Zune gets flashy

While Microsoft celebrates the dubious honour of capturing the number two spot in the American MP3 player rankings (behind ‘you know who’)

While Microsoft celebrates the dubious honour of capturing the number two spot in the American MP3 player rankings (behind ‘you know who’), news reaches us of a possible Zune-inspired rival to the middle child of the iPod family.By swapping the churning, disk-spinning hard drive for sleek, jitter-free flash memory, Bill Gates looks to be aiming the second Zune release directly at the wafer-thin Nano.Although the Microsoft UK officials we spoke to couldn't confirm it, the brand's marketing chief in the US, one Chris Stephenson, has said that a flash-based player is on the way – possibly to coincide with the Zune's planned, but belated, launch in Europe later this year.Intriguingly he's also mentioned that future devices will address the current Wi-Fi issues – which may or may not have something to do with the recent announcement of SanDisk's truly wireless Sansa Connect.While we admit that an immediate iPhone rival may reside firmly in the 'speculative' drawer, we think a flash-based Nano-baiter has more than a slim chance of popping out into the wardrobe of reality, and hopefully before the year is out.