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A Zune-phone tweet, posted by a Microsoft-related account last night, has the rumor mill buzzing.  (Source: Gizmodo)

Zune fans have created this mock-up of what a Zune phone might look like.  (Source: Zune Scene Forums)
A new Twitter posting has some convinced a phone version of the Zune is on the way

As far as MP3 players go, the Zune has not been able to keep up with the pace of Apple’s iPod or even SanDisk’s Sansa players.  Still, the Zune has many loyal followers and speculation that a Zune phone might be forthcoming has excited many.  Such a phone could potentially prove a strong challenger to the Palm Pre, Apple iPhone, Google G1, and Blackberry Storm.

Thus it created quite a stir last night when a Twitter account attached to the "Office the Movie" Microsoft advertising team posted, "June 2009 will be an important month for Zune lovers."

The post was followed by another, stating, "New product launch, that's all I'm allowed to say. Hold off from buying an iPhone/Pre. :)"

While the prospect of a Zune phone, which the Tweets seem to obviously infer, seems intriguing, the Tweets themselves have come under fire.  First, some have noted that half of the messages from the account were posted from Tweetie, a Twitter client that runs on Macs. 

Secondly, the account is almost brand new and has had limited activity.  Among its previous posts about Office, was one that stated, "Office 2010 will include Twitter, Facebook, and other social networks integrated right into Word. That's just a hint of what's to come!"

While such a possibility might be news in and of itself, that assertion seems questionable as well.  Microsoft does have a partnership with Facebook, but the Office 2010 team has made no mention of social network or blog integration.  One possibility is that the post is referring to the web application form of Word that could potentially be embedded into licensed sites.

Also, others point out that the Microsoft Office team is minimally connected to the Zune efforts, and seems unlikely to have secret inside knowledge of R&D projects.  Still others are pointing out the improbability of Microsoft allowing a low level source to leak such important information.

In the end, barring an unlikely confirmation from Microsoft, the post will likely remain, like other Zune-Phone blogs around the web, an unsubstantiated rumor, albeit a bit more credible then most.  It’s something to keep an eye on, but don't put your phone upgrade on hold quite yet.

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RE: Eh?
By mmntech on 5/12/2009 10:07:05 AM , Rating: 2
I know Microsoft has been mulling over the idea for some time, since 2007 at least. The Register had said part of the Zune devision was absorbed into Windows Mobile. Could be true. I'm not sure if it's a wise idea though, given how unpopular the Zune is. I doubt slapping a phone on it and launching it into an already overcrowded market is going to change that.

RE: Eh?
By h0kiez on 5/12/2009 10:19:02 AM , Rating: 3
As been dsicussed many times, it's much more likely that the Zune interface will end up in a new version of WinMo. It's a virtual certainty that the Zune divison and the WinMo division are working together on that, but that in no way means that a MS branded piece of hardware is coming.

RE: Eh?
By omnicronx on 5/12/2009 11:16:29 AM , Rating: 2
Not only more likely, but pretty much already has. I've been using Windows Mobile 6.5 for about a month now and the new Titanium today interface is pretty much the zune interface.

On another note, there have been better sources that have claimed a zune phone is coming (keyword is claimed). Although all sources claim a third party will actually make the phone, but it could be MS branded.

RE: Eh?
By Mitch101 on 5/12/2009 12:33:02 PM , Rating: 3
There is no doubt in my mind that Microsoft will develop a phone along with a new Zune. The question is how will they 1-up the iPhone, Blackberry, and eventual Android phones or will it just be another lame duck. My thought is that it will double as a true Portable gaming system to compete with the DS and PSP also. It will most likely be a portable movie box with HD output as well. I would certainly be sure it will tie itself with the X-Box 360 as a hard drive. As well I it should satisfy as being a good business device to compete with the Blackberry.

Exclusivity will play a role so Carriers will play a big role in this. Verizon needs a competitor to the iPhone. I believe AT&T will get more exclusive time with AT&T. I dont believe a Blackberry can deliver the cool factor like a Microsoft Zune/Phone device could despite the Stome being pretty neat. I could certainly see Verizon pushing Microsoft for a phone to compete with AT&T iPhone. However if Verizon gets an iPhone contract then Microsoft may back away from a Phone.

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