The tech blogs are abuzz with speculation about Microsoft's "Project Pink" phones and their future implementation plans for the newly released Windows Mobile Series Seven OS (operating system).

It has long been rumored that Microsoft has been secretly working on a series of self-branded mobile phones. Rumors suggest these phones will be based on a version of Microsoft's Windows Mobile Series Seven and bundled together with services, perhaps similar to those found on Microsoft's Zune HD music player. This package of hardware, modified operating system and services has been dubbed "Project Pink."

Images and firmware specifications uncovered in the last day or so are bringing the long rumored "Project Pink" much closer to reality.

Two phone models have been spotted in the wild. The devices have been captured on camera and the blurry photos are now circulating on the internet. The first device is a compact, almost square slider dubbed the Turtle (that may be called "Pride" in the European market). The second, while slightly larger, will also come with a slide-out QWERTY keyboard and has been codenamed "Pure" ("Lion" in the European market).

The phones are primarily targeted at the younger generation – 20-30 somethings with a keen addiction to social networking.

Technology blog Gizomodo showed off some of the first images of the Pure on March 4 saying, "It's strange! The panelled interface, with fixed squares for everything from music (with Zune typography) and email to RSS feeds and what looks like a unified social networking hub. As hinted earlier, the aesthetic is similar to Windows Phone 7, but the software is distinctly  not Windows Phone 7. This looks like Windows Phone 7: Feature Phone edition."

Microsoft seems to be injecting money and resources into these new phones and their recently released Windows Phone Series Seven OS, in the hope that they will prop up its flailing mobile phone strategy. Over the past few years Microsoft's mobile phone OS market share has been eaten away by the likes of Google, Apple and others. Consumers have been gravitating towards mobile devices that could be customized with applications and that provide intuitive interaction with the phone and its services.

According to various sources (and a leaked advertising campaign), Microsoft's phones will be sold by US mobile carrier, Verizon Wireless, and are expected to start shipping in late April.