Photos of an alleged flash-based Microsoft Zune player surfaced today, rekindling rumors that the Redmond-based software giant will move to further its position in the digital media player market and gain ground on the market leader -- Apple. The photos depict colored players in pink, red, and black that look much like Apple's iPod nano player, featuring taller screens and a rounded rectangular area in place of the Cupertino-based company's click-wheel. Gizmodo reports that while the photo appears legitimate and was confirmed by two separate unrelated sources, Microsoft is not above seeding the market with mockup pictures to confuse the public about pending product releases.
Electronista reported yesterday that Toshiba added a new mid-sized flash player with Wi-Fi and internet support to its Gigabeat line of portable devices, suggesting that Microsoft could be following suit with its own flash revision of the Zune.
Microsoft recently beat its sales estimate by shipping well over 1 million Zunes by the end of June. The company served up 1.2 million units between the device's launch in mid-November of 2006 and the end of the most recent June quarter, but industry analysts say Microsoft isn't the only company benefiting from those sales figures. Apple stands to gain from any new competitors on the market because every newcomer has to ensure iPod compatibility to gain traction.