Archive for: Zune

The History Of: Microsoft Zune

  • October 5, 2011 10:59 am

Microsoft’s Zune is officially dead. But where we say good-bye to Microsoft’s in-house hardware we say hello to a new generation of PMP; a device whose soul purpose is no longer to simply entertain but communicate with the world around us too. Join us after the break as we take a walk back through time, admiring Microsoft’s Zune through the years…

Microsoft Releases New/Updated Apps For Zune.

  • August 4, 2011 7:24 am

The Zune software may have been absorbed by Windows Phone 7 leaving many users to fear for the future of their MP3 player of choice, but Microsoft apparently still cares about you. Despite numerous signs that Microsoft was beginning to move away from the audio-only hardware — slashed prices, killing off the Zune original storefront and porting of Zune apps to WP7 — the software giant has come back with a slew of new Zune apps as well as updates for older apps.

  • New Zune apps: Finger Paint, Calendar, Trash Throw, Slider Puzzle, ColorSpill, Splatter Bug, Vine Climb, Decoder Ring, and Tug-O-Wa
  • Updated apps: Shuffle by Album, Zune Reader, Penalty! Flick Soccer, Email, and Echoes

A couple of weeks back we heard a couple of rumors claiming Microsoft was working on a new piece of Zune hardware. Those rumors have not been confirmed nor has any hardware been seen/heard of. But even if Microsoft really is done with pumping out new Zune hardware, it’s nice to see they still care about providing new apps and services to current Zune owners. Such a trend is rather rare in the tech sector these days.

Zune owners: Be sure to let us know what you think of the new/updated apps.

Rumor: Zune Won’t Die - Microsoft Busts Out Defibrillator Once Again?

  • July 10, 2011 3:52 pm

We’ve seen the Zune do what it does best - suck. For a long, long time we’ve had to see the brand thrown at us whether it be at retailers, Microsoft’s website, or something I see every day - the XBox Dashboard. I’ve been longing for the day I won’t see that first on my ‘Video Marketplace’ section on the Dashboard, or maybe a day I can re-arrange the listings to have Netflix come first. Instead of that happening, rumors from up here in the Northwest are saying Zune will be getting a much needed revamp.

Since it’s XBox debut back in 2009, not much has been done with the service, but the sweet nothings that are being whispered are saying we’ll have the service updated to rival the likes of Netflix and Hulu Plus. If you aren’t familiar with the latter two, they are a subscription based internet streaming service used on your XBox, Wii, PS3, computer and even your cellphone. Zune has given us pay per view type services - which really limits how many people will use it. And if the specs are true, not many people did use it. Kind of like the Zune Media Player we had years ago, it seemed just like another failure that was under the Zune Umbrella. Well, 2011 and things might just get a little bit better for Microsoft and the Zune brand. With the rumored streaming subscriptions, I feel more people will use the service. I’m not sure how popular their TV Pass service is, but I would assume with the likes of Hulu Plus and Netflix they can’t be too impressive.

We’ve contacted Microsoft inquiring about what type of subscriptions they’ll offer, and if the rumors are even true. As soon as we learn more we’ll let you know. But you can bet this will might give Netflix a run for its money!

Despite Rumors, Microsoft Pushes Zune Ahead With New Email App.

  • April 4, 2011 7:46 am

Despite earlier rumors that Microsoft was in the process of discontinuing the Zune HD media player, a new update appears to bring new life to an aging platform. The new update brings one simple yet important feature — email. The “email for Zune HD” app is a free download from the Zune HD Marketplace and supports Gmail, Hotmail, and Exchange accounts (POP3 and IMAP support is said to be iffy).

From our quick jaunt around the web, it appears that this bare bones email app is merely half-baked. The inability to customize server settings, short list of supported email account types, and no contact syncing whatsoever have been voiced. However, the biggest flaw we’ve seen highlighted so far is that the app needs to re-download email every time the app is closed and re-opened. Still, having something is better than nothing wouldn’t you say?

After Unsuccessful Run, Microsoft Discontinuing Zune Media Player.

  • March 14, 2011 8:33 pm

In sea of smartphones each more than capable of managing multiple gigabytes of music, stand alone mp3 players are a dying breed. Even Apple’s might iPod — long the symbol of a truly digital world — has been waning in popularity and sales over the last couple of years. And with a device that is exponentially better (the iPhone and many other current smartphones) it makes sense. So it seems Microsoft is finally realizing the cold hard truth: They never had a chance at cracking Apple’s 3/4 market share of media players. And in the smartphone world of today, no body or mp3 player will.

Earlier this evening, Bloomberg published a report that Microsoft will discontinue Zune hardware development and new releases. Instead, the Zune team will refocus on bringing everything that made the Zune great (the software) to their Windows Phone 7 platform. It is here that Microsoft’s latest fight is currently waging against Apple. For the iPhone and its integrated iPod software are an extremely powerful 1-2 punch. While Windows Phone 7 already makes use of the Zune software, having the full Zune team focus solely on the WP7 platform ensures faster, more innovative updates and added features in the coming months and years (in theory).

So we have to ask old, famous Zune tattoo guy: Was it worth it in the end?

New Zune HD’s to come with Windows Phone 7?

