Microsoft looks set to launch its own hardware in the shape of the much-vaunted Pink phones next week.

Reuters is quoting a 'source close to the matter' that the phones are set to be announced next week, with a different moniker than the Pink codename.

The new phones, which have been mentioned in various leaks over the last year, will be QWERTY-enabled messaging devices, with a strong focus on the social networking youth.

Samsung has been attacking this demographic with its Genio/Corby range, low cost phones with lower-end specs but instant access to social networking.

Sidelining Sidekick

Microsoft acquired Sidekick (a similar messaging-centric device) manufacturer Danger, and ever since has been tipped to produce its own branded devices.

It's likely that Sharp will be the manufacturer of the new Pink phones, which used to make the phones when Danger produced the Sidekick range.

There has been a lot of talk around these phones for a number of months - first that there will be no Microsoft phone (at least under the 'Zune Phone' guise) according to Ballmer, then that internally the staff hate the idea.

Apparently all will be revealed next week - but you can bet that whatever is launched will be a sideshow to the main Windows Phone 7 circus.

Via Reuters