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Project Pink phones out next week: Microsoft takes on Microsoft

Microsoft is set for another classic piece of bamboozlement, as it prepares to unveil the first devices from Project Pink, which could take on Windows Phone 7, another Microsoft system

Microsoft, never a company to do anything the easy way, looks set to start a mobile operating system war next week -- with itself. CNET's Ina Fried has confirmed that a launch event on 12 April in San Francisco will see the debut of the Pure and the Turtle, the first phones to spring from Microsoft's Project Pink.

The Pure and the Turtle are touchscreen handsets with slide-out keyboards. They've long been touted as the first devices to think Pink, which has been developing an operating system based on the Windows CE core but aimed at social-minded users. Project Pink is separate from the forthcoming Windows Phone 7 operating system.

The background: a couple of years ago Microsoft bought Danger, the company that made the successful T-Mobile Sidekick, a frankly rubbish phone for instant message-obsessed teens and tweens. The result was Project Pink, a continuation of the social-centric ethos.

But in these days of Twitter, Facebook and the like, a social-network hub is de rigeur for any phone OS -- so it appears the distinguishing social features of Pink have already been assimilated into every man and his dog's dog-and-bone, including WinPho7.

Still, never a company to make one version of a product when it can make two -- or more -- Microsoft looks set to proceed with Pink devices next week. We'll keep you posted on developments, and puzzle out how Pink thinks different to Windows Phone 7.