Asus could soon follow Nokia, HTC, and Samsung in developing handsets based on Microsoft's mobile operating system. In a recent interview with The Wall Street Journal, Benson Lin, corporate vice president of mobile communication products at Asus revealed the company has approached the software giant to discuss a licensing deal and the possibility of making a Windows version of its so-called Padfone.
The latter works as a smartphone that docks into the back of a tablet, which itself can slide into a keyboard, turning the entire thing into a convertible device running from the phone's hardware and software.
From what we can tell the Taiwanese firm has seen little success with this formula on the Android-based Padfone, but Lin believes the concept makes sense for Windows 8. That's easier said than done, however, as neither Windows Phone nor Windows 8 or RT allow that sort of flexibility with screen size.
The Verge notes that may change with a Windows update codenamed Windows Blue, expected to ship around mid-2013, that's supposed to focus on bringing Windows 8 down to smaller screen sizes and creating more interoperability between Windows and Windows Phone. This update is believed to be part of a larger initiative to bring frequent, incremental upgrades to Windows akin to Apple's approach with OS X.
There is no target timeline from Asus or any indication of Microsoft's willingness to work with them -- though I can't see why they wouldn't want to give their mobile platform a little boost. Asus is better known today for its PCs and tablets, but with smartphone shipments continuing their meteoric rise, the company is looking to get serious about the mobile space and they're interested in making Windows Phone devices.
Lin also said that Asus is talking to US carriers in the hope of bringing its smartphones to market.