In a slight change of pace, the Apple rumor mill seems to be on hiatus while the rumors emanating from Redmond seem to be heating up. 9to5Mac got things started this weekend with a report that Microsoft is planning to release 2 iPhone competitors in 2010. Both phones will reportedly be slider-based, and rooted in Microsoft’s early 2008 acquisition of mobile software maker Danger. Notably, one phone will reportedly share a form factor similar to the old generation Zunes (the squiggle models) while the other will be a “more traditionally shaped candybar slider.”
Building on that, Mary Jo Foley, writing for ZDnet, shares some more details regarding Microsoft’s mobile plans in addition to some interesting info about a possible Microsoft tablet.
First, regarding Microsoft’s cell phone initiative, which is being developed under the “Pink” moniker, Microsoft is planning on releasing a “Microsoft-branded, but not Microsoft manufactured” phone. According to Foley, the phone will seek to compete with higher end smartphones on the market, and will include premium features such as an online video store and, as you might expect, the option for music subscriptions. A release date for these Microsoft branded phones remains unknown, but Foley speculates that a January 2010 launch (or, perhaps, demo) at CES makes a whole lot of sense.
Regarding Microsoft’s new strategy in the smartphone sphere, Foley writes:
Microsoft’s plan in the mobile device space is to partner more closely with fewer vendors. That’s what the “chassis” model is all about. Microsoft creates a very detailed chassis spec and then allows partners to bid on making devices that comply with the spec.
Now onto all things tablet.
With Apple already rumored to be hard at work, and perhaps putting the finishing touches on its own version of a tablet computer, competing companies seem to be doing all they can not to be blindsided and caught off guard like they were with the iPhone. On that note, HP recently released its own tablet device called a DreamScreen, while Microsoft is reportedly planning to give its attempt at a Tablet PC yet another go-around. Anyone remember Origami?
In any event, Foley write that Microsoft is keen on building a smaller version of their gargantuan and multi-touch equipped Microsoft Surface table. Microsoft’s tablet initiative is reportedly referred to under the codename “Alchemy Ventures”, and the folks at Redmond may very well “wait for Apple to show its Tablet hand before trotting out its revamped tablet.”