Microsoft is rumoured to be developing its own Windows Phone 8-powered smartphone, though one of the company's biggest partners is sceptical.
The China Times suggested that the handset could be unveiled as early as the first half of 2013. According to BGR, the phone is in the late stages of development, but will likely not be released during the first round of Windows Phone 8 device launches coming later this month.
Further details about hardware specs and a release schedule have not been reported, but WPCentral said that "when compared to current WP8 hardware it's something unique."
A Microsoft spokeswoman declined to comment directly on the rumours. "We are big believers in our hardware partners and together we're focused on bringing Windows Phone 8 to market with them," she said in a statement.
Nokia chief Stephen Elop, however, told All Things D on Tuesday that he has seen no evidence of Redmond's plan to launch its own phone. Additionally, Microsoft - like Nokia - would have trouble competing with devices like Apple's iPhone 5 and Samsung's Galaxy S3, he said.
"I have no indications they are planning to do their own phone," Elop told the site. "They can do it if they so choose."
Nokia made a major commitment to Windows Phone last year, and will roll out it newest Windows Phone 8-based Lumia 920 and 820 smartphones later this year.
The China Times said that Microsoft's phone will launch under the "Surface" brand name. Microsoft reportedly blindsided its PC partners with news of its Windows 8 Surface tablet, announced in June, so speculation that the company is secretly developing its own smartphone might not be that far-fetched.