Zune-Xbox gaming device in the works?

The latest Zune rumour gathering steam sees Microsoft developing a portable digital entertainment device that bridges the gap between the Zune and the Xbox 360.

David Carnoy Executive Editor / Reviews
Executive Editor David Carnoy has been a leading member of CNET's Reviews team since 2000. He covers the gamut of gadgets and is a notable reviewer of mobile accessories and portable audio products, including headphones and speakers. He's also an e-reader and e-publishing expert as well as the author of the novels Knife Music, The Big Exit and Lucidity. All the titles are available as Kindle, iBooks, Nook e-books and audiobooks.
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David Carnoy
2 min read

The Zune rumour mill has been churning for a while, with leaks of an alleged ZuneHD and maybe even a Zune smartphone. The latest rumour gathering steam is a sort of riff on previous rumours: Microsoft is developing a portable digital entertainment device that bridges the gap between the Zune and the Xbox 360.

T3's rendering of a Zune-Xbox portable gaming console. (Credit: T3.com)

TeamXbox, which ran a story back in January with a similar theme, is the site behind the gaming Zune rumour. TeamXbox's anonymous source had some juicy tidbits to throw out, saying the Microsoft handheld, which has been dubbed the xYz, will be "unlike anything on the market today" and that we should think in terms of a mashup between the Sony Mylo, the PSP, and the iPod Touch. The source, TeamXbox says, wanted to make clear that the device "lacks access to a phone network".

The article goes on to note that the graphical interface found in the New Xbox Experience will make its way onto the handheld. "Buy a song, a movie, or a TV show on your Xbox, play the content later on the handheld or the other way around," the source said. "Play an Xbox Live Arcade game either on your Xbox or in this handheld." Sony's been trying to move toward a similar relationship between the PS3 and PSP, but it remains a work in progress.

So, is the rumour legit? Will we see a new portable entertainment system from Microsoft this year?

We're willing to buy into this one — to a degree. Our second-hand sources confirm that the TeamXbox post is basically on the money and that Microsoft is indeed prepping a device that's designed to compete with the iPod Touch, not the iPhone. As we said, we've been hearing bits and pieces of this rumour before. For instance, some alleged ZuneHD specs that were circulating earlier referred to "3D gaming" capabilities for the device. So it makes sense that the Zune HD — or Zune xYz — will have some tie in to Xbox Live Arcade games. And hopefully, Microsoft will have something to say about it at E3 next month.

What do you think? If true, is this a PSP, iPod Touch and Nintendo DSi killer all rolled into one device?