For months, rumours have suggested that Microsoft might be working on releasing its own smartphone, but so far the company's CEO, Steve Ballmer, has been mum on the subject. Now a report originating in Asia indicates that the company might already be producing its own handset.
Citing a source in the supply chain, Digitimes said that Foxconn has received orders from Microsoft for a handset scheduled for release some time in middle of 2013. The report also indicates that the handset would feature the Windows Phone 8 operating system. Some are referring to the rumoured device as the "Surface phone," an indication that the handset might share some design and functionality DNA with the Surface tablet, but Microsoft hasn't offered any firm indication that if it does release a phone it might somehow mimic the look and feel of the company's new tablet device.
As recently as three weeks ago, rumours swirled that Microsoft was already testing its own handset with Asian suppliers, but when directly questioned about the report, a spokesperson would only say that the company, "does not comment on rumor or speculation."
While the notion of a Microsoft-branded smartphone for 2013 would indeed rank as big news, the report also indicates that another tech giant is working on releasing a phone around the same time: Amazon. The report claims that Foxconn has also received orders from the Seattle-based company, known primarily for its Android-based Kindle tablet devices, to manufacture phones that would presumably compete with the likes of Apple's iPhone and Samsung's Galaxy S3.
Rumours about an Amazon smartphone also made the rounds earlier this year ahead of the company's Kindle Fire HD release, but Amazon has not yet made any announcements.
Digitimes, of course, has a rather spotty record when it comes to gadget rumours, so take the latest reports with a grain of salt. The report also claims that Foxconn's production agreement on both devices would be limited in terms of volume, indicating that the initial fabrication may indeed be limited to a testing phase for the handsets.