Microsoft is expected to ship the upcoming Zune HD sometime this fall, and to get people excited for it, or at least aware of its existence, product demos of the device were the name of the game this Sunday at a number of select Best Buy locations.
A customer walk-through of the Zune HD’s features, though, revealed an “apps” category in the “Marketplace menu” which all but confirm Microsoft’s intentions to launch an app store for the Zune. The news, however, shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise given recent reports that Microsoft has offered popular iPhone developers significant amounts of money in an attempt to get them to port iPhone apps over to the Zune.
Microsoft, of course, is also working on developing a Windows Marketplace for Windows Mobile phones, and it’ll be interesting to see if there will be one store to rule them all, or if there will be 2 separate stores depending on if you’re using a Zune HD or a Windows Mobile device. Or, perhaps there will only be 1 central store for both devices, and it will be up to developers to decide on which platforms their apps will run.
Obviously, 1 store with apps that run on any Windows Mobile or Zune HD device would be ideal, but knowing Microsoft, who knows what sort of solution they’ll come up with. After all, Microsoft recently stated that it’s going to position Windows Mobile 6.5 to compete against Android phones and that its upcoming (read: 2010) Windows Mobile 7 OS will compete against the iPhone. That’s a whole lotta different platforms and specifications that developers will need to take into account, and unless Microsoft can somehow unify the development process, developers might, in the end, simply abandon all 3 platforms in the interest of efficiency.