updated 02:30 pm EDT, Tue April 28, 2009
MS iPhone Rival at Verizon
Microsoft is teaming with Verizon on a direct rival to the iPhone for early 2010, according to a purported leak. Few details are forthcoming, but the Wall Street Journal believes the effort relates to Microsoft's project "Pink," which outside of the report is believed to involve creating a Zune-themed reference phone design. The newspaper echoes this by saying the hardware design would have Microsoft's guiding hand but that another company is actually building the device, much as the T-Mobile G1 is influenced by Google but made by HTC.
It would also have "new software capabilities" beyond regular Windows Mobile and access to Windows Marketplace for Mobile, though all Windows Mobile 6.5 phones will have this preloaded.
Microsoft has for awhile publicly admitted that it hopes to bring certain parts of the Zune interface to Windows Mobile but has regularly tried to downplay any possibility of its entering the phone market itself, instead preferring to claim that its producing Windows Mobile for many companies will help it succeed. With Windows Mobile shrinking in influence versus iPhones and BlackBerries, though, Microsoft is being pressed to create a flagship device that represents the brand without alienating the partners it depends on for Windows Mobile.
It's unknown if the hardware would share any similarity to the Zune HD expected to ship in or near September, which may have HD video support and other advanced media features on its own.