Surface Phone: Microsoft May Launch Smartphone In 2013 As Windows Phone Fails To Win Customers

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By VALLI MEENAKSHI RAMANATHAN | October 4, 2012 10:57 PM EST

Though Microsoft has repeatedly denied launching a Windows phone, sources have confirmed that the company is indeed considering launching a Windows phone device as 'Plan B,' The Verge reported. This news gains importance especially since Windows Phone has not taken off as it should have with hardware partners.

The Redmond giant, first, made its hardware interests public with the unveiling of Surface tablets this year. Hence, Microsoft's own phone device has to be viewed as an extension of its hardware plans.

Previous attempts by the company to launch its own brand of smartphones named Kin phones, failed miserably, VentureBeat reported, adding, however, it does not imply that Surface phone would meet a similar fate.

In launching Windows Phone hardware, Microsoft may take the path adopted by Google, which has launched its own Nexus line. With Nexus, the search giant can push updates without waiting for carriers, VentureBeat has pointed out.

The very news of Microsoft launching its own range of tablets triggered a harsh reaction from its long-term partners, which finally subsided after the Redmond-based organization clarified it to be a design-standard for hardware partners and not a full-scale venture. Now, with news of Surface phone making the rounds, it is not clear how the hardware partners will react to such a venture.

While Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer has been stating that Microsoft is transforming into a devices-and-services company, how far the Windows ecosystem will appeal to consumers and business who continue to focus on mobile devices has become a point of contention, especially as its moves in the direction that seems to be maligning long-term partners while trying to create new customers.

As of now, partners appear to be in the dark about the Surface phone as they were about tablets. In a separate interview to The Verge, Nokia CEO Stephen Elop stated he has "no indications they are planning to do their own phone."

Reportedly, the smartphone is likely to compete directly against high-end devices such as Apple's iPhone 5, Samsung's Galaxy S III and with Windows Phones built by vendor partners, BGR has indicated.

Sources familiar with the development confirmed to BGR that the handset is in the final stages of development and will launch in coming months. 

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