Microsoft's upcoming Windows Phone 8 is likely to see a release date this fall, as manufacturers Nokia and HTC have been ramping up production of smartphones based on this platform, DigiTimes has reported.
Industry sources have told the online tech news publication that these companies are speeding up manufacturing to push out their new models ahead of Apple's iPhone 5 and a new flagship model from Samsung. Nokia is predicted to officially announce its upcoming Windows Phone 8-based Lumia device at the Nokia World event, which is scheduled for early September.
Nokia is reportedly planning to suspend development of its new Meltemi platform, the sources said to DigiTimes, and is eager to launch a new product following the stagnation in sales of its Windows Phone 7.5 release.
Although neither Nokia nor Microsoft have confirmed that a new device integrating Windows Phone 8 software will be released this September, all signs point toward that launch window. A person with "knowledge of the matter" also spoke to ZDNet, saying that Nokia will be pitching something new on around Sept. 5-6. This comes right in between a scheduled announcement from Samsung on Sept. 1 and an expected unveil from Apple on Sept. 12.
This is similar to what Nokia did a year ago at its 2011 Nokia World event in London. This date was pushed forward by a few weeks from its initial September 25-28 date, likely due to impending pressure from Apple and Samsung product launches.
"Timing is absolutely crucial; it goes without saying," Zack Whittaker of ZDNet wrote.
It is fitting that Nokia and Microsoft are collaborating on a device, as they both face the hurdle of struggling to stay relevant in a rapidly evolving mobile industry.
"Right now, it has about zilch," Whittaker wrote when referring to Nokia. "And that's me saying that in a good mood."
Last quarter, Nokia sold 600,000 handsets in North America, according to Bloomberg, and not much has changed from the previous period even after the company introduced its flagship Lumia 900 in April. Apple sold 5.9 million iPhones in the U.S. during that quarter.
As for Microsoft, the long-time PC manufacturer is undergoing its shift into the mobile landscape. The Redmond, Wash.-based company had announced its first tablet known as Surface earlier this year as it has been undergoing preparation for the Windows 8 release date. With this new operating system, Microsoft is focusing on mobile-centric features such as a tiled interface formerly known as "Metro."
Sources also expect HTC to launch multiple Windows Phone 8-based smartphones in September that range from entry level, mid-range and high-end segments, the insiders said. The electronics manufacturer has seen slower than expected sales of its One series, according to DigiTimes, and has therefore been conservative on its outlook for the third quarter. The company expects its sales to drop by 10-20 percent sequentially in this quarter.
HTC's One X has recently upgraded its operating system to Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, which is one of the newest editions Android software on the market. The most recent is Android 4.1 Jelly Bean, which Google unveiled at its I/O developer's conference and can only be found on the Galaxy Nexus devices at the moment.
There have also been recent talks of Electronic Arts and Microsoft partnering to launch some of its most popular games to the Windows Phone 8 platform.
"We're working very closely with Microsoft to understand what their views on gaming navigation are," Electronic Arts COO Peter Moore told Bloomberg. "Anything that allows more platforms to be adopted quickly that have a gaming element is good for Electronic Arts."
It is unclear exactly what this means for Windows Phone 8, but September is sure to be an exciting month for the mobile industry.