Even though we won’t be seeing an official Zune Phone at CES 2009, it seems that Microsoft is still moving ahead with making some kind of ZunePhone at some point in the future. Further still, it seems that it won’t be developed on its own.
Instead of having two separate teams work on possibly related devices, it seems that Microsoft is merging its Zune user interface team with the team that works on Windows Mobile. If this rumor holds up to be true, it could very well mean that the first ZunePhone won’t be running on its own platform. Instead, the Zune-ness will “simply” be integrated into Windows Mobile.
I think this is a good move for Microsoft, especially in these financial times, because it’s probably much more cost effective to work with one unified team than it is to work with two segregated ones. Further still, I don’t think too many people enjoy Windows Media Player on their WinMo phones, so pushing the Zune UI to handle multimedia features could provide a huge improvement in usability.
That’s the optimist in me speaking. The pessimist in me fears the possibility of some really bad Zune integration into the Windows Mobile framework, creating an absolutely crapshot of what could have been a pretty great offering. I hope Microsoft doesn’t screw this one up…
Perhaps better still, could Microsoft be working on a Zune “skin” for Windows Mobile, like how HTC has TouchFLO and Samsung has TouchWiz?