August 25, 2006 9:30 AM PDT

Microsoft's Zune aims to be social butterfly

Microsoft's forthcoming Zune player is shooting to be the life of the party, allowing users to create mobile social networks and stream music to nearby friends or strangers, according to a government regulatory filing.

Zune owners can act as their own DJ, sending streaming music content to up to four other devices, according to documents filed with the Federal Communications Commission . With the device's wireless networking abilities turned on, people can send and receive photos, as well as "promotional copies of songs, albums and playlists," according to the filing, made public Thursday.


Hardware maker Toshiba, which is manufacturing the Zune device, was the company that filed the FCC documents. The documents refer to the device and service alternately as Zune and by two code names, Argo and Pyxis.

A Microsoft representative confirmed that the filing is legitimate and that Toshiba will manufacture the Zune device, but declined to offer additional details or comment on the information in the FCC filing.

"More details about Zune will be announced in the coming weeks," the representative said in an e-mail.

Microsoft confirmed last month that it was developing a device and music service to rival Apple Computer's iTunes/iPod combination. The company had said Zune would have built-in Wi-Fi abilities, but had not yet said what it planned to allow users to do with their wireless connection.

The software maker said it will have one model available in time for this year's holiday season. It has also said it expects the Zune effort to take years and cost hundreds of millions of dollars.

As regards the DJ feature, people have the option of turning the feature on or off, as well as of choosing whether to stream to any nearby Zune user or only to people on their friends list. If the DJ setting is on, people don't need to do anything else to allow others to listen to their music. The music sent is the same as what the DJ is listening to; if they stop listening, the stream is interrupted.

According to the draft user manual, the device supports both the 802.11b and 802.11g wireless standards. It also has a 30GB hard drive, a 3-inch screen and an FM tuner, along with a USB 2.0 connection to synchronize with a PC. "Sync your music, movies and pictures," reads one page from the manual.

Microsoft has said that Zune will come preloaded with videos from record label EMI, but has not discussed the details of any music or movie service it plans to offer.

Regulatory filings, such as the one Toshiba made, are required before devices with wireless connections can be sold to the public.

Toshiba has long used Microsoft's software in its products, dating back to its first laptop in 1985. The company has also made portable media players and handheld computers using the slimmed-down Windows CE operating system.

Last year, the two companies inked a patent cross-licensing pact and also spoke at the time of working together on "new breakthrough innovations that will bring about new scenarios for years to come."

See more CNET content tagged:
Microsoft Zune, Microsoft Windows CE, Toshiba, music, Apple Computer


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Zune Meme
"it expects the Zune effort to take years and cost hundreds of millions of dollars"

Boy, ain't that the truth. The market for iPod is probably topping out, there's no brand awareness of Zune and Apple dominates the market -

<a class="jive-link-external" href="" target="_newWindow"></a>

Run your own meme -

<a class="jive-link-external" href="" target="_newWindow"></a>
Posted by Broward Horne (88 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Its also as thick as a brick. - Made by Toshiba ( a re-branded
Posted by Europodboy (298 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Toshiba, Good
&gt;or whether Toshiba is, in fact, making the Zune device.&lt;

The Toshiba Gigabeat S sounds like a very nice player, so their apparent involvement in Zune is a hopeful sign.
Posted by john55440 (1020 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Sounds like one heck of a device
WiFi, big screen, 30GB hard drive, preloaded with movies. Wow.

Only problem I see is all that will consume so much power that it
will need a hugh battery or a long extension cord.

Kinda indicates it will be too be to carry in your pocket, doesn't it?
Which is the problem with most of the other iPod wannabes, that
no one buys.
Posted by rcrusoe (1305 comments )
Reply Link Flag
That's great data
Comparing a branding with lots of products already on the market to a branding that has no products on the market is just so effective at showing nothing.
Posted by spacydog (380 comments )
Reply Link Flag
People can send "promotional copies of songs, albums and playlists".

No wqonder the music industry loves it. I see audio spam in the near future!

Posted by toosday (343 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Should be easy enough to block.

