First things first: This rumor is sourced back to a Mac fan site, so we're going to take everything with a grain of salt, and for good reason. (Even if we're talking two sites here.)
That said, 9to5mac is reporting [via Engadget] that Microsoft is prepping a couple of slider phones as part of the infamous Project Pink, all of which spawned from the acquisition of Sidekick-maker Danger. Said phones could make an appearance at CES in January.
The codenames: Turtle and Pure.
One device is "squircle" in shape like the past Zune's buttons. The slide out keyboard houses the mic at the bottom and it is meant to be open when being used as a phone. This device is code-named "Turtle" and looks like a dressed up Motorola QA1.
The other device is more traditionally-shaped candybar slider and is code-named "Pure". The devices had previously been rumored to be carried on Verizon but we haven't heard anything more in this area.
They will continue to use the App Store model that the Sidekick has employed with over-the-air applications appearing on your phone bill. Danger's phone App Store predated Apple's by two years.
The site also says it's been given "pretty detailed pictures and could possibly post them" later ... Or put them up on Twitter. Those are two things that scream linkbait to us, but stranger things have happened.
Obvious questions remain: Would this be separate from other Windows Mobile 7 devices? Separate from Windows Marketplace for Mobile?
Either way, here's where we stand: It's time for Microsoft to make a phone. Apologies for further Zune HD gushing, but they've got the operating system. They're prepping the app store. It's time to put two and two together, folks. I don't care what Microsoft's said in the past.
Mr. Ballmer: Tear. Down. That. Wall.