Blog Post

Microsoft to Launch “Pink” Today

UPDATED: When Microsoft (s msft) bought Danger, the company behind the Sidekick line of phones, speculation began at once that we’d see Redmond producing its own line of phones. The company denied that would be the case, but the rumors of Project Pink just kept fanning the flames. Microsoft has invited press members to a special event today, and memory maker SanDisk (s sndk) spilled the beans that it is indeed an announcement of the “Pink” phone(s).

The email I received on Friday from SanDisk was specific:

As you know, Monday marks a big day for Microsoft as the company will be unveiling its long-awaited “pink” mobile phone. As you gear up to cover this news, I wanted to remind you that SanDisk microSD cards are the ideal companion for mobile devices and provide phones with room for just about anything.

This statement told me there is indeed going to be a Pink phone announced today, and that it will have a slot for memory cards. I doubt Microsoft was happy with SanDisk for sending this blanket email out to those of us covering the technology space, thus spoiling their secret announcement.

A Pink phone from Microsoft will be unusual for several reasons. While it is believed the handsets will be produced by Sharp, Microsoft has been involved in all aspects of the design and production of the phone. The Danger team at Microsoft is believed to have controlled all aspects of Pink, making this Microsoft’s own line of phones. This can’t sit well with its partners in the Windows Mobile/ Windows Phone 7 space, as Microsoft will now be competing directly with them.

These phones are expected to be the next generation Sidekick given the Danger participation. This would put the Pink phones in a nether world between the feature phone and the smartphone. There’s no reason to believe the phones will serve any purpose not already served by either high-end feature phones or smartphones. The Sidekick was a popular line of communication phones — especially among young people — but it debuted before smartphones became so prevalent in the market (and so cheap).

The Microsoft event kicks off today at 10 AM PT, and we’ll be watching to see what the company is launching. You can follow Microsoft’s own live stream if you just can’t wait for Pink.

UPDATE: SanDisk has responded to my reporting of its screw-up:

“The SanDisk PR team sent a handful of reporters some information about our microSD cards referencing a widely anticipated Microsoft announcement on Monday.  While we reiterated a launch date that has been widely reported last  week, it was not our place to do so.  However, to be clear, SanDisk has no specific information on Microsoft’s plans and we did not confirm any details, card slot or otherwise, about a potential Microsoft product in the pitch we shared.  SanDisk is very excited about the opportunities in the mobile category and consumers’ growing demand for increasing amounts of flash storage memory on their devices.  Our pitch was designed to demonstrate that enthusiasm and nothing more.”