Microsoft Zune HD2 more than just a rumor?

Microsoft Zune HD2 more than just a rumor?

Summary: 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.

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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."

Topics: Microsoft, CXO, Mobility, Operating Systems, Software, IT Employment, Windows

About

Mary Jo has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications and Web sites, and is a frequent guest on radio, TV and podcasts, speaking about all things Microsoft-related. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008).

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  • Microsoft will make its own phone

    Microsoft initially had Sony Ericsson, HP, and Toshiba signed up for Windows Phone 7, but these companies fled in panic and deserted the Windows Phone 7 sinking ship.<br><br>With OEMs abandoning the project, Microsoft will be forced to make its own hardware and phones. Kin #2?
    Vbitrate
    • FUD Analysis Complete

      @Market Analyst ... clearly your point is to try and discredit WP7 before it even gets started, no doubt without even knowing anything about it.

      The Zune software is absolutely fantastic and miles ahead of iTunes from a usability factor. The Zune hardware has always been great as well, and I can say that having owned one of every generation released. It's a truly nice piece of hardware.

      The problem for Microsoft has always been marketing. They just don't market their products and services effectively anymore. Ironic considering I remember the days when Ballmer was head of marketing! It's clear, however, that with WP7 they are going to make that effort-- FINALLY-- and I hope they succeed just to give something to the industry for Apple and Google to remain competitive.

      In 20 years I've learned one thing... never ever try to count Microsoft out of the picture. They always come back swinging.
      GoodThings2Life
      • RE: Microsoft Zune HD2 more than just a rumor?

        @GoodThings2Life

        Got to agree with you, their weakness is definitely in getting awareness out there. Yesterday in fact I was thinking: with the rumoured half a billion dollars Microsoft is piling into WP7's launch would it not be more effective to spend that cash on rapid expansion of their high-street stores- thereby raising awareness of all of their consumer products across a wider area. (Leaving a hundred million or so for marketing of WP7 itself).

        Microsoft will never make sense to me!
        NortherngeekUK
      • RE: Microsoft Zune HD2 more than just a rumor?

        @GoodThings2Life So where is the Mac version of the Zune software ????
        mrlinux
      • @mrlinux: OS X is a stagnant OS

        While Macs are selling well, OS X marketshare is totally stagnant. People just don't use OS X very much. They buy their Macs and, like me, very quickly realize how much OS X sucks and then install Windows.

        There is absolutely no incentive for MS to port Zune over to an OS that has a marketshare of about 5% and falling.
        NonZealot
      • RE: Microsoft Zune HD2 more than just a rumor?

        @GoodThings2Life <br>The hardware is great... but the software... sorry, that 'prettyfied' mess is not that intuitive and a slow beast on my computers. Yes they are more than two years old, but run Win7 and all web browsers just fine. The Zune software drags. I have both iTunes and a Zune, but no iPod... iTunes is easier for me (I -don't- let it 'manage' my library). I do use other music software for playing, but Zune software is in need of serious tweaking. I don't want to review the ways it's lacking... everytime I use it, I find some slow block or non-intuitive means to accomplish what I want to do. Just the presentation of lists of song files is more limited in Zune software... there are few alternatives, if any, to use with Zune hardware. I only use it to load the Zune.
        RpDnn
      • The problem with Microsoft

        @GoodThings2Life ... has little to do with the fact that they don't know how to market.

        It has everything to do with their inability to make products consumers want to buy.

        Taste is the key missing ingredient.

        Microsoft attempting consumer products is like your dad trying to be cool.
        HollywoodDog
      • RE: Microsoft Zune HD2 more than just a rumor?

        @GoodThings2Life So where is the Mac version of the Zune software ????

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      • RE: Microsoft Zune HD2 more than just a rumor?

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    • RE: Microsoft Zune HD2 more than just a rumor?

      @Market Analyst They still have far more OEMs who have committed to releasing Windows Phone 7 devices at launch than Apple, Android, Blackberry, Palm, etc. All of those other Smartphone OS's launched with only one device.
      AdamzP
      • RE: Microsoft Zune HD2 more than just a rumor?

        @AdamzP

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    • And HP abandons Android on phones, tablets, ect

      Well, Market Analyst with companies like HP abandoning Android, I wonder how long others will follow suit.

      Like this story about Sony Erricson:

      http://www.wmexperts.com/windows-phone-7-rumor-sony-ericsson-julie

      ;)
      John Zern
    • RE: Microsoft Zune HD2 more than just a rumor?

      @Market Anal
      Your comments on Microsoft are always completely negative. Did Bill Gates kill your dog or something?
      batpox
    • RE: Microsoft Zune HD2 more than just a rumor?

      @Market Analyst
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    • RE: Microsoft Zune HD2 more than just a rumor?

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      concone
  • Nice

    Can't wait to see what it is.
    The one and only, Cylon Centurion
  • RE: Microsoft Zune HD2 more than just a rumor?

    I would agree that you could look at the job description and think there was a new zunehd in the works. But the fact that they called it a media and communications device makes me think it is probably for the windows phone 7.
    tommcd64