updated 10:35 pm EST, Wed December 10, 2008
No Zune Phone at CES
Despite some expectations, Microsoft has no plans to introduce a Zune-branded phone at the Consumer Electronics Show next month, the company's Zune Group Manager Brian Seitz tells Gizmodo. The statement comes in part as a response to claims of a major Zune refresh that would represent or precede an actual phone; in either situation, the device was to be codenamed "Pink" and was widely expected to use a touchscreen and a fast image processor.
Instead, any phone-related news from Microsoft at CES is believed to relate to software rather than hardware. Long-time Microsoft observer Mary Jo Foley adds that "Pink" is generally understood to represent a group of services for Windows Mobile that will most likely include a Zune-like component for media playback. A companion suite for business communication is potentially coming under a "Rouge" codename.
Microsoft has repeatedly denied any development of a Zune phone and has implied an emphasis on rejuvenating Windows Mobile under its current business strategy, which licenses the mobile operating system out to third parties. Observers have warned that an in-house Microsoft phone would potentially alienate partners that would suddenly be forced to compete against the company that provides their software.