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A Zune HD2? Maybe.

When it comes to the Zune HD and its successor, the rumor has been thus for awhile: there may or may not be one other iteration of the series before it's folded into the Windows Phone eco-system.

And to be honest, the rumor has been tilting towards no Zune HD2 for somewhat obvious reasons listed below.

But now according to Mary Jo Foley (more specifically, her tipster), it looks like Microsoft may attempt a Zune HD2 but not till sometime in 2011, meaning this is all but vaporware at this point, but still interesting vaporware.

After Microsoft had its Windows Phone 7 reset, talk of a new ZuneHD2 tapered off. But lately, I’ve been hearing that, in spite of the Zune HD’s not-so-stellar sales, plus Microsoft’s failure to make the hardware available outside the U.S., the Softies may still have one more digital-media player coming. My rumormonger says it could be a calendar 2011 deliverable and possibly could sport an ARM processor of some kind. The Zune HD2 would incorporate a number of the UI changes from the Windows Phone 7 folks, the tipster claims — which makes sense given the Windows Phone 7 UI borrowed so heavily from the Zune HD UI.

No word from my tipster on dimensions, price, will/won’t there be cameras or any other details users might want to know about a potential new Zune HD. Also no word on how Microsoft might position such a device if it ever comes to market: Would it be more like a “Windows Phone 7 Lite”/iPod Touch? A gaming-focused handheld like the rumored Sony PSP Go successor? Or more like a mini slate/tablet (like one of those new Archos 28s running Froyo)?

Yeah, so this is just an unconfirmed rumor at this point, but one that is quite possible--after all, Apple still has luck in doing the whole iPod/iPhone thing, so if Windows Phone 7 is a hit, why not Microsoft?

 

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Reader comments

A Zune HD2? Maybe.

4 Comments

A Zune HD2 is such a no brainer that despite their claims to the contrary i expect it to happen at some point, if for no other reason than to be a cheaper entry to Zune, Xbox Live, and the Marketplace - where the real money for MS is. Of course their hands are tied with the WP7 launch and post launch so I wouldn't expect to hear much until post Q1 2011 anyways. i have to wonder if any OEMs will license the OS for their own media players. i'm sure some would decline as they have their own music stores but i'd really like to see some designs from companies who aren't in the phone space like Creative, Cowon and Sandisk.

Any ZuneHD2 type device would be a good idea as long as the Zune marketplace/service has already openned outside the US, which it should with the release of WP7 device, then they can release a device like this with a bigger screen and more storage.

The key to this is to have the Zune service etc go international first and not have a device that's limited to the US yet again. MS knows there is ZuneHD demand outside the US, they're not blind to it. The problem is that they still, as of yet, don't have the Zune marketplace/services ready to go and open to users outside of the US. So in that case having a device but no service to fully take advantage of it would do more to hurt the brand than anything.

All we have to do is wait for WP7 to spread and with it the Zune service, then once that's out to most of the world a ZuneHD2 can be worth it for MS since they have a better chance to sell more of them.

I would reduce the Zune lineup to a single model and count on Slate PCs and Windows Phone 7 devices filling the void for higher end portable needs.

When it comes to HD Zune and its successor, the voice is, then, for some time: there may be another iteration of the series before it is folded into the Windows ecosystem Phone.

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