A Jefferies & Co. analyst is betting that Microsoft will debut its own phone--code named Pink---in the next two months.
In a research note, Jefferies analyst Katherine Egbert says that Microsoft is likely to create a "Zune-like" phone with OEM partners. This phone would debut at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona Feb. 15-18 or at CTIA in Las Vegas in March.
Reading through the research note, it appears that Egbert's information is mostly derived from bloggers and various reports about Pink. Egbert doesn't have pricing information, service providers or costs associated with the phone. As Mary Jo Foley has noted repeatedly the rumors about Pink are all over the place. And recently Microsoft has been sending mixed signals about Pink.
I’ve been wavering as to whether Microsoft is going to deliver a Pink phone. The reason for my uncertainty? First I heard Pink was just a set of premium mobile services. Then I heard from my sources that Pink was the services plus a Microsoft-branded phone. Then Microsoft officials began to criticize Google for competing with its partners by releasing a Google phone. Did that mean Microsoft had decided to kill the phone component of Pink? I thought so… but then Pink phone rumors resurfaced, the latest of which are claiming Pink phones could debut this calendar quarter. I’m starting to think Pink phones may be nothing more than Windows Mobile 6.x-based phones built by a Microsoft partner (or two) to spec. They may be the first Windows Phones to offer the Pink premium mobile services. But otherwise, it’s looking more and more like they won’t end up carrying a Microsoft logo.
We think Microsoft is partnering with a few OEM manufacturers to create the Zune-like phone, which includes 720p HD video and at least a 5 mega pixel camera. We think the OEM partnerships will likely be similar to HTC and Google's partnership, which created the Google NexusOne phone. It's possible that Microsoft makes Windows Mobile7 (WinMo7) generally available at the same time. We expect WinMo7 to feature premium mobile services, including a Zune video store and music subscription/purchasing. WinMo7's user interface will likely be similar to the ZuneHD user interface and it could include social networking apps like Xbox Live, Facebook and Twitter.
We'll know about this alleged Microsoft phone in the next few months. For now, the speculation bandwagon is filling up.
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