For a number of years now, there have occasionally been rumors of a Microsoft Zune Phone, but these have always proved to be unfounded with denials from the company and no product announcement. With the upcoming Mobile World Congress (MWC) later this month in Barcelona, a new rumor has now emerged stating that Microsoft is actually indeed developing a Zune Phone running Windows Mobile 7, the company's highly anticipated and much needed redesigned mobile operating system. Furthermore, like its DAP brethren the Zune HD, the new handset is said to also be powered by the nVidia Tegra chipset, although it's uncertain whether it is the first generation Tegra APX 2600 like the Zune HD or the next-generation Tegra 250.
The original story from Spanish tech blog MuyComputer says the announcement is "100% confirmed" with the device having a 480×272 touch screen, HDMI output, and weighing around 2.45oz.
Microsoft has so far been silent on what it plans to reveal at the MWC, but most of us have expected an announcement regarding Windows Mobile 7 with its planned release sometime later this year. The debut of a Zune Phone, although long rumored, would still be quite a surprise and a very bold move by the company to compete directly against the iPhone and Android devices with its own hardware. In a way it sort of makes sense with the Zune series and brand being quite highly regarded now with good slick software and powerful hardware. If it does materialize, it is likely to follow the iPhone model of a sleek touch screen smartphone, running Windows Mobile 7 integrated with Zune media player software. The rumor is further backed up by Gizmodo vouching for the reliability of the source and also pointing out other recent rumors regarding a Zune Phone, with indications of new phone devices being added into the Zune desktop software.
What do you think of Microsoft launching a Zune Phone? And how would its potential introduction affect the Windows Mobile landscape and the company's relationship with its other hardware partners?