Zune looks very interesting.
Posted by Sboston (498 comments )
Link Flag
Toshiba Gigabeat S is already the IPOD killer
MY OH MY just light years ahead of IPOD but with no wireless

While Apple tries to setup ITUNES for movies I will just use my gigabeat to downlaod movies from CinemaNow, MovieLink and Vongo

And there is absolutely no easier sync process then Toshiba+WM11 just plug it in and sync, no issues what so ever

IPOD sorry but you have already been stomped, its the same size as a IPOD and does way more, screen blows away Video IPOD and is bigger

Zune will great but MS camp in my book has already beat Apple with this product

<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://*******.com/mw4a7" target="_newWindow">http://*******.com/mw4a7</a>
Posted by mcepat (118 comments )
Reply Link Flag
30 Gig how cheap!! Ipod killer sure right!! microsoft smoking something
You got to be kidding me, 30 gig for the hard drive when Ipod is reaching 100 gig soon. I didn't read anything about video capabilities. If it is a 1.8 inch hard drive microsoft is really stupid. If it is the smaller one at .85 then I understand the hard drive limitation.
Posted by markman24 (12 comments )
Reply Link Flag
iPod plays Video
I am sure that Apple will counter with new additions, new products and new things, they are not going to just sit there idle allowing to MS to capture any market share.

The mistakes of Apples past hopefully will never happen again with Steven Jobs on the job.

IPod Video plays Videos easily, even DVD Movies.

Just DVD_Shrink it, and then convert to the proper video format, I have many of the DVDs that I legally bought on my iPod to view anytime I want.

But to be honest I didn't buy the IPod for it's Video capabilities, but for the Mp3, that's why it's called an Mp3 player. If I want a big screen, that's what the Laptop is for, just pop in the DVD and play away.
Posted by rmiecznik (224 comments )
Link Flag
WOW sounds great - Ipod Killer...
Im getting one ASAP.
Posted by ROTFLMAOAD (67 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Careful: Vongo doesn't work
Vongo works exactly one time. When you plug the Gigabeat in for a second time it fails to recognize the device...asks you if you want to register a new device...then says the device is already registered...then says device not registered when you try to do a download...and around and around you go. Vongo customer service confirms the problem. If anyone has a workaround or has actual experience with other movie services I'd like to hear about it.
Posted by sierrapilot (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
laughing @ the iPlod fanboys
It's funny! The only negative posts I see are by obviously RDF influenced AAPL fanboys. Just today, I saw one refer to ZUNE as "clunky". I'm thinking, "Hmmm Zune is clunky? it's the same size as your average hard drive driven iPod, &#38; beyond that, it just has a bigger screen &#38; a smaller clickwheel".

Typical Apple fool bias. I think the Steve Jobs Zombies are scared.
Posted by Zunny_Blowsdogs (9 comments )
Reply Link Flag
IF the Zune has a clickwheel expect Apples lawyers to be all over
it as the clickwheel is an Apple patented innovation.
Posted by Europodboy (298 comments )
Link Flag
Scared? - of a rebranded Toshiba Gigabeat that has failed
already? - Awww come on! LOL
Posted by Europodboy (298 comments )
Link Flag
Laughing at Apple Haters
How many people other than Microsoft employees have actually
held a Zune in their hands? Enough that it is circulating that it is
indeed clunky.

Same size as an iPod? You have to be kidding yourself if you
believe that. Go play with a Gigabeat, on which it is supposedly
based, and then tell me it is the same size. To run Wi-Fi it will
need an even larger battery or a power cord hanging off it.

I am surprised how incredibly glowing the comments about the
Gigabeat are, to the point that it look suspicious. The Gigabeat
is an iPod Killer? Please.

If the Zune is for you then fine, buy one whenever it actually
comes out. But when anyone rants about a product that isn't
even finalised yet, much less available for sale, they are the one
that looks like a fanboy fool.

Have a nice day!
Posted by lesfilip (496 comments )
Link Flag
Hahahahahahahaha - Here is proof on Size
Look at the photo of the Zune next to the laptop!
Yup Looks thick and Clunky

<a class="jive-link-external" href="" target="_newWindow"></a>
Posted by daveworld (123 comments )
Link Flag
Hahahahahahahaha - Here is proof on Size
Look at the photo of the Zune next to the laptop!
Yup Looks thick and Clunky

<a class="jive-link-external" href="" target="_newWindow"></a>
Posted by daveworld (123 comments )
Link Flag
The DJ Feature is Actually Cool
The DJ feature actually sounds great, in all honesty. It'd be nice if it worked even when you connected the device to your computer. I can't name the amount of times I have been sitting at work and asked a co-worker if they've heard a song. (Productivity, right???)

Gotta give Microsoft credit: That's innovative.

