Ok, so I'd assumed that the Zune ran on top of Windows Embedded CE (maybe version 5, maybe version 6), which also supplies the underpinnings for Windows Mobile (version 5 of CE provides underpinning for WM5 and WM6. CE 6 is supposed to underpin Photon). It's all very confusing, this article helps a bit.
In any case, the New Zunes hit and everybody's a atwitter over them. Which, of course, makes people ask about Zune Phones to compete with the iPhone. We already knew that Microsoft is more likely to build a Zune into future versions of Windows Mobile than they are to build a phone into the Zune's OS (thus sayeth the Ballmer). Check out this quote from J Allard, though:
J Allard, the Microsoft (NSDQ: MSFT) executive in charge of Zune, was interviewed by Reuters and one of the questions was: So are there any thoughts about a Zune phone?
“A: (Points to head) Yes. (Points to mouth) No. (Laughs) The thing we are focusing on is that Zune is music first. We think there is a lot of runway first in redefining the music experience with partners. That said, we built it on the same operating system as that phone right there. (Points to Motorola (NYSE: MOT) Q running Windows Mobile) So we have the flexibility to take these in a different direction where our customers, our partners and we are ready.”
Der. So the question is, what does "the same operating system" mean? Windows Embedded CE or Windows Mobile? Put another way: is the Zune a sister-OS to Windows Mobile with the same father (both based on CE), or is it a child of Windows Mobile (based on WM). Or perhaps it's some sort of twisted, southern-stereotype combination of those two options.
So when a Windows Mobile "Zune-edition" phone comes out, will it be its own grandpaw?