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Microsoft could soon be releasing a Zune-based iPhone competitor

According to a report from Dow Jones’ MarketWatch, Microsoft submitted a filing to the FCC on Monday seeking approval for a prototype wireless device that could be used to talk over the Internet. Microsoft’s filing labeled the device has having the purpose of “consumer broadband access and networking,” through the use of OFDM for wireless communication.

Although the FCC filing does not specifically name the wireless device as a member of the Zune family, analysts and rumormongers suspect that Microsoft’s music player has a part to play in this filing. Analyst Rob Enderle said the filing seems to indicate “an internet device or a mobile VoIP phone,” that “certainly could be a Zune derivative product.”

Earlier in the month, CrunchGear kicked off the rumors of a Zune phone that will work with Zune Marketplace and be able to connect with the Xbox 360 to access Xbox Live Marketplace content for downloaded movies on the go. The device will not make use of Windows Mobile, but rather the more consumer-friendly Zune interface and could see store shelves as early as this December. Gizmodo claimed to have confirmed the story with its own sources, adding that the device may not have a touch-screen like the one on Apple’s iPod.

Unlike Apple’s phone offering, Microsoft does not appear to be making a device that uses traditional cellular carrier networks, which would put the software giant in a position of disadvantage when dealing with major carriers. Instead, its choice to go with OFDM could be a hint towards WiMAX. Sprint Nextel have already announced plans to create a WiMAX network that will offer speeds between 2Mbps and 4Mbps -- speeds perfectly able to handle streaming of large files. The addition of WiMAX would help solve one Zune’s current shortcomings: the range of Wi-Fi doesn’t allow for a significant range to make sharing worthwhile. WiMAX could extend the sharing capabilities from close-range to international.

Following news of the FCC filing, CrunchGear goes out on a limb to say that Microsoft could be announcing this product before March 17, with a possible launch sometime in May, supposedly before Apple’s iPhone. The unnamed source of the story also says that such a device has been in the works at Microsoft for a while, but the idea of branding it as a Zune came as a recent decision as a response to the iPhone.

While the details are still belong in the rumor mill, Microsoft’s work on a Zune phone certainly isn’t fiction. Last September, Zune marketing manager Chris Stephenson responded to a reporter’s question about such a product by saying, “There is a possibility for a Zune phone,” and “the entire Zune platform and brand is about a family of devices. So to the degree that phones and other products exist in the family going forward, absolutely, that's definitely where this is all going.”

Upon a later question from another reporter, Stephenson reiterated, “We don't have any specifics to announce on that. I think what I was saying is that a Zune phone is definitely part of the future of this brand.”

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The facts on the market.
By crystal clear on 2/10/2007 8:02:44 AM , Rating: 4
"that Microsoft could be announcing this product before March 17, with a possible launch sometime in May, supposedly before Apple’s iPhone."


Samsung beats them all with this-

Samsung launches its version of the "iPhone Killer"

Although the Apple iPhone has not even hit the market, it has already become an industry measuring stick for any new multimedia handset being launched, with the latest comparison coming through the introduction of Samsung's Ultra Smart F700 on February 8th.

Like the Apple iPhone, the F700 features a full touch screen. However, although Samsung noted that the device reflects the recent trend in the telecommunications industry by using a touch screen user interface, the F700 will still include a QWERTY key pad (unlike the iPhone) for users who are not yet familiar with a touch-screen-only user interface. The F700 also features VibeTonz technology which allows users to feel the buttons accompanied by responsive vibrations.


"Apple to launch iPhone on June 15 at developer conference? "

Apple has requested the FCC keep quiet details about the iPhone until June 15, which happens to be the last day of Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference.


*Samsung/Nokia/Sony Ericksen & the likes control the market,
under such circumstances Zune & iPhone will not survive long.
*The technology lead & the marketing lead of these long time
operators is hard to match.

Zune & iPhone are good as news item,but in reality they will
not make a major impact on the market.

RE: The facts on the market.
By FITCamaro on 2/10/2007 8:55:46 AM , Rating: 5
I guess I'll just have to be out of date and stick with my phone that, you know, makes phone calls.

RE: The facts on the market.
By Runiteshark on 2/10/2007 9:02:51 AM , Rating: 2
I still use a Motorola V180, and the thing still works.

Still get wicked battery life too, can usually talk for 12 hours on it.

