There are a ton of rumors flying around right now saying that Microsoft just might introduce a Zune-ified competitor to the iPhone at CES next month. There are also those who call that a ridiculous notion. I happen, to a degree, to agree with both sides.
You won't see it at CES, but new a mobile phone initiative is brewing at Microsoft right now, and the Zune team is involved.
I live in Seattle. I run with the Microsoft/Amazon/Real/Whatever circle of geeks in the area. Sadly, because I'm a technology journalist, this means that when I run into them at parties they often have to clam up. I was, though, fortunate enough to have a sneak peek at a prototype Zune more than two years ago before anyone knew what it would look like or do. I was also lucky enough to snap a shot of it with my Treo. This became the first public photo of the device. It was black and white and wrapped in its own headphones, you might remember it. You could say I broke the Zune. I thus love the Zune. I pay close attention to what the Zune teams are doing. I listen to the Zune rumors. I have my ear to the Zune ground.
And I can tell you this: There will be a cellular communications device with Zune-like features in the near future. … Read more