It’s Surfaced again: the rumour that Microsoft is developing its own smartphone hardware in a bid to drive wider adoption of its Windows Phone OS. Ever since Microsoft distressed its desktop Windows OEMs by unveiling its own-brand tablet PC, called Surface, the logical leap required to imagine an own-brand Windows Phone has apparently been shrinking. But just because you can imagine a Surface Windows Phone, doesn’t mean it’s about to be unboxed.

Microsoft itself has certainly not been encouraging this speculation. As recently as June, Windows Phone marketing manager, Greg Sullivan, poured cold water on the suggestion Redmond is planning to jump (back) into the phone hardware business. But of course that hasn’t stopped the rumour mill spinning. The latest speculation comes via the China Times. The paper reports Microsoft has been working on a WP8 smartphone for several months with various assembly partners — and is expected…

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