Microsoft confirms Zune HD apps, games

Those little hints we came across over the past few days and weeks weren’t false. In its press release announcing the availability of the new Zune HD, Microsoft has revealed that downloadable apps and 3D games are on the way for the device.

Here’s the dirt in the company’s own words:

Later this year, Zune plans to release free applications such as Twitter for Zune and Facebook for Zune, in addition to fun 3-D games such as "Project Gotham Racing: Ferrari Edition," "Vans Sk8: Pool Service," and "Audiosurf Tilt." Games can be added to Zune HD via Zune Marketplace over the Wi-Fi connection or when connected to the Zune PC software.

Project Gotham Racing: Ferrari Edition must be the racing title we saw in that promotional video on Monday. In any case, it looks like Microsoft plans to take the iPod touch head-on.

In related news, Microsoft says version 4.0 of the Zune software for Windows is now out. The folks at Neowin have posted a little walkthrough of the new features, which include Smart DJ (think Microsoft’s version of the iTunes Genius functionality), a new always-on-top "Mini mode," and integration with Windows 7’s Aero Peek and jump lists.

The new software is available from this page for Windows 7, Vista, or XP in 32-bit and 64-bit versions.

Comments closed
    • Skrying
    • 13 years ago

    Yeah, I’m under the assumption the Aero Snap features will work and that it was simply an issue with my particular install. I just installed Windows 7 Professional RTM and once I’m fully up and running I’ll install the Zune 4.0 software again and see if it works.

    • Skrying
    • 13 years ago

    §[<http://arstechnica.com/microsoft/news/2009/09/zune-hd-apps-are-here-complete-with-pre-roll-ads.ars<]§ I know the Apps are free and all but they have ads while they load? The person who thought this was a good idea should be removed.

    • Usacomp2k3
    • 13 years ago

    Weird, on my computer, the Zune 4 software supports the half-maximixing. and this is in XP (no kidding). Cool!

    • Skrying
    • 13 years ago

    §[<http://www.wired.com/gadgetlab/2009/09/zune-marketplace<]§ That article echos my fears with the Zune Marketplace. The complete lack of third party applications or an ability for people to jump in and go really sucks. A major issue, one that I hope Microsoft changes soon or they will be sorely disappointed.

    • Skrying
    • 13 years ago

    Because it did. It might be entirely placebo, I’m not ruling that out. But your comment sounds like someone who would like to completely eliminate subjective comments and opinion. There is no harm in such comments unless they’re taken out of context and without the realization that they are 100% subjective and not scientific at all.

    There is a place for comments like “it felt snappier” because they describe an aspect of the program that simply can’t be measured. We could engage in double blind testing and I actually do think that would be an interesting little test but it simply doesn’t seem reasonable.

    If you have another method so I could measure the responsiveness of scrolling down the album art in Collections, or the time it takes to switch from Collections to Marketplace then I am all ears. But, I seriously doubt you do.

    You simply sound like a broken record, someone who has major issues with context.

    • eitje
    • 13 years ago

    seconded – without edits, adi looks pretty raw here.

    • MadManOriginal
    • 13 years ago

    I have a theory that DIY computing is moving in the same direction as high(er)-end 2-channel audio did in the late 80s and early 90s. So be prepared to hear ‘snappier’ and other purely subjective and fanciful terms thrown about 😉

    • indeego
    • 13 years ago

    “how it felt a bit snappier ”

    Yay! The /[

    • swaaye
    • 13 years ago

    and it came to pass that MS entered the portable gaming industry. the future of portable gaming devices is probably phones and music players.

    • jdaven
    • 13 years ago

    Here is information about which ipod touches are faster and by how much compared to the previous generation and the current iphone 3gs

    §[<http://www.macrumors.com/2009/09/15/ipod-touch-speed-tests-confirm-apples-claims-of-up-to-50-faster-performance/<]§

    • jdaven
    • 13 years ago

    I’m also an atheist of sorts when it comes to religion and most certainly corporations. I own products and have owned products from almost every major IT vendor out there based on what suits my needs. I can understand loyalty that provokes emotion towards religions since they have been around for millennia but for a corporation and their products. No way!

    Thanks for the vote of confidence. I wish others shared the same view.

    • Skrying
    • 13 years ago

    Yep, I am. I have the Jumplist features. I’m going to reinstall it entirely later on and see if that fixes the issue.

    • MadManOriginal
    • 13 years ago

    Maybe you should go back and edit your previous posts :p

    While it’s true that a single ‘application,’ using the term loosely here, would have to be multithreaded, if there are multiple program or even background threads running for various reasons they could take advantage of the dual cores.

    • blastdoor
    • 13 years ago

    I find myself agreeing with all of your posts in this thread.

    I also read appleinsider, but the quality of the articles vary widely by subject and author. Their apple-focused articles on rumors, financials, and some product reviews are pretty good (some of their recent Snow Leopard articles, however, have been awful).

