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The big iTunes/Zune cellphone integration challenge no one is talking about

Lots of folks appear to have talked themselves into thinking it is at least somewhat likely that Microsoft's new Zune music player will offer calling capability. And, I admit, I've sent some of the same signals about what appear to be - as you see there on the right of my latest P'shopped canvass- reference designs for a voice-enabled iPod.
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Written by Russell Shaw on
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Lots of folks appear to have talked themselves into thinking it is at least somewhat likely that Microsoft's new Zune music player will offer calling capability.

And, I admit, I've sent some of the same signals about what appear to be - as you see there on the right of my latest P'shopped canvass- reference designs for a voice-enabled iPod.

Yet while articulating the coolness of this integration- i.e. call your friends and share tracks- there's a practical hurdle that seems to be going unmentioned.

Those of you who come here often know I like to mention the heretofore unmentioned. I won't let you down.

One obstacle to a voice-enabled music player, it seems to me, is that the keypad necessary for full phone functionality is not easily integratable with those keys that offer music player navigability and control of features such as in-device playlists.

Sure, this can be done, but given the form factor, I see a certain amount of awkwardness. Are you going to make the user hit the caps key to disarm the dial pad numbers - thus enabling the up and down arrows necessary for in-device player navigability?

Unless executed flawlessly, this could be a clunky procedure.

The way to execute this would not to be to have the dialpad on the handset, but to have the dialpad in the screen. I'd also make the in-screen dialpad shrinkable to half-size so that a user could navigate the feature set of their music player at the same time they make a phone call.

I think I have a point. You build the phone inside the music player, not on it. 

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