October 2, 2007 7:15 PM PDT

Microsoft unveils revamped Zunes

Microsoft unveils revamped Zunes
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October 2, 2007
Microsoft has unveiled the second generation of Zune digital music players and will offer consumers 1 million unprotected songs on its online music store.

Microsoft announced on Tuesday that it will offer three new models of the Zune in November, including two equipped with flash memory. The 4GB and 8GB versions are iPod Nano look-alikes that will sell for a suggested retail price of $149 and $199 respectively. An 80GB player equipped with a hard drive will sell for $249. The pricing scheme for the devices exactly mirrors that of Apple's iPods.

Some of the other changes include a complete overhaul of the device's software and a redesign of Marketplace, Zune's music store. Other interesting features include wireless syncing and the new Zune Pad, a touch-sensitive technology that enables users to slide their finger across the main navigation button instead of always having to click.

The 4GB and 8GB models represent Zune's first foray into flash-based players and they will be offered in a palette of red, pink, black and green. The 80GB features a 3.2-inch screen and will be smaller and thinner than the original Zune 30GB player. The software upgrades will also replace the software in the 30GB models.

Click for gallery

Zune devices will automatically sync when connected over home wireless networks. The feature is designed to ensure that owners always leave home with the latest content, such as podcasts.

The move to provide unprotected MP3 music on the Zune music store is unprecedented for Microsoft but does not come as a surprise. Not only is the company one of the major providers of digital rights management software, but executives there slammed Apple and its CEO Steve Jobs last February when he called on the music industry to abandon DRM.

Microsoft then reversed itself in April, saying it would eventually sell unprotected songs on Marketplace.

While 1 million songs may sound like a lot, Microsoft isn't saying just how much of that music is coming from the four major music labels. Already, eMusic offers more than 2 million unprotected tracks from mostly independent labels. In May, Apple announced it had partnered with record company EMI to sell DRM-free music on iTunes. Apple hasn't said how many unprotected tracks on iTunes are available.

Susan Kevorkian, an analyst with IDC, said that Microsoft is more interested in selling music players than it is with providing DRM software. She said that Microsoft began scaling back its DRM efforts last year in order to throw more resources at improving the Zune.

But are the new products enough to reel in Apple? The newest Zunes are a step up, but Microsoft watchers don't think they offer anything better than the iPod.

"I would say they are holding their own," Van Baker, a research vice president with Gartner, said of Microsoft's venture into the music category. "Within that group (vying for the approximate 30 percent market share that Apple doesn't own), I'd say they are a contender. Are they gaining on Apple or making up ground? I don't think so."

What's new with Zune?
The problem is that the newest Zune models don't offer anything demonstrably better than the iPod, the analysts said.

More than a year has passed since Microsoft began developing the music player and the company is still without a comparable video store to iTunes. Zune's Marketplace will begin offering music videos, but it is still without TV shows. While Microsoft crowed about its new touch-sensitive navigation button, the new iPods come equipped with touch-sensitive screens.

And the new iPods now offer Wi-Fi--a feature that was supposed to set the Zune apart.

Kevorkian said her company last year had anticipated "a quicker refresh" to the Zune. She said that some of the reasons that may have slowed Zune efforts may have been some key departures in the unit's management and that it was forced to rush the launch of its debut models.

"What we are seeing now are important incremental changes," Kevorkian said. "What we're waiting to see is more revolutionary changes, such as the ability to access the Zune music service via Wi-Fi. We think Microsoft will be a strong player in the portable flash player category. They have diversified their player platform and undertaken a major overhaul of their software, which is important way to development. There are people looking for an alternative to Apple, and Microsoft is likely going to win market share from other Windows-based media players. They are just behind right now."

Microsoft has always said that the Zune was a long-term project, predicting in 2006 that it could take years and hundreds of millions of dollars to go toe-to-toe with Apple. The company surpassed its initial sales goal by selling more than 1 million Zunes by June.

"What we've done in the past year is establish the Zune brand," said Jason Reindorp, marketing director for Zune. "It's starting to mean something to people. That isn't easy to do. Microsoft had a very realistic view of what it would take to get into the marketplace and differentiate itself and be successful. We look at these things in terms of years, not months."

Interestingly, Microsoft usually likes to compare its efforts with Zune to that of the company's foray into the video game sector. With the Xbox, Microsoft seized market share from Sony and Nintendo very early. Are there any similarities between Xbox's early efforts and Zune's?

