These days one of the best indicators of the plans of big tech companies are the jobs they try to hire people for. That has been true for ages with Apple, and now Microsoft is beginning to tip its hand more and more in the want ads. A week ago Mary-Jo Foley reported that her sources in Redmond seemed quite certain there was one more version of the ZuneHD hardware still to come.
Now WMPowerUser is reporting that the Entertainment and Devices Division of Microsoft, specifically the Zune team, is looking for a hardware engineer with the intention of building the “next generation of portable entertainment and communication devices”. It seems clear that Microsoft intends to build the hardware in house and that it isn’t a phone as they are not mentioning any Cellular or telephony experience in the job description. It is also worth noting the last device that Microsoft built in house, hardware and all, was the original ZuneHD.
Here is the good part from the ad…
Are you passionate about consumer and entertainment products and technologies? The Mobile Communications business (MCB) and Interactive Entertainment Business (IEB) are leading the company’s digital entertainment strategy and product development. Within MCB, the Portable Entertainment Group is responsible for enabling people to be entertained anywhere, anytime, on state of the art devices. We are the team that shipped the Zune HD, and created all the hardware on that device. We are currently building the next generation of portable entertainment and communication devices, and we need you.
SENIOR MECHANICAL ENGINEER
We are looking for a Senior Mechanical Engineer to participate in the development of cutting edge mobile devices, with a passion to push innovative and imaginative solutions that meet the company’s business vision.
OK, the original rumors were a pipe-dream as far as I was concerned, but these seem much more concrete. I am now officially getting excited about a new ZuneHD, perhaps powered by whatever Microsoft is cooking up with ARM and featuring some of the new bells and whistles of Windows Phone 7.