Flops and vapor: 10 ways Microsoft tried and failed to rule mobile

Take a tour through Microsoft's forgettable, regrettable mobile OS history

By , ITworld |  Mobile & Wireless, Microsoft, slideshow

Future vapor: Project Courier and Project Pink

Coming soon ... or not

Picture courtesy Gizmodo

Last fall, as excitement and rumors built over the impending iPad, a completely unexpected furor arose as Gizmodo ran pictures and video of what it called Microsoft's secret tablet. Dubbed "Courier," it was a radical take on the tablet, a book-like computer with two screens attached with a hinge and operated by, yes, a stylus. But Courier failed to appear at CES, and despite Gizmodo's reporting as if it were a done deal, Microsoft has breathed not a word about it. Current rumors are that it will emerge sometime in mid-2010, but perhaps this is an experiment that will never see the light of day.

Slightly more confirmed, but significantly more fuzzy, is the so-called Microsoft Pink. It's been rumored for more than a year to be a joint Microsoft-Verizon answer to the iPhone -- but it's not, apparently, the same thing as Windows Phone 7. Though rumor once had it that it was to be based on that operating system, now the story is that will be built on another Windows CE variant, and will be aimed at users who are focused on social networking and instant messaging.

The project is largely staffed with employees who came into Microsoft with the acquisition of Danger, maker of the once-trendy Hiptop. The weird overlap between Pink and Windows Phone 7 may have a lot to do with Microsoft's culture of autonomous and sometimes competing business units, as the latter came out of the Entertainment and Devices division. Pink was expected to make an appearance at last week's Mobile World Conference, but failed to show up.

See also: Windows Phone 7: Visual Tour

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