While Zune never quite managed the success of its biggest rival, the iPod, most users that actually owned one (like myself) tend to agree it was quite a good device. I loved the menu system in the later Zunes and honestly liked it better than my iPod.
Despite this, the business of selling Zunes fell hard and Microsoft pretty much wrapped it up altogether, now even killing the Zune software line in favor of the upcoming Woodstock Xbox-branded media service. My question was, should they have? Was the move to early? Sure, they would never have managed to overtake Apple and its iPod, but coming in as a close second would still have made it a profitable venture.
Now with Metro coming around, is the time to make a new multimedia player, in the vein of the iPod Touch, a good idea? I certainly think so, though this is simple speculation, there is no solid information that Microsoft is, or will ever, do this. With the announcement of a Nook partnership, a 4 or even 5-inch tablet/multimedia device that ran on Windows RT could be exactly what Microsoft needs.
A small device like this would be small enough to compete with devices like the iPod Touch, and would make it a great e-reader, too. If Microsoft did something in-house like this, it would likely be firmly connected to the Xbox brand, I’d wager. The Zune branding is basically dead, but months ago I talked about how cool an Xbox tablet would be.
Fast-forwarding to today, a lot has changed with the announcement of Woodstock and the partnership with B&N’s Nook. Making an Xbox tablet that is touted more of a multimedia super-device, that can also play games, now makes more sense then ever. This device would be the “Swiss Army Knive” of micro-tablets.
A 4 or 5-inch factor would make it fit in purses in handbags, go great hooked up the car’s stereo, and would make it very easy to use for reading. Top that will a sprinkling of Xbox Live Arcade offering and maybe a gimmick or two that lets it work as a controller for select Xbox games, and you have a winner.
The combination of Xbox Services, like the many TV channels, and their multimedia/e-reader options would make an animal that could finally stand up to the army of iDevices, and even if it couldn’t necessary “beat” them, it could at least offer a solid alternative.
Okay, that’s it for my rambling of speculation for the day. Now I want to hear from our readers out there. Would a Windows 8 RT tablet with reasonable specs, Microsoft-made Xbox branding, and a blend of Xbox features (maybe even KINECT?) make you want one of these things? Additionally, how much would you be willing to pay for an Xbox/Windows-branded multimedia micro-tablet?
Would the 4-inch and 5-inch form factor make sense for such a device, or would you rather see larger screen options like 7 and 10-inch?
As for me? If a 5-inch Xbox Tablet could manage a $200-$350 price range? I’d certainly find it way better than the Kindle Fire, at the very least.
Share your thoughts below.