"No, absolutely not," Baker said. "Xbox had Halo. If it wasn't for Halo, Xbox probably wouldn't exist. But that's the game industry, where one incredible franchise can drive an entire platform. Against Apple, Microsoft is up against a dominate service worldwide and it's going to be tough to knock them down if Microsoft doesn't bring something uniquely different to market. If Microsoft can't do that, they can only compete on price and that only buys so much time."

See more CNET content tagged:
Microsoft Zune, digital-rights management, Apple Computer, music player, song

250 comments

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Add your comment
No features comparable to Ipod?
The writer states that "While Microsoft crowed about its new touch-sensitive navigation button, the new iPods come equipped with touch-sensitive screens." That's a little disingenuous, be it that he's comparing the Zune 2's to the iPod Touch, not the Nano and Classic that they are competing against. I for one am ready to sell my Nano(last generation) and pick up one of these Zunes.
The wireless syncing is awesome, podcast support was definitely needed, and it sounds like the sliding touch pad is similar to the scrolling on the iPhone or iPod Touch, which is the only part of the touch interface that I dig.
Posted by zebwinz (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
Full Zune Announcement!
As the CNET review just sucks big time and doesnt cover even 10% of whats new. Here is the full list:

Today, Bill Gates, J Allard, and some other folks from the Zune team met with some members of the media to talk about this Holiday?s update to the Zune line. I?m going to keep the PR-ish stuff out of it (for that you can go to the press releases), and just sum up with the facts and the tech specs. Ready? okletsgo:

Zune Players:

This November, we?re launching new Zune players: Zune 4GB; Zune 8GB; Zune 80GB; and we?re continuing to sell Zune 30GB (the Zune we started selling last year). All of these devices will have wireless sync, updated wireless sharing, an FM tuner, and a bright LCD color screen to display music, pictures, videos and podcasts. Zune 4, 8, and 80 have a new design, and a touch sensitive button called the Zune Pad. The Zune Pad will let you browse through menus either by brushing or clicking. Some details:

Zune 4GB and Zune 8GB come with the Zune Pad, have a 1.8 inch screen, and will come in pink, red, green and black. Zune 4GB will retail for $149.99 and Zune 8GB will retail for $199.99.
Dimensions of Zune 4GB and Zune 8GB: 3.6 x 1.62 x 0.33; Weight: 1.7oz

Zune 80GB has a 3.2 inch screen and comes with premium headphones, standard. It?s a high quality audio and video experience on the go. Zune 80GB will retail for $249.99
Dimensions of Zune 80GB: 4.26 x 2.41 x 0.51; Weight 4.5oz
Note that the 3.2 inch screen is 14% larger than Zune 30GB?s 3.0 inch screen, while Zune 80GB is 27% smaller than Zune 30GB

And we value and remember our early adopters: everyone who owns or buys a Zune 30GB will automatically get the new features through a firmware update ? ?firmware update 2.1.? Zune 30GB will continue to retail for 199.99
Dimensions of Zune 30GB: 4.43 x 2.47 x 0.65; Weight 5.6oz

And here?s the list of Zune features (IE, features that everyone will get with firmware update 2.1):

Wireless sync: wirelessly updates content on the device when it is within range of the PC with the Zune Collection on it, or on the same wireless network. You can start the sync manually or, when its plugged into AC power, Sync will automatically start after 1 minute of inactivity. This is so the battery doesn?t get drained by the automatic sync.

Expanded wireless send capabilities: you can now keep a track for three plays (we?ve taken any time restrictions out of the equation) you can also send a track you?ve been sent on to other Zune owners.

Lossless playback will be supported on every Zune
Podcasting ? that is, automatic RSS based subscription to both audio and video podcasts via Zune Marketplace (more on ZMP below).

You?ll be able to sync your Vista Media Center TV content to your Zune and watch it on the go.

We?re still testing battery life on the new Zune 4GB, 8GB, and 80GB, but it?s looking good. Since we built them from the ground up, we have more control over battery performance.

Updated device UI (screenshots to follow)

Zune Software and Zune Marketplace:

We?ve redesigned both the Zune Software and Zune Marketplace from the ground up ? check the screenshots below. Here?s what you can find in ZMP this holiday season:

Over 3 million tracks
Over 1 million DRM-free MP3s that you can play on your Zune or any other digital media player
Thousands of music videos
Over 1,000 free audio and video podcasts
For about the price of a CD per month, you can buy a Zune Pass subscription to download whatever music you want for a flat rate.

PC to PC send: Zune users can send links imbedded with a song?s metadata from the inbox in their Zune

PC software to someone else. The recipient follows the link to sample, buy or download the song on Zune Marketplace.

