Can Microsoft's 'Pink' Phone Challenge Apple, Google?

The company wants take on hardware and social media in a big way

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Microsoft has announced plans to make a cell phone geared towards social media, which it hopes will revitalize its struggling strategy in the Apple- and Google-dominated cell phone market. Code-named "Pink," the phone is being launched in partnership with Verizon and Vodafone. Can Microsoft, more known for ubiquitous but generic beige office machinery than for flashy gotta-have-it gadgets, finally stake out some territory in the coveted high-end smart phone field?

  • Microsoft Finally Gets Serious  The Wall Street Journal's Nick Wingfield says they're sick of struggling. "Microsoft's new phones are the latest sign the software maker is getting more deeply involved in the hardware side of the mobile-phone business in a bid to create products that provide smoother experiences for consumers," he writes. "Microsoft needs a boost for its mobile business, which has suffered in recent years as its operating system for smartphones was eclipsed by technologies like Apple Inc.'s iPhone and devices that run Google's Android operating system."
  • What They'll Look Like  Gizmodo's John Herrman secures some leaked photos of early versions of the phone. Click through to see the unusual design.
  • Youth-Friendly Design  ComputerWorld's Matt Hamblen reports, "Microsoft Corp.'s new cell phone, code-named Pink, will come in several lively colors and two form factors: A clamshell that twists open and a candy-bar shape. Both models are fashioned to please the young social-networking crowd that Microsoft has so sorely failed to attract in recent years.
  • Touch-Screen with Media Focus  CNET's Ina Fried writes, "The devices, code-named Pure and Turtle, are both slider phones, each with a touch screen and keyboard, a source told CNET ... These phones will offer lots of social media as well as the Zune music service. The Sidekick, with its Java-based operating system, were never very adept at media, but these devices have a version of Windows Mobile inside, paving the way for the Zune connection."
  • How They Can Innovate: Multitasking  BetaNews' Joe Wilcox insists of the ability to run multiple applications at once, which many smart phones lack, "I say it's a necessity." He explains, "Social media is perhaps the most important case for why running background applications on smartphones is necessary. The core functionality of any handset is communications. ... Social sharing contextually extends the mobile phone's core communications capabilities -- as did texting and multimedia messaging earlier in the decade. Push-notifications aren't enough. Sorry, Apple and Microsoft."
  • Surprisingly Business-Friendly  Network World's Paul Krill counters the view that this is a phone for kids. "Microsoft's revamped smartphone operating system, and Silverlight, the company's rich Internet application platform, might seem geared primarily to glitzy, for-fun applications. But Microsoft observers see an enterprise business application case for these two budding technologies." The media's "focus on games and entertainment obscures the potential for business usage."
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.