Microsoft Phones to Launch on Verizon by Summer?

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Microsoft has long been rumored to be working on its own phone devices, with so-called “Project Pink” shaping up to be a new line of premium mobile devices directly targetingyoung, social-networking-savvy phone users rather than the stodgy IT- and corporate types who’ve long been Microsoft Windows Mobile’s biggest users. Although Microsoft did not announce any Project Pink devices at this year’s Mobile World Congress—instead outing Windows Phone 7 SeriesReuters and others are reporting that Microsoft is getting ready to launch two phones on Verizon Wireless in late sprint or early summer…and they will be Project Pink devices.

The Project Pink devices are in some ways viewed as successors to the Sidekick, which Microsoft acquired when it acquired start-up Danger a little over a year ago. Microsoft’s experience with the Sidekick hasn’t been altogether positive: although the phones have a loyal base amongst text-message-dependent youth, late last year a serious data glitch caused Sidekick users to lose all their data—although after initial dire prognostications that data were eventually recovered, the experience put a black eye on the brand and on mobile devices over-reliance on so-called “cloud” computing—although “cloud computing” is really something separate from what Sidekicks do.

Microsoft has consistently denied it is developing new mobile handsets that evolve the Sidekick line; however, reports of “Project Pink” have been consistent for the better part of a year. The initiative is separate from Microsoft’s Windows Phone 7 Series, but is likely to try to leverage Microsoft’s Zune Marketplace and other mobile and social networking offerings.

Leaked images of Project Pink devices have consistently shown small devices with rounded edges and a slide-out QWERTY keypad.

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