A lot of people think Microsoft is working on its own smartphone – Steve Ballmer has regularly been saying recently that more Microsoft hardware is on the way is the company shifts to a “devices and services” business model.
The latest rumour surfaced by the Wall Street Journal is that said Microsoft phone is already in testing with component suppliers in Asia as Microsoft looks to nail down its design plans before committing to an end product.
We're not told exactly who these suppliers are, but the WSJ says one of its sources reckon the screen of the model they saw (the above image is just a concept render, by the way) measured between four and five inches – hardly a surprise there.
Crucially, the sources reckon Microsoft hasn't actually committed yet to put a smartphone device into mass production, although arguably only Microsoft would know that.
And speaking in an unrelated interview with the Journal this week, Ballmer was happy to toe the company line and push its leading Windows Phone 8 partners rather than comment on speculation about its own movements.
“We're quite happy this holiday [season] going to market hard with Nokia, Samsung and HTC,” . Ballmer said in the interview. “Whether we had a plan to do something different or we didn't have a plan I wouldn't comment in any dimension.”
Whether that last part is true is debatable, as Ballmer certainly can't be accused of lacking natural enthusiasm for what he does, and you get the feeling he'd want to tell people as soon as there was something to say – he's very much a “better out than in” kind of guy, in other words.
But he did a pretty good job of keeping the Microsoft Surface tablet quiet, and he's obviously going to do what he thinks is best for Microsoft either way.
Of course, whether releasing a smartphone in the first place actually falls into that category at all is another matter. At least it can't be worse than the KIN.