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Old 09-15-2006, 12:59 AM
Jason Dunn
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Default Zune Phone Part of the Future Plans

"Microsoft Corp. said on Thursday a Zune-branded phone is part of its future plans to expand in the digital music market, now dominated by Apple Computer Inc.'s iPod. "A Zune phone is definitely part of the future of this brand," Chris Stephenson, general manager of global marketing for Zune, told reporters at a news conference. He did not give specific details."

Bomb...dropped. A Zune phone? That sure came out of left field - what about Windows Mobile and Smartphones? If the Zune brand is a Microsoft "we build it" solution, that means Chris Stephenson is saying that Microsoft is going to build their own phones. That's one wild concept when you consider the impact it might have on Windows Mobile, all the partners Microsoft has, the carriers, and everyone else invested in the current offering. What about Photon, the next-generation version of Windows Mobile? This simple statement from Chris Stepheson is a bombshell - and it spawns dozens of questions.

My five-minutes-of-thinking-about-it take? Windows Mobile will continue moving forward, and Photon will stay on track. The Zune phone will be a narrow solution specifically aimed at the music-loving phone users, and be 100% entertainment-centric, lacking in the personal information management goodies we've come to expect from Windows Mobile phones. It will have a great media experience, but will be closer to a feature phone than a real Smartphone. In fact, I'm guessing it will be application-locked just like Portable Media Centers are - meaning no third party applications can be installed on it. So, in some ways, it will just be a really slick "dumbphone".

I asked a Microsoft spokesperson for an official response, and here's what he said: "Zune is all about connecting people to their music. It makes sense that Zune could be a part of a phone experience. But there has been no determination of how that will be executed or when it will happen."
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