Sorry dudes. Just it first hand from Brian Seitz, Group Manager of Zune: "No Zune phone at CES."
Well, at least no Zune Phone as we're hearing it. A few days ago, some analysts stirred up the rumours of a Zune specific piece of hardware this week, complete with hardware details, which Barrons quoted. CNBC declared that a Zune Phone, called Project Pink, was slated for CES. Mary Jo Foley at ZDNet, who separated the Zune Phone hardware from the Pink project weeks ago reminded us that Pink is not a piece of hardware but a platform of services that could allow Zune like services to run on platforms like Windows Mobile. (Although Mary Jo Foley told me today that she thinks that it would be powerful if Pink services ran on other devices, and I agree.) So leave the hardware and Pink apart for a moment. Mary Jo believes Pink could come at CES and with it, a platform for Zune like content on mobile devices, but in line with what Seitz has said on behalf of Microsoft and what Mary Jo Foley believes, I think the Analyst and CNBC have the details slightly skewed.
Both CNBC and the analyst Barrons quoted could have been talking to a manufacturer of a phone, describing a specific implementation of Zune like features on a given set of hardware, via Pink components. But coming from a company that builds their best devices in house, I don't think we can call a Zune Phone a Zune Phone until we see actual devices designed in house design by the Entertainment and Devices team. (To me, this stands in contrast with Google and its Android platform, where every implementation of the OS is a Google Phone, since they have no claim to making great hardware.)
Based on all this, I reiterate that my best guess is that we have is a good chance of seeing Pink, but not a Zune Phone, at CES 2009. [Thanks to Mary Jo Foley for her expertise]