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Second only to Barack Obama's lack of US citizenship, the Rumor That Refuses to Die award rightfully belongs to the Microsoft Zune Phone - and today a date was finally ascribed to that elusive hardware's release. According to Trip Chowdhry of Global Equities Research, as quoted by Barron's, the release of the iPhone competitor …

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Free with every Xbox

And will work with any home phone line.

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I'll only get one if...

It gets a 'crap' review in El Reg and the ad for the review is right above the ad for the competition where I can win one.

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Based on WinMobile?

Not likley, unless they rip out all of the interface nastys and replace them. WinMobile is way too dependent on a stylus in it's touch-screen version, and makes dumbphone interfaces seem like models of clarity and logic in it's other incarnation. I don't think Steve B's Microsoft can do it. Bill G's, maybe. Not Steve's.

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Coat

Probably US Only

If how they sold the Zune is anything to go by.

But the real question is WHY?

The Mobile Phone market is ultra competitive and (apart from the iPhone) AFAIK, margins are pretty slim on each unit sold.

Henc my question Why?

Why do they want to get into this market which has probably reached maturity in most developed countries where the returns on each unit is very small and highly competitive?

They could continue to develop the OS platform but I see that being left behind unless they have (As sugested by a previous poster) completely redesigned the whole UI bit to make it work like the iPhone. Bear in mind that they have to watch out for the inevitable patents held by the likes of Apple and Nokia for the UI stuff.

This (if true) strikes me as being nothing more than a 'Me Too' stunt by Balmer.

Anyway, I wouldn't want one any way so this is a moot point indeed and no I don't own an iPhone.

Mines the Brown Coat to match the Brown Zune in its Pocket...

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Anonymous Coward

Presumably it'll have the usual MS featureset

1: late to market (in this case so late that the market is dying)

2: flaky software

3: flaky hardware

4: a paradigm-changing UI model that is unintuitive, obstructive and will never be copied by anyone

5: so many stickers proclaiming its features that you can't see the hideous industrial design

6: any colour you like, as long as it's shit brown

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Can we have a Zune music player, please?

Who cares about phone rumours when you still cannot buy a Zune in most of the world, including the UK?

It was easy not to care about the Zune at first but after the firmware/software updates (and Apple's recent capacity downgrades) the Zune seems to be as good at playing (gapless!) music as the iPod, with better PC-side software (if you're on Windows) and format support and equal capacity (120gig). Given the choice I'd buy one over another iPod at the moment, if Microsoft would actually try and sell me one.

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Paris Hilton

Eh? April 1st already?

Sorry, did I oversleep and miss three and a half months?

Given that the Zune has a tiny, tiny market share, what is it that makes Microsoft think it can turn its fortunes around by bolting on a phone and installing Windows Mobile?

Even if the phone sees the light of day, I bet the only people you'll see using it will be Microsoft employees - because you can be sure they won't be given a choice.

Paris, well, why not? And also because she knows a hard sell when she sees it.

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Gates Halo

Not a bad idea, really

If you think about it: you can choose between six versions of Vista, but you can only get one version of Windows Mobile? That's not choice! Customers want choice! Let Microsoft make a Zune phone for gamers, an MSN phone for teens, an Office phone for business people, an Orifice phone for the lonely wankers, and a Windows XP pre-SP1 phone for doctors (it'll hold every virus-definition ever made!)

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Steve Ballmer

Take the spotlight off that other Steve and shine it brightly upon himself? It will get reflected...

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MS Phone

Due to Ego it has to be WinMo. Anything else would send wrong signal and kill WinMo dead. MS has only 2 OSes suitable:

The NT4.0 version of Embedded Windows. (Add any GUI you like as it hasn't got one). Good Multitasking. Source compatible with some Windows Apps. Compiled x86 binary useless as the phone can't run x86 Code.

Windows Mobile/Phone/CE: Crippled Multitasking, no windows compatibility at all other than look & feel. In fact the basic SDK has almost indentical style to Win98/Xp. I.e. absolutely useless for anything other than 5" screen and bigger and stylus.

Forget about later Embedded Windows than NT4.0 such as XP, it's bloated and x86 only.

They can put whatever GUI they like on WinMo/Ce or Embedded NT4.0 as other MS users such as HTC have shown.

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Nic

Zune?

or Micro-phone...?

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They've been waiting.

MS corporate strategy 101.

1) Wait 'til someone else sorts out a usable interface for WM on a stable platform.

2) Buy / license / steal it.

3) Plug in Zune functions.

4) er, that's it.

My money's on a rebadged / repackaged HTC Touch HD with the Zune player bits cobbled onto it. Going with an updated sidekickalike would be the WinMo equivalent of engaging reverse gear and stamping on the loud pedal.

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Hello! hello!

It'll never catch on. Not with one of those twirley handles on the side it won't.

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Coat

Get the name right!

What is this 'Zone' I keep hearing about? We all know it's going to be the 'Phune'!

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Paris Hilton

"Ballmer can only wish..."

Safari preloaded on a Microsoft product? Yeah right! =P

I suppose Google Maps would be replaced by Windows Live Earth, or whatever the kids are calling it these days.

Anyway, if Microsoft wanted to release a Music Phone, then I could see it happening. I haven't used Windows Mobile but i've heard that it's more suited to business users rather than consumers. Don't quote me on that though, i've never used Windows Mobile.

Paris because Ballmer can only wish...

