Microsoft To Enter Handheld Market?

 The Folks over at Team Xbox are reporting that Microsft is planning on releasing a new handheld device that is a cross between a Zune and an Xbox.  Sounds cool to me!


Microsoft Working on Digital Entertainment Handheld

Well placed sources have told that Microsoft is in the final design stages of a “digital entertainment handheld.”

According to sources in Redmond and Santa Clara, Microsoft is in the final design stages of a “digital entertainment handheld.”

One of the sources for this story—all of whom chose to remain anonymous because they weren’t authorized to speak to the press—used the “xYz” moniker for the device [and I emphasize the “Y” in capitals to reflect the source’s highlighting of that letter out of the three] to explain to me that this “digital entertainment handheld” sits somewhere in-between the Xbox and Zune platforms, offering both gaming and media playback, as well as Internet-related services, all in a portable format.

When I asked if such nickname implied that Microsoft will use a brand starting with the “Y” letter for this handheld, the source said: “As far as I know, the name of the device has not been decided yet.” The purpose of using that moniker, the source said, is to emphasize that this device is a mix of the Zune and Xbox platforms and, at the same time, a unique platform on its own.

Another source consulted for this story confirmed the development of such mobile device, at least as of December of last year. This source defined the Microsoft handheld as “unlike anything on the market today,” and said that the only way to describe it is to “think of a mashup of the Sony Mylo, the PSP, and the iPhone… errr, the iPod Touch; [the MS handheld] doesn’t need access to a phone network.” That last sentence was one of the juiciest comments made, since the source wanted to emphasize this device lacks access to a phone network and that’s why he changed the iPhone example with the iPod Touch.

Even if several analysts and publications have reported that Microsoft is planning to market its own smartphone, this second source told me not to expect any business application or user interface (UI) that resembles a smartphone. Furthermore, the source stressed:

“Although the Microsoft handheld is definitely a converged device, this is not a Zune Phone.” The source added: “Microsoft won’t compete with its Windows Mobile customers.”



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