Asia is no doubt, the biggest continent in the world. To add on to that, they also have the highest population. Therefore, for Microsoft to suceed and literally “beat” Apple and the iPod, the Asian market is critical to their success. 10 out of 10 people will agree that the iPod was a huge success… except in Asia. No doubt Apple is the “hegemon” when it comes to the portable music industry in regions such as the Americas and Europe. But in Asia? Not as much…
In Asia, the trend has always been the “flash MP3 players” until recently, Samsung, iriver, Cowon, and the likes have begun to produce HDD players. Especially in countries such as China, Japan, and Korea, the yepp’ series (from Samsung) and iriver have been a huge hit. For Zune to actually surpass these “barriers” in the Asian market, it is critical for them to excel in the following areas. We’ll compare them to two major companies based in Korea; Samsung yepp’ and iriver.
If the Zune were to ever suceed in Asia, they will need to somehow have a design that should capture the Western and the Eastern eyes. While Apple may have had success with the Western eyes, they certainly didn’t with the Eastern. Samsung and iriver have produced masterpieces to “outplay” Apple in regard to designs, in the Asian market. Although the first generation of Zune resembles the iPod in many ways, for Microsoft to really be successful in the long run, a variation will be required sooner or later.
Something that iPod also have not yet reached the level of companies in Asia. Samsung and iriver showcase new designs nearly every year. Not only that, the featuers in every generation of players improve significantly. First off, a color LCD panel was introduced before Apple even had the idea of a Video (Colored) iPod. Thankfully, Zune is starting out with color. That’s great! 🙂 Something that definately puts Zune somewhere at least. But now, the Asian companies have stepped up another level. While the Zune will have an FM transmitter, it is something that Samsung and iriver have already accomplished since their early generation of players. Now, they are supporting DMBs. Not only that, Samsung’s latest player, YP-T9, supports flash gaming (although the iPod has Bejeweled) and the clarity in the panel is twice as good as the former player, T8. For the Zune to surpass these competition in the Asian market, an upgrade in the features will be necessary in the second generation. As of? The features are slightly ahead of Apple, but uncomparable yet, to yepp’ and iriver.
3. Battery Life
Battery life is critical. Remember iPod? Battery going dead after about a year, sending it to Apple to have it changed or do it yourself, etc. The iPod supports up to 20 hours of audio playing while, but the Zune only supports 12 hours of music and 3.5 hours of video! This isn’t even close to iPod, nor is it to yepp’ 30 hours of battery life and iriver’s 32 hours of audio time. This is something that Microsoft will need to improve if they are to truly compete.
That was all on why Zune will have a hard time suceeding in Asia. Now for some more positive news on how Zune may suceed.
Apple isn’t as popular of an OS in Asia compared to Microsoft. Apple simply doesn’t support as much languages since their earlier computers, which is why Microsoft is simply more popular in Asian homes. Also, Asia has a huge gaming population, which is also the reason why Microsoft Windows OS is more widely used. The brand name, Microsoft, will help in some sales in Asia for the Zune