Sony is considering launching a Windows Phone sometime next year, according to a new report from The Information. If true, such a move would break Sony's current loyalty to Android and give Nokia some fresh competition in the Windows Phone segment. Both sides have reportedly held numerous discussions, with Sony going so far as to draw up designs for a prototype device. Any future product could be branded under Sony's Vaio line, according to The Information.

Microsoft's takeover of Nokia's devices unit seemingly hasn't given Sony any second thoughts; talks have continued even after the acquisition was first announced. But the report notes that a deal hasn't yet been finalized and plans could come undone if Microsoft and Sony disagree over licensing fees, preloaded software, and other topics. A mobile alliance wouldn't be altogether new for the pair, and older prototypes reveal that Sony has previously considered embracing Windows Phone.

Nokia's Lumia smartphones hold a commanding lead over Windows Phone hardware from Microsoft's other partners. But that's partially due to a lack of genuine competition; Samsung and HTC both remain focused on developing smartphones running Android, the world's most popular mobile operating system. For Windows Phone to succeed, Microsoft must find other vendors willing to give the platform a significant push. It's also reportedly held discussions with ZTE to produce additional low-end Windows Phone devices in the US, China, and Europe.