Microsoft's mystery event is a mystery no more.
A source confirms I was on target with my prediction that the event will herald the introduction of Microsoft's long-awaited new phones for the always-connected crowd. The devices, code-named Pure and Turtle, are both slider phones, each with a touch screen and keyboard, a source told CNET. In the U.S., the devices will run on Verizon Wireless' network and go on sale within the month following the event.
Microsoft plans to unveil the devices at the April 12 event in San Francisco.
However, those wanting an iPhone should really keep their focus on Apple's April 8 event. Microsoft's true run at the iPhone won't come until Windows Phone 7-based devices arrive later this year. Turtle and Pure are more in line with the market Microsoft targeted with the Sidekick, the T-Mobile device it acquired as part of its 2008 Danger acquisition.
While instant messaging was king when the Sidekick first hit the scene, these days it's all about Facebook and Twitter and other social services. 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.
As noted for some time, these new phones are part of a broader effort by Microsoft to get back in the phone game. The other part--the larger part--of that strategy is the overhaul of Windows Phone with Windows Phone 7. Those devices, which will be made by a variety of handset makers, aren't due out until the holidays.
Years in the making, Windows Phone 7 is based on the Windows CE core, which has powered other versions of Windows Phone (and Windows Mobile before that). However, the software has a completely new look and interface and won't run programs written for prior versions of the operating system.
The Pure and Turtle phones, which are part of Microsoft's long-running "Pink" project, also have Windows CE at their core as well, but aren't likely to run programs written for either current crop of Windows Phones or those written for Windows Phone 7.
The new devices would also appear to mark the end of the road for the Sidekick's Java-based operating system. That phone is still available for T-Mobile's network but has fallen further from view after a high-profile, extended outage last year.