Microsoft may only just have made its tablet ambitions known with the announcement of the Windows 8-powered Surface, but analysts are already speculating over what the company's next move in the mobile space will be.
Well, according to long-time Microsoft watcher Rick Sherlund of Noruma, that next move will be an own-brand smartphone to cuddle up next to its debut tablet.
The arrival of the Surface has unsurprisingly been a big talking point this week, but it had to give up some of the spotlight to make way for Windows Phone 8 Apollo, which also became official in what has been a busy week for the software giant.
But with the Surface now out of the bag and both Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 getting ready to be released into the wild, Sherlund suggests Microsoft is now switching its attention to an in-house Apollo-fuelled smartphone.
“Our industry sources tell us that Microsoft may be working with a contract manufacturer to develop their own handset for Windows Phone 8,” Sherlund wrote in a note to investors.
“It is unclear to us whether this would be a reference platform or whether this may be a go-to-market Microsoft-branded handset.”
For its part, Microsoft isn't giving anything away, though its decidedly open-ended comment that it is a “big believer in our hardware partners and together we're focused on bringing Windows Phone 8 to market this year” falls a long way short of being an actual denial.
If the rumours are indeed true we can only hope Microsoft has learned something from the appallingly ill-conceived KIN duo that made a fleeting appearance on the scene last year before swiftly disappearing again not long after.