Zune Social:

Something I?m really really excited about: we?re launching the Zune Social, an online community beta. It?s a place that gives folks a place to share their music tastes, knowledge and experiences with other folks. It extends the connection from device-device to PC-to-PC. Here are some details:

Zune Card: Anyone will be able to create a free, customizable Zune card. You can personalize your Zune Card with your picture, custom backgrounds, biographical info and more. Your card will automatically update with the music you listen to on your Zune or with your Zune software.
You can browse your friend?s pages, invite friends, send and receive song recommendations, and post comments to their profile pages.

You can browse your favorite artist?s pages to find other listeners with similar musical tastes.
Each song within the Zune Social will have a playable 30 second clip, and if you like the song, you can link directly into Zune Marketplace to buy the song (using Microsoft® points or on your Zune Pass).

You can check out Zune Social community-generated charts to see the most-played artists, songs and albums, or read comments and recommendations posted by other Zune community members on album and artist pages.

You?ll eventually be able to post your Zune card to mainstream social networking sites Wherever your Zune card is located, it will automatically update with the music you?re currently playing.
Posted by richto (895 comments )
Link Flag
None...
[i]"The writer states that "While Microsoft crowed about its new touch-sensitive navigation button, the new iPods come equipped with touch-sensitive screens." That's a little disingenuous, be it that he's comparing the Zune 2's to the iPod Touch, not the Nano and Classic that they are competing against."[/i]

Here's the clue: I've got some dough to spend on a new music player. I go to the store. How many iPod [i]last-gen[/i] iPod Nanos and Classics will I see? None or deeply discounted at best? Oh, okay... so I get to compare new with new, right?

Okay... the Zune now has a touch-sensitive button... my old Nano has that for selection and volume, and it's 2-1/2 years old... so what else you got?

WiFi sync? Not really compelling; I may as well plug in physically, since I have to recharge the batteries no matter which one I buy, and neither one will let me sync with somebody else's computer, so plugging in makes more sense overall. This leads to the question: What's so awesome about wifi sync? It's like adding custom spinner rims to a wheelbarrow for all the good it'll do.

WiFi sharing? Not with that stupid 3days/3plays thing - not worth the time invested to squirt the thing across in the first place.

Did they ever fix that grainy screen? I don't care how big it is... fuzz is fuzz, and detracts from viewing experience.

Sorry, but the Zune is dead, and all these superfluous bits and bobs that MSFT keeps crowing about are pretty useless in the practical realm, especially when the competition is doing it better, lighter, and easier.

/P
Posted by Penguinisto (5042 comments )
Link Flag
More than a little disingenuous
"While Microsoft crowed about its new touch-sensitive navigation button, the new iPods come equipped with touch-sensitive screens."

This isn't just disingenuous, it is sheer misdirection.
Posted by JayMonster (90 comments )
Link Flag
Laughable
Microsoft and it's "me too" products.
I don't see how you can take this company serious.

No innovation
Simply take their billions and copies the successes out there.

*sent from a Microsoft free house* :)
Posted by MaLvaDo39 (365 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Thanksgiving
Americans will celebrate Thanksgiving the same month the Zune 2 ships. What a great opportunity to express your thanks to Microsoft. Why, you ask?

Why are you holding Microsoft to a different standard than any other iPod competitor? Microsoft has pushed the industry much further in a year than Creative, Archos, and SanDisk combined in three plus years. Be thankful you have MS to challenge Apple because there is a good chance you wouldn't have your precious wireless music store on the "Touch." Speaking of innovation, didn't HTC already have a "Touch?"
Posted by ComposMentis (21 comments )
Link Flag
They even copied iPod's FM receiver... oh wait...
nm
Posted by Gabey8 (73 comments )
Link Flag
OMG! ROFLMAO
It's a good thing Microsoft has money to blow. If this were their
main focus they'd be bankrupt.
Posted by deanrd7 (47 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Heard that before
DOS, Word, Multiplan (remember that), Windows (1,2,286,386, 3, ..., NT, 2000, ...) Excel, X-Box, X-Box 360; I know they all suck. But somehow, 1.2BB in pretax keep getting generated every single month.

I know, they are a monopoly. Somehow that convinced everyone to buy all this junk, right?

Good thinking!
Posted by sal-magnone (162 comments )
Link Flag
Dang! ...and Vista's so full of DRM.
Active Desktop in Windows 98.
WMP, etc in Windows Millenium.
Verification and Windows Security Center in XP.
DRM in Vista.

