks working for MS. anyone else get me? lol

gmantione says:

Once I envisioned some more punctuation in this... Yes I do indeed get you =D

bilzkh says:

The Surface is an image for the Windows 8 brand, something people instinctively think of when they hear Windows 8. That may be the best rationale for having a MS phone, to have people image hardware inspired by the software...

For that reason, I think we're past the prospect of a MS phone. Instead I think we'll see MS use the "Signature" branding to denote an image for the software. With WP7 it was Samsung Focus and Nokia Lumia 800, with WP8 it is HTC 8X (for now).

I think we'll see each Windows Phone OEM design a signature product with input from MS, each inspired by software that share similarities, but are distinctively different and reflect the OEM culture a bit.
Eventually you'll see the 3 signature phones of the year plastered all over Microsoft websites, posters, banners and adverts promoting Windows Phone.

Dethzilla says:

Fact is.. Microsoft pooped in Nokia when they announced the 900 wouldn't get windows 8. Nokia single handedly stopped the small declining market share of the platform. But what pisses me off is that Microsoft was so damn secretive about it... They knew when the pushed that phone into our hands that the next Gen software wouldn't run on that hardware....

I wouldn't put it past Microsoft to shit on Nokia and HTC.

t-bill says:

I'm about as non-techie as you can get, and I was well aware that WP8 would run on multiple cores and would be written with a different code or "language." (See, I don't even know the right terms). When I bought my NL900 in April, I knew there was no way my phone could handle WP8. There was no "secretive" aspect to this. If a dumb old fart like me can see it, there's no excuse for more technologically literate (read "younger") people to play the victim.
Change happens. WP7 products had to jeep the seat warn and build excitement while the new OS was being finished. Improvements, updates, and even some features are still being added for all WP7.x phones.
In my experience, Nokia is going above and beyond to support their customers, to continue developing products for WP7 and 8, and they have contributed mightily to the WP ecosystem.

t-bill says:

*keep the seat warm

gmantione says:

Well-put =D. Though I prefer to call it "jeeping the seat warn," =D.

If we could custom build our phones like people custom build their PCs, I would make this. I'm imagining. Lol.

something tells me I should just buy a 900 out of contract. and wait to see if these rumors are true.

Ecurb87 says:

That's my plan. I'm constantly looking for a 900 for low price. I wanna see what comes out after the new year. After what happened with the release of the 900 and then WP8 was announced, I'm waiting. ATT allows you to upgrade 6 months earlier before contract matures, unless its an iPhone, so I'll wait 'til then. That will be around May for me so I look forward to the future post here about the new WP;-)

macastle says:

If Microsoft makes a phone there is no doubt I will wait for it. I would love to have a matching Surface phone.

SmoothDog says:

I'd love to have a Surface phone...but I think it looks too much like an iPhone AND if I'm not mistaken MS and Apple have agreed not to copy each other. I suspect that this would fall under this agreement, right?

macastle says:

Something Nokia and HTC is not talking about is how it will handle DirectX and graphic power. I wonder if this MS phone if real will make use of GPU and DX.

JustSumUser says:

"Within the Snapdragon S4 processor, you’ll find the Adreno 225 GPU. [..] It’s the same graphics component that’ll enable the Nokia Lumia 920 and 820 to not only play the latest DirectX 3D games, but also drive HD content and support 720p displays at 60fps."
http://conversations.nokia.com/2012/09/28/7-ways-the-snapdragon-s4-makes-the-nokia-lumia-920-amazing/

Ecurb87 says:

Cool looking device. Bottom line for me is I don't care who makes the device as long as the OS is still alive, has latest hardware & software available and is well constructed.

Glim12808 says:

If it comes to a point where MS would need to make their own phones, would be the day when Nokia would already be owned by MS. So no matter how you look at it, there would still be Nokia phones. Hope this doesn't come to pass though.

Bacchus1976 says:

Everything in the article is true, but that is one gorgeous render. I'd buy it.

ridie1389 says:

I'd only go for the phone if Microsoft takes the initiative the the Surface, Nexus 7, MiPhone 2 are taking

MistaWet says:

How long is the deal between Nokia and MS?  Also, if it's only the phone design we're talking about then any one of the two (HTC/Nokia) could make this phone.   Actually, based on design language I couldn't see any of the two major hardware OEMs making this beauty.  
 
