updated 10:15 am EST, Tue January 26, 2010
Zune 4.2 points to Microsoft-made phones
A low-key version 4.2 update for the Zune software (currently only available through the software itself) may have confirmed Microsoft's plans for phones with Zune features. The INF file that identifies hardware drivers includes three references to "Phone.DeviceDesc" alongside more conventional Zune listings; the description in turn points to just "phone" as the description. As they have to refer to actual devices and can't be falsely associated with someone else, the mentions hint at three Microsoft-branded phones that would need the support in the near future.
While it's not necessary that Microsoft ships hardware based on the drivers, the mentions themselves lend credence to rumors circulating around the company's Pink project. The handsets wouldn't necessarily run Windows Mobile 7 but would instead run an interface designed along with Microsoft acquisition Danger and target the same youth audience as the Sidekick. Media playback, likely borrowing the Zune interface, and social networking would be the strong points.
Rumors of Pink have only circulated around two devices, the Pure and the Turtle, rendering it unclear whether the Zune 4.2 firmware is alluding to a third Pink device or to a different project altogether. [via istartedsomething]