All this non-functional junk built into the operating system. What's a systems admin to do?
Posted by Maccess (610 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Are you lost?
Thanks, Captain Irrelevant

Because you're incapable of reading product announcements, the new Zune store will offer DRM free music.
Posted by ComposMentis (21 comments )
Link Flag
Hi there
Vista (and previous versions of Windows) are a different product from Zune. Just trying to help you out.

Do you even know what "Active Desktop" was? It was a way to display websites as desktop wallpaper...Huh what does it have to do with anything?
Posted by sanenazok (3449 comments )
Link Flag
New Generation of Oldsmobile
"new generation of Zune"
The New Generation of Oldsmobile, dead before they ship them out the door.
Posted by sargear (16 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Don't you mean the new Lexus's?
I mean, we're talking about Zune 2.0! It's the best ever.

It practically does everything the iPod does, but more!

You're crazy.
Posted by quikboy2 (95 comments )
Link Flag
Zune vs Sandisk Sansa
The real competition is Zune vs Sandisk Sansa, not Zune vs iPod.

Right now, Sandisk is a strong #2 in overall MP3 player market share.
Posted by john55440 (1020 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Zune is not competition at all! LOL
The Sandisk Sansa line is going to kill Zune.

The latest Sansa models will have the most flash memory available, better features/equal features and you are not tied to some online store...FREEDOM!

Plus if you like money you will have more of it!
Posted by onlyauser (220 comments )
Link Flag
The Sansa will kill the Zune
Its the best of the rest...
Posted by savagesteve13 (104 comments )
Link Flag
Wow, Zune 30 gets the new features, too?!
Now that's what I call support for your community! Heck, I have to
upgrade my 2-year-old iPod just to get gapless playback!

Take note, Apple. People don't like being shanked.
Posted by toosday (343 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Yeah take note Apple
...don;t go by the tens of millions of iPods you've sold. Don't listen
to your customers, don;t go by market share. Do it the MS way and
you'll have several hundred happy customers with a Zune that
looks so similar to the first generation iPod from 2001.

LOL you kill me!
Posted by deanrd7 (47 comments )
Link Flag
Apple abandoned the niche, Microsoft fills it
Apple pulled the most popular iPod model they have, the tall and slim Nano, and replaced it with the fatboy- a wide and short version which hasn't had a good review yet from even the pro-Apple sites. The common theme is that the features and case size that made the Nano so popular was the very thing that Apple dropped on their new model.

Then Microsoft releases a model that fills the exact niche that Apple left for a tall and narrow player.

The timing is curious, but- yeah. I don't understand Apple's choice to drop their best selling model in favor of the fatboy. This means people liked that form factor only have the new Zune to look to instead.

On the plus side, the red Zune looks pretty good. At least there doesn't appear to be a brown version. Whew!
Posted by Vegaman_Dan (6683 comments )
Reply Link Flag
The brown wasn't the worst one
At least they got rid of that white version. That one never sold. At least people would buy the brown after the black was gone; the white would still be there until more of the black OR brown come in.
Posted by aka_tripleB (2211 comments )
Link Flag
Are you kidding with the fatboy nano - the thing is beautiful
Hasn't had a good review?

Most sites open with the line, "when we say the leaked photos
we thought it was ugly, but seeing it in person made us do a
complete 180, it's gorgeous."

I was one of the "ugly fatboy" crowd, but now I think it's Apple's
best iPod ever.

You must be FUD'ing!
Posted by dotmike (154 comments )
Link Flag
So I guess you don't read actual reviews
How about this one from Engaget's Nilay Patel:

Well, that was fast -- just two days after Steve pulled one out of
his pocket, reviews of the newest iPod nano are filtering in, and
they seem to be overwhelmingly positive. Everyone seems to be
digging the fatty's battery life, price, and diminutive size, but
the overall proportions dictated by the 2-inch screen drew some
complaints. That screen also received praise for its clarity and
sharpness, but watching video on such a small device seems to
invite some awkward neck angles -- shocking, we know. Overall,
however, it looks like Apple's got another hit on its hands --
fatty pride, y'all.

Or this one from PC Magazine's Tim Gideon:

Since the iPod nano's inception, the only thing it ever really
lacked was video?something that didn't mesh with the iTunes
Store's commitment to TV shows and film downloads. Sporting a
bright, two-inch widescreen that shows video in the highest
pixel-per-inch density of any iPod, the nano is an entirely new
beast. The flash player, available in 4GB and 8GB capacities, is
wider than previous models which might seem to go against the
whole concept of the product. Held next to a second generation
nano, however, the widened dimensions don't seem to matter. In
fact, a beautiful screen and just-as-thin body make the device
seem like a large evolutionary step. The new user interface also
combines the nicer touches of the iPhone's U.I. (such as Cover
Flow) with new elements (a split screen which shows album
covers for highlighted songs and a new Now Playing screen).
Throw in a few games with quality graphics, and you've got
yourself a real winner. In its price range, nothing beats the nano.

