On Tuesday references to a "Zune Phone" were found in the latest software for the Zune HD.
Neowin questioned Microsoft over the findings but a Microsoft spokesperson confirmed "we have no plans to create a Zune phone." The spokesperson also stated that one day Zune could be "part of the phone experience" but added there had been no announcements by the software giant regarding how or if that would happen.
So if there's no Zune Phone what exactly are the references to phones in the Zune software? Neowin believes the updates are for Windows Mobile 7 enabled devices. The Zune software would then support a device or number of devices in a similar way to Apple's iTunes software. We're already aware that a number of key OEMs, working closely with Microsoft, have been sent strict requirements for Windows Mobile 7 including capacitive touch screen support, compass and GPS functionality.
Rumours of a Zune Phone and "pink" devices have been circulating for years now and Mary Jo Foley notes that every time Microsoft employees or executives are questioned over the possibility there's strong denials. However, Microsoft always strongly denied they would brand an MP3 device, aka the Zune. If a recent Microsoft job listing is anything to go by then the fact the company is looking to employee an individual with "working knowledge of cell-phone 2G and 3G technologies" certainly reveals that it's something they are considering for the future.
Regardless of what this software references, the reality of Windows Mobile 7 and its Zune like interface is expected to be revealed next month at the Mobile World Congress conference in Barcelona.