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Microsoft may be developing own Windows Phone 8 handset, says analyst

While the entire tech industry is still reeling from Microsoft's introduction of its Surface tablet, a new whisper about another hardware surprise has gathered steam in some quarters. According to one analyst, Microsoft may be working on introducing its own handset for Window Phone 8, which also made its debut this week.

According to Reuters, Nomura analyst Rick Sherlund told his clients yesterday that "industry sources tell us that Microsoft may be working with a contract manufacturer to develop their own handset for Windows Phone 8... It is unclear to us whether this would be a reference platform or whether this may be a go-to market Microsoft-branded handset."

When reached for comment, a Microsoft spokesperson would neither confirm nor deny the report, and would only tell Reuters "[Microsoft is a] big believer in our hardware partners and together we're focused on bringing Windows Phone 8 to market this year."

This latest rumour is no doubt spurred by Monday's Surface announcement. The device's attention to detail, feature set and overall fit and finish highlighted the fact that Microsoft appeared to be raising the bar for its own partners and targeting the Apple iPad. We're still waiting on pricing and availability, however.

If Microsoft decides against making its own handset, plenty of partners have already committed to Windows Phone 8, including Qualcomm, Nokia, HTC, Huawei, ZTE and Samsung.