How about going here for a very in-depth review from CNET:
<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://asia.cnet.com/reviews/musicplay/" target="_newWindow">http://asia.cnet.com/reviews/musicplay/</a>
0,39050466,41137832p,00.htm

Or ZDNet:
<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.zdnet.com.au/reviews/hardware/lifestyle/soa/" target="_newWindow">http://www.zdnet.com.au/reviews/hardware/lifestyle/soa/</a>
Apple-iPod-Nano-3rd-generation-/
0,2000065624,339281822,00.htm

Or iLounge:
<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.ilounge.com/index.php/ipod/review/apple-ipod-" target="_newWindow">http://www.ilounge.com/index.php/ipod/review/apple-ipod-</a>
nano-with-video-4gb-8gb/

There are many more positive reviews but I am getting bored. I
still haven't actually found a negative review. Maybe you could
show us those?

Tall and narrow are so last gen.
Posted by toddsheets (22 comments )
Link Flag
lay off the acid
Acid makes colors and shapes appear to change before your eyes.

Apple can feed their fans bowls tangerine colored vomit and these the bowls would be licked clean (every little chunk). I even say any thing but ipod and can easily see this FACT.

MS is not going to fill any voids. If fact everyone will finally see that MS just cannot compete effectively in this market.
Posted by onlyauser (220 comments )
Link Flag
That's all you got?
The Red Zune looks pretty good?

Ok we'll just wait a few months - hell let's give it years: if the Zune
is going to "fill the niche Apple left" then by rights it should sells
tens of millions, right?

LOL Never gonna happen.
Posted by deanrd7 (47 comments )
Link Flag
Wheres the innovation? Its nothing original.
Couldn't they come up with something different.
There just mirroring Apple. Thats so lame.
Even down to the shiny product shots.

All those millions just to create another iPod copycat.

They'd be better off donating the cash they had spent to the Gates
Foundation. Atleast that would be genuine.
Posted by ServedUp (413 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Maybe you don't know
This update contains practically what iPod G5 had, and it does a whole lot more.

Does your iPod do WiFi syncing? A million DRM-free tracks? Large screen? Awesome interface? Sync with Media Center? Sharing with other iPods? Changeable backgrounds?

That and a ton more. Zune is really hitting the roads with this one.

Many people, if you haven't noticed, are really interested. Even yourself, since you commented.

BTW: v1 Zune was also a awesome solid player. It's just sad that people don't even try something, before saying "I hate it!".

Just sad.
Posted by quikboy2 (95 comments )
Link Flag
Apple didn't innovate, Creative Labs did...
Creative Labs had the interface and players long before Apple so don't talk innovation.
Not even with the new iPods since touch sensitive players and phones were already available.
Do you have such a short memory that you do not remember Creative Labs sued Apple and they came to an out of court agreement?
Apple is only innovative in their iTunes GUI interface to their music store other than that the iPod is a knock-off of the Creative Labs player.
Posted by fred dunn (793 comments )
Link Flag
Agreed, the story doesn't compare apples to apples
The only iPod not iPods that have WiFi is the touch (for $399 - the closest Zune is $150 cheaper). The 80GB has a larger screen, all models have FM radio, and wireless sync to PC.
Posted by shahnhogan (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
This hilarious
Personally, doesn't do anything for me except for the font used and
the glowing selection, apart from that it looks like the front of a
truck hit mickey mouse and splattered him across the front. It
doesn't really have any "WOWOWOWWOWO OMG!" features like a
totally touch sensitive face. wireless synching is good but not
really that cool. PS in the 3 minutes since i read and commented
soo many posts have been made: dig in fanboys.
Posted by yaZULU (24 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Sounds good, except....
I love all of these new features; 80 gigs? sweet. wireless syncing? awesome. DRM-less marketplace? thank god.

...except the touch-sensitive controls. Why Microsoft? Why?? Why would you fix what's not broken? Now, I can't speak for everyone else, but I for one LOVED the fact that the Zune didn't have a touch-sensitive control. These types of controls are wrought with frustration, missed buttons, and pocket presses. Why couldn't you keep the lovable, FUNCTIONAL click-button D-pad?

