project pink

If you’re on Verizon or just want an interesting Microsoft off-shoot of their Windows Phone series, then the Kin One (a partnership with Sharp) may be for you. Plus you can have it for the low-low price of $25 (free shipping).

The Kin One, was a device released in April 2010 and can be considered part of the Microsoft-in-transition-what-the-hell-are-we-doing phase of the company. Seriously, Windows Phone 7 was just announced and prepping for release that fall when the Kin One (and Two) came along and confused everyone. What does it run? How is it related to Windows Phone? And most importantly, Why?

Fun fact: the Kin One and Two grew out of the secretive 'Project Pink' at Microsoft...

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Just as promised, this morning at 3am Microsoft officially killed KIN Studio--the online media management network--for all active KIN users. The announcement was first made in December and sure enough at 3am we got word the site when offline, making KIN almost useless (though they still do make calls and SMS).

We also heard that the Zune pass, which worked over 3G and WiFi would only work on WiFI afterward, but so far it is still clinging for dear life to cellular--but for how long? Everything else though, whether it was social networking, photo sharing, search near me, posting to photo sites, commenting, etc. are all gone, effectively killing the KIN.

While we never understood the strategy by Microsoft on this one, it's still sad to see it go out like this. However, there are two happy areas: all current KIN owners are eligible for a free new phone from Verizon and the KIN Studio team has been folded into Windows Phone, resulting in some killer media-cloud services---some day. As reported in the Seattle Times, Aaron Woodman, director of the mobile communications business at Microsoft noted that some KIN Studio features will make their way to Windows Phone: "We have a very, very small baby step with Windows Phone Live...It's definitely part of the road map to have enriched services that make the phone more meaningful, and the Web more meaningful."

Thanks, Conflipper, for the heads up

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As if we needed more confirmation that on Monday, Microsoft is set to unveil their Project Pink phones (Turtle and Pure) which will be sold in partnership with Verizon, we have this little nugget seen above.

The language and timing is more than obvious: "It's time to share" and "Lets get social" are right from Microsoft's own invite and it sure is a coincidence that it's the same day as Redmond's big reveal.

At least we now know that it is a Verizon exclusive, at least for some time. The only real interesting thing here is we guess those detailed rumors saying that Project Pink was beyond dead and terrible mismanaged were...a bit off? [Berry Scoop via Android Central]

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So evidently Microsoft has sent out invites for a big announcement on April 12th in San Francisco. What is it revealing that day? Courier? Natal? Project Pink? More Windows Phone 7 information?

Not much is known outside of the theme "It's Time to Share," a green motif and some younger folks featured. Actually, if we had to bet we'd go with those 'Project Pink' phones Turtle and Pure.

Reasoning?

Although it would be amazingly awesome if Microsoft were to drop the Courier, even a teaser, so soon after the iPad (btw, played with one today, not impressed), alas we'll have to settle for these high-end feature phones which will probably not be on your carrier.

More info as it comes in ...

[via Engadget]

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First look at the Project Pink/Pure phone

Looks like the folks at Gizmodo got their hands on our favorite traditional "blurry cam" shots of the new Pink-Pure phone, which looks to be coming to Verizon sometime soon. (More info on the Pure and Turtle here)

The Pure is thought to be running the same core OS as Windows Phone 7, but with a different UI on top. As we've previously speculated, the Pink phones appear to be high-end feature phones, where as the WP7S is more in the traditional smartphone category.

The source who leaked the images also said it was very intuitive and better than Android.

Besides those two images, Conflipper has been leaking out some actual screen shots from said Pink device, specifically of the dialer/lock screen. While nothing special, it does hint that these phones may be a good deal for the masses, who want a centralized social-media device without any learning curve and more limited power.

   

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So now the info has dropped on Windows Phone 7 Series and without rehashing all that information, it seems to have raised more questions than answered.

One of these is where does 'Turtle' and 'Pure' fit into all of this new strategy?  Are they the first phones to run WP7? Are they just next-gen Sidekicks? 

While we can't answer all of those now, we do know from the FCC documents that the 'Turtle' is at least real and probably the 'Pure' too.

Conflipper, famous for his in-depth knowledge of all things Microsoft and Windows Mobile, has managed to get his hands on the firmware for said device(s).

While he can't run any of those files for obvious reasons, a good ol' Hex editor can reveal a lot and indeed this is what he has found thus far ....after the break!

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Microsoft, again: no Zune phone

Looks like Microsoft is once again denying anything about a Zune phone. Quoting a Microsoft spokesperson: "we have no plans to create a Zune phone," which seems pretty open and shut.

