A Microsoft Surface smartphone may be in the works as well, hitting store shelves in the first half of 2013.
It only seems logical that Microsoft would consider launching its own Windows Phone 8 smartphone given that the company is jumping into the tablet sector feet first with its own Windows 8-powered Surface. Like the desktop/tablet OS launching later this month (yep it's October already), the next-generation mobile OS is a big step, one that likely needs to be taken correctly so that the entire multi-platform vision – one of Microsoft’s biggest selling points – won't collapse.
The latest news circulating in the Microsoft rumor mill is that the Redmond company plans to release its own Windows Phone 8, Surface-labeled smartphone in the coming months. The manufacturer behind the supposed device shouldn't be much of a surprise – Nokia – but there's also indication that Samsung may be a possible candidate as well. Both are currently high-profile Windows Phone 8 partners.
An unnamed source told BGR that like the Surface tablets, Microsoft has been quietly working on the Surface smartphone for a while. It will reportedly compete directly with high-end smartphones like Apple's iPhone 5 and Samsung's Galaxy S III, as well as Windows Phone 8 smartphones released by its partners. The handset is currently in the late stages of development, the sources said.
A report published by China Times backs up the rumors regarding the phone's "Surface" branding, and even states that the device will hit the market in the first half of 2013. An additional unnamed source agreed, reporting that Microsoft has no plans to release its own Surface smartphone during the first round of Windows Phone 8 device launches.
Releasing a Surface phone in the first half of 2013 would make sense, even more so next June. Microsoft is expected to launch the next Xbox during E3 2013 next summer, the final piece in Microsoft's Windows 8 multi-screen puzzle. It wouldn't be surprising to see Microsoft implement Surface-specific connectivity features into the next-generation console to help drive huge sales on all four Windows 8-based screens (desktop, tablet, smartphone, console) by the end 2013.