Microsoft always launches a product or two at the Consumer Electronics Show. Today's rumor is that Microsoft will reveal a Zune phone, courtesey of the Barron's Tech Trader Daily blog. (Yesterday's rumor was that it would announce a generally available beta of Windows 7). The Barron's story says:
"Trip Chowdhry, of Global Equities Research, today asserts that the company will unveil a new device combining the features of the company’s Zune music player and its Danger Sidekick handhelds, combined with what he describes as 'some motion enhancement features' using an accelerometer, like the Apple iPhone."
Unless this phone offers some kind of "Wow, how did they do that feature?" this news will only be exciting to Microsofties. iPhone lovers are not going to abandon their phones for a Zune phone. BlackBerry lovers are not going to snub the new Storm (or even the new Curve) for a Microsoft phone. Windows Mobile phones with fancy features, including music and touch, are available galore. Microsoft would do better by its users and investors if it would stop wasting its resources chasing after-the-fact ideas.
So here's a thought. Microsoft, if you want to offer your own branded phone, maybe you can marry a music device, cell phone, video player and an Xbox360 onto a single device -- and while you are it, have it all run over high-speed White Spaces. You can make it appeal to the enterprise by throwing in support for fixed mobile convergence. So, a user could be playing Xbox while taking the train into work, answer a work call, and have the call automatically transfer to the company's WiFi network as s/he entered the office. Now that would be a product with wow appeal!
In fact, in September, the British Magazine T3 showed off a Xbox360 Mobile concept phone -- a fictional device created by one of its artists. The magazine admitted that it had no information that Microsoft was actually working on such a thing, but the cool factor of it (if it worked well) is undeniable.
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