The ZuneBook is a Windows Mobile 7-based color touchscreen tablet device the size of a Kindle that plays audio and video media, with built-in e-book reader capabilities, Wi-Fi, runs .NET mobile applications and uses a scaled down version of the "Surface" interface, also known as Oahu. The cost? About $500.00. (Conceptual design by Spidermonkey)
Forget Kindle DX and its unitasker, locked-down functionality. I want the new Microsoft ZuneBook.
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If you haven't heard by now, the ZuneBook, which should be reaching store shelves sometime next year, will be a tablet device which Microsoft is releasing that will utilize a number of digital convergence technologies that have been under development for some time -- portable HD media playing, advanced touchscreen human interfaces based on a scaled-down, consumer version of "Surface" (Oahu).
The handheld, Kindle 2-sized, color touch screen ZuneBook will have e-book reader capabilities, as well as the ability to read and modify Microsoft Office documents, and will use the latest Windows Mobile 7 platform optimized for small MIDs and tablet devices. The device will run Windows 7 Mobile applications written to a superset of the current .NET Mobile Edition specification, so any software developer will be able to extend the device's functionality with games and other application software.
With the release of the device, Microsoft will be launching an online ZuneBook Store, where e-books, .NET mobile applications and various media content including music, movies and television shows will be hosted for instantaneous download directly from the unit, over Wi-Fi connection. A built-in SD-HC slot will allow users to easily expand the device's generous 8GB of flash storage. The cost? A mere $500 retail.
What do you mean you haven't heard of the ZuneBook? You think I just made this thing up?
Well, yeah, actually, I did. Sorry.
I may have pulled the ZuneBook out of my rear end, but the truth of the matter is that such a device would likely be a tremendous hit in the marketplace, if current Kindle figures are any indication. Apple is no doubt going to release it's own MID/Touchscreen tablet in the next year, but Microsoft has no such plans for something as ambitious as the ZuneBook. It seems the company is only interested in smartphones with their current designs for Windows Mobile 7, when really they could be producing the ultimate digital convergence device, with a huge built-in developer ecosystem that could crank out killer applications for this thing like nobody's business.
While the Apple Tablet will undoubtedly be successful and would have a built-in audience of iPhone and Macintosh loyalists, let's face it -- most people own PCs and run on Windows. The natural companion to Windows 7 would be a Windows Mobile-based tablet device, with the ability to access native Microsoft file formats and use Windows Media-compatible content. Because the device would be extensible, any number of modular data plugins -- such as Adobe PDF -- could be written so the device could read any e-book, document or media format. A built-in browser would also allow the ZuneBook to download and auto-install content from anyone's hosted ebook store.
The ZuneBook may only be a figment of my imagination, but I've got a feeling I'm not the only person out there that would like to see this device become a reality. Talk Back and Let Me Know.