Is there a Microsoft Surface Windows Phone handset incoming? The rumour has been doing the rounds a while now since the partner-bothering Surface tablet broke cover, but Microsoft has refused to deny it.
And now comes word from BRG that Microsoft plans to launch its own smartie “in the coming months”. But just because it can, doesn’t mean it should.
BGR’s source wasn’t forthcoming on any details, but now the China Times has joined in the chorus, saying Microsoft will launch its smartphone under the Surface brand, and it’ll be on sale in the first half of next year.
Microsoft’s response? It’s repeatedly refused to confirm or – crucially – deny the rumour.
As ZDNET notes, Steve Ballmer has dodged the question again and again. Here’s what he told CRN in response: “Right now we are working real hard on the Surface. That’s the focus. That’s our core. Look, we’ll see what happens. We have good partners with Nokia, HTC in the phone space. I love what we’ve got going on with the Surface. We are going to focus on Surface and our other Windows 8 Tablet partners and see if we can go make something happen.”
If this handset is on the cards, those smartphone partners will be just as unimpressed as Asus. Microsoft surprised everyone with Surface, as it’s effectively competing with anyone creating hardware for Windows 8. To do the same with Windows Phone 8 wouldn’t be commercial suicide, but it wouldn’t win Microsoft any friends.
Peeved hardware partners could always mosey on over to Google’s Android OS, after all. (Nokia previously said it sees Android as its back-up plan.) Samsung and HTC already make Android devices, and while Google is increasingly making inroads to the hardware side of things, it’s partnering with the likes of Asus and Samsung to do so.
Surface was described as a product family “to be available starting with release of Windows 8 and Windows RT.” Which suggests a smartphone could well join the gang. For everyone’s sake, let’s hope Microsoft doesn’t make it so.