Microsoft to launch its own Windows Phone 8 smartphone in first half of 2013?

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Numerous rumors have been heard about Microsoft’s own Windows Phone 8 smartphone, now we come to hear another one. According to a report in China Times, the Windows-maker, Microsoft has been working on its own Windows Phone 8 for almost four months now, and has already chosen an assembly partner.

Other media websites also report claiming the Redmond-based company has mobile hardware ambitions. The phone is supposedly in testing now, and is unique from all existing Windows Phone 8 hardware.

This isn’t the new talk of a Windows Phone from Microsoft. In June, Nomura analyst Rick Sherlund wrote in a note to clients that “Microsoft may be working with a contract manufacturer to develop their own handset for Windows Phone 8”.

Earlier, a spokesman said Microsoft is a “big believer in our hardware partners and together we’re focused on bringing Windows Phone 8 to market this year”. But Microsoft did not confirm or deny the statement.

We can imagine two possible angles for Microsoft doing their own phone. One is the Google-Nexus route of selling their own hardware, direct to customers with no carrier interference.

The other reason maybe Microsoft wanted a contingency plan—in case the Windows Phone 8 launch doesn’t go well and the currently announced devices don’t catch on. Nokia could be in trouble financially and Microsoft would need another dedicated hardware partner.

With a number of high-profile partners like Nokia and Samsung secured for the launch of Windows Phone 8 later this fall, a trusted source informed BGR several weeks ago that Microsoft is quietly working on an own-brand smartphone that will compete directly with high-end devices like Apple’s iPhone 5 and Samsung’s Galaxy S III, and also with Windows Phones built by its own vendor partners, of course.

China Times on Monday published a report stating that Microsoft’s smartphone will launch under the “Surface” brand — which is quite fitting, of course — and it will become available in the first half of 2013. But China Times does not report anything on its possible price and features on these upcoming smartphones.

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