Then again ... Assuming there is something in the works, it's not like they would confirm either.  And as NeoWin points out, they also denied ever making an MP3 player, too.

With the rumors flying high this week, especially with the USB reference codes found in the .inf file from the latest Zune software update, Microsoft is probably feeling some heat from their OEMs over the issue--don't forget, they are also very interested in the prospect/denial of such a device.  We can understand if they are nervous and causing some little waves with Redmond.

Regarding that Zune update, consensus seems to be swaying from an actual "Zune phone" to "these are plans to incorporate the Zune experience into Windows Mobile,"

Check out Paul Thurrott's piece over at WinSuperSite, which delves deeper into that issue as well as detailing the recent changes to the Zune software, it's a good read.

Oh Mobile World Congress, you can't come soon enough.  Please rescue us from ourselves.

[via NeoWin.net]

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Whatever Microsoft is up to, they are sure up to something big.

Long Zheng (iStartedSomething) has taken a look-see at the update Zune desktop software, which just came out today.

Going through the .inf file (responsible for identifying the driver, associating the device with USB) he was able to find a few lines of code that, for the first time, specifically reference a phone.

In fact, there are three hardware Product IDs associated with the 'phone' class in addition the the three current Zune players (see above image).

Zheng also contemplates whether this is just part of a larger integration with Windows Mobile and his tentative conclusion is 'no' stating 

Whilst it is possible there might be system-wide Zune integration into Windows Mobile 7, this particular driver references specific hardware IDs that are locked to a vendor (Microsoft) and product which under USB body regulations cannot be masked, thus this has to be Microsoft devices. 

That's right folks, it looks like we are looking a three-pronged strategy from Microsoft:

The big question is what is the Zune phone built on?  We wouldn't be surprised if it's not WinCE based but something different, putting it outside the class of Windows Mobile devices.  

Does this lend more credence to the idea that the 'Zune phone' is targeted towards the younger crowd and will be released within the next two months as one analyst has claimed?  Maybe the "Project Pink is DOA" story was Microsoft doing its own spinning? Like we've said, next month will be real interesting and we'll be there to cover it...

[via iStartedSomething]

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Since our big story on Seven a few days ago, leaks and information have continued to come forth.

We'll just summarize them all here since nothing is conclusive yet, but there are lots of interesting tidbits:

  • Windows Mobile 7 session at MIX 2010 announced: Evidently Microsoft is going to host a session on how to make apps and games for Seven in March at the big MIX '10 conference.  Looks like that Mobile World Congress debut is quite likely. (via MobileTechWorld)
  • Twitter comments are coming from some Microsoft/Danger employees. Mention WinMo7 team, doughnuts, private testing, and milestones. Tweets originate not from a Sidekick client but from Microsoft. Project Pink lives? (via EngadgetMobile)
  • Part II: List of those tweeting from Danger/Microsoft: Carlos Picoto, Director of program management at Microsoft; Jeff McKean - Senior Product Planner at Microsoft; Bruno Silva - Director of Development at Microsoft Corp., Zune; Daryl Welsh - Director of Test -Premium Mobile Experiences at Microsoft; Michael Ducker - Program Manager, Premium Mobile Experiences at Microsoft; Namrata Bachwani - Release Manager at Microsoft (Thanks azimmerm)
  • Our leak of the HTC Obsession gets backed up by another anonymous source at WMPU, who says that it is really the Diamond 3, which seems kind of obvious. Also AT&T may grab it too. (via WMPU)
  • Our own source reveals to us that Seven is backwards compatible with WM6.x applications (contra an earlier rumor), but it is limited to resolution restrictions. A security warning pops up on launch, but the program will work.  That info leads naturally to...
  • ...the idea that Seven is based on WinCE 7 aka Chelan, which our man with the knowledge Conflipper confidently states.
  • Finally, commenter drphysx, mentions this article from a few months back, which we think dovetails nicely with our big post.  It seems to fill in the background info on decision making. It's all theory, but we think its well thought out.

We're sure that's just the tip of the iceberg and we're expecting a lot more info to come forward in the next few weeks.  Stay tuned!

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On the eve of the biggest concerted launch we've seen from Microsoft's mobile side since, well, ever, comes a bit of less than optimistic rumor about the fabled "Pink" project. Mobile Crunch cites an anonymous source that spells out major trouble in the Pink camp.

