'Zune phone' patent application surfaces in series of tubes

Mobile phone fan site unearths a patent application that looks strangely iPhone-esque.

Mad4MobilePhones

There have been plenty of Zune 2.0 rumors recently--flash memory, a "watermelon" version this summer, and what-have-you. Now here's another one to add to the pile; Engadget recently pointed us to a "Zune phone" interface patent application unearthed by Mad4MobilePhones. It appears to be a sort of "tiled" setup for for "improved user interface for mobile devices such as smartphones" and "personal digital assistants." Looks like a fancy Bingo card to me.

Engadget pointed out that some of the icons appear to point to weather, music, and the like. There's also a TV icon with rabbit ears (umm, online video?), a globe (mobile Web?), a shopping cart, and...a dog? From the looks of it, it definitely seems like a Microsoft answer to the iPhone.

Concrete Zune phone rumors started flying around a few months ago. And keep in mind that Microsoft has filed other applications involving wireless communication over a 4G WiMax network. Hmmm...

Anybody else think that Microsoft plants rumor fodder in an attempt to deflect from the recent onslaught of Apple rumors? Sneaky, sneaky Steve Ballmer!

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