    But there are some writers for that site that are really bad, especially when they try to talk about Microsoft. Some of them are just irrational (and often ignorant) haters.

    I also agree with you that hate is bad. I do find it entertaining/fun to follow Apple, and I do like their products, but it’s just a company, not a religion (and I’m an atheist of sorts when it comes to “real” religion anyway, so why would I want to get religious about a corporation?).

    • Warp9
    • 13 years ago

    Are you sure you’re running the new 4.0 software? I think it didn’t work with version 3.1, but it works fine with 4.0.

    • adisor19
    • 13 years ago

    You know what, i think you’re right. After a bit more research(nvidia’s press release), it would seem that the ARM11 part in the Tegra 2500 IS multicore (2 cores).

    So i stand corrected. The Tegra uses an ARM11 dual-core design that should put it roughly in the same league as the latest Touch in terms of CPU performance although software will HAVE to be compiled to use multiple threads in order to take advantage of the dual core design. On the Cortex A8 in the iPhone, the software does not need to be multi threaded in order to be twice as fast.

    Adi

    • Skrying
    • 13 years ago

    That’s odd. Mine won’t do it at all. Every other application does but the Zune software will not.

    • xtalentx
    • 13 years ago

    I am thinking you are wrong here. It does have 2 arm cores.

    • HighTech4US
    • 13 years ago

    Truth, try FUD

    The APX 2600 uses the ARM11 MPCore chip, which can contain anywhere from one to four cores; Nvidia’s configuration is two.

    • HighTech4US
    • 13 years ago

    You are wrong the ARM11 in the Tegra is dual core.

    When Nvidia talks about Tegra APX 2600, they mention it having “eight processors” integrated into a system-on-chip (SoC). These are the HD Video Decoder, HD Video Encoder, 2D Engine, Imaging, GPU (3D graphics), Audio, and two ARM cores.

    The APX 2600 uses the ARM11 MPCore chip, which can contain anywhere from one to four cores; Nvidia’s configuration is two.

    These CPU cores are essentially similar to the single ARM11 core in the iPod Touch and first two generations of iPhone, though the iPhone 3GS has a more powerful ARM Cortex A8 core.

    • thecoldanddarkone
    • 13 years ago

    Ehh Anand states that he expects 40 percent increase per clock in real performance. Sometimes much more. Looking at the 3g vs 3gs it looks anywhere from 2x to 2.5 as fast as the original iphone. Guess what the original iphone has a 4xx processor. 1.4x 600= 840.

    Quote from Engadget specifically talking about tegra in the Zune hd

    *[

    • adisor19
    • 13 years ago

    l[

    • Warp9
    • 13 years ago

    Not sure what you’re talking about in regards to Zune not supporting Aero Snap (e.g. drag to maximize, half). It works just fine for me.

    • albundy
    • 13 years ago

    I guess it will lead to apple making a massive change to their itouch line to compete, as we have seen before, maybe like changing the color of the power button.

    • Hovaucf
    • 13 years ago

    Except…

    Nvidia’s ARM11 is a dual-core setup and it runs up to 600MHz depending upon the power saving mode in use.

    Additionally overall the Zune HD has eight cores essentialy as there is the HD Video Decoder, HD Video Encoder, 2D Engine, Imaging, GPU (3D graphics), Audio, and two ARM cores.

    So if you’re going to bash someone about inaccurate information please atleast be correct in yours.

    • jdaven
    • 13 years ago

    That’s fine. I get a lot of my Apple financial information from Appleinsider. They also have some pretty good reviews of apple products. Just like Amdzone or Supersite for Windows, some websites are very company centric. A lot of it is fud but if you are very interested in a particular company then company centric websites give a lot more information specific to that company than say a general tech website like cnet news.

    That being said I like techreport above all other websites because their shortbread is the most fantastic feature I’ve ever seen. It works well with my information from all sources mindset. I’ve never seen such all encompassing tech news condensed in such a well put together list. I believe many of the websites referenced on the shortbread would fall into your website black list because of biases but that won’t stop techreport from reporting all news and rumors within and outside of your’s or mine mindset.

    • Skrying
    • 13 years ago

    Besides the Windows 7 Aero integration it feels that the Zune 4.0 software is running faster in general. I installed it this morning and it was a pleasant surprise at how it felt a bit snappier overall. Both needed updates, good to see my two favorite media apps (iTunes and Zune) supporting the nice features of Windows 7.

    EDIT: So yeah… why the hell can’t Microsoft get the Zune software working with all of the Windows 7 Aero features? The Zune software doesn’t support the drag to full screen, drag to restore, or drag to half size. Nice Microsoft, your main competition (iTunes) officially has better support for Windows 7 features!

    EDIT 2: It appears the Aero Snap features being absent might just be my install. As Warp9 says his works fine in that regard. Will do a complete reinstall to see if it clears up my issue.

