Zune: New Avatar

Microsoft launches the Windows phone this fall. In the ReMIX conference (France) they claimed that the phone would sell thirty one million units in 2011. That’s a bounty. In comparison Apple has seen fifty one million phones off the shelf since launch. Apple uses only one carrier in the United States and Microsoft is likely to use several. Some may not have a QWERTY keyboard.

The phone will be offered with the Zune so that it serves as a phone, desktop application and music service. The Zune pass may be $5 cheaper. This will allow you to download almost any music track to the Zune. The Zune pass has not tilted the balance in favor of Microsoft. Zune has been popular only in North America. If it is globally available, every year a few million users would opt for the Zune instead of the iPhone or Android. Read the rest of this entry »

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Zune HD Fails To Disappoint

There are many people who have found the Zune a refreshing change from the iPod since its launch. Some of the features introduced to make the Zune better have disappointed. However the Zune HD is a gadget that fails to disappoint. It may not drive the iPod Touch off the planet. It does deliver a smashing music experience nevertheless.

The Zune spells wealth, style and sexiness. Although more angular than the iPod Touch, this device feels good and can lay flat. The other features are all improvements. There is really not much I can complain about on the Zune. Microsoft may complain, however, because Samsung seems to be aping them!

Samsung is likely to launch a portable media player with a Nvidia Tegra chipset. Although nothing is known about what price may be set for it, there are some things that we do know. The Tegra based PMP will have Bluetooth audio, DivX video, OLED display, FM radio, photo viewer, integrated voice recorder, microSD memory expansion, text reader, photo viewer and FM radio.

The Zune HD is a very tough competitor for anyone but since no one knows the pricing of the Zune HD or Samsung’s gadget all we can do is guess the winner of the race.

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Competition for the Zune HD

There are many people who have found the Zune a refreshing change from the iPod since its launch. Some of the features introduced to make the Zune better have disappointed. However the Zune HD is a gadget that fails to disappoint. It may not drive the iPod Touch off the planet. It does deliver a smashing music experience nevertheless.

The Zune spells wealth, style and sexiness. Although more angular than the iPod Touch, this device feels good and can lay flat. The other features are all improvements. There is really not much I can complain about on the Zune. Microsoft may complain, however, because Samsung seems to be aping them!
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Is the Zune HD a contender?

The Zune HD might just be a contender. It has everything good about the present version of Zune and then some. The PC client is more visually interesting than iTunes. You can also subscribe to unlimited music. In addition to this, the Zune pass also gives you 10 permanent downloads for just $14.99 a month.

The new features include high definition video output and HD Radio. One impressive feature of the Zune HD is that is just about two thirds the size of the iPod Touch. It is also slimmer. The brightness and color of the OLED screen is excellent.
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Zune HD with Nvidia Tegra

So the rumors appear to be true. The Zune HD is likely to use Nvidia’s Tegra chip. According to PC Perspective, the Zune chip had been confirmed by Nvidia’s staff at Computex earlier in the month. At the company’s analyst day, Nvidia Chief Executive Jen-Hsun Huang predicted that this chip would account for half of Nvidia’s business in the years to come.

The advantage of Tegra is that it uses only 0.5 watts of power. This is due to the power stingy ARM parentage. Tegra comprises of two ARM chips. The main application processor runs the OS and is based on the ARM11 core. The Nvidia GeForce graphics chip is probably what attracted Microsoft to Tegra.
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Will You Be Able To Play Xbox Live Games On The Zune HD?

A lot of Xbox news was forthcoming from Microsofts recent press conference at E3. There was some information on Zune video streaming as well. Interestingly Amazon.com seems to have made its own announcement. In the Zune HD listing on Amazon, they talk about access to millions of videos, TV shows and games from Xbox Live 720P HD video in the list of their product features. Read the rest of this entry »

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The Zune HD and the Rumor Mills

Yes there is a new Zune in the works. There are many rumors that it will be a Microsoft Zune HD Model. Those rumors are unconfirmed at this moment though. The new Zune is rumored to combine features of the Zune and Xbox. Cool, ain’t it. Well yeah. The new Zune device has been confirmed for arrival by Microsoft.

