Just days after I posted about the (not so) crazy rumor I heard about Microsoft readying a Zune HD2, WMPoweruser unearthed a job description that made it sound like such a device is, indeed, in the making.
According to that job description, the Portable Entertainment Group -- part of the Mobile Communications Business, and the team which built and shipped the current Zune HD -- is "currently building the next generation of portable entertainment and communication devices." There's no word whether this next-gen is more like an iPod Touch (what I heard) or some kind of mobile Xbox type of thing (or maybe something in between?). But it does look like something is afoot.
My tipster on the Zune HD2 said the new devices could arrive next year. That tipster more recently told me there will be 16GB, 32GB and 64GB versions of the Zune HD2 coming. Don't be surprised to hear Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer share more about the Soft's plans for these devices when Microsoft launches Windows Phone 7 next month, the tipster said.
We already do know that Microsoft is planning on making the Zune audio/video services a key part of Windows Phone 7. Unsurprisingly, it looks like Microsoft is making available in various international markets of its ZunePass subscription service in preparation for the WP7s imminent arrival. Microsoft also will be relying on the Zune software client (known internally as "Dorado") to update/sync Windows Phone 7 phones and the services on them.
Microsoft isn't saying much about the coming version of the Zune software (release 4.7) at this point. When I asked, a spokesperson told me:
"We have been testing the Zune PC software throughout the summer in a limited public preview, open to independent software vendors. Since Zune PC software will be supporting the synchronization of digital entertainment content for Windows phones, ISVs are using this as an opportunity to polish integration for the forthcoming launch of Windows Phone 7. We’ll be sharing a launch date at a later time."