Software Giant Microsoft is apparently planning to launch a sleeker, updated version of its almost anonymous personal media player, the Zune, and mount a credible challenge to Apple's iPod Touch.
A few days ago, Engadget released pictures of what appears to be a Zune HD media player with a slim, black bezel as well as a steel finish. The images apparently came from a soon-to-be announced marketing campaign for the new device.
Other rumours that have emerged from a number of websites point to an OLED screen with multi touch capabilities, a 16:9 widescreen, an Nvidia-based Tegra processor, X-Box compatibility, Wireless synchronisation, HDMI port and possibly, yes possibly Windows Mobile 7 which should come in the few months anyway.
The news comes at the same time as advertising news outlet, Ad Week, reports that Microsoft is in the process of selecting three major ad agencies for a new mobile service referred to as Pink, which is Microsoft's codename for Zune software and related mobile phone services.
The timing of the selection process means that Microsoft could well be releasing any new Zune or Zune Phone by the middle of the summer, at least when it comes to the US Market. Zune has yet to be launched in other territories, which is a real shame.
A placeholder online - ZuneHD.net - was first assumed to be the official website for the next generation Zune but it was outed as a regular website with an improvised but ultimately fake Zune HD Logo.
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Microsoft knows that it can't leave the whole market to Apple's iPhone and Google's Android. We expect Microsoft to release a Zunephone sooner rather than later. It will play games superbly, probably better than the rest of the competition thanks to its Nvidia foundations. It could even position itself as the equivalent of the Xbox Mobile gaming console that so many have expected.
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