Microsoft expected to launch 'Pink' smartphone on April 12
Whatever Microsoft does, it needs to build mobile momentum, analyst says
Computerworld - Microsoft Corp. is sending out invitations to an April 12 mystery event for press and analysts that could be the unveiling of a new smartphone code-named Pink or a new tablet/e-reader, code-named Courier, that opens like a book with dual screens.
Neither product has been confirmed by Microsoft officially, and Microsoft officials could not be reached today for comment. Various sources have pieced together tidbits and photos of each device based on unnamed sources and rumors.
Engadget, which received an invitation via "snail mail," said the mystery event will be held in San Francisco and has been described cryptically with the phrase "It's time to share."
Jack Gold, an analyst at J. Gold Associates, who also got one of the mystery invitations, said the event could be to announce the rumored Pink phone, the Courier or something else. "I'd be surprised if it's Pink, since that was expected later in the year," he said.
However, an industry source who asked not to be named said the event will focus on Pink.
Early versions of the Pink device have been shown to several analysts who said they had seen it but were not allowed to discuss it under nondisclosure agreements.
Several of those analysts, all of whom asked not to be named, said that Microsoft's forthcoming smartphone seems to share elements of the Windows Phone 7 Series operating system and earlier Windows Mobile OS versions.
Microsoft announced the new operating system in February at the Mobile World Congress and demonstrated it on prototype hardware to reporters at the CTIA trade show in March.
The Pink device is expected to be a Microsoft smartphone that uses the company's own hardware and software, several analysts have said. The Windows Phone 7 Series operating system, however, will appear later this year on devices made by various cell phone makers that traditionally have built Windows Mobile-based phones.
Gold and other analysts said it is critical for Microsoft to demonstrate that it can innovate with mobile devices. "They have absolutely lost momentum in the mobile space and have been a nonplayer in e-readers," Gold said. "If they can't get momentum soon, it's not going to matter."
Gold said it's possible that Microsoft could be so desperate to show momentum that what it announces on April 12 will be a reference design for a new phone that third parties would fully develop, not a complete device.
If Microsoft announces the Courier, it would, of course, be doing so a little more than a week after Apple Inc. started shipping its iPad tablet. Some analysts have dubbed 2010 as the year of the e-reader device, and dozens of such devices are expected to hit the market in the coming months.
Reports on the Courier started to emerge last fall. At that time, the device was described to be more of a day planner/notebook than an e-reader. Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer at one point had said the company was not interested in creating an e-reader.
Based on what was reported in the fall, first by Gizmodo, Courier would have two 7-in. color screens connected by a hinge in the middle to allow the two panels to close like a book. It could also allow handwritten input with a stylus or pen, or support multitouch gestures by a user's fingers. Wi-Fi connectivity and a camera on the back could be included as well.
Will Stofega, an analyst at market research firm IDC, said it makes sense that either the Courier or the Pink could be announced, but the event could also be nothing more than an announcement of a refresh of Microsoft's application store.
Meanwhile, Apple is planning to preview its next-generation operating system on Thursday for the iPhone and release developers tools in preparation for a midsummer upgrade of the hardware.
Matt Hamblen covers mobile and wireless, smartphones and other handhelds, and wireless networking for Computerworld. Follow Matt on Twitter at @matthamblen, or subscribe to Matt's RSS feed. His e-mail address is email@example.com.
- Studies show Sprint and T-Mobile need to expand U.S. coverage
- Gear Fit: Samsung strikes again with its 'build one of any device' plan
- Nokia Lumia Icon on sale Feb. 20 exclusively at Verizon
- Samsung hints at new UI for upcoming Galaxy S5
- How 'Lenovorola' changes the mobile world
- Google and Samsung grow cozier with patent deal, Motorola sale
- Should Sprint buy T-Mobile?
- iPhone, Samsung smartphone use by U.S. consumers jumps
- A mobile app reality check
- Verizon LTE getting AWS upgrades, even as execs admit to some performance 'hot spots'
Read more about Mobile/Wireless in Computerworld's Mobile/Wireless Topic Center.
- 15 Non-Certified IT Skills Growing in Demand
- How 19 Tech Titans Target Healthcare
- Twitter Suffering From Growing Pains (and Facebook Comparisons)
- Agile Comes to Data Integration
- Slideshow: 7 security mistakes people make with their mobile device
- iOS vs. Android: Which is more secure?
- 11 sure signs you've been hacked
- 4 Customers who never have to refresh their PCs again This paper illustrates a common theme: the combination of desktop virtualization and thin client computing helps organizations deliver an up-to-date user experience more...
- Mobile Devices: The New Thin Clients Get essential guidance for understanding the role thin clients plus virtual desktops play in the enterprise today.
- Taking Windows Mobile on Any Device Taking Windows applications mobile has many advantages, but the process of identifying a solution is complex. Learn how to solve this complex problem...
- PaaS - Powering a New Era of Business IT Why PaaS has suddenly become relevant and irresistible to many organizations. Dive into the opportunities and considerations associated with using PaaS from an...
- Redefine Your IT Operations: Remote Office IT Has Never Been Simpler Join us to see why PC Pro named Dell PowerEdge VRTX the "2013 Server of the Year." PowerEdge VRTX may be just what...
- Meg Whitman presents Unlocking IT with Big Data During this Web Event you will hear Meg Whitman, President and CEO, HP discuss HAVEn - the #1 Big Data platform, as well... All Hardware White Papers | Webcasts