A mysterious paper invitation from Microsoft — stamped with the teasing promise that "It's time to share" — began popping up in the mailboxes of tech journalists Monday, the same day that Apple issued its own invitation for a coming iPhone press event. What exactly is Microsoft ready to share,? The invite doesn't say, but the smart money is on ... well, something "Pink."
Engadget has snapshots of the invitation for the April 12 press event in San Francisco. Festooned with big green blobs, the "It's time to share" tagline, and pictures of "young, attractive Urban Outfitters models," the invite is otherwise detail-free, Engadget says.
So what are we talking about here? Well, as Gizmodo points out, the graphic design of the Microsoft invite is "similar" to that of leaked press materials it snapped up for a Microsoft phone project the Gizmodo bloggers have been chasing for months: "Project Pink."
What's Project Pink? Anything to do with the recently unveiled Windows Phone 7? Not exactly. Microsoft has been mum about Pink so far, but word on the street has it that the project involves a completely different kind of phone: one designed specifically for social networking, complete with a slide-out QWERTY keypad and a new OS similar to the venerable Sidekick line on T-Mobile. (It's worth noting that Microsoft bought Sidekick developer Danger a couple of years ago.)
Gizmodo published leaked images of what it claimed was the Project Pink phone in September; then, just last month, the blog showed off purported marketing materials for Pink, complete with Verizon Wireless logos.
To make a longish story short, the clues all seem to be pointing toward a new, Sidekick-style QWERTY slider, designed by Microsoft and set for release on Verizon. That said, this is all just rumor and speculation; for now, the only hard evidence we have is Microsoft's vague press invite.
Be sure to tune in next Monday, when Microsoft "shares" whatever it's ready to share with us.
Update: CNET's Ina Fried says she has a source at Microsoft who confirms that yes, we're talking Project Pink here, complete with a pair of new QWERTY slider phones set for Verizon.