Microsoft Tests Smartphone with Asia Suppliers

Microsoft already has a BFF in the smartphone space in Nokia (plus other partners willing to dance to the tune of Microsoft's Windows Phone platform), but don't rule out the possibility of the Redmond outfit launching its own branded smartphone. It's a strategy that's been working for both Apple and Google, and Microsoft could be next.

According to a report in The Wall Street Journal, Microsoft is in cahoots with overseas component suppliers to test its own smartphone design. That doesn't necessarily mean Microsoft will necessarily take the next step into mass production, but the idea is at least on the company's radar.

HTC Windows Phone 8X
HTC Windows Phone 8X

As you can imagine, details are pretty sparse on the actual design, though one of WSJ's anonymous sources said the screen currently being tested measures between 4 inches and 5 inches. For the sake of comparison, the two most popular smartphones on the planet, Apple's iPhone 5 and Samsung's Galaxy S III, feature 4-inch and 4.8-inch displays, respectively.

In a recent interview, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer voiced confidence in heading into the holiday shopping season with Nokia, Samsung, and HTC as partners in the smartphone space, but he didn't totally rule out the possibility of a Microsoft branded phone. Instead, he dodged the topic.

"Whether we had a plan to do something different or we didn't have a plan I wouldn't comment in any dimension," Ballmer said.