What the device is is still a matter of speculation. On whether this phone is Microsoft’s answer to the iPhone, all you get is a denial from Microsoft. Some people think that it will be a touch enabled media player with gaming abilities. So that seems more likely…a fusion of the Xbox and Zune. Something that blurs the boundaries between a media player and a gaming device.
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Univision Partners Zune

Baja Zune Musica en Univision.com is the newly branded music download service that is a partnership between Zune and Univision. Cesar Conde, EVP, Univision said that of a number of steps to enhance the musical experience, this is one of them – the partnership with Zune.

Univision is offering Zune’s music catalog as well as top notch features and delivering a fantastic subscription platform experience through the most visited website in the US for the Spanish Language. As part of the deal, MS gets exclusivity as the only online music download and subscription provider in the US.
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The MP3 Wars

In the MP3 Wars there is a foursome that make up the MP3 quadrangle. The iPod is of course the leader, followed by the Zune, Archos and Slacker. The iPod is an amazing device, although iTunes is not the most ideal song service. The Zune, Archos and Slacker all have their advantages and disadvantages. Lets look at some of these.

Archos offers the Archos 5 and 7 with five inch and seven inch screens respectively. Capacity on this device ranges from 30 gb to 320 gb. Attractive and thin, this device is optimized for video. Also there are a number of enticing add on’s that will make you want to buy this device including games for this device.
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Teen Survey On Zune

The Zune has grown in popularity according to the latest survey. This survey conducted twice a year by Piper Jaffray is very positive on the Zune. A year ago the iPod had an 80 percent share with the high school population. Now that share is up to 84 percent. Last year 78 percent said that the music device they intended to buy in the next 12 months was an iPod. This year that figure is 79 percent.

However the Zune has grown in popularity as well more in percentage terms than absolute terms. The Zune’s share of the teen market last year was just 2 percent. This year it is 3 percent. 13 percent of teens said they planned to buy a Zune over the next year in the last survey. This year that figure is 15 percent.
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Inspiretech Zune Charger

There has been a statement from Steve Ballmer that MS would not build it’s own Zune phone. This was said by Gates as well, way back in January 2008. Ballmer also made the point that MS is likely to take Zune software and services to Windows Mobile. Old hat. There is a new set of premium services for Windows Mobile called “Pink”.

There has been a delay in Windows Mobile 7. Pink, however is not delayed. Windows Mobile 7 and Pink are not tied together. History has been that MS has considered building it’s own Zune phone. Some people in the company want MS to create a MS branded Zune phone. Now it looks like this is not to be.
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Zune Offer: Download From FM

Marrying radio to the Zune a new software update is in the offing for Microsoft’s Zune player. This new update will let Zune users download songs that are played on FM radio channels. Save these songs and listen to them. With this new feature called Buy From FM, Zune users are able to tag songs and buy them – songs they hear on FM radio. This was revealed in a Microsoft announcement on Thursday.

You need a wireless internet connection for the download and while the songs are playing they can be downloaded. Alternatively songs can be marked for download later when the device is connected to the internet through a PC
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Changes in the Zune

It is nice to know that the latest 3.0 software of the Zune allows manual sync capability. This is now a part of Zune desktop software. The Zune has had its share of issues connecting to the home and work PC and thus losing content. Now manual control of the content is possible. When the Zune is connected with a PC, large movies on the PC can be deleted on the PC once it is on your Zune. This helps if the PC has a shortage of hard disk space.

 

Syncing as well as deletion of music, pictures and videos can be controlled with manual sync mode. For Podcasts, Friends and Channels only automatic sync mode is available. You won’t regret upgrading your Zune to the latest firmware. Read the rest of this entry »

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Babies Born Every Day Without iPods Says Zune PR Head

Recently, in an interview, Adam Sohn told NYT that Zune would “get there” since babies were born without iPod’s, daily. The player just holds two percent of the market right now. However, they count on being big in the game soon. The issue is babies don’t have dollars, or pounds – of the currency type. They will take atleast a decade get MP3 player ready.

