Despite assurances that yesterday's Zune outage was for maintenance purposes only and wouldn't be accompanied by a software update, Microsoft this morning delivered a pretty decent Zune PC software upgrade, bringing the version up to 4.2. I'll need some time to figure out if there's anything new in the user experience, but blogger Long Zheng reports that Microsoft has surreptitiously added support for a device that identifies itself as "Phone." He extrapolates this to mean that the Zune Phone is real.
He could be right. What would make a lot more sense, I think, is that Microsoft would add support for Windows Mobile devices to sync media through the Zune PC software. This could be part of the Windows Mobile 7 family or, I hope, something that is added in time for 6.5.x/6.6 or whatever they're calling the H1 2010 Windows Mobile update.
Good stuff, either way.
Update: Oren K. tells me via email that this update adds a new Podcasts library under Windows 7 ... And sure enough, I see it too. Nice!
It seems that Zune now utilizes the Windows 7 libraries rather than its own internal "monitored folders" list, a nice bit of integration with Microsoft's latest desktop OS. Good stuff, and unexpected.
Update #2: Apparently this update also adds the video format compatibility that I wrote was coming a few weeks back. But it goes beyond the MPEG-2 compatibility I was told about, apparently. According to Erik A. via email, it also adds XViD and DiVX compatibility.