Windows Phone 7 Won't Kill Zune HD... Yet
"[W]ith the impending release of the Windows Phone 7 Series, which will include full Zune HD functionality in its "Music + Video" hub, I've begun to wonder if Microsoft will phase out the Zune as a standalone music player. Here's one clue: Microsoft developer Michael Klucher on Tuesday put up a blog post about the upcoming XNA Game Studio 4.0. Thus far, XNA Game Studio has been primarily used to develop casual games for the Xbox 360 and, more recently, to create games for the Zune HD. ... Long story short, Klucher confirmed that XNA Game Studio 4.0 will support game development on Windows Phone 7 Series phones, but not on the Zune HD."
Well that's a kicker. Microsoft really isn't going to roll out the Zune HD app plan like they said they would? It's hard to see a silver lining in what is essentially Microsoft cutting off any hopes of a Zune HD app store, at least for this generation. Microsoft's Klucher confirmed that current XNA 3.1 code will continue to work with the device, but the features in XNA 4.0, like 3D APIs, Xbox Live integration, and the cool cross-platform Windows/Xbox/WinPhone7 game porting won't be coming. There's talk of a Zune HD2 in the works, which would follow Apple's lead in providing an experience similar to WinPhone7 without a cellular radio (i.e. iPhone to iPod Touch), but Microsoft has made no announcements yet. Personally, I prefer having a dedicated device for music and video, rather than feeling like they're tacked on as an application which needs to be loaded each time I search for a song, but it appears that device convergence is the direction the market is heading.