Rumor Mill: Microsoft unveiling 'Project Pink' phones next week

Microsoft is planning to introduce the phones it has been developing as part of its much-rumored "Project Pink" initiative next week, according to multiple reports.

Both Reuters and the Wall Street Journal, which cited unnamed sources familiar with the matter, say Microsoft will unveil the phones, which are focused on heavy social networking users, April 12 at a media event. Verizon Wireless will carry the Sharp-made phones. According to the Journal, the software for the new phones will be similar to the software Microsoft is developing for its Windows Phone 7 devices. However, applications for the two platforms will be incompatible, the report said.

Representatives from Verizon and Microsoft did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Last month, the blog Gizmodo posted marketing materials for the phones, which showed both Microsoft and Verizon logos and the tagline, "Making your network more social." The blog also posted pictures of the phones, reportedly code-named "Pure" and "Turtle." The Pure is said to have a full keyboard, similar in many respects to Microsoft's Danger-designed Sidekick. The Turtle is said to have a vertical sliding keyboard.

The "Pink" push appears separate from Microsoft's Windows Phone 7 initiative, which is a refresh of Microsoft's smartphone platform.

Microsoft has been struggling to maintain its smartphone game, according to research firm comScore. The software giant's U.S. smartphone share dropped from 19.1 percent in November to 15.1 percent in February.

For more:
- see this WSJ article (sub. req.)
- see this Reuters article

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