After Microsoft pulled a fast one on OEM’s by launching their own homegrown tablet PC, we couldn’t help but speculate whether they’ll pull off the same stunt with Windows Phone 8, as well. We know that Nokia is one of the biggest allies, when it comes to delivering hardware for Microsoft’s mobile OS, but we couldn’t shake the feeling that the Redmond-based company was busy building their own phone secretly. In an interview with Information Week, when Greg Sullivan, Senior Marketing Manager for Windows Phone was asked if they do plan to build a reference phone in the future, he categorically denied all rumors by simply stating, “No, we do not”. Microsoft has made it clear that they are happy with the work done by OEMs, like HTC, Samsung, Nokia and Huawei. “We have a strong ecosystem of partners that we are very satisfied with,” said Sullivan.

Enter the next level in Windows mobility

No reference phone from Micooft in th works, or so they say

On the contrary, Nomura analyst Rick Sherlund released a note to their clients, sometime last week, stating that Microsoft has a deal with contract manufacturers to build Windows Phone 8 handsets. This added more fuel to the possibility that Microsoft may be working on a handset of their own, but whether or not they would launch it now or in the future is yet unknown. “It is unclear to us whether this would be a reference platform or whether this may be a go-to-market Microsoft-branded handset,” said Sherlund. “We would not be surprised if Microsoft were to decide to bring their own handset to market next year given that Microsoft has decided to bring to market their own Windows 8 Surface tablet/PC products.” Our guess is they will first see how the community responds to phones launched by their OEM partners and based on that may decide to launch a ‘reference phone’, if you will to steer OEMs in the right direction. 

Windows Phone 8 is a big deal for Microsoft when it launches, as it will help build a tighter ecosystem between their Surface tablets and desktop PCs. Microsoft claims that with Windows Phone 8, similarities between the new OS and Windows 8 will be more than just skin deep. Joe Belfiore, Head of Windows Phone states, “We’ve based the next release of Windows Phone on the rock-solid technology core of Windows 8.” Expanding on this, Belfiore states that Windows Phone and its older sibling will share common networking, security, media and web browser technology, and a common file system. These features will translate to better performance, more features, and new opportunities for app developers and hardware makers to innovate faster.

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