Microsoft spills the beans on Zune

As expected, the folks at Redmond officially announced their Zune portable media player along with other associated products and services today. Coming this holiday season, the Zune device will be available in black, brown, or white with a 30GB hard drive, 3.0″ display, “wireless technology,” and an FM tuner. The device’s built-in wireless capability will allow its users to exchange full songs that can then be listened to up to three times over three days. Users will also be able to share playlists, home-made recordings, and photos wirelessly. Each Zune player will come bundled with music and videos from record labels including EMI, Virgin Records, Ninja Tune, and Sub Pop Records. Some pictures of the Zune player are available here.

To complement the Zune device, Microsoft will introduce the Zune Marketplace, a music store that will allow customers to either buy tracks individually (iTunes-style) or pay a flat fee to download an unlimited number of songs (à la Napster.) The Zune will launch with some accessories, as well, including a Car Pack with a car charger and an FM transmitter; a Travel Pack with a bag, premium headphones, remote, sync cable, AC adapter; and an A/V Pack with a dock, remote, and cables necessary to plug the Zune into a TV or sound system.

Comments closed
    • Porkster
    • 13 years ago

    So no Podcasting feature? Seems a bit lame to me that MS wont support free content.

    How about the Entertainment industry give these away, since they are more or less mobile shops for them. Why pay when you are so limited on your own free content.

    Zune Sucks.

      • Retiky
      • 13 years ago

      have you heard of downloading?

    • melvz90
    • 13 years ago

    imagine if some can put in a bit torrent client in their unit… find a got hot spot and you got yourself a torrent-to-go device… ๐Ÿ™‚

    • kdbaumann
    • 13 years ago

    Wonder how long before the Zuni TM Tribe sues for this being too close to their tribal name?

    • blastdoor
    • 13 years ago

    This doesn’t look horrible, but it’s also not clear that it’s any better than the other wma-players out there. From my perspective, the ability to provide free advertising for music companies to my friends is probably not worth the additional cost that the wireless feature adds to the unit (let’s be frank — free advertising is exactly what that music sharing “feature” really is).

    To knock off Apple, a competitor needs a product that is noticeably better and/or noticeably cheaper — ideally both. It seems to me this product is neither of those. I would think that only Apple-haters would buy this. Certainly those folks are out there, so it will get bought — just not enough to make it profitable for MS.

      • Decelerate
      • 13 years ago

      I agree, I’m not an iPod/Apple worshipper, but MS needs to bring something significantly new to the table to live.

      For all it’s worth, maybe that music sharing feature will spark a new wave of purchases and give Zune its credibility, but I’m betting against it.

    • Stranger
    • 13 years ago

    Why can’t microsoft release a product like apple? the corporate additude kills everything. Thanks for the presskit microsoft…..

    Edit: ok, heres the release site much better….. still they should have linked straight to it in the first Place…. even then the presentation of both sites is weird/ uninformative….

    ยง[< https://www.comingzune.com/<]ยง

    • Snake
    • 13 years ago

    …how will the security patches, BSoD reboots and WPA be handled…

    ^_^

      • Grigory
      • 13 years ago

      Awww, I miss Windows 98, too. ๐Ÿ™

        • blastdoor
        • 13 years ago

        You can relive the experience by installing Vista RC1 — I BSOD every time I plug in a flash drive (although otherwise, I think it’s an okay OS).

          • Grigory
          • 13 years ago

          Ouch!

    • leor
    • 13 years ago

    3 times over 3 days? DRM makes my head hurt . . .

      • crose
      • 13 years ago

      3 times over 3 days? How generous, thank you Microsoft! I’ll be a Zune -[

    • williej81
    • 13 years ago

    Price? Everyone is telling the features but no price announced yet. Wonder if that’ll be the kicker.

    • Taddeusz
    • 13 years ago

    I wonder why they picked brown as a color? Do people want a player that looks like something that needs flushed?

      • 5150
      • 13 years ago

      Maybe it’s a PoS.

        • Vrock
        • 13 years ago

        Zing!

    • Inkedsphynx
    • 13 years ago

    So will this player be like an iPod, where it’ll only play music that’s encoded in the format used by their software program, which you can’t reverse-convert back to an MP3?

