It looks like Microsoft had been working on its own smartphone long before it decided to acquire Nokia. In fact, the company plans to launch the device even before the Nokia deal completes.
“We are waiting for regulatory clearances on the Nokia deal to merge the devices and hardware business, with Microsoft’s software business.
“The Microsoft-branded phone is under review, but in the meanwhile we continue to work with our partners like Huawei, Samsung and HTC for Windows OS handsets,” said Microsoft Director Vineet Durani of the Windows Phone Business Group.
Even though we have no idea what it will look like and what the hardware configuration under its hood is, there's a high chance that it will be named after the Surface tablet or something similar.
According to the latest hearsay, Nokia and Microsoft are not allowed to work together until the deal is done, which suggests that the “Surface phone” is a solo project developed by Microsoft.
“While it is difficult to comment on how Microsoft would perform with its own branded handset, considering that we haven’t seen much from them as a hardware player.
“By taking over Nokia, they will gain the device assets and manufacturing capabilities of an experienced global player, that puts them on par with other global players, and therefore in a better place than they were earlier,” concluded Anshul Gupta, principle research analyst at Gartner.
If these allegations prove accurate, Microsoft should be able to launch the “Surface phone” before it completes the acquisition of Nokia's handset and services division, which is set for Q1 2014. No other details are available for the moment, but stay tuned for more info on the matter.