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Microsoft developing NVIDIA-based mobile phone - report

Microsoft will announce its entry into the smartphone arena early next year with an iPhone rival build around NVIDIA's new system-on-a-chip (SoC) for small form factor mobile devices, according to a new report.

"What do you get if you take an iPhone, remove the clean UI, user friendliness, nice industrial design, battery life, cachet, functional OS, and in general everything else that makes it worthwhile?," writes the Inquirer. "The new Microsoft phone, powered by NVIDIA."

The satirical report, which otherwise appears to be making genuine claim, says the Redmond-based software giant will unveil the device at February's 3GSM conference in Barcelona with shipments expected to follow shortly thereafter.

Though specific functions and features were not discussed, the Inquirer cited "well-placed sources" who say the device will be powered by one of NVIDIA's upcoming all-in-one Tegra chips.

According to Wikipedia, Tegra will be made available in three variants: the Tegra 600 for GPS and automotive markets, the Tegra 650 for large handhelds and notebooks, and the Tegra APX 2500 for smartphones.

The Tegra APX 2500 is said to include a 600 MHz MPCore Processor, support for a 12 megapixel camera, GeForce ULV support for OpenGL ES 2.0, up to 720p H.264 decoding, and NVIDIA nPower technology that could enable over 10 hours of HD video playback and up to 100 hours of audio.

The first Nvidia Tegra-based devices are expected to begin shipping in mid-2009.