  • September 13, 2010 7:34 pm

If there’s one thing Microsoft has stuck by even in the face of adversity in recent times, it’s the Zune. The sort of ugly step child in Microsoft’s more consumer-focused lineup hasn’t quite caught on in the mass public’s eye. Yet Microsoft keeps trudging along with the occasional Zune update. You’d be a fool to deny that Apple has been knocking things out of the park over the last few quarters. On that note, what (if anything) can Microsoft do to one up the iPod Touch, iPhone, or just Apple in general? So far, they’ve proven that they can’t beat the iPod (and some would argue they aren’t trying to).

What can they possibly do next? How about throwing Windows Phone 7 on it? It’s an intriguing idea and a good start. Though honestly, it needs to be done if Microsoft has any hope of remaining anywhere close to the iPod Touch in terms of relevance. I mean, the iPod Touch is running full blown iOS — a smartphone OS. The current Zune HD is running nothing more than a PMP OS that is quite limited. Seeing as how Windows Phone 7 pretty much packs the Zune interface within the music app, this rumor isn’t such a stretch.

I can see both sides to this story. On one hand, a more complex and versatile OS will really help the Zune branch out if Microsoft does so choose to go that route. At the same time, a simple PMP is what so many people crave and list it as one of the reasons they avoid the iPod Touch in particular. Though in the end, I’d imagine more people would gladly take a more well rounded, robust device instead of a single-use device these days.

What do you prefer: A more single-use PMP-only Zune or an iPod Touch-esque uber device?

Better late than never: Zune HD 64 appears, disappears just as quickly. Google cache prevails yet again. [Update: Pricing and release date info]

  • March 29, 2010 8:41 am

Update: Hot of the press — Looks like the Zune HD 64 will retail for $350 and become available April 12th. Current 16GB and 32GB models will also see some lovin’ in the form of a $20 price drop. Interest piqued? (Engadget)

Whether or not you were left with a slightly bitter taste in your mouth back when Microsoft announced the Zune HD 16 and 32GB mp3 players, dropping the ball for audio aficionados in not offering a higher capacity 64GB option, it doesn’t matter anymore. At least it soon won’t matter. A slip up last night left a “64GB” link appearing nicely below the current 16 and 32GB Zune HD choices on the Zune HD webpage. Obviously Microsoft has a nice little bun in the oven, albeit grossly past it’s due date.

The link is now gone, but Google cache has left it’s presence in the modern world alive and well. Hopefully M get’s this thing out the door fairly quick as they’re already months behind schedule in the high capacity flash media player department. Having a 64GB Zune HD might be just the ticket to swaying a few potential iPod buyers in their direction. Does a 64GB Zune HD sound interesting to you? If it’s priced right (read: less than the 64GB iPod Touch’s $399) I’d be more than happy to give one a home. And the waiting game begins…

Daily Tech > Engadget

Microsoft Pure and Turtle Mobile Phones (Project Pink) early specs revealed: You had me until the “Windows 6 CE” verbiage…

  • February 16, 2010 7:17 am

As much as I and I’m sure many of you like to drool over the highest quality smartphones, not everyone wants, needs, or can afford such lavish expenditures. For such individuals, more mid to lower-range smartphones with a basic web browser, full qwerty, and decent email support are enough. It looked as if the much lauded “Project Pink” handsets from Microsoft (dubbed the Pure and Turtle) were going to be quite the hot ticket item for lower-end smartphone sales — and then I read the spec sheet.

Windows 6 CE? CE?! Eck. Granted, the UI will most likely be heavily skinned, power will be rather impressive thanks to an Nvidia Tegra chip stuffed inside, and if a decent SDK were released for these little phones, gaming wouldn’t be half bad. In that light, they don’t seem half bad.

But I can’t help the constant flashbacks I keep getting of the old mobile POS systems that I used to deal with in retail. Ya, that was a nightmare. But again, CE is just the base of the OS (still that’s unfortunate) with every trace of the aged system being replaced with more “Zune-like” appearance.

Let’s hope Microsoft doesn’t spend all of it’s time and resources just making Windows Phone 7 all it can be. You have to look out for the little guys too. Anyone anxious to pick up a Windows CE phone?

Electronista > WM Experts

Motorola “largely focused on Android for the time being”.

  • February 15, 2010 2:01 pm

While the rest of the consumer world is all excited about Windows Phone 7′s announcement and revealing today, Motorola doesn’t seem to be falling into the hype just yet. If you looked at any of the event recaps, you’ll notice that when hardware partners were highlighted, long time Windows Mobile backer — Motorola — was no where to be seen. When Motorola was questioned directly on their Windows Phone 7 adoption, a Motorola spokesperson had only this to say:

We value our long-standing relationship with Microsoft across Motorola and look forward to their next generation of Windows Mobile platform software for potential integration on future mobile devices. As we have continued to focus our investment on differentiated end-user experiences, that investment at this point remains largely focused on Android.

I’m sure Motorola has at least a couple developers tinkering with Windows Phone 7 inside some cold, dark laboratory. Is their decision to stay solely Android for now a good decision? Hey, when you’re hot, you’re hot — and Motorola is striking gold once again with the various Android sets they’ve been and are going to be pumping out.

A few weeks ago I would have said stay far and away from Microsoft’s mobile OS at all costs. After today’s events however, Windows Phone 7 does look mighty nice is now an honest contender in the mobile wars once again.