Microsoft has refused to comment on renewed rumors over the weekend that it is planning to release two new Microsoft-branded smartphones early in 2010. Scuttlebutt of a Microsoft smartphone, labeled "Project Pink," has been drifting around the blogosphere for months, with the newest rumors suggesting that Microsoft will create two devices, code-named "Turtle" and "Pure," that include a slider form factor.
has refused to comment on rumors that it plans to roll out two branded
smartphones early in 2010, a move that would put it even more directly in
competition with Apple, Palm and Research In Motion's BlackBerry in the mobile
While Microsoft has already been battling other IT giants with its Windows
Mobile line of operating systems, the smartphones-if confirmed-would mark the
company's first move into actual smartphone devices. The rumors, widely
reported over the weekend on sites such as Engadget, suggest that Microsoft will
release two slider phones, one code-named "Turtle" and the other
That "Turtle" name apparently comes from the rumored device's boxy shape.
Rumors on sites such as 9to5Mac have
alleged that the devices will be developed hand-in-hand with the team from
Danger, which Microsoft acquired earlier in 2009 and incorporated into its
Premium Mobile Experiences (PMX) team, a division of its Mobile Communications
Business (MCB). The actual Microsoft smartphones would be manufactured by
Sharp, which also produced the Sidekick, previously a Danger product.
When contacted by eWEEK, a Microsoft spokesperson responded with a standard
issue, "Microsoft does not comment on rumor or speculation. We can only comment
on initiatives that are public and in market."
Microsoft has previously shot down rumors of an imminent move into the
smartphone space. In April, responding to rumors that it was developing a
touch-screen smartphone under the code name "Pink" with Verizon,
Microsoft told reporters that it is "not going into the phone hardware
Rumors of Project Pink have continued to persist nonetheless. The CES trade
show, slated for early January, would likely be the next big venue for a
sighting of such a Microsoft-branded device.
In the meantime, Microsoft has been attempting to make headway against the
iPhone, the Palm Pre and the BlackBerry line with the upcoming Windows Mobile
6.5, its mobile operating system. The newest version of the software includes
interface features such as improved touch capabilities and customizable widgets
designed to help it compete better in the consumer marketplace.
Paired with Windows Marketplace for Mobile, which Microsoft is hoping to
stock with some 600 downloadable applications before the new operating system's
October release, Redmond
is rolling out Mobile 6.5 on a wide variety of phones, including ones
manufactured by HTC, LG Electronics, Samsung, Hewlett-Packard and Toshiba.
Networks supporting the operating system will include AT&T, Bell Mobility,
TELUS and Verizon Wireless.
Even with increased smartphone sales in the second quarter of 2009,
Microsoft has found itself struggling to hold onto its share of the
mobile-device OS market; in that same quarter, its market share fell to around
9 percent. As part of what it hopes will be a more robust competitive profile,
Microsoft could release yet another updated mobile operating system, Windows
Mobile 7, in the fourth quarter of 2010-but that, just as with the blogosphere
reports of the two new smartphones, remains rumor for the moment.
Nicholas Kolakowski is a staff editor at eWEEK, covering Microsoft and other companies in the enterprise space, as well as evolving technology such as tablet PCs. His work has appeared in The Washington Post, Playboy, WebMD, AARP the Magazine, AutoWeek, Washington City Paper, Trader Monthly, and Private Air. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.