I'm still going to redeem my accidental Circuit City warranty and get the Zune 2 when it launches (I get the feeling my Zune might have a timely "accident" right about then). I'm giving you the benefit of the doubt here, Microsoft. Please don't let me down.
Posted by Zentheoutcast (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
Zune 30 (GB) still has the same featuers
It won't be as thin and shiny looking, but the Zune 30 will also get the update.

Microsoft is trying to stay and support all Zunes for a long time.

I can't wait for the update.
Posted by quikboy2 (95 comments )
Link Flag
Sounds good, except....
Sounds good, except....they will still be making the 30GB version - so you will get another!
Posted by richto (895 comments )
Link Flag
MMMM...just love my portable music players with DRM...
Let me see...I can buy a Chinese MP4 player which looks like either a Zune or an IPod for less than 1/2 the cost from either Ebay or other online merchants. Zune has so many DRM locks...along with Microsoft needing to pay a royalty to Universal &#38; others. The new IPods tied to ITunes &#38; unusable with 3rd party software.

As I said...can get a Chinese MP4/MP3 player which allows me to have an FM radio built into it...no DRM garbage...can watch movies...read books. All of this for less than 1/2 the cost of the two DRM laden players from two major companies. These products even look close enough to the Zune &#38; Ipod that unless you look closely...you can't tell the difference. Yeah...get I know where my money is going to!!!
Posted by furball123A (124 comments )
Reply Link Flag
DRM Drivel
What are you talking about? You can add DRM-free files to both
Zunes and iPods. You're only locked into DRM-enabled files when
you buy from their respective stores -And no one is forcing you to
do that. Yes, you can get a Chinese knockoff cheaper -exactly
because it is a knockoff. Legality is highly suspect, but it's
cheaper...

Looks like Zune is evolving nicely -Kudos to Microsoft. When will
we zee a ZunePhone?
Posted by fshepinc (41 comments )
Link Flag
then do it
of course crap direct from China will be cheaper. I think it's laughable to suggest you won't be able to tell the difference between the knock offs and the real thing, though.

I listen to my music on my Finnish cell phone that I got for free (added a 2GB card for $20) and don't see the appeal of a stand-alone player, especially one based on flash.
Posted by sanenazok (3449 comments )
Link Flag
Son O' Zune: We Can't Stop Barfing !
Ballmer told one to his kid at gunpoint!
Posted by Sumatra-Bosch (526 comments )
Reply Link Flag
What no brown?
I don't really like the puke green as much as the turd brown.
Posted by hal Summers (80 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Changes
Changes include a complete overhaul of the device's software and a redesign of Marketplace, which will offer 1 million unprotected songs.
<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.lyricsenergy.com/lyrics/m/michael-jackson/index.php" target="_newWindow">http://www.lyricsenergy.com/lyrics/m/michael-jackson/index.php</a>
<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.lyricsenergy.com/lyrics/m/michael-bolton/index.php" target="_newWindow">http://www.lyricsenergy.com/lyrics/m/michael-bolton/index.php</a>
Posted by lyricsenergy (4 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Why does everything from MS get thrown under the bus by Cnet ?
Ipods can't sync wirelessly and don't have any of the innovative "social" aspects of the Zune. The new software looks amazing. Find the UI videos on the net...you will be surprised. The Zune won't require the use of two hands like the Ipod Touch does and besides if you compare dollar to dollar a more acurate comparison would be to the Ipod Classic.

All of these Apple Zealots can't even appreciate a fine product. It may not be the Ipod Touch...but it doesn't have to be. It's still a damn good product with great features at a great price.

Now I wonder if the Zune will support Audible files now???
Posted by deitiphobia (16 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Exactly
<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://arstechnica.com/news.ars/post/20071003-asecond-attempt-at-making-applesauce-microsoft-launches-new-zunes.html" target="_newWindow">Ars Technica</a>, <a class="jive-link-external" href="http://gizmodo.com/gadgets/zune/first-video-of-zune-2-and-flash-zune-306446.php?autoplay=true" target="_newWindow">Gizmodo</a> and <a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.engadget.com/2007/10/02/microsofts-new-zunes-officially-in-80-8-and-4gb-sizes/" target="_newWindow">Engadget</a> reviews are quite positive.
Posted by jhoeforth (90 comments )
Link Flag
Because they deserve it
It is also entertaining and more people will come and click the ads.

