Seven is turning into Microsoft's lucky number. The release of Windows 7 was greeted with overwhelming praise (or at least relieved sighs of "At least it's not Vista 2.0!")
Now Redmond is hoping lightning strikes twice. At a wireless industry conference nex tweek in Barcelona, Spain, Microsoft will unveil Windows Mobile 7, the latest version of their johnny-come-lately smartphone OS. Having been tromped flat in the cellphone market by the iPhones and Droids and Crackberries of the world, MS is hoping WinMo7's Zune-meets-Vista interface will strike a positive chord with consumers.
BUT WAIT! There's more! Rumors abound that Microsoft will soon dip their toes into the phone hardware market as well. The proposed phone (dubbed "Pink" — and raise your hands if you flashed on the "pinkphone" prop from Cronenberg's eXistenZ) will allegedly be made by Samsung, powered by software/services from recent MS purchase Danger (they of the T-Mobile Sidekick), and offered for sale by Verizon and Vodafone. Like the 'Kick, it's focus will be on teen users in general, and their social networking in particular.
Microsoft, aware of the wide disparity of actual WinMo phones already out there, are said to be taking a more hands-on approach this time, designing a smaller, carefully-controlled number of handset "chassis" which phone manufacturers can then build their handsets around. (Android developers are facing a similar problem: too many hardware platforms that their open-source apps must work on equally well.) But when you consider how few of MS's past hardware offerings were the same kind of blowaway successes as their software, it's not hard to wonder if Pink and its progeny are just too little, too late…
[Via the Wall Street Journal]