Taiwan's Asustek is in talks with Microsoft about using the company's Windows Phone 8 OS in a smartphone, according to a report.
The company, perhaps best known as a manufacturer of laptop and tablet computers, is looking to expand its existing partnership with Microsoft into the smartphone space, according to a Dow Jones report that quoted Benson Lin, corporate vice president of mobile-communication products at Asustek.
Lin said Asustek is considering producing a version of its Padfone 2, a 4.7-inch Android smartphone that docks into a 10.1-inch tablet PC, using Windows Phone 8, according to the report. Lin also told Dow Jones the company is already talking with U.S. cellular carriers with a view to them offering Asustek handsets by 2014.
Microsoft launched Windows Phone 8 to critical acclaim in late 2012. The launch range of handsets came from Nokia and Taiwan's HTC and more are expected from other manufacturers as 2013 progresses.
A critical measure of its potential for success this year will come about a month from now, when the mobile telecommunications industry gathers in Barcelona for the annual Mobile World Congress expo. The event typically sets the scene for the cell phone industry for at least the first half of the year.
Throughout the report, Dow Jones quoted Lin as talking about Windows 8, although it appears that was being used as shorthand for Windows Phone 8. Windows 8 is Microsoft's equally new OS that is aimed at desktop, laptop and tablet computers.
Asustek could not immediately be reached for comment.
Martyn Williams covers mobile telecoms, Silicon Valley and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Martyn on Twitter at @martyn_williams. Martyn's e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org