Microsoft Windows Mobile Alert: Pink Prep Plans Percolate

Is Microsoft's "Pink" phone project back on the front burner -- or at least on the side burner?

Gadget site Gizmodo claims to have come into a pile of marketing materials for the phantom Microsoft-branded (NASDAQ: MSFT) mobile device that it says indicates the top U.S. mobile carrier, Verizon Wireless, will be one of the software giant's launch partners.

"Today, we can confirm: Pink is coming, and Verizon's the carrier," said a post on Gizmodo Thursday.

Gizmodo has been trumpeting news of Pink -- the codename for the as-yet-unconfirmed, Microsoft smartphone -- since last September, when it obtained what it claims are photos of the device. The Pink phones will be built by Sharp, according to the site.

That's the same OEM that built the T-Mobile Sidekick phone for Danger, a wireless services firm that Microsoft bought out two years ago last month. Danger, which initially marketed its mobile devices under the Hiptop brand with Flextronics as the manufacturer, designed not just the phone but oversaw a range of custom mobile services. Among the capabilities that Danger's software and services provided were instant messaging, e-mail, Web browsing, social networking and personal information management -- all in a consumer-friendly device that made waves when it first debuted in 2002.

Microsoft's Secret Mobile Device Not on Latest Windows Mobile Software?

Although last year's leaked materials included photos of two possible Pink smartphones, the latest marketing documents show only one -- which Gizmodo refers to as the "Turtle" -- a messaging phone with a real keyboard that slides vertically out the bottom side of the unit, not unlike the original Danger Hiptop and Sidekick models.

However, Gizmodo said that Pink does not appear to be set up to run Microsoft's new mobile operating system, Windows Phone 7 Series, which the software giant launched last month at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.

For one thing, at least in the photos, Pink does not appear to have the three dedicated buttons -- Home, Back, and Search -- that the Windows Phone 7 Series operating system specifications call for in compatible devices. Neither do the photos show the device's user interface design.

Altogether, though, the latest purported information seems to ask more questions than it answers, Gizmodo said.

"If it's a replacement for the Sidekick, the obvious question is, is anyone asking for a replacement for the Sidekick? If it's just a Microsoft-branded feature phone, er, why?"

For its part, Microsoft is being silent on the topic, as usual.

"We haven't announced anything by that name, and I can only comment on initiatives that are public and in market," a Microsoft spokesperson said in an e-mail to InternetNews.com.

Stuart J. Johnston is a contributing writer at InternetNews.com, the news service of Internet.com, the network for technology professionals.


Microsoft, mobile device, Windows Mobile software, Pink, Microsoft Windows Mobile