Updated Zune software drivers hints at Zune “Phone”

Coinciding with the scheduled Zune.net maintenance today, a new Zune software update was also released (version 4.2.202.0 for those playing along at home). What might appear as just a regular software update is actually hiding a very big secret. The elusive “Zune Phone” is pretty much confirmed.

As some of you might know, an .INF file is essential component of a driver package responsible for identifying the driver and associating it with compatible USB hardware IDs, and in this case, the Zune.inf file is responsible for associating devices with the Zune driver.

New to this version of the driver which was actually generated on October 20, 2009 are several lines which pretty much speak for themselves.

[Microsoft.NTx86]
%Zune.DeviceDesc% = ZuneMTPZUSB, USB\MS_COMP_MTPZ
%Zune.DeviceDesc% = ZuneMTPZUSB, USB\VID_045E&PID_0710
%Zune.DeviceDesc% = ZuneMTPZUSB, USB\VID_045E&PID_063E
%Phone.DeviceDesc% = ZuneMTPZUSB, USB\VID_045E&PID_0640
%Phone.DeviceDesc% = ZuneMTPZUSB, USB\VID_045E&PID_0641
%Phone.DeviceDesc% = ZuneMTPZUSB, USB\VID_045E&PID_0642

%ZuneIp.DeviceDesc% = ZuneMTPZIP, umb\urn:microsoft-com:device:mtpz:1

; Localizable strings
Msft = “Microsoft”
Zune.DeviceDesc = “Zune”

Phone.DeviceDesc = “Phone”

Moreover, just as how the current three generation Zunes are represented by three different IDs, there are three unique class IDs and specifically Product IDs (PID) that identify three potential “Zune Phone” models (not storage capacities) off the bat. My bet is that they’re not just capacity variants (since various Zune capacities are all grouped under the same PID), but three actual hardware SKUs.

A timely coincidence before Mobile World Congress? I think not.

Update: Whilst it is possible there might be system-wide Zune integration into Windows Mobile 7, this particular driver references specific hardware IDs that are locked to a vendor (Microsoft) and product which under USB body regulations cannot be masked, thus this has to be Microsoft devices. “Pink” anyone?

150 insightful thoughts

  1. Not really that surprising though, is it? The whole “Zune Interface running on a phone” thing has pretty much been a given for the last few weeks.

  2. Or perhaps you’re reading into it too much. Perhaps its just a means of recognising a Windows Mobile phone when the Zune Service gets integrated into it, with the three listings differentiating between the rumoured consumer, enterprise and maybe 6.5 based phones?

    Just my opinion/take on your find. Regardless, it’s going to be one heck of a Mobile World Conference for “softies”! BRING IT ON!

  3. odd that a device would be recognised as zune phone. That is the biggest clue here. If it were a phone that had zune software / capabilities you’d expect that hardware to be detected in windows without the need for an inf update, as a windows mobile phone.

    But that’s not what we’re seeing here, we’re seeing a zune phone.

    Microsoft have said previously they want to push the zune brand further, so perhaps some of the first winmo7 devices will be microsoft zune branded? Either that or we’ll see all synchronising of zune enabled winmo7 devices go through the zune software, which wouldn’t be so good.

  4. Just get me back into the Zune software. I’m outside the US, and used to be able to log in and now the old nuisance of accepting the revised TOS show up blank and fails.

    I have set all my parameters to US (rather than UK), and even been back to fellow blogger, Withinseven to add the reg patch. no go. :(

    1. You are not allowed to log in if you your computer and windows live profiles are based from different country. So if you want to trick the software you need to convert your live account to a US one, eg make up an American address. I am not sure if converting will work though, people had better success in making a new American only windows live account but unfortunately you lose your play count, while to make thing work without messing with your live account would be to set your computer’s region to the correct one for your profile but then you wont be able to see the market.

    1. I’m not entirely sure why Microsoft has so many Windows Mobile hardware IDs, but take for example HTC (vendor ID 0bb4), they have an unique ID for each of their Windows Mobile phones too.

  5. Not specifically Pink, All WM7 phones will connect to Zune PC software for syncing, backup and SW updates etc. Just like iphone-iTunes and Zunes.

    1. VasiS,

      That’s a point but the USB vendor ID for a phone is usually issued for the company that makes the device. For example, on my PC:
      USB\VID_0502 for Acer
      USB\VID_1004 for LG
      Therefore, the identifiers found in the INF file clearly point to a Microsoft manufactured device.
      It is very strange and interesting.

  6. Didn’t Zune already fail some years ago? Could not compete against iPOD.

    Why are they bringing Zune back again for an encore. This time, the iPhone is already a much stronger and more dominant than iPOD was. The Zune Phone will fail, just like the previous Zunes have failed. iPhone and Android are both entrenched, and Microsoft is again late-to-market with a copy product.

    Good detective work from istartedsomething.com to uncover all this.

    1. The Zune HD leapfrogs the iPod touch, and provided Microsoft put Nexus hardware into a phone with the Zune Phone, it will leapfrog the iPhone too.

      The only thing holding it back is a global market

    2. Got a Zune HD 32Gb and an iPod touch HD 32Gb on the same day. Unboxed them side by side and evaluated them closely together. IPOD destroys the Zune. Why? a) 100,000 apps versus about 12 on the Zune b) Shocking browser on the Zune – IPOD is not perfect but much more usable. c) Screen bigger on the IPOD d) Speaker on the IPOD – none on the zune e) Worldwide support for IPOD f) wasted OLED screen on the Zune.

