As Betanews reports, Microsoft is unsure about when to break up with Zune enthusiasts. I along with many other Zune users can only hope that Microsoft would release a new generation of Zune hardware running a custom version of Windows Phone 7.5 or 8. Add strong on-board speakers and a good OLED screen with a hefty battery and I’ll be happy.
Microsoft is choosing to create a closed garden of sorts with its’ phone operating system, but using the multiple hardware vendor approach. That’s not a problem. So far they haven’t announced anything outside of their Nokia phones and I doubt that they will, it doesn’t make a lot of sense to do so. What does make sense is to use Zune as a device to have a definitive Windows Phone OS experience outside of smart phones. It already has a strong brand, a userbase and plenty of attention.
The Zune HD may not have been competitive with iPod Touch as far as sales go but the hardware and software are top notch. If Microsoft truly believes that their phone os is going to bring change in the smart phone market then they should capitalize on that to expand Zune and to attack the iPod Touch. It’s perfect, with their upcoming push of Xbox Live integration on Windows Phone this could be marketed as a handheld gaming system for parents that want to give their children a gaming device without the monthly pre-paid or subscription fees. Microsoft, your company makes plenty of excellent software but has a tough time appealing to consumers. This is the chance to increase your appeal by releasing a product that can further integrate into our lives.
It will allow you to enter two portable gaming markets while Nintendo is weak and Apple faces quality issues. Sony is about to extend their reach further into your territory and they’re using Android to do it. Zune makes sense on multiple levels as a response. Find a way to add in a decent set of controls that are somewhere between NES to SNES ability and you have a winner. Remember, the Gameboy used to have a single d-pad and two buttons beneath its’ screen. The Zune HD already has a bit of space, just extend it vertically a bit and widen the device. The Samsung Galaxy S II is a nice size to shoot for to make this happen. Apple didn’t give up the battle against you, it took them a long time to surpass you in every way that matters financially. Why not take a page out of their book and keep trucking on?
Do any of you care about the fate of the Zune? What would you have done differently?