After divulging a list of five Windows Phone 7 in recent weeks, Microsoft late yesterday moved to clarify those statements. "Microsoft has not made an official announcement on device partners for Windows Phone 7 at general availability," a Microsoft spokeswoman said late yesterday.

Her comments came after Computerworld and other websites reported that Microsoft had chosen Asus, LG, Samsung, Dell and HTC to manufacture WP7 phones. According to a July 18 Microsoft blog post, Asus, LG and Samsung are providing nearly 1,000 prototype devices for developers.

In addition, Andy Lees, senior vice president of mobile communications at Microsoft, named HTC, Samsung, LG and Dell as WP7 device makers in a keynote address at the recent Worldwide Partner Conference. Microsoft also named those four at Mobile World Congress.

All five of those manufacturers, and others, could well be the final companies that make WP7 phones, but one or more of those initially listed by Microsoft could drop out by the fall or be eliminated by Microsoft, noted analyst Jack Gold of J. Gold Associates.

"I'm sure Microsoft is positioning itself so that if one or more decide against WP7, they will be covered," he said. Also, if Microsoft said any of the five were definite now, and then one decided to bail out, Microsoft could be sued, Gold added. Any one of the five could have second thoughts, because all of them are also making Android devices and may decide against porting to another OS, Gold added. He said he believes HTC and Samsung are committed, but officials there could not be reached to comment.