As I noted recently, Microsoft's Pink is looking more and more to be not just a bunch of premium consumer-focused services, but the phone associated with those services, too.
For the latest proof, check out the April 28 Wall Street Journal story, which suggests that Verizon may be one of the service providers (if not the one provider) for Pink.
Pink is shaping up to be a phone (which the Journal says will likely be branded as a Microsoft phone, even though manufactured by a third party) plus Zune services, Windows Mobile Marketplace access, My Phone services and various consumer-focused services from the Danger team now residing inside Microsoft's Mobile unit. It's highly likely to be Windows-Mobile-7-based, but diferent from other Microsoft-partner-backed Windows Mobile 7 phones.
If Windows Mobile 7 phones are slated to launch in the spring of 2010 (at last check), will Pink launch at the same time -- or possibly earlier than the rest of the pack? And how will Microsoft's partners like competing with a Microsoft-branded phone (if that is the way Microsoft ends up going)?
Remember: Microsoft oficials repeatedly have said Microsoft isn't making its own phone. The word was that Microsoft was providing a reference specification and possibly a chassis, at most. If a third party manufacturer makes a Microsoft-branded Pink phone, I guess that gives Microsoft a plausible, albeit lame, path for denying its intentions....)
Update (April 29): Yes, Microsoft is still denying there is a Zune phone or a Microsoft-manufactured phone in the works. But if my sources are right, Pink is neither of these. It will be made by a third party vendor for Microsoft (even if it carries the Microsoft brand). And it won't be a "Zune phone" per se. It will be a phone that runs Zune services. The Softies have to walk a fine line on this one so as not to upset the Windows Mobile ecosystem.