Photos have surfaced on the internet of Microsoft’s alleged answer to the PSP, DS, and iProducts – the ZuneX.

It’s no secret that handheld platforms are the real cash cows of the industry. Whether it’s various incarnations of the DS selling a bajillion units, or the PSP selling slightly-less-than-a-bajillion-units-but-still-more-than-the-others, or the unparalleled success of games via the iPhone app store, one can hardly express surprise that Microsoft is eager to throw its hat into the ring along with its competitors.

So, when these leaked photos surfaced from what appears to be a demonstration of the new ZuneX – combining the Microsoft Zune media player with Xbox Live Arcade – it’s hard to disbelieve them. Of course, they could be a really (really, really) elaborate hoax, so don’t go counting your chickens before the fat lady sings, or something like that. Nothing is confirmed before an official announcement.

Let’s assume these pictures are real, for the moment. If the specs are to be believed, the ZuneX will have a whopping 128MB of RAM and 32GB flash memory – rather unparalleled in the handheld space for the moment, beating out even the mighty iPhone. On the downside, it seems that there will only be one – optional – analog stick (Microsoft, have you learned nothing from the PSP?!), and the device seems to lack both the aesthetic sense of the PSP or iPhone, and the handy portability of the DS.

Back on the plus side, though… if the presentation is to believed, not only will the ZuneX be fully compatible with Xbox Live (mmm, are those some delicious Xbox Originals?) but it will reportedly be designed to work with OnLive. Yes, folks, you heard me – if the ZuneX does everything they want it to do, Crysis on a handheld isn’t impossible. And then it will make you a grilled cheese sandwich, cut it diagonally, and remove the crusts just how you want it.

(Via TeamXbox)

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