Engadget on Zune.

Well I don’t really have much to say about it, until I see it and use it. I’ve used all kinds of media players and software services lately, so I’m interested to see how it stacks up. Some of the wireless stuff sounds need, at least in the very limited sense that people are talkinga bout it now.

Overall, I think the strategy (if true) of Microsoft taking a fully vertical, integrated approach is probably necessary. It would be kind of a bummer if Zune didn’t use PlaysForSure, because that’s one of the things I hate about the iPod/iTMS combo. It’s only ever iTunes and iTMS. I’d love for the stuff I bought on whatever the Zune-associated service is to play in other players, like WMP11, or on other PlaysForSure devices. Maybe it will, who knows.

Whatever in it does not answer “yes” to the question “will I be able to do it with plain mp3s?” may as well not exist.

Totally seperate teams on the Microsoft side, and totally seperate systems. The whole point is to get in on some of that Ipod ITMS lockin lovin.

If it doesn’t handle open, non-DRMed formats like MP3 and Ogg, etc… It may as well not exist.

I know the absolute number of songs sold on iTunes seems huge, but do individual users really have such a large percentage of their library “locked in” via ITMS that they would hesitate to switch? Not to mention the burn to CD/re-rip solution to the DRM.

I don’t think lock-in is the key to the iPod’s success. It has been the most elegantly designed/dead simple to use MP3 player to hit the street, and it looks cool. Style and word of mouth have made it the popular choice. If the Zune looks as clunky and derivative as it does in the engadget image, I think it’s likely to fail. Wireless song lending with a time-cap may seem cool to gearheads, but I don’t think it will woo the average user.

Still, if it works its mojo on standard MP3’s, has podcast subscription support, and some neat wifi tricks, I’d consider a switch, but I’ve also alternated between iriver and ipod’s in the past rather indiscriminately.

Talk about missing the boat for the June launch. :)

So, why should I buy this instead of an iPod? Wi-Fi?

Count me out.

Hell, if it lasts longer than an iPod then count me in. My friends and family have gone through more iPods than I could possibly fathom over the years due to batteries failing.

We’ll see. I believe that if there was some obvious fix to battery problem, Apple would have already done it.

What’s the engineering saying, “You can have it cheap, fast, or good. Pick two.”

I imagine for mp3 player batteries, its small, high power, or robust. Pick two.

Me, I’ll take the 14 hour play time in a player that’s about the size of two packs of chewing gum and pay the 59 extra bucks for the three year extended warranty.

If Zune:

  • Has a longer battery life than an iPod
  • Is as easy to use, if not easier, than an iPod
  • Has a larger video screen than a video iPod
  • Supports subscription based downloading in addition to per track downloading (so offers both an iTunes and Napster-to-go experience)
  • Supports more formats than an iPod
  • Offers audible.com support
  • the Wifi feature works as advertised
  • Gets solid reviews

I’d definitely buy it. And right now, it certainly seems that the Zune is a strong contender. I’m definitely interested. Everything I’ve heard about it is appealing.

Will it have a Blue-Ray drive? Cuz then you could charge about $600 for it!

You know… for the cost of a new Zune, you COULD buy a record player, an 8-track, a tape deck, a boom box, a CD player and make a downpayment on a MiniDisc player.

And when you factor in how much music the average person hears over the course of his lifetime, assume that he’ll buy all of that for his new device, and then multiply that by 50, you can basically buy a house.

(Apologies for those who don’t know what this is referring to. And apologies for those who DO know).

You just described how Microsoft conquered the PDA market.

… and also how they killed it.

Except… they never really offered anything as elegant as the Palm.

Palm aside, a good example of what they could have done is Good Technologies (www.good.com). Their OS uses a wonderful user interface. It synchs perfectly with Microsoft products. But is NOT a Microsoft product.

It says something that an outside company developed something that worked perfectly on a PDA and delivers the MS experience better than Microsoft ever has.

If Zune is remotely at all like Windows CE, I’ll not touch it with a leper’s hand.

And c’mon gene… the blackberry and treo killed the PDA market.

See, Sony allready has that sorted - their batteries in their MP3s are tremendous compared to the iPods. And they’re not bigger.
Unfortunately their players loses out on several other key points and anybody complaining about iTunes has never tried Sonys player/syncing software.

So I’m not saying Sonys players are better than the iPod. Just don’t think for a second, that Apple couldn’t give you better batteries or put in user replaceable batteries like Creative - they don’t want to.

I wish somebody in Europe would take the (alleged) 18 month battery lifetime up against the EUs mandatory 2 year warranty. If it’s true Apple should loose that battle and I’m surprised they haven’t.

In addition to Sony, other manufacturers offer longer battery life than the iPod. The iPod is not a perfect device. It has a crappy battery life, limited music options (if you don’t like paying per track, you’re screwed), and an unforgiving restrictiveness.

That said… its user interface is elegant beyond belief and so far only two companies have produced anything that rivals it.

The magic 8 ball answers all your Zune questions:


If the Treo and Blackberry conquered Constantinople, Microsoft had it’s Manzikurt several years before, when they beat Palm head-on but failed to capitalize on their victory with any meaningful consumer oriented software. The hardware was there, getting more and more powerful by the cycle - but it was still just a data organizer. When, four or five years ago, PDAs became the hot holiday commodity; and then, a year or two later, 99% of those PDAs ended up in the junk drawers of millions of dissastisfied consumers, the PDA market died w/ regards to the average Best Buy shopper (which just, fyi, just dropped sales of all PDAs from it’s stores).

So, yea Treo and Blackberry buried the corpse but that was because there was nothing left of PDAs except an empty shell contact organizer anyway.

What Apple brought to the music player market was clarity of design with comprehensible consumer-minded logic of function - something that is not only lacking from MS but the vast majority of Asian-designed consumer electronics that cram together useless features and tiny buttons with arbitrary control logic. When i see i have to navigate through 10 menus to select which function on my multi-purpose all-in-one does-everything-but-nothing-well Zune, i put my money on Apple.