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Microsoft Phone Headed to Verizon

Slider "teen-phones" coming next week precede the Microsoft Windows Phone 7 phones ahead.

NEW YORK, (

TheStreet

) --

Microsoft

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will dip a toe or two into the phone market this month with the expected introduction of two so-called feature phones at

Verizon

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.

The company sent invitations to an April 12 press event and

CNET blogger Ina Fried writes

that she's confirmed the preparations for two slider phones aimed at texting and social networking users at Verizon.

If true, the move is far short of the

Microsoft Windows Phone 7

touchscreen smartphone development that

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first reported in February. Microsoft is working with at least one hardware manufacturer --

Asus

on its first Windows 7 phone.

Microsoft's Windows Mobile phones fell out of favor in the past three years as

Apple's

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iPhone,

Research In Motion's

(RIMM)

BlackBerry and

Google's

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Android-powered phones have gained popularity among smartphone buyers.

Microsoft hopes to make up for lost ground with a touchscreen-controlled phone of its own that features Zune media capabilities and Xbox games.

--Written by Scott Moritz in New York.