Microsoft is working with Asian suppliers to create its own Windows Phone hardware, says the Wall Street Journal.
You could be forgiven for asking, "Didn't Microsoft just launch its own phones?" But those new Windows Phone 8 models run software from Microsoft on hardware built by Nokia and HTC, while the rumored phone in question would be Microsoft through and through.
Controlling both hardware and software is the model long held by Apple, adopted by Google as well in recent years. (At least in part: Google still licenses its Android operating system to companies like Samsung, and its flagship Nexus phone is built by LG; its own hardware company, Motorola, has yet to graduate to home team status.) By producing all parts of the mobile device, including online services, it is possible to provide a more integrated, predictable experience for the user.
This isn't the first time we've heard reports of Microsoft's purported moves into phone hardware. And any forays into first-party hardware may simply be a backup plan in case Windows Phone 8 fails to gain traction with customers on other partner devices.
But as the recent launch of the Microsoft Surface proves, Microsoft is willing to take steps into hardware manufacturing that seemed alien to the company as recently as a year ago.
Joel Johnson is a tech & science reporter who lives in Brooklyn.