When Microsoft announced the Surface tablet in June, a few PC manufacturers immediately condemned the decision, with Acer going to far as to tell Microsoft that it should “think twice” before releasing the device. Nokia, however, feels exactly the opposite about Microsoft’s premiere hardware brand. During an investor call, Nokia CEO and former Softie Stephen Elop expressed interest in a Surface phone, noting that it would “certainly [be] a stimulant to the [Windows Phone] ecosystem.” The same goes for any exciting device from Microsoft’s Windows Phone partners.

Rumors of a Surface running the Windows Phone OS began to – erm – surface a few months ago. According to the most recent report, the device is most likely in the final stages of development and due sometime early next year. With all of the excitement surrounding Surface with Windows RT tablet, Surface with Windows Phone 8 could be just the thing the platform needs. But while a Surface phone would compete directly with Nokia’s Lumia handsets, Elop isn’t worried.

“We’re very proud of the unique differentiation that we are bringing to the Windows Phone platform. It’s not something that’s easily replicated or reinvented or anything like that.”

It’s unlikely that we’ll hear about the device at Microsoft’s Windows Phone 8 launch event on October 29, but you never know what the Redmond-based devices and services company might have in store.

[The Verge]