      The IPOD is the first time I have touched an Apple product – I’m a massive Microsoft user, but the Zune cannot compare. Its a good player at a nice price and the Zune Pass is a nice idea, but surely its a matter of time before Zune dies.

  7. I don’t have a Zune or an iPod (been using my BlackBerry as a media player on occasion), but I have to say… the Zune Pass thing is fantastic. I really don’t know why the subscription model hasn’t taken off–you still get 10 to keep per month anyhow. Maybe the $15/month is a little steep? Perhaps a $10/month subscription-only plan is the magic price point?

  8. Long
    Any chance of finding out more about Microsoft “Courier” ? I would love something like that being more than just a slate PC. I know it is off the subject but….please for a fellow aussie mate !

  9. Great find. Wondering what these phones will look like and capabilities when they come to market. I have to admit that with Microsoft PID’s I’m guessing they won’t be overly stylish ;)

  10. Couldn’t these just be Microsoft made test phones??? To test the software they’ve built?

    Might not be anything for release to consumers.

    1. Good question, but why not test internally? Why push it out to everyone if there’s no intention to release a phone device later?

  11. Your interpretation of the limitations on how the USB ID’s are used is wrong. Go look at the INF files for other devices.

    You are reading too much into this. And at the same time, there’s something even more interesting in that package that you could be speculating about and you’re missing it.

    1. Please do feel free to correct me Ben. I had a look at other USB ID’s and as far as I can tell they’re all unique to vendors and their products. :)

    2. Ben,

      Are you talking about international support?
      I found a lot of French Canada (and France) localized information concerning the full Marketplace support in the resources. German information is also there.

  12. One wonders just how much money Microsoft is prepared to lose chasing after Apple’s iPod and iPhone. Wake up, Ballmer, the game is over.

    1. MS is not really even playing the game. They’ve released no advertisements for the Zune, compared to the iPod’s media saturation. The Zune has about 1% of the market share and MS doesn’t seem interested in improving that. They have a history of killing projects that aren’t performing though, and the future of the Zune HD is shaky. One wonders why they produced it in the first place.

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  14. So this sounds far to good to be true. I’m going to just expect that WinMo 7 is going to have a Zune music player integrated since that seems far more what Microsoft would come up with. On the other hand I will be ecstatic if it is a Zune Phone and it delivers a superior experience. I have a feeling 2010 is going to explode with new tech, especially in the mobile arena. Good thing my cell contract isn’t up just yet so I can pick from, hopefully, the best.

  15. For those who still think nothing is cooking…
    Within the ZuneDBApi assembly just released is embedded this nice piece of informations:
    EEndpointClass.eEndpointClassPmx (PMX being the Premium Mobile eXperience – aka Pink)
    EEndpointFamily.eEndpointFamilyPmxPure (PURE being suspected Pink device name)
    EEndpointFamily.eEndpointFamilyPmxTurtle (TURTLE being suspected Pink device name)

    Also, there is a “Media Center Zune VideoPresenter” DLL within the same directory. I don’t know if this is new but, if it is, it really seems that the Zune brand will expand pretty soon.

    1. I was wondering if people would dig deeper. Excellent work!
      Judging by the text “Family” it looks like it could be more proof that they will, indeed, be targeted towards younger folks. I have been sharing with several blogs that MS could have a winner if there were some unique family-based experiences and controls, hence a phone targeted towards the young folks.

      http://msftkitchen.com/2010/01/miscellaneous-microsoft-ux-projects.html
      This is cool wrt interesting household experiences. (I’m coining that now. lol)

  16. majg,

    In this context, “family” is only device family. The whole enumeration contains entries for all the released Zune devices (code names) plus the “new” entries.
    eEndpointFamilyDraco (the Zune 2)
    eEndpointFamilyKeel (the original Zune)
    eEndpointFamilyPmxPure (Pink PURE)
    eEndpointFamilyPmxTurtle (Pink Turtle)
    eEndpointFamilyScorpius (the flash memory based Zune 2)
    eEndpointFamilyZuneHD (self explanatory – code name Pavo)

    1. doh! I am a veediot!
      True that… I’ll refrain from commenting until I’ve consumed a proper amount of coffee. lol

      (I’m still pushing family controls. lol)

  17. Frustratingly, the new Zune client update hides Smart DJ and the artist images for users that are outside of the US. Don’t update your client if you value these features!

  18. When i hit share it goes to email directly .Am i doing some thing wrong here Oh btw i haven”t saved my contacts locally its in exchange .now if only it did audio as well.. and could be run as a background service.. then i could send music to my macmini entertainment centerYou are in your rightful place when you make fan boi comments, but when you make comments related to design you are a fish out of water.I think this is a great IOS update except that Apple just changed something that I don”t think we will need —> MUTE <— Only the iPhone/iPod Touch needs that but not the iPad since its not a phone. I can”t wait! Except that it was DELAYED according to “AppAdvice” && “MacStories”. The long awaited update will be delayed because of WIFI issues. But still, I”m looking forward to when its released!

  19. Zune is the most irritating peice of half ass shit software i’ve EVER used… I’d seriously rather get gang banged that spend all the frustrating, hair ripping hours of figuring out all the problems. Please, everyone drop Zune. Get Rhapsody or iTunes, just NOT Zune.

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