But, will it work with my iMac???
Posted by toosday (343 comments )
Reply Link Flag
DJ feature is a joke
The DJ feature is a joke. Why would you want to stream a tune to
your Zune toting friends (If that ever happens) to listen to
through their headphones? Surely its much more sensible to
plug your iPod into one of the many speaker accessories
available for iPod for all to listen to......Typical upside-down
back-to-front overcomplicated Microsoftian 'feature'........
Innovation my arse.
Posted by Europodboy (298 comments )
Link Flag
What happens when you have no Zune friends
I guess this feature will only be usefull on MS campus. At least MS have a good reason now to force their employees to give up their iPod for the Zune.
Posted by daveworld (123 comments )
Reply Link Flag
What happens when you have no Zune friends
I guess this feature will only be usefull on MS campus. At least MS have a good reason now to force their employees to give up their iPod for the Zune.
Posted by daveworld (123 comments )
Reply Link Flag
The fact that Microsoft thinks this features is going to be a huge "draw" for people demonstrates they have no clue what actual, real-live people DO want.

Streaming random tracks or "promotional tracks" (otherwise known as commercials) to strangers who happene to be within range seems retarded.

What we want is not some dumb streaming feature. What we want is video on demand for our portables.

Microsfot has the tools, the tech and the mega bucks to create a Zune that wil allow you to wi-fi download TV episodes -- what they don't have is the common sense to -- you know -- actually get off their butts and provide it.

Don't worry. Apple is working on it.

Microsfot fanboys? You can expect video on demand for your portables, oh, about 5 years after Apple releases it on the iPod. That's seems to be the standard Microsoft catch-up curve.
Posted by verbalvoodoo (47 comments )
Link Flag
Lots of people on campus own IPod and have the Apple stickers on their cars. Keep in mind, that MS employs lots of Vendors, who could care less, because their are treated like crap.
Posted by rmiecznik (224 comments )
Link Flag
Wifi makes it a battery killer - not an iPod killer
Just FYI. An active 802.11b/g radio, CPU and display with backlight will probably consume around 500mA on a 1000mAh LiIon battery yielding only two hours of continuous user time.

Or can we expect some magic here?
Posted by peter.mortensen (119 comments )
Reply Link Flag
that's the suprise here
imagine.. after what you have just stated.

it can still run for 10 hours? wouldn't that be incredible?
Posted by thetarget (34 comments )
Link Flag
Maybe they're using a different power source
<a class="jive-link-external" href="" target="_newWindow"></a>
Posted by sail191912 (3 comments )
Link Flag
Streaming Seems Like It's Impractical

So it "technically" would only work with other Zune devices and only if you're in close range and only if the other devices "happen" to have their DJ mode turned on.

So you, what, randomly walk down the street and hope you catch a new track on someone's Zune? And what happens when THEY walk away, drive away, get out of line, etc?

That cool track you were sharing suddenly stops?

And that's assuming you even liked this random track to begin with.

*** is the point of this feature????
Posted by verbalvoodoo (47 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Umm, I think this feature is actually for people who have friends...;)

Seriously though, I think this is geared toward teenagers/college kids who often travel in "packs" and would love to be able to share tracks on the fly. It's hard to predict, but if it gets a critical mass to become useful this could take off.

I agree that for the average adult, the feature is pretty meaningless, but I think it's probably the young people that drive this market.
Posted by kkwst2 (2 comments )
Link Flag
not true!
If MS made the paper bag it would have numerous holes in it and anyone could just walk right out of it.
Posted by R Me (196 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Highly anticipated
After reading other comments. I'm sure many are just bias. I admit i am too, to a certain extent, towards Microsoft.

First of all, Ms has beaten Apple in many arenas and vice versa. Let's see if this worked out as drafted, lols...

Just imagine if all the things that are stated comes true, what would you support then? Think about it then ask yourself were you just bias or practical.

With wireless Sync and DJ capabilites. Hey and you, DJ functionality is not a joke, it HAS proven usefull and inovative, i've done it in my college project hehe... and gotten a price too, by many thumbs up, including Apple's representative FIY.

I'm sure for certainty, if M$ do not apply for patent for this function, Apple will follow up. A new product will soon be born. Now will you still say it is rubbish? or your ass?