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Coat

Great idea, really

Bringing the BSOD to a telephone near you.

FAIL!

Seeing how the Zune took off like a lead balloon, M$ should realize that their strengths lie in keyboards, mice and flight simulators, not consumer electronics.

Mine's the one with the X-Plane logo on the back.

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Er

Aren't they already in the mobile phone business. Surely people should be talking about putting the Zune software on Windows Mobile?

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Not hardware

I doubt Microsoft will release their own phone, since their tactic is to licence WinMo to other manufacturers.

What I can see them doing, however, is integrating Zune with WinMo (and Xbox). They'll probably launch a mobile version of the Zune Marketplace; maybe even Zune software for mobile phones.

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Jobs Halo

Oh go on Microsoft...

Please release a Zune phone, I could do with a good laugh...

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Stop

@Presumably it'll have the usual MS featureset

While not disagreeing about MS's unsuitability for most stuff, but especially this market, in terms of correctness I'm not sure about 1, 3, 4, 5 and 6 here...

1 - First to market: MS did lead the IT revolution at the end of the last century and redefined computing for the masses. Win95 was the first big mass appeal OS. XBox was the first of the 3rd gen consoles out, though the Wii has blown it and PS3 out of the water. On the other hand, why the big thing about first to market? A better service offered second will eventually surpass the leader (see the later released PS3 gaining on XBox, with Wii as that aberration spawned into popular mainstream non-traditional gaming culture!).

3 - flaky hardware: sorry, but MS build the rubbish OS, not the hardware. That's from Intel, Seagate, Maxtor, Asus, Corsair, etc.

4 - UI model: without arguing about who invented point and click GUI, MS copied Apple's GUI and has subsequently been copied by nix. Don't get the point of your argument here.

5: Stickers/industrial design: thought industrial design was the "in" thing???? Looking at a very nice metallic Macbook Pro here on my desk that looks almost Teutonic!! Stickers I have to agree with, but I find they are from the manufacturer of the machine such as the huge one Asus sticks across their screen! I'd blame Sony, Asus, Acer, Tosh, HP, etc. for that.

6: Sh*t brown colour: once again I'd blame the hardware manufacturer here as they design the case. However, even with that, in my office I see mostly black and silver with a couple of old beige monitors and one beige box which has NT4 on it. I checked. Still runs as well, though like a dying snufflelyphygus...

I now feel like a sell out and slightly soiled. See what you've made me do?????

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@AC at 14:24 GMT

1- Actually, I think the 360, PS3 and Wii are the 7th generation of consoles, I can see what you mean though (PS1, N64, then PS2, Xbox, Gamecube, then PS3, 360 and Wii).

3- I've seen the odd Microsoft Keyboard and Mouse lying around.

Yeah I know, i'm nitpicking. Sorry. I'll shut up now.

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@Vincent

1- I thought I'd ignore all those random in-between consoles I kept seeing in Hong Kong then remembered wistfully when back in old Blighty! It brings a tear to my eye that my N64 doesn't work anymore and I can't play Goldeneye or Zelda: Ocarina Of Time on it... I might spend tonight trying to get it working again!

3- True! Forgot about them, though if I remember correctly they were actually meant to be quite decent. Shame on me considering I even have a Microsoft Sidewinder gaming mouse, but then again despite its Halo stylings I use the Asus gaming mouse instead now...

Getting my coat so I can get home to play Saria's Song to the Goron King again!

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Coat

@Vincent

1- I thought I'd ignore all those random in-between consoles I kept seeing in Hong Kong then remembered wistfully when back in old Blighty! It brings a tear to my eye that my N64 doesn't work anymore and I can't play Goldeneye or Zelda: Ocarina Of Time on it... I might spend tonight trying to get it working again!

3- True! Forgot about them, though if I remember correctly they were actually meant to be quite decent. Shame on me considering I even have a Microsoft Sidewinder gaming mouse, but then again despite its Halo stylings I use the Asus gaming mouse instead now...

Getting my coat so I can get home to play Saria's Song to the Goron King again!

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Jobs Horns

What Steve won't anounce

Is the number of resets it will perform automagically every day, preferably when you're in the midst of an important phone call.

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7th gen consoles, Zunephone?

In fact, there are no real in-between consoles in those. They're called 7th gen because consoles have been there way before the PS1/N64 gens, like the SNES, the original NES, those Sega consoles, Colecovision and Atari (remember those?). However, I still can't get myself to count to 7 generations (I began with the Atari era). Funnily, The Wii returned the crown to Nintendo for this generation, which was lost to the PS1 a long time ago. Then again, there is the not-so-small matter that it actually is cheaper to buy a Wii than a RRoD'ing XBox360.

A Zune phone, by the way, still seems like a joke. Microsoft doesn't need one, they already have a decent market share with their Windows Mobile licensed devices (HTC, Palm, Motorola). If anything, MS seems to be going down the same path it did with PC's: supply software, let someone else deal with the hardware.

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Boffin

7 Generations of Consolar Fun?

Going by the Wiki entry it classes Pong as first generation, along with the Magnavox Odyssey, but that's a long, long time ago!

1 - Magnavox, Atari Pong

2 - Fairchild VES, Atari 2600

3 - NES

4 - Sega Mega Drive, SNES

5 - Jaguar, PS, N64

6 - PS2, XBox

7 - PS3, XBox360, Wii

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Happy

If this turns out to be vapourware...

..can we call it the Phantom Zone? :-)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phantom_Zone

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