Microsoft’s Windows Phone 8 platform, set to become official before the end of this month and expected to hit shelves on new devices in early November, should prove a great update when compared to the previous versions of the mobile operating system.
It will be loaded on a nice range of new smartphones coming from leading handset vendors such as Nokia, HTC, Samsung and others, and is expected to spur sales and help the Redmond-based company return to the battle on the smartphone OS segment.
However, the software giant is also rumored to have a plan B in place – provided that its partner's handsets aren't successful enough –, one that involves the launch of a Microsoft-branded device sometime next year.
As expected, the company did deny such rumors, yet that doesn’t mean that they do not have a chance to pan out.
In fact, we may now believe more than ever that Microsoft might be indeed considering the launch of its own Windows Phone 8 handset, one that might indeed feature the Surface name, just as previously rumored.
The reason is a simple one. Microsoft is changing, and the company’s CEO Steve Ballmer is the one saying that, mentioning “a fundamental shift” in the company’s business in a letter to shareholders published on October 9.
Furthermore, he notes that Microsoft is now a devices and services company, and that its business strategy involves working with hardware partners for the launch of appealing products, including mobile phones.
“There will be times when we build specific devices for specific purposes, as we have chosen to do with Xbox and the recently announced Microsoft Surface,” he continues
Ballmer’s sayings might be seen as a hint at company’s plans for releasing its own mobile phone, even if no specific mentioning of such a handset is being made in the aforementioned letter.
However, provided that such a device is indeed under development, it should arrive on shelves as a great symbiosis of hardware and software, so that users benefit from the greatest experience a Windows Phone handset could offer.
We did mention before that such a Microsoft product would prove to be for the mobile operating system what the Surface tablet should be for Windows 8, and Ballmer’s vision of devices and services integration confirms it.
For the time being, the possible launch of a Surface phone from Microsoft – be it under this or another name – is only a supposition, one that might not pan out until next year, if the latest rumors on the matter are to be believed.
One way or the other, we do believe that it would not be far-fetched to assume that the Redmond-based software giant did leave a door open for the possible launch of its own-branded smartphone, in an attempt to spur sales.
After all, Google did it with the Nexus lineup, Apple did it with its iPhone series, and Microsoft themselves are on the verge of doing it for Windows 8 with the Surface tablet PC.
Of course, there is also the question of specs, functionality and price, three important factors when it comes to the market performance of a new smartphone, especially if it is one coming from Microsoft.
If it was to pack top-of-the-line hardware, the Surface phone would outshine flagship phones from Nokia and other manufacturing partners, which might make them angry, that’s for sure, an effect similar with the one created by the Surface tablet among PC makers earlier this year.
Priced correctly and released globally, however, it might indeed end up helping Windows Phone gain some more market share, something that Microsoft would certainly expect from it. What remains to be seen is whether the phone is indeed in the books at Microsoft, and when exactly it is set to be released if so.