According to a report by the Wall Street Journal, Microsoft is currently testing components for a smartphone. There is no confirmation whether the testing will result in an actual mass-produced product, but - if the information is correct - this may be yet another sign that Microsoft is moving closer to Apple's product strategy.
During the launch of Windows Phone 8, Microsoft neither confirmed nor denied speculation that the company is working on a smartphone. The company stated that it is happy that Nokia, Samsung and HTC expect to be offering Windows Phone 8 devices by the end of the year and declined to comment on questions about a Microsoft phone. According to IDC, Windows Phone currently holds only 2.0 percent of the smartphone market with an estimated 3.6 million devices that shipped in the third quarter - compared to 136.0 million Android phones.
It does not take much insight to conclude that Windows Phone has not had the impact Microsoft is hoping for and there is more concern about its relationship with Nokia. So far, Nokia has not shown the determination and innovation that would be required to turn Windows Phone around. Surface is a demonstration of Microsoft that the company is not going to wait for compelling products from its partners. If Nokia cannot follow through with a breakthrough Windows Phone device, a device designed by Microsoft that is capable of better capturing the strengths of the operating system may turn out to be catastrophic for Nokia, whose entire product strategy is focused on Windows Phone with no backup plan in place.
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I think that MS is moving in that same sort of direction, saying that 'this is the way we think hardware should be', and it all works together with the 'full expierence'. But if you purchase a product from someone else, it will integrate just fine with the other parts. Even if you move to a different ecosystem, such as Android or OSX you can still link certain aspects which are software agnostic services, and get by just fine in life. It is not the total experience, but it is still functional.
In this case you will have the WP8 Surface, Surface tablet, and the Nextbox as their desktop PC replacement. All 3 devices share the same basic OS at their heart, and all work together, but they are not a closed group of hardware like apple products tend to be. You can install smartglass on your other branded phone, and have it work with your xBox or nextbox. You can network your macbook and have access to your network files, etc. Where as in apple land you cannot have a PC read files from your apple network, and it can be a pain to sync data between your android phone and iMac, etc.
At any rate, in the end Sony tried to close the system and become exclusive, and failed miserably (at first because they could not get departments to work together, and later because of QC issues). And most other companies who have closed the loop entirely have simply been abandoned and left for dead. MS knows this, and they know that they are not Apple, and could never get away with what apple has done. And with more crap products like we see with the new iMac and iPad mini I doubt it will be long that Apple can remain being Apple as well... but maybe it is just a growing pain they will move past.
Anyway, all i'm concluding is that it won't launch in my country too soon, since we don't have much of this carrier locking thing.