Microsoft 'Pink' Phones Due Monday? - InformationWeek

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Government // Mobile & Wireless

Microsoft 'Pink' Phones Due Monday?

Software maker said to be ready to unveil new mobile devices geared toward social networking.

Microsoft on April 12 will release two new phones that feature tight integration with social networking sites and other online tools, according to a published report.

The phones were developed under a research project known internally as "Pink." Microsoft will formally launch the devices at a press event Monday, The Wall Street Journal reported.

The newspaper said the phones will include Microsoft-designed software and services, and will be manufactured by Sharp.

Microsoft has not confirmed the report.

Pictures and other materials related to the phones leaked to a popular tech blog earlier this year. They appeared to reveal new details about two of the phones Microsoft is known to be developing under the Pink line—the Pure and the Turtle.

Apparent from the photos and documents, published by Gizmodo, is that mobile devices developed under Project Pink will run on the Windows CE operating system, which also is thought to be the core OS for Windows Phone 7 devices.

Gizmodo's photos, which also have not been confirmed by Microsoft as legitimate, indicate the Pure and the Turtle use Sidekick-style, slide-out keyboards. Gizmodo also reported that Verizon will be the network provider for both devices.

Microsoft may well intend to position the Pure and Turtle as bridge devices for consumers that aren't ready to shell out for full-featured Windows Phone 7-based devices when they hit stores in the 2010 holiday season.

The leaked photos show that interfaces for both Turtle and Pure emphasize social networking tools and other Web 2.0 features that also dominate the Windows Phone 7 interface.

Perhaps most notably, Windows Phone 7 features a start screen that rejects static icons in favor of real-time feeds from the Internet's most popular social networking sites, including Facebook and Twitter, as well as other applications. It also offers always-on access to e-mail, Xbox games, Bing search, and other tools.

Microsoft badly trails rivals like Apple, RIM, and Nokia-Symbian in the mobile platform market, a fact that has lead many pundits to declare 2010 a make-or-break year for the company in the mobile space.

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