And that is a while! One reason the Zune is lagging behind in the game is that it hasn’t made any breakthrough innovations apart from Wi-Fi access. Social networking, song identification, FM radio etc has not translated into the sales Zune has wanted. The market is not for babies, of babies of by babies in the MP3 player game.

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What Do You Think Of The Zune Phone?

Apple has it’s iPhone. It is still a fantasy to think of a Zune Phone coz it is not on the way, or so it seems. Adam Huffman from Yanko Designs dreamed up a fantasy Zune Phone. There have been other such pipedreams. Zune’s first attempt at unseating the iPod have been unsuccessful so far and this makes a Zune phone not so likely.

 

There are a number of reasons you would want to dream about a Zune phone. You could be an Apple hater. You could be a Zune lover. You may want to count down the number of ways the phone will flop in front of the iPhone (Although the iPhone 3G has reported more than it’s share of issues).

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Zune Latest

It seems the Zune has made one 15 year old rich and happy. Hansup Yoon recently sold ZuneBoards which is an internet forum devoted to the MS Zune. It made him $62,000 richer. Yoon form Fullerton, Calif created the site before the Zune was released in 2006. He said that he was one of the first to create a site on the MS Zune.

In other Zune news, Microsoft gave Zune players to students who gave them research data. Microsoft has a vision of expanding it’s products to schools across the nation. 100 Fort Sumner High School students as well as 25 South Valley Junior High students were given the Zunes. They are to listen to podcasts and watch videos that are recommended to them by teachers and fellow students in the hope that their educational experience will be enhanced.

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120 GB Zune Approved by FCC Before Release

Since the announcement of Samsung’s 12- GB 1.8 inch hard drive in April 2007 there has been a buzz among Zune fans anticipating a new higher capacity Zune. The wait is now almost over. The 120 GB Zune looks like the 80 GB one. The firmware used is version 2.5.

My 80 GB Zune has a lot of empty space and is likely to stay that way, but there are so many music lovers who would love a 120 GB Zune. The iPod Classic comes in 80GB and 160 GB varieties and the gap in between those two is likely to be filled by the Zune.
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Zune Savvy Marketing

In its quest for exclusivity, Zune has sought studios to provide content that would be exclusive to the Zune Media Player. The Hollywood Reporter says that Microsoft officials have met up with talent agencies and studios to create deals which would create exclusive video content for the Microsoft Zune.

When the Zune incepted, it was lauded as the Microsoft answer to the iPod. However it has not met with great success, selling only 2 million units since it’s launch in 2006. The iTunes stores is widely regarded as the reason for the iPod’s dominance. iTunes allows for easy music and video download onto the iPod.

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Microsoft Zune on the way to Success!

It is a know fact that Apple’s iPod rules 70 percent of the MP3 player market. With a strong fan base, it was thought next to impossible that someone else would be able to give Apple any competition. However, Microsoft made a brave attempt and has shown itself worthy of competing with the Apple giant’s.

 A Microsoft spokesman described Zune as something that celebrates ‘choice’. The Zune allows you to customize the back of your player using laser etchings; you can put the image of your choice as the background image on your player; you do not require an add on to listen to the radio and you can have access to millions of tracks for the price of one CD a month. That’s a great deal! Zune users can also share the music they listen to with their friends through Zune Social online music community, Facebook and MySpace.

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Zune Phone Rumors again!

What would the world be like if we did not have rumors fuelling the daily gossip? And gossip that never seems to die down at that! Once again it’s the same story all over again with the tech world abuzz with rumors of a to-be-launched-soon Zune phone.

 Two major reasons being cited for this Zune phone chatter are the huge success of Apple’s iPhone and Microsoft’s recent purchase of Danger, the software company who created the Sidekick’s OS. Adding fuel to the fire is a recent memo from Steve Ballmer (MS Boss!) to his company staff that seems to be hinting at the possibility of such a device. Ballmer in the memo said that MS aims to change the way it works with hardware vendors in order to ensure that the consumers get a complete experience with no compromises. He added that even with phones, they aim to provide choice to the consumer.
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