Microsoft looking for ways to converge Windows Mobile, Zune

Microsoft is looking for better ways to integrate Windows Mobile and Zune devices.

Microsoft appears to be looking for new ways to tie Windows Mobile phones and Zune media players together, although a Zune phone remains unlikely.

Over the weekend, Microsoft developer "Mel" asked an open question on the Windows Mobile blog: "What are some ways the Zune player and a Windows Mobile device can work better together?"

Since then, over 50 commenters have suggested ways that Microsoft might converge the two devices. The most common idea is to essentially replace the Windows Media Player on Windows Mobile devices with Zune software.

"I proposed that WMP should be fazed out in favour of a combined WMP/Zune player which will synch with both Windows Media AND Zune, instead of having to have two separate apps with two different libraries for each device," wrote one commenter using the name Colin Walker.

Peter Henning, another commenter, also suggested making just one media player that works on both devices. "Currently you are just making our lives much more difficult with this parallel development and incompatibilities," he wrote.

A single media player would solve some of the problems that other users complained about in synching music between a Windows Mobile phone and a Zune. Another commenter going by the name Charlie Quidnunc noted that he has to create new playlists once he transfers music from Zune to his phone because Windows Media Player can't read Zune playlists.

Another complained that he can't transfer music that he downloaded under his Zune subscription plan to his Windows Mobile device because of DRM (digital rights management) restrictions.

Offering Zune software on Windows Mobile phones could be one simple way for Microsoft to converge the two, said Michael Gartenberg, a research director with Jupiter Research. "There are any number of ways that Microsoft could go about Zune integration. We might see a Zune application for Windows Mobile devices."

But what we most likely won't see is a Zune phone, despite many Zune phone rumors. "On one hand the Zune is a closed proprietary system not built around a partner ecosystem," Gartenberg noted. "On the other hand the phone business is built on a partner ecosystem." Microsoft develops the Windows Mobile software but hardware makers build the phones. By contrast, Microsoft develops the hardware and software for the Zune.

If Microsoft started making a Zune phone, it would compete with its phone hardware partners. "It's the same reason we don't see a Microsoft branded PC," he said.

On the Windows Mobile blog, "Mel" emphasized that wasn't looking for more suggestions of a Zune phone. "I'm not referring to an imaginary 'Zune phone,' and I'm certainly not hinting or speculating about a converged device," he wrote.

Building a better music playing experience into Windows Mobile will be important for Microsoft, which is increasingly trying to make Windows Mobile phones appeal to consumers and not just business users. "For the most part, Windows Mobile has ignored consumers," Gartenberg said.

Microsoft recently announced plans to buy Danger, the developer of mobile phone software that runs the youth-oriented Sidekick device from T-Mobile. Microsoft has also made some executive changes in the Windows Mobile group designed to better focus on consumers.

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Struggling for Christmas presents this year? Check out our Christmas Gift Guide for some top tech suggestions and more.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Nancy Gohring

IDG News Service

Most Popular Reviews

Follow Us

Best Deals on GoodGearGuide

Shopping.com

Latest News Articles

Resources

GGG Evaluation Team

Kathy Cassidy

STYLISTIC Q702

First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni

STYLISTIC Q572

For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Steph Mundell

LIFEBOOK UH574

The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.

Andrew Mitsi

STYLISTIC Q702

The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.

Simon Harriott

STYLISTIC Q702

My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.

Latest Jobs

Shopping.com

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?