 

ben55124 says:

As a straight talk byop customer, I would welcome a wp8 priced for off contract. Could be niche for MSFT to grow byo phone model in USA.

JoeDizzle33 says:

Is it me or does that look a lot like an iPhone. Just saying.

mjrtoo says:

I was going to post that, very iPhone like.

WP7WasMyIdea says:

That phone concept is unreal. Put that in a commercial and people will take notice.

wormy6 says:

We need to see 2 things from Windows 8 right now.  There are 2 giant gaps:

  1. Phones with <4.2" screens and weights that are comparable or lighter than Apples phone
  2. eBook 6-8" tablet

If microsoft did release either of these things the product would not be in direct competition with its partners.  Also I would be very happy because I do not need a large phone!

conair346 says:

Everyone needs to stop winding each other up over who's greater or deserves the bus+throw equation. I love Nokia, I was happy with Symbian as it had apps, it had a great camera, it had a customizable home screen and most of all Nokia's winning hardware. Even before that my first phone was a 3210, upgrading from there there were always other options - I even had a Razr and it was great. When Nokia effectively killed Symbian by announcing the move to WP I was excited but pissed I actually needed a new phone and killing the N8 and E7 etc. I got an HTC Mozart and it was brilliant, sold it for a L900 which was epic. Sadly now rocking a L710 and I wish I had my Mozart again.
Each partner has an equal right to feel miffed at a possible in house developed phone. They'll get over it and innovate harder to make up. Just because they can't skin a full OS doesn't stop them bringing the HTC Hub or Nokias App Highlights to entice people to their hardware.
Personally I am eyeing up a L920 but I can wait for network pricing and deals.
Ps the US isn't the be all and all of the world markets. In the EU people are getting wary of Apple and in select markets the correct placements and ads are working. I watched hollyoaks for the first time in about a year all characters had a Nokia, mostly Lumias and the village billboards had Lumia adverts. Its targeting the right people and use of the phones on the set seems natural, its not a full scale advert blatantly in your face about it.
There's more than 3 car brands, 3 TV brands and 3 kitchen goods brands. Not everything boils down to a big three, market share is gaining traction and for those of you blinded by the stars and stripes look at a map and look East across the Atlantic.

I think Ms is not going to make a Phone,If they make a phone, Nokia has every rights to Jump into Android & then No one will Stop them,there phones will sell like hot cakes, there shares will rise, I m a Huge fan of Nokia & many of them liked Windows Phone after Nokia committed to make Windows Phone. Even MS cannot Market the Windows Phone like the way Nokia does, MS beware you may be the No 1 SOFTWARE company in the World, but Beware of Nokia & be Loyal to them.

vitaliano says:

If they make a phone, that means Nokia will not be an independent company. Also, I don't see HTC sticking around for long after that, even less so Samsung. But any of this is at least a year away. My hope of course is that W8 would be that bulldozer which will help WP8. I count days till the 26th.

ebradley says:

Didn't MS say recently they were going to leave no stone unturned or something along those lines?

wsantiago says:

This would be my next phone. Love the edge to edge display! Any takers (OEMs) out there?

renisans says:

Will not happen, but if by some infinitesimal chance it is true, Elop will be canned, and Nokia will jump into the Android pool.

And no Microsoft exec will helm another corporation ever again.

JustSumUser says:

Well, none of us saw much evidence of the Surface back in May either. And as you say, "they can keep a hardware secret".

Murgatroyd7 says:

Already preordered it.

DavidinCT says:

Really ? Where ?

Murgatroyd7 says:

...It was a joke.

DallasFann says:

I think as others have said this could also just be a misinformation campaign to slow the WP8 at launch. Its a stretch to go there but just like every tech article loves on everything appl ethey can be counted on to trash anything WP.

iSeeiSheep says:

Microsoft used to benefit from hardware diversity on the laptop platforms but that's not the case with smartphones.

People want their smartphones to do everything and that pushes the technology to its limits. If Microsoft fails to build its own phones it stands to reason it may lose more ground to Apple.

I never thought I'd see defense contractors allow iPhone BYOD but their doing it. From a pure policy standpoint I think it's insane but morons love Apple.

If Microsoft fails to ante up their own device soon I think their future in the smartphone game might be short.

Do forget about the phone patient Microsoft filed earlier this year!

Clesanbar says:

<p>The low cost idea seems perfect, to bad im tired of waiting and getting the Lumia 720 when it gets here</p>