    (Unless you can do that to an .acc and I just didn’t know)

    I ask because I recently wiped my hard drive, and I kept my iTunes library, but not my MP3 versions of all my music, and I was told that I can’t convert them back to MP3s, so now all my music is only playable on iTunes devices :\

      • Taddeusz
      • 13 years ago

      Only because no other player does unprotected AAC files. How difficult would it really be to make a different player that does AAC? Other than the FairPlay part it’s not a proprietary format insofar as MP3 is not a proprietary format. They both require licensing.

      The only thing that I can think is licensing. There has got to me some reason why nobody else has made a portable player that can actually play AAC music.

      • Taddeusz
      • 13 years ago

      Do you have an iPod? If it was at all a concern why didn’t you just backup your MP3 files as well? You can always burn your AAC files to music CD’s and rip them back as MP3’s. But that would be very time consuming. Always err on the side of safety.

      I personally have an iPod and enjoy the sound of an AAC more than a good quality MP3. AAC has more definition and overall just sounds better and fits in a smaller space.

        • Inkedsphynx
        • 13 years ago

        I do have an iPod.

        I didn’t back up my MP3s because I didn’t KNOW at the time I couldn’t re-convert them. It’s my own fault for not researching, but that doesn’t make it sting any less.

        I believe I have an older backup that contains about 4 gigs worth of MP3s, but it’s short quite a bit, since I’ve got about 12 on my iPod. I’ll basically find out what the difference between the two lists is, and possible re-burn/rip all those, if I have to. Though I think most of that difference is music I do own on CD that I had not ripped as MP3s, but finally got around to doing when I got an iPod. Either way, they’re my files and music, I should be able to convert them to whatever format I damn well please in my opinion.

        And no, not much of it is pirated. I admit some is from back in the napster/Kazaa days, but almost all of it I own on CD, or I bought on iTunes.

      • Taddeusz
      • 13 years ago

      Ok, another question and an answer. The iPod can also play MP3 files among others. So I would assume that the Zune would be at least capable of playing MP3 files as well as WMA files.

      Just curious about your music collection. Have you been cross converting MP3’s to AAC format? And if so why? If you don’t know already you should know that you lose quality when you cross convert one lossy format to another lossy format. Even if the original MP3 were 320Kb/s it still tossed out information to get it down to that size. Converting it to another lossy format will toss out even more information during that conversion.

        • Inkedsphynx
        • 13 years ago

        Well, at the time I didn’t know much about how it works, and when I plugged all my music into the iTunes program, it asked if I wanted to convert them to AAC, and I didn’t see any reason not to at the time, so I did. Then out of pure laziness I ended up with only the AAC collection and not the MP3s, so… yep.

        In the future, I’ll be getting all my music back to MP3s and just leaving them like that. I just hope that MP3s are still universal enough to be played on the various devices being released now and in the future, and alternatively I’ll start keeping master copies of my MP3s on my hard drive and burnt to DVDs.

          • Taddeusz
          • 13 years ago

          With storage as cheap as it is you might want to consider keeping “original” copies in a lossless format such Apple Lossless or FLAC rather than a lossy format like MP3. At least that way if you need to convert your library to a new “better” format you might be able to do it automatically rather than having to re-rip all your CD’s to the new format or risk quality loss due to cross converting between lossy formats.

        • Flying Fox
        • 13 years ago

        According to Engadget it does H.264, MP3, AAC and WMA.

          • Inkedsphynx
          • 13 years ago

          Awesome, Thanks FF.

          Now I just have to decide if I want to stick with the iPod line when I upgrade to a video player, or if I want to go with another product. I think this player looks pretty sleek, and I actually kinda like the wireless music sharing thing.

            • Taddeusz
            • 13 years ago

            meh… the wireless music sharing features seems kind of sucky. You get to play the shared song three times over a three day period. Wow, call me impressed. I suppose it’s better than nothing and prevents kids from truely being able to share music between friends. Oh the good old days of tapes. ๐Ÿ˜›

            • Inkedsphynx
            • 13 years ago

            I was thinking of my primary use, which is at work. If a few people in the office had these, we could effectively set them up to share music between all of us, and we could just listen to whatever we wanted from any person in the office, or at least my department and the CS department, which are all in about a 30 foot radius.

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