Microsoft and Amazon will launch own-brand smartphones mid-2013, including a Windows Phone 8 Surface.

iPhone maker Foxconn has apparently received orders from Microsoft and Amazon to build smartphones. According to Digitimes, the handsets will launch into the market around mid-2013. See also: Windows Phone 8 Apollo Plus coming in 2013.

Although Foxconn didn't comment on the issue, the Microsoft and Amazon smartphones will be initially manufactured in limited quantities. Digitimes said this might be a "new business model for the manufacturers in the future."

It has been rumoured for a while that Microsoft would make a Suface smartphone running Windows Phone 8 to complement its Surface RT tablet.

The Financial Times is reporting that Microsoft is looking to open high street retail stores in the UK. It would use them to showcase and sell their hardware like Apple does. "The company has said that it is confident about launching the first outlets during 2013, according to one person familiar with the talks" said The FT.

It's also possible that Microsoft will launch a set-top box called Xbox TV which will run on Windows 8 and allow users to play games via Xbox Live.

See also:

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