Will Redmond Bring Down the iPhone?

Dennis Faas's picture

Now that the iPhone has been released and has established itself by already grabbing nearly 2% of the handheld market, speculation is turning towards rival corporations interested in developing their own powerful smart phones. And here goes: Microsoft is reportedly hinting at releasing its own super-flashy communicator. (Source: toptechnews.com)

Although rumors of a Google phone, or Gphone, have existed for some time, no one has seen the forest through the trees, so to speak. Surprisingly, Microsoft has not been linked with a smart phone, despite its impressive showing in developing video game hardware. Granted, Xbox 360s have a technical failure rate of 1 in 3, but they're also considered by most hardcore gamers to be worth the risk.

So, what's this all got to do with handhelds?

Whispers of Microsoft's interest in the market come after an executive in the company's entertainment and games division made a rather loaded observation at Citi's annual Global Technology Conference in New York City. Speaking in front of a friendly crowd, corporate vice president and Chief Financial Officer of the division responsible for both the Zune and Xbox 360 said, "Being able to do pictures and music is something that consumers are going to want, so it's a natural thing for us to want in our product roadmap." (Source: pcworld.com)

And, so it begins.

Analysts are speculating that a future device could resemble a Zune "on steroids," so to speak. Evolutions of the digital media player have been rumored for some time, and given the Zune's rather miserable start, any change would probably be a good thing. Of course, integrating the Xbox 360 in some manner would also help, for at this point Apple boasts no next-gen console with which to share futuristic media features.

As for the Zune, tentative plans to incorporate Windows Mobile OS features continue to grow. With a popular operating system on board (Vista v. XP is another matter), the media possibilities could very well resurrect a product gutted by Apple's sharp iPod marketing.

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