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'Microsoft to make its own Surface phones' - mutterings

Source of rumours predicted 5 of the last 2 surprises

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Microsoft has, apparently, signed up with iPhone manufacturer Foxconn to build its own handset next year, extending the Surface brand into mobile telephony.

The rumour comes from Digitimes, and tells us that "upstream suppliers" claim to be supplying parts for a new phone from Amazon too, which should make 2013 an interesting year for hardware if not the platforms on which it runs.

Digitimes has a spotty history at best, telling us that Apple would be launching a TV ready for Christmas this year, and that we’d be buying Nokia tablets (running Windows 8) by now, not to mention busy typing stuff on the fold-out keyboards the iPhone 5 is equipped with. But Digitimes did get the screen size of the iPhone 5 right, and predicted the iPad Mini with surprising accuracy, so can't be dismissed out of hand.

It would be remarkable for Microsoft to launch its own phone, given the job Nokia is doing as Redmond's hardware arm. Microsoft launched Surface (the tablet, not the table) because manufacturers were being too conservative in their designs, but Nokia's Lumia range is innovative and if Windows Phone fails it won't be down to lack of hardware.

Amazon, on the other hand, has every reason to get into the phone business so shouldn't be discounted - Kindle users often have Android phones, opening them up to an ever-present alternative to Amazon's offerings in the form of Google Play, so removing that temptation makes sense. ®

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