Rumors regarding Windows Mobile 7 have been rampant as Mobile World Congress approaches. Now some reputable sources have let it slip that Winows Mobile 7 is a lock to be announced at the conference. According to the Wall Street Journal, the user interface will be a dead ringer for the Zune HD portable media player. We certainly wouldn’t argue with that.
From Bloomberg we’re hearing that the new software will have heavy integration with Microsoft’s Xbox Live service and console. This certainly makes sense considering the massive success the platform has enjoyed. Expect more integration with the Zune ecosystem as well, maybe even an iPhone/iTunes style system. Noted journalist Mary-Jo Foley is also saying that she expects Microsoft to drop the Windows Mobile name altogether and go with “Windows Phone 7”.
As for all that Project Pink speculation, the WSJ says don’t bet on it. While they are claiming that it won’t be part of the announcement, the Sharp manufactured “Pink” phone could be out sometime this spring. What does Windows Mobile (or Phone) 7 need to be to get your attention? Is it just too late for Microsoft in the mobile space?
We've been hearing about a possible Zune phone for quite some time now, and according to Spanish blog MuyComputer, Microsoft will unveil the rumored smartphone later this month at the MWC in Barcenlona.
"The Zune Phone presentation at Barcenlona's Mobile World Congress 2010 is 100 percent confirmed," Engadget claims to have heard from MuyComputer's editorial director, Javier Perez Cortijo.
Should the rumor prove correct, calling it a 'Zune Phone' might be a bit misleading. This won't be a Zune player with a phone tacked on, and instead will be a Windows Mobile 7 device with Zune software.
On the hardware side, the Zune Phone will tap into Tegra. It will also sport a 480 x 272 touchscreen and come with an HDMI video out port, MuyComputer reports.
With even Google leaping onto the smartphone bandwagon, those clamoring for a Zunephone now have a strong case. Perhaps Microsoft does need something more than just a software overhaul to arrest its slide in the smartphone market. OEMs remain under considerable pressure to abandon the relatively primeval Windows Mobile platform after the advent of the more voguish Android.
"Now, your other question was about I'm getting old. Zune, so Zune has been critically successful. And the way Zune is going to be successful for us in the future is you should think of that as our media service across multiple screens. We'll continue to have the Zune device screen. But, we now have Zune on Xbox. We have Zune on the PC. There are other places where Zune logically could go that we don't get to talk about yet. And I think lots of different screens with that capability can go,” said Bach. Zunephone still dwells the realms of wild speculation. Bach could very well be pointing toward something less radical.
“The strategy and vision of Zune is to continue to build out that full entertainment experience. This is a very important step for us to introduce Zune to new consumers around the world,” Christine Heckart, general manager for TV, video and music marketing at Microsoft, told the Financial Times. Apart from rebranding the video service on the Xbox 360, the company will also be introducing direct access to social networks like Facebook and Twitter.
Need a new portable media player? We're giving away a Zune HD 16GB (Black), courtesy of Nvidia. This kick-ass video and music player is powered by Nvidia's Tegra APX 2600 system-on-a-chip, a sports a vibrant 3.3" OLED screen. This Zune also comes with a custom engraving on the back. But enough of the technical babble. We're going to make it super easy for you to enter the contest, so hit the jump to get the full scoop on getting your name in the random drawing. In fact, you may already be entered!
The contest ends tonight, so read on for the full rules!
Okay, so it’s not like Zune HDs were dropping dead right left and center, but more than a few users were irked that play count issues have plagued the device since day one, and many were wondering if it would ever get fixed. Specifically, the Zune HD wouldn’t register a song as “played” unless you skipped to another track manually after about 20 seconds or so. If you were one of the many who were annoyed by this bug, the end is nigh.
The just released v4.3 firmware update addresses not only this issue, but offers up a myriad of “minor improvements”, not the least of which is a snappier browser.
In addition to speed enhancements, it offers up “support for upcoming 3d games and applications, as well as an auto-suggest feature for better text input”. Its great to see Microsoft continuing to make improvements to the device, but who are we kidding, this thing pretty much kicked ass to begin with right? Hit the jump to checkout the full patch notes and see the new browser in action.
Keep your friends close and your enemies closer. If you can't beat 'em, join 'em. Or choose your own cliche, bearing in mind that Microsoft is considering whether or not to port its Zune software and services to other platforms, most notably to Apple's. Is the sky falling?
"We are evaluating a lot of options in terms of platforms," Jose Pinero, Director of Communications for Microsoft's TV, Video, and Music Business told ZDNet's Mary-Jo Foley when asked point blank about the possibility of Zune running on Apple devices. "Zune is a music and video service from Microsoft. Period."
In other words, while Microsoft would like nothing more than to beat iPod in the music player market, that isn't the Zune's focus, which is software-based. And considering the number of users who would be willing to dump iTunes in a heartbeat if it didn't mean giving up their shiny iPods, it makes sense that Microsoft would at least entertain the idea of opening up Zune to the largest install-base of music players.
There’s been loose talk of a Zune phone for some time now, and it looks like we’ve finally found out what it might be. According to some scoop from the folks over at Gizmodo, Microsoft’s reported Pink phone is the device at large, and it’ll come in two forms.
The two models, which are known as the Turtle and the Pure, look an awful lot like a Palm Pre and a Sidekick respectively. The phones will be made by Sharp, who will share branding with Microsoft. The phones are reportedly aimed at a younger audience, which explains the perpetually round aesthetics.
We're finishing up an issue of the magazine this week, but still found some time to talk about tech news on the podcast. Topics of discussion include the new Windows 7 commercials featuring Maximum PC, Microsoft's anticipated Zune HD debut, and AMD's $99 Athlon II X4 CPU. Will gives the scoop on the ATI's new Eyefinity videocard technology, which he saw running on an aircraft carrier. This week also features a fruitful listener question and answer segment, which includes one of the episode's many Nixon references. Gordon goes off on Bay Area traffic, and talks about his new phone purchase (no, not an iPhone).
Do you have a tech question? A comment? A tale of technological triumph? Just need to get something off your chest? A secret to share? Email us at email@example.com or call our 24-hour No BS Podcast hotline at 877.404.1337 x1337--operators are standing by.
Try as it might, Microsoft has never been able to put a dent in Apple's marketshare for portable media players. The previous Zune players were pretty good, and the Zune desktop software finally got there after a few revisions, but neither one had the "wow factor" necessary to pull the masses away from the iPod juggernaut. With the Zune HD (and accompanying Zune 4.0 software), Microsoft has finally delivered the kind of truly exciting device that should make even the most ardent iPod fan take notice. It's sleek, small, thin, and surprisingly light with the rare quality of looking as good as Apple's products without looking just like Apple's products.