Just my view, i currently own an Ipod and a Creative Zen. Those 2 are just marvelous, i use it in different occasions, IPod when wooing a girl, Zen when working. It is just one more option, think about it :)
Posted by thetarget (34 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Your post was almost unreadable. Spelling mistakes and bad
grammar. Have another go.
Posted by Europodboy (298 comments )
Link Flag
I knew it! Just hype...
So the ZUNE player is actually made by Toshiba and not
Microsoft. This device seems difficult to use already! hehe
Now how is this any better than SanDisk, Creative or Sony's Ipod
Killer? Boy I feel its the Origami fiasco all over again!

If Microsoft were to manufacture the product themselves, I could
see it possibly going somewhere but now its just another one of
Microsoft's Vendors trying to bring out the next so-called IPOD
killer. Pretty lame, I think.

Microsoft probably did their market research early and
discovered it wasn't feasible for them to manufacture the
product themselves because of the lukewarm response they've
been receiving. In order to save face and money they probably
decided to let Toshiba market it under their name just in case it

Smart move though cause it would have never be on par with the
IPOD given Apple's marketing media frenzied monster. To me
the IPOD is as popular as Coke &#38; Pizza, if not more popular.

Zune would have just been second rate.

Looks like Microsoft has dodged the bullet on this, but it
remains to be seen. Although I would have liked it if they
actually made the produc themselves, out of sheer
entertainment value on another Microsoft flop. Ah well....
Posted by ServedUp (413 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Oh, get real for a second
Unless you plug this thing in--and everyone else does--
streaming will be impractical.

Who will want to serve up their media while wasting their battery
on the off chance someone will want it?

The most alluring option is to browse nearby Zunes that have
public sharing turned on -- but that is precisely what is an
unrewarding use of the battery. It will be like youtube, only with
transient, minimal, and unreliable content. Yay! Not. Plug this
thing into a global youtube-like network and then you might get
somewhere. So maybe in a few years time, this will pay off...
assuming MS dominates the related markets and doesn't screw
this up.

I hate to say it, but this first Zune is just another iPod wannabe
with some oddball networking options.

Have you seen Apple's recent patent filings?

... Proximity sensors, touch screens with sophisticated
interaction, tactile controls embedded in the display, wireless

Odds are the next ipod will trump this first Zune by a mile and
be out sooner.
Posted by mgreere (332 comments )
Reply Link Flag
A PDA with HDD?
Is that what it is? :p
Posted by rslc (93 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Happy Zuners
I can just imagine how happy each Zuner will be after many weeks
when they finally find another Zuner with which to share a
promotional song.

This is unprecedented.

Posted by open-mind (1027 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Zuner Ear Buds...
... should include bright light-emitting-diodes.

Then the LEDs could work like beacons to help Zuners to find each
Posted by open-mind (1027 comments )
Link Flag
Zuners can also use
The folks just need to add another checkbox.

I am seeking...

[ ] Marriage
[ ] Romance
[ ] Friendship
[ ] Promotional Song Exchange
Posted by open-mind (1027 comments )
Link Flag
Promotional Songs!!
We love those promotional (aka advertising) songs ;-)
Posted by daveworld (123 comments )
Link Flag
A social drain on battery life
It's pretty useless if it's only going to last 3 hours.
Posted by microsoft slayer (174 comments )
Reply Link Flag
3 Hours = 20 Minutes
If the press releases say 3 hours, its battery life will be no more than 15 or 20 minutes. When both people who buy one complain, MS will accuse them of being Apple employees looking to smear the company.

Posted by Sumatra-Bosch (526 comments )
Link Flag
Everyones forgetting one critical detail.
Because this is an MS product with a hard drive, and not a piece of consumer electronics, it will be using a version of Windows XP as the operating system. Or Windows CE. Or Pocket PC.

The point is that the Zune will run on a Windows-based operating system. Can you say viruses, spam-bots and security holes?
Posted by Vurk (147 comments )
Reply Link Flag
No I cant say that.
My Smartphone runs a version of Windows CE, cant say ive ever heard of a virus for it. Unlike Symbian devices that are infested with them. I can same the same for my Ipaq.

The Xbox runs a version of Windows - no one ever managed to put a virus on that.

My current media player Runs Windows - those have never had any viruses either.

erm so no I cant see that is going to be a problem
Posted by richto (895 comments )
Link Flag
No, but I can say hater....
Critical detail has been found, you are a fanboy. Have a good night.
Posted by woody56292 (10 comments )
Link Flag
One critical detail
Does the Xbox/xbox 360 run a version of Windows?
Posted by NotJoelShapiro (1 comment )
Link Flag
Zune another flop
It looks ugly as hell
Posted by kyle172 (65 comments )
Reply Link Flag

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