Why we should be happy if Samsung replicates the Galaxy S3 on Windows Phone

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Samsung has already said the company will be  concentrating on their Android devices in the summer, with a big return to the world of Windows Phone world at the end of autumn, just in time for Windows Phone 8 to be the next 'best thing since sliced bread'. But in what format? And should we be happy if their Windows Phone looks 'a bit like the Galaxy S3'?

There are vague hints and internet rumours of what Samsung's hardware will be for this year's festive period, and the Windows Phone plans appear to revolve around the re-use of existing hardware. While these might be the unsubstantiated rumours, Samsung does have form in reusing hardware designs from one operating system (Android) with another (Windows Phone). Take the Samsung Focus S and it's not long before you can spot strong echoes of the Galaxy S2.

Even before the rumour mill has started online, it would have been a smart bet to say that whatever the Galaxy S3 was going to look like, the next flagship Windows Phone from Samsung would have, how shall we put it, a strong family lineage to the S3.

Listen to the rumours and the next Focus S (shall we gamble again and say the Focus S2?) will be the Windows Phone equivalent of the Android Galaxy S3. That makes a lot of corporate sense. The design and basic moulds (and any legal protection) have already been worked through, the jump up in minimum specification for Windows Phone 8 means the hardware inside will be similar enough that production lines cold be easily switched (if not at the component level at the assembly stage), and that lends itself to a big economy of scale.

It also depresses the differentiation between Android and Windows, and shines the spotlight on the 'designed by Samsung' element, which is a good step for the South Korean company - once you've chosen the look of your phone you can then choose the OS and get the same hardware experience. It could also explain the delay to the end of the year, Samsung's factories are manufacturing S3s as fast as they can and they need to wait for the demand to slow down a bit to have room for the new Windows Phone devices.

Samsung Focus S reviewed on Tech Spot

They wouldn't be the first company to take design from one platform and move it to another - as fans of Nokia's N9 never let anyone forget, the Lumia 800 is a direct descendant of their favourite device. The difference with Samsung's approach is that Windows Phone is the 'lesser' partner on the sales floor, and Windows Phone will be the junior partner in Samsung's range.

Which, let's be honest, is where it's at. It also means that Samsung wants to stay in the Windows Phone game, and that's a good thing for Samsung, Microsoft, and the networks.

Samsung may be riding high in terms of market share and media coverage at the moment, but it all rests on the Android operating system. Hedging their bets with Windows Phone is in their best interest, if for no other reason that to use it as leverage with Google in future negotiations. Microsoft want to have as many hardware partners involved in Windows Phone as possible, and carriers who want to have Windows Phone devices will want to have more than Nokia delivering the handsets so they can play them off against each other to get the best price.

It's important Samsung stays involved with Windows Phone. If that means a design that looks spookily like an Android phone, then so be it. Samsung's presence in the Windows Phone ecosystem is more important than insisting they deliver a unique casing around the hardware.