Microsoft Pink and Verizon? Probably so.

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A WSJ article highlights recent discussions between Verizon and Microsoft to develop a new touch-screen multi-media device "in an ambitious effort to challenge Apple's iPhone." With Apple recently reaching over 1 billion application downloads, the bar is quite high for RIM, Google, Palm and Microsoft. Both Microsoft and Google prefer to stay out of the hardware design altogether. That makes sense because they are software companies. However, Apple has better control over the harmony between device and software. They recently hired AMD/ATI's CTO, Bob Drebin. A new CPU/graphics processor could be in the works under Drebin's direction utilizing talent Apple acquired from PA Semiconductor. Apple OpenCL is a specification that enables a single chip to do both graphics and computing. In chip-speak, it allows GPUs and multi-core CPUs to handle tasks like physical awareness & video rendering on a single die. Verizon seems set on retaining control by launching their own download store for a variety of applications and devices. I don't see them being too eager to introduce the device reported to be bigger than an iPOD and smaller than a laptop because it will have native WiFi & VoIP capability. Verizon is keeping their options open but they seem to be increasing subscribers fine without the iPhone ... for now.