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Windows-Mobile powered Zune Phones To Come by 2009

Microsoft's CEO, Steve Ballmer, has announced that the Zune software may soon be adopted by a raft of Windows Mobile devices in a bid to steal the iPod's thunder.

Although Ballmer has already told Reuters (opens in new tab) that they will not be building a phone, he did say to CIO magazine (opens in new tab) that the Zune software will ultimately migrate to other platforms and could possibly be part of the delayed Windows Mobile 7 operating system which won't be available until the second half of 2009.

Like Google's Android platform, it is highly likely that Microsoft will push Zune as an integral part of its mobile offerings in a bid to make Windows Mobile more attractive. What does that mean? Well, there's the quasi-certainty that Windows 7 Mobile will come with Zune and that it will also power a slew of smartphones. This means that technically, there will be Zune phones on sale by this time next year.

However, just like Google, don't expect Microsoft to build (and brand) Zune phones explicitly. Instead their partners (HTC, Sony Ericsson, Samsung, LG) will be encourage to use Zune as their multimedia platform. Which brings up another interesting question.

Now, the $64,000 question. Since Microsoft wants to emulate Apple's combined ipod+itunes success, will it offer customised Windows Marketplace versions to suit the needs of its partners?

Stay tune for more! The mobile arena is suddenly becoming more interesting than following Windows and Linux on the desktop.

Désiré Athow
Contributor

Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website building and web hosting when DHTML and frames were en vogue and started writing about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium. Following an eight-year stint at ITProPortal.com where he discovered the joys of global tech-fests, Désiré now heads up TechRadar Pro. Previously he was a freelance technology journalist at Incisive Media, Breakthrough Publishing and Vnunet, and Business Magazine. He also launched and hosted the first Tech Radio Show on Radio Plus.