Supposedly:

  • A good chunk of the original Sidekick team picked up in the Danger acquisition has been fired or left.
  • Third-party support is next to nil.
  • There's much dissent in the ranks, including rampant iPhone use.
  • The project is two years behind schedule.
  • The Turtle is a piece of junk. (our words, their sentiment)
  • Microsoft didn't develop the UI, and the team is struggling to replicate it.
  • Mobile Crunch's source says the project “is near death and probably will be canceled.”

So basically what this source is saying is that things were in shambles (now there's something new for Windows Mobile) and that the Sidekick was bought out and is going the way of the dinosaur. We discussed Project Pink at length on the WMExperts Podcast a couple of weeks ago and kept coming to the same conclusion: If Windows Mobile 7 is going to be as Zuneriffic (my word ... Don't worry, it'll catch on) and consumer-friendly as we hope, does Microsoft really need to split its lines again with whatever the Turtle and Pure were/are going to be? This could well be Microsoft converging ideas, and sour grapes over somebody being left out.

And another thing: We're discussing a pair of unannounced, leaked devices that are part of an unannounced, highly rumored project. This isn't like Palm killing the Foleo.

The death of the Sidekick line would be a bummer to a lot of people (save for Perez Hilton). But if Windows Mobile 7 turns out anything like we've been dreaming about (and we mean that more literally for, erm, some of us), we have a feeling that in due time, nobody will remember a couple of unannounced devices that might not see the light of day anyway.

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Here are a bunch more rumors about Microsoft's Project Pink, courtesy of Paul at MoDaCo, most making total sense and overlapping what we've already heard.

  • Running the show has been Microsoft's "PMX" team -- Premium Mobile Experience -- which includes the assets gained from the purchase of Sidekick-maker Danger.
  • Verizon's the main carrier on board, though other agreements are in place.
  • The "Turtle" sports a 3.5mm headphone jack and a 5-megapixel camera. The "Pure" camera is 8 megapixels.
  • Both devices are dual branded with Microsoft and Sharp.
  • The OS has the same kernel as Windows Mobile 7, but won't look or feel like WM7. The UI is written in Silverlight and uses Seadragon. Looks kinda familiar.
  • Zune HD software and Xbox integration are on board.
  • As these are targeted toward the mass market, parental controls are on board.
  • There is a unified messaging experience. (Should be interesting to see how it matches up against the Palm Pre.)
  • Turtle and Pure will get their own launch party, not at CES.

Keep an eye on the MoDaCo thread, as Paul promises more details.

 

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Good golly miss molly, look what Gizmodo got their hands on:  mock ups of the legendary "Project Pink" devices that are evidently branded Microsoft "Zune phones", made by Sharp.

The first Device above is "Turtle" (from 9to5Mac ) and "...the slide out keyboard houses the mic at the bottom and it is meant to be open when being used as a phone".

The second device, pictured below, is "Pure" and

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 weird thing is what will these be running: WM7, Zune OS, a combo of both?  And how does that fit in with WM7 in general i.e. application capability? As to carriers, that is anyone's guess though Verizon was rumored early on to be carrying either one or both.

Hey, you asked for a Zune-like phone, looks like you'll get one.  Now the question is, are these your taste? And is this a good idea? Sound off in comments!

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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.

Says 9to5mac:

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.

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OK, it's been a little while since we discussed "Project Pink," the project that Microsoft swears isn't a Zune phone, isn't (necessarily) Windows Mobile 7 and might or might not have anything to do with that punky pop singer. (OK, we made that last part up.)

Here's the latest breakdown by ZDNet's Mary-Jo Foley:

  • Pink has an ad rep in the form of McCann Erickson, which also handles advertising for Windows Mobile. (Or not, depending on your view of things.)
  • Pink will be based on Windows Mobile 7 but won't look like the Windows Mobile 7 most of us are expecting.
  • Windows Mobile 7 should ship to OEMs about the time that WinMo 6.5 phones go to market. (We've seen that leaked and heard it from other sources, too.)
  • Pink's starting to sound somewhat like a tangential device, a la the Sidekick, and may have elements of the Zune, My Phone and Windows Marketplace for Mobile all wrapped into it. Motorola and Sharp have been rumored as manufacturers.

As for our take? Pink is still a genius codename in that we sound ridiculous repeating it over and over. Oh, and that whole Sidekick-esque thing could well be a pretty good bet. If it's given the proper UI (and WM7 for the rest of us better have one, too), and Microsoft throws some smart marketing behind it (and they seem to be doing OK with Bing), then Pink could well have a good shot at gobbling up some market share.

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