    • Skrying
    • 13 years ago

    I understand not being biased towards a product but I find that hard to fathom when someone subjects themselves to sites that are so clearly Mac-centric, so severally (it seems) that they feel compelled to write an article that is nearly 100% bullshit. I don’t think I’d ever read a word that site puts out.

    • jdaven
    • 13 years ago

    Because I like to stay informed about all technology and not just browse ultra-pro pc, apple hating sites. I read tomshardware, anandtech, appleinsider, macrumors, techreport, hardocp, 9to5mac, engadget, fudzilla, digitimes, among many, many more. And yes I have a lot of time on my hands.

    I don’t just go to a few sites so I can get my hate on. Having an emotion like hate or for that fact any emotion at all towards a capitalistic corporation is the stupidest thing I ever heard of. It’s fun to cheer for a company but to narrow ones mind down to a specific subset of any subject matter is bad form no matter what.

    • Skrying
    • 13 years ago

    The way Ars Technica described the app “support” for the Zune HD has me wondering what Microsoft really wants with this device. Do they have any plans at all for a open-ish app market?

    §[<http://arstechnica.com/gadgets/news/2009/09/first-look-zune-hd.ars<]§ I understand the market is basically going to be virtually nothing for some time now but they're hurting themselves on the PR here as well.

    • adisor19
    • 13 years ago

    I agree that most of the article is fud, but there are some bits of truth in there especially in regards to the ARM CPU present in the Tegra.

    Adi

    • Skrying
    • 13 years ago

    It’s not just the OLED part that is fud, it’s the entire article. Why you subject yourself to such crap is beyond me.

    • indeego
    • 13 years ago

    ” The criticisms of the OLED are fud.”

    I think 30+ years they’ve been promising it can easily fall into /[

    • jdaven
    • 13 years ago

    That’s what I thought. The criticisms of the OLED are fud.

    • adisor19
    • 13 years ago

    I’m not sure whether you’re attempting to troll or you’re simply uninformed, but you’re sounding like that article with your attempt at misinforming so allow me to correct you :

    l[

    • jdaven
    • 13 years ago

    The 32 and 64 GB iPod touch models are the same as the iPhone 3gs sans the cellular capabilities. The 8 GB model is the last generation with updated software. That’s why the Apple store says ‘updated’ on the 8 GB model but ‘new’ on the other two.

    I believe the Appleinsider article is comparing the iPod touch to the Zune but the iphone still will be used just like the ipod touch with the addition of being a cell phone so I see the comparison of Zune HD to iphone/ipod touch as valid except the iphone will require a cell phone agreement with At&t and the others do not.

    I accept all criticisms of this article because it is definitely a biased hit piece. Just wanted to know what was good about it and what is fud.

    • poulpy
    • 13 years ago

    q[

    • Xenolith
    • 13 years ago

    Concerning the OLED, from Ars first look – “how does it look? With a unit in our grubby little hands, we can confidently say it looks pretty damn good. Colors are saturated and the screen is terrifically bright.”

    • HighTech4US
    • 13 years ago

    The comparison should be between the iTouch to the Zune HD.
    Comparing the iPhone to the Zune HD looks like selective data distortion which is nothing new from the Apple fanatics.

    > the ARM core in the Tegra is subpar and it’s about half as fast as the iPhone’s. This is fact.

    So does the processor in the iTouch have the same speed as the iPhone?
    How does the iTouch processor compare to the Tegra.

    The Tegra is a dual core ARM. Is the iTouch processor dual core?

    • adisor19
    • 13 years ago

    A lot in that article is pure BS and based on a lot of hypotheses that remain to be proven false.

    Some of the stuff that’s true :

    – the ARM core in the Tegra is subpar and it’s about half as fast as the iPhone’s. This is fact.

    – third party app store is a no no at least in the near future.

    That’s about it. The rest is a maybe and we’ll definitely have to wait for some reviews of the device and some software updates to see if MS is serious about it or not.

    Adi

    • no51
    • 13 years ago

    Well, take the OLED for one. They were praising it as the next big thing since sliced bread if it came out for the new itouch/itablet but they’re bashing it in that article.

    • no51
    • 13 years ago

    Installed it this morning, it finally has minimize to taskbar like wmp. There’s also a couple new skins. Maybe full support of audioscrobbler will come too since now they supposedly support apps.

    • jdaven
    • 13 years ago

    Here is an interesting article from an Apple website about the Zune HD.

    §[<http://www.appleinsider.com/articles/09/09/14/from_oled_to_tegra_five_myths_of_the_zune_hd.html<]§ Since it is a pro Apple website, a lot of the article should be taken with a grain of salt but I would like to ask you guys that might know more about these 'myths' Appleinsider is talking about. Is there any truth to them or is it just more fanboyism?

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