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Wednesday,November 22,2017

EXCLUSIVES 

Microsoft Pink Phone Coming this Summer?

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Rumours about Microsoft’s independent smartphone mobile platform - Project Pink - being released in February have resurfaced. While Microsoft’s strategy for entering this niche market at such a late stage, when brand loyalties have been established, is questionable, this seems like Microsoft's last ditch attempt to revive its marketshare in the mobile world.


Talks of Microsoft launching their own series of smartphones aren't particularly surprising if you have been following the happenings at Redmond in 2009. Rumor has it that Microsoft will reveal this smartphone, which some believe will be based on their Zune mp3 player ala iPod and the iPhone, at the Mobile World Congress in February 2010 or at the Cellular Telephone Industries Association (CTIA) Congress in March 2010.

No solid evidence on this subject existed till the 26th of January until Microsoft released a Zune PC software update that contained three new hardware identifiers. These identifiers are designed to launch appropriate hardware drivers when a particular device is connected to the PC’s USB port. The evidence is further strengthened by the fact that one of the particular drivers has been named ‘Phone.Device’. This almost clarifies the ongoing development of a Zune-like phone. It could also mean an integration of the Zune software with Windows Mobile 7 which is yet another product Microsoft has chosen to be secretive about.

Microsoft does not have a reputation for building their own hardware. So it can be assured that this job will be outsourced to an outsider, probably HTC. HTC already produces a successful line of Windows phones, but they has shown keen interest in shifting to the Android platform. Another strong contender as a hardware partner happens to be Sharp who extensively supported Danger, the developer behind the T-Mobile Sidekick building a number of GSM/UMTS Hiptop/Sidekick phones for sale in US, Canada, Australia and Europe. But that is not relevant anymore since Microsoft acquired Danger in 2008, instead of just merging the Zune and Windows Mobile divisions into a single unit (much like what Apple did) to further its mobile ambitions.

At the time, the acquisition of Danger was seen as an effort to resuscitate the struggling Windows Mobile division, which had been rapidly losing smartphone market share to RIM’s BlackBerry in the enterprise and Apple’s iPhone among consumers.

Since Danger smartphones platform were built on a JVM running on top of a NetBSD kernel, Microsoft could not just repackage the designer’s phones as their own but had to combine talents to work on a third intermediary platform.

Thus, Danger was rolled into Microsoft’s Premium Mobile Experiences group led by Roz Ho, who formerly ran Microsoft’s Mac Business Unit. Zo has said, "Combining Danger and Microsoft talents together in the Premium Mobile Experiences team is how we’re going to deliver cool, new, fun mobile experiences to consumers. We want people to smile every time they look at their phone.”

It was later revealed that Microsoft had converted Danger into “Pink,” a top secret project operating independently from Windows Mobile, with the intent of directly challenging the iPhone. This mimics Microsoft’s earlier strategy of launching the Zune against Apple’s iPod. Zune had no impact on the iPod and there isn't sufficient reason yet that indicates a contrasting result for the Pink phone.

Rumors has it that there will be at least two if not three variants of the phone aimed specifically at teenagers and another family aimed at enterprise users. Further, repeated delays of Windows Mobile 7 has seriously dented Pink’s progress and it is highly unlikely that this phone will be the ‘iPhone killer’ it was meant to be. It remains to be seen what Microsoft will do radically different that will drive consumers to switch their loyalties. 

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