Rumor Mill: Verizon hooking up with Microsoft on 'Project Pink' phones

Verizon Wireless will launch two phones from Microsoft in the late spring or early summer that are aimed at teenagers and are being developed under the software giant's "Project Pink" initiative, according to multiple reports.

Citing unnamed sources, both Bloomberg and Reuters reported that the phones will be aimed at users focused on social networking and text messaging. Momentum around Project Pink has been building for the past few months, and in January ZDNet reported the devices would be aimed at teenagers or twenty-somethings.

A Verizon spokeswoman declined to comment. A Microsoft spokesman did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The Bloomberg report said the devices would be made by Japanese handset firm Sharp. The phones will carry both the Microsoft and Verizon brands. The two reports came shortly after the blog Gizmodo posted marketing materials for the phone, which showed both Microsoft and Verizon's logos and came with the tagline, "Making your network more social." The blog also posted pictures of the phones, which are code-named "Pure" and "Turtle." The Pure is said to have a full keyboard, similar in many respects to the Microsoft's Danger-designed Sidekick. The Turtle is said to have a vertical sliding keyboard.

The reports are substantially different from a Wall Street Journal article last year on Project Pink that said Microsoft was in discussions with Verizon to produce a touchscreen multimedia phone running its Windows Mobile platform as a rival to Apple's iPhone.

The new rumors are notable in light of Microsoft's refreshed approach to mobile, underscored by its redesigned mobile phone operating system--Windows Phone 7 series--that debuted during last month's Mobile World Congress trade show in Barcelona, Spain.

For more:
- see this Bloomberg article
- see this Reuters article
- see this PCWorld article
- see these two posts on Gizmodo

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