Zune phone to be reference design, not actual product



Finally a Zune phone rumour I can get behind. 

After months of speculation and insistence that Microsoft is ditching its Windows Mobile partners and going it alone, despite official denials, a new rumour has popped up which has tied all the loose ends together quite nicely, and makes quite a bit of sense.

Mary-Jo Foley from the All about Microsoft ZDNet blog claims to have spoken to people “familiar with the situation” who claim that, instead of Microsoft making a Zune phone, Microsoft is instead designing multiple reference designs for their ultimate media phone, and offering it to companies to build on.  One if the designs famously runs on the Tegra processor platform.

This strategy continues to allow Microsoft to concentrate on the software aspect while staying away from the cut-throat hardware side, and will still allow them to make money of the services associated with the  Zune store.

Mary-Joe expects the first devices based upon these designs to only start appearing in 2010, around the same time as Windows Mobile 7.

One can only assume this higher level of control over the hardware OEM’s use will allow Microsoft to specify sane minimum requirements, such as higher processor speeds and guaranteed graphics acceleration.

Do our readers feel this strategy is a good one, or would they have preferred a Microsoft-branded Zune.  Let us know below.

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