Microsoft is known for their product fragmentation. There's Windows 7 Home Premium, Professional, and Ultimate and the Xbox 360's split into Arcade and two versions of the Elite. Whether you consider this strategy idiotic or necessary, Microsoft is seemingly prepared to gamble. New leaks indicate they're sticking to their guns and doing what they know best, even in the mobile market.
Late last year, Gizmodo got wind that Microsoft was planning to introduce two phones of their own under a project code named 'Pink'. Yesterday, an insider followed up with some third party promotional material confirms what they expect to hit the market sometime around the end of April. Both models of project Pink – Turtle (pictured below) and Pure – are slider phones with full QWERTY keyboards beneath a touchscreen UI. The most striking oddity comes by the OS they're being powered by. It's not Windows Mobile 6.5 and it's not Windows Phone 7 Series but it's something completely unique to the forthcoming pair of mobiles.
Microsoft has also been clear that the introduction to Window Phone 7 Series doesn't spell the end of Windows Mobile 6.5. In fact, they're remaining fervent in the mindset that the two can both coexist while targeting what looks to be separate markets. If Windows Mobile 6.5 is centered around the business world and Windows Phone 7 Series aims to woo the everyday consumer, where do the Pink phones fit in? Perhaps they'll be targeted as something between the smartphone and dumbphone; maybe a featurephone with more features than we're used to seeing.
Between convincing OEMs to stick with Windows Mobile 6.5 and overseeing that the ever-important Windows Phone 7 Series goes according to plan, Microsoft's got a whole lot on their mobile plate. The big difference between their mobile fragmentation and their Windows or Xbox fragmentation lies in the fact that their three platforms are completely different from one another. If they can pull off this strange diversification, they may find themselves back in the mobile game, and in a big way.
What do you think? Is Microsoft taking the wrong approach with too many platforms? How will they tie the experiences together? If you've got a clue, share it in the comments.