Oh, and Microsoft is a try hard. But they should stick to their core business and try to improve it.
Posted by t8 (3716 comments )
Link Flag
Zune: Almost As Popular as Larry Craig !
Or Charles Manson!
Posted by Sumatra-Bosch (526 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Why are the colors so putrid?
Menstrual red, puke green, biohazard pink...

ugh.
Posted by McBlayde (72 comments )
Reply Link Flag
LOL
My first thought was Scab Red and Snot Green... nothing clever for the pink yet, but give me time to wake up ;)
Posted by SeizeCTRL (1333 comments )
Link Flag
Yeah, but the colors look great on a wall.
Interior designers are picking the colors. What looks great on a wall looks bad on an MP3 player
Posted by onlyauser (220 comments )
Link Flag
Zune Marketplace has 3 million tracks...
Rather misleading just to mention the DRM free tracks.

Over 3 million tracks
Over 1 million DRM-free MP3s that you can play on your Zune or any other digital media player
Thousands of music videos
Over 1,000 free audio and video podcasts
For about the price of a CD per month, you can buy a Zune Pass subscription to download whatever music you want for a flat rate.
Posted by richto (895 comments )
Reply Link Flag
FULL ANNOUNCEMENT:-
As the CNET review just sucks big time and doesnt cover even 10% of whats new. Here is the full list:

Today, Bill Gates, J Allard, and some other folks from the Zune team met with some members of the media to talk about this Holiday?s update to the Zune line. I?m going to keep the PR-ish stuff out of it (for that you can go to the press releases), and just sum up with the facts and the tech specs. Ready? okletsgo:

Zune Players:

This November, we?re launching new Zune players: Zune 4GB; Zune 8GB; Zune 80GB; and we?re continuing to sell Zune 30GB (the Zune we started selling last year). All of these devices will have wireless sync, updated wireless sharing, an FM tuner, and a bright LCD color screen to display music, pictures, videos and podcasts. Zune 4, 8, and 80 have a new design, and a touch sensitive button called the Zune Pad. The Zune Pad will let you browse through menus either by brushing or clicking. Some details:

Zune 4GB and Zune 8GB come with the Zune Pad, have a 1.8 inch screen, and will come in pink, red, green and black. Zune 4GB will retail for $149.99 and Zune 8GB will retail for $199.99.
Dimensions of Zune 4GB and Zune 8GB: 3.6 x 1.62 x 0.33; Weight: 1.7oz

Zune 80GB has a 3.2 inch screen and comes with premium headphones, standard. It?s a high quality audio and video experience on the go. Zune 80GB will retail for $249.99
Dimensions of Zune 80GB: 4.26 x 2.41 x 0.51; Weight 4.5oz
Note that the 3.2 inch screen is 14% larger than Zune 30GB?s 3.0 inch screen, while Zune 80GB is 27% smaller than Zune 30GB

And we value and remember our early adopters: everyone who owns or buys a Zune 30GB will automatically get the new features through a firmware update ? ?firmware update 2.1.? Zune 30GB will continue to retail for 199.99
Dimensions of Zune 30GB: 4.43 x 2.47 x 0.65; Weight 5.6oz

And here?s the list of Zune features (IE, features that everyone will get with firmware update 2.1):

Wireless sync: wirelessly updates content on the device when it is within range of the PC with the Zune Collection on it, or on the same wireless network. You can start the sync manually or, when its plugged into AC power, Sync will automatically start after 1 minute of inactivity. This is so the battery doesn?t get drained by the automatic sync.

Expanded wireless send capabilities: you can now keep a track for three plays (we?ve taken any time restrictions out of the equation) you can also send a track you?ve been sent on to other Zune owners.

Lossless playback will be supported on every Zune
Podcasting ? that is, automatic RSS based subscription to both audio and video podcasts via Zune Marketplace (more on ZMP below).

You?ll be able to sync your Vista Media Center TV content to your Zune and watch it on the go.

We?re still testing battery life on the new Zune 4GB, 8GB, and 80GB, but it?s looking good. Since we built them from the ground up, we have more control over battery performance.

Updated device UI (screenshots to follow)

Zune Software and Zune Marketplace:

We?ve redesigned both the Zune Software and Zune Marketplace from the ground up ? check the screenshots below. Here?s what you can find in ZMP this holiday season:

Over 3 million tracks
Over 1 million DRM-free MP3s that you can play on your Zune or any other digital media player
Thousands of music videos
Over 1,000 free audio and video podcasts
For about the price of a CD per month, you can buy a Zune Pass subscription to download whatever music you want for a flat rate.

PC to PC send: Zune users can send links imbedded with a song?s metadata from the inbox in their Zune

PC software to someone else. The recipient follows the link to sample, buy or download the song on Zune Marketplace.