Ain't that just great? Using a cellphone what its meant for, talking.

RE: The facts on the market.
By semo on 2/10/2007 7:14:26 PM , Rating: 2
yeah, today's technology can't match that.

all new decent phones seem to go to developing countries. my only option if i wanted something cheap and functional is nokia 1100 (about 3 years old design).

RE: The facts on the market.
By Nacho on 2/11/2007 6:17:28 PM , Rating: 2
I still have the Nokia 1100. Love the flashlight!

RE: The facts on the market.
By Omega215D on 2/12/2007 10:22:44 AM , Rating: 2
I really wanted that Nokia phone that was used in the first Matrix movie and do a chipset transplant so that it can run frequencies used in the US.

RE: The facts on the market.
By jtesoro on 2/12/2007 7:43:25 AM , Rating: 2
There's room in the market for phones which just makes calls and for phones which have everything on it.

For me the reason for the mobile phone was to make calls and texts. Later I got to use a phone which allowed me to sync my schedule onto it. Very useful. Got to read my email on another phone as well, and that proved to be useful too for more urgent stuff.

The camera was clearly a nice-to-have, but it came in handy for "hey man, check this out" situations, meeting friends and similar situations.

Sure, for all these things the value vs the price can get pretty weak, but I think it's no different from getting a high-end TV vs a lower-end one from the same manufacturer (especially one with the same size/resolution). One can question the value you get from the 50% markup, but for some people the slight advantage is well worth it.

RE: The facts on the market.
By SprintSlash on 2/10/2007 11:39:25 AM , Rating: 2
Don't underestimate the power of press, ads, and word of mouth..

IIRC, Motorola v3 Razr wasn't the best phone available, but somehow they made to the top as one of the most popular phones..

I will choose Samsung/Sony Ericsson anytime over Apple if their specs are better.. but market will probably choose Apple if everyone talks about it.

RE: The facts on the market.
By jtesoro on 2/12/2007 8:24:52 AM , Rating: 2
Don't underestimate the power of press, ads, and word of mouth..

Exactly. After all, we know that the iPod wasn't exactly the best of the bunch feature- and performance-wise. And look what happened.

Love 'em or hate 'em, there's lessons to be learned on how Apple makes and markets their products.

RE: The facts on the market.
By AlexWade on 2/10/2007 1:02:45 PM , Rating: 2
Here is a fun fact: Samsung has never had an original idea for a cell-phone. Of course I'm joking, but Samsung does like to copy everybody else's cellular ideas.

I'm sticking with an Ericsson. To date, I've never has a phone that was better or easier to use than my Ericsson T68, which I still use from time to time. I had Moto that was recalled because it dropped calls, and later found out that a lot of people with Motorola and GSM phones had dropped call problems, so now I boycott Motorola. I have a Nokia right now. It is too big and cumbersome to use. I had a Treo 650 which had a major bug Palm never bothered to fix. But my Ericsson T68 worked perfectly from day 1 and, best of all, was easy to use. I even met the guy who designed it who lives outside of Raleigh.

Since Ericsson is GSM only, most of the US doesn't know how good they really are.

RE: The facts on the market.
By Hare on 2/12/2007 3:00:27 AM , Rating: 2
To date, I've never has a phone that was better or easier to use than my Ericsson T68, which I still use from time to time.

I've had two T68's. I always hated the fact that you needed to press "C" and then "yes" when you open the keylock. It's extremely stupid. You have no idea how many SMS I've lost before reading them. New SMS -> automatically press c->yes. Uuups, the keypad wasn't locked. You just pressed C "delete" and "yes" to confirm the deletion. That's usability!

Ok, the T68i is an ancient design but T610 or K750i are decent phones.

RE: The facts on the market.
By Griswold on 2/11/2007 8:16:04 AM , Rating: 2
Fully agree. Its also worth to note that LG electronics will launch their LG Prada/KE850 ( sometime in february. I think they showcased it for the first time in december, and frankly, it takes almost all the thunder from iphone. In fact, LG seems to have several touch screen phones in their portfolio such as the KE800 and KE970.

But thats how it is these days with apple. They re-invent the wheel and sell it as new. Thats not to say the iphone doesnt have a few interesting features other may lack, but that goes both ways.

"Young lady, in this house we obey the laws of thermodynamics!" -- Homer Simpson
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