Ever since Microsoft bought Danger there’s been much speculation on the marriage of the Zune line with our familiat Sidekicks. While there haven’t been any official announcements on whether or not we’ll ever see these two technologies merge, it’s still interesting to think about. In a recent talk with Steve Ballmer he made some comments about the future of Zune and Microsoft’s vision for smartphones:
SB: “We’re going to keep going with Zune”. It’s two things: Service and a device. The Zune service, that’s going to fan out its footprint. Hardware will continue to improve. “The question is whether even if we flog them heavily, is their profit upside”. We’re going to keep going “I won’t say full steam ahead, because that implies acceleration of investment, but we’re going to sustain our investment.” We like it and the future may be the software/ecosystem on other devices.
On to smartphone market:
SB: Smartphones will go from 10% to 70 or 80% of market next few years. So what will people want? Good experience built in, w/out downloading stuff. You want good price range. iPhone is very expensive phone, without a keyboard. Some people can’t afford them. Sweet spot is phones that cost $150 to $200 to make — forget retail price. iPhone is about $500. We want to provide vendors with ability to make Windows phones up and down the price scale.
Unless you assume Apple and BlackBerry are going to sell the lion’s share of most phones, which I don’t, I think the play for us is to provide broad innovation at many price points.
A $500 phone is not going to work for everybody in every market. The most popular phones in China and India cost about $25 to build. We can’t get our software on that.
SA: Do you care about “touch” on phones? The blogs say you are.
SB: Windows Mobile 6.5 has touch on it. The way Apple does touch drives cost. They way they do it on the iPhone is not an inexpensive component. We’ll do it in a way that you can afford to do it on most phones.
My first thought was “No, please don’t replace the DangerOS” but was then it was pointed out to me that the Zune software integrated into the DangerOS, replacing the current MediaPlayer could be a nice change. This is something that we won’t see for the Blade for sure, but it’s an interesting possibility for future devices. Steve comments on the sweet spot for prices on smartphones gives hope that the next Sidekick may not cost a fortune. Here’s hoping! If you want to check out the full Q&A with Steve Ballmer, here’s the article.
via engadget. Thanks Mike!