An new unconfirmed report indicates that Microsoft is working on a pair of smartphones that will be released under its own brand name early next year.
This is the latest in a long series of rumors that say Microsoft is going to go beyond making an operating system for other companies to put on smartphones, and is going to release its own hardware, too.
In the past, Microsoft has denied that it has any intention of doing this, but the rumors persist, buoyed by the company’s other hardware releases, including the Zune HD.
Microsoft Danger Sharp
The most recent of theserumors says there are twosmartphones being developed in conjunction with Danger, Inc., the company behind the T-Mobile Sidekick line, and a subsidiary of Microsoft.
According to information leaked to 9to5Mac, one of these will be codenamed Turtle. It will have a square-ish shape and sport a sliding keyboard (see image at left). The second, code-named Pure, will have a rectangular shape and also be a slider.
What operating system these devices will run isn’t clear yet, but some version of Windows Mobile is a safe bet. It’s possible Danger’s experience making consumer-friendly user interfaces will go into making them easier to use than standard Windows phones.
UPDATE: Mary Jo Foley from ZDNet, who has generally been at the forefront of leaks on this Microsoft project, says these smartphones will likely run Windows Mobile 7, which will push their release back until late 2010.
Coming in January?
Microsoft is supposedly hoping to introduce these smartphones at the CES tradeshow in early January, even if they aren’t going to hit the market until later in the year.
They may be released by Verizon, but that is far from confirmed. Also unknown is anything about pricing.