Zune Social:

Something I?m really really excited about: we?re launching the Zune Social, an online community beta. It?s a place that gives folks a place to share their music tastes, knowledge and experiences with other folks. It extends the connection from device-device to PC-to-PC. Here are some details:

Zune Card: Anyone will be able to create a free, customizable Zune card. You can personalize your Zune Card with your picture, custom backgrounds, biographical info and more. Your card will automatically update with the music you listen to on your Zune or with your Zune software.
You can browse your friend?s pages, invite friends, send and receive song recommendations, and post comments to their profile pages.

You can browse your favorite artist?s pages to find other listeners with similar musical tastes.
Each song within the Zune Social will have a playable 30 second clip, and if you like the song, you can link directly into Zune Marketplace to buy the song (using Microsoft® points or on your Zune Pass).

You can check out Zune Social community-generated charts to see the most-played artists, songs and albums, or read comments and recommendations posted by other Zune community members on album and artist pages.

You?ll eventually be able to post your Zune card to mainstream social networking sites Wherever your Zune card is located, it will automatically update with the music you?re currently playing.
Posted by richto (895 comments )
Link Flag
How Zune compete with iPod
There are several instances Zune can overtake or competively compete with iPod:
1)ease of use
2)better style
3)better price
4)pray Apple hubristically shoots itself in the foot
5)no restrictions on any music file - can play and share any sound or video file
6)rip out its own proprietary software, let Novell partner replace with Linux based software
Posted by kakman1 (50 comments )
Reply Link Flag
And the likelyhood of this "perfect storm" happening?
1) The best they can hope for is to be comparable. You can't get much easier than iPod.

2) Oh yeah, that Puke Green was so stylish back in the 70s. Do you think it is coming back?

3) Price seems comparable, not better.

4) Pray hard, but Steve J. seems to be firing on all cylinders right now, history has changed.

5) Nobody has to buy music from iTunes even now. Rip CDs, download MP3s, no restrictions!!!

6) Linux, UNIX, whatever, it still has to be easy to use regardless.

Maybe third gen will be a charm...
Posted by McBlayde (72 comments )
Link Flag
DRM and other non-points
It's nice how people keep ******** about "DRM" in the player. One would think you realize that DRM software alone doesn't really matter, you need DRM protected content to play on the device. MSFT also announced availability of non-DRM protected music and certainly you can put on ANY device unprotected music from any source like iTunes (if Jobs sells unprotected music).

I guess if you want to have something to complain about the eviiiiil DRM "overlord" is a good one. Don't forget it (meaning any device anywhere) also got (drumroll) software patents so non-coherently complain about that too.

As far as music devices go, the second iteration is much better, I especially like the wireless syncing. I'll buy this the day after never of course since I listen to all my (unprotected) music on my Nokia.
Posted by sanenazok (3449 comments )
Reply Link Flag
And don't forget
to thank Steve Jobs for making legal non-DRMed content happen in the first place. Ironic that it took a useable DRM scheme to make it possible to gain the influence in the market to make it unnecessary....

Things that make you go HMMMMMM
Posted by McBlayde (72 comments )
Link Flag
Barf Color is Exceptionally Cool
I sure hope the suckers who are actually stupid enough to buy one can recycle them before getting an iPod.
Posted by Xenu7-214951314497503184010868 (153 comments )
Reply Link Flag
But What About...?
What the article doesn't address (nor do the comments here) are
some of the issues that made the Zune seem like such a non-
starter in the first place. A year later, I've still not been able to
hold one in my hand. Every display I've seen has fake, non-
working Zune-like things bolted down with thick metal bars.
You can't pick it up, judge the weight and heft, or actually see/
hear it in action. And what about those ridiculous Zune points
you had to buy in order to use the Zune (Windows-only)
Marketplace? Are they still making purchasing songs needlessly
complicated?

Microsoft's tech people clearly started listening to their
customers and their critics -Zune 2 is a real advance. But the
marketing department still seems to be in the twilight zone.
Face it, if you're a potential customer getting ready to pop
hundreds of dollars on a portable music player, you want to hold
it in your hand and listen to it first. Apple Stores let you do that
with iPods.

Wake up, Microsoft! The Zune could be the geninue, one-and-
only iPod Killer of legend - but who's gonna buy it based on
online reviews alone? I've &lt;never&gt; seen one in the wild, and
every store I've been in has no working display, only replicas.
And even those are buried in a dark corner of the room.

The engineers and software designers stepped up to the plate.
Now it's time for marketing to get in the game!
Posted by fshepinc (41 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Can I squirt MP3 files?
or only the DRM files with their heavy restrictions?
Posted by bobby_brady (765 comments )
Reply Link Flag
 

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