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Zune phone a reality?

Will the rumor of a Zune phone prove true?

Microsoft's Zune CNET Networks

Rumors have been flying left and right about Microsoft releasing a Zune phone--in response to the much-awaited Apple iPhone--which would presumably be a cell phone integrated into its existing Zune player. While we wouldn't want to raise anyone's expectations, we have noticed some buzzing around the blogosphere in response to Microsoft filing an application with the FCC recently to allow them to use a wireless device to communicate via a 4G WiMax network. This would presumably allow Zune Phone users to "squirt" or share their songs with each other from anywhere in the country, as long as they are on the WiMax network. WiMax may not be widely implemented yet, but Sprint/Nextel has made it known that it plans to build a 4G network later this year, so rumors are that if the Zune Phone were to be released, Sprint/Nextel would be its designated provider.

While this may all seem like random speculation, the folks over at CrunchGear have apparently received several tips that led them to believe that the Zune Phone is indeed real, and that Microsoft is working to get it released in May this year, preceding the rumored release date of the Apple iPhone by a whole month. Not only that, but Microsoft is said to be announcing it before March 17. Even if all this were true, many of these details might change at a drop of a hat, especially due to the accelerated time line of such a release. We can't help but put on our skeptic shades for such off-the-wall rumors, but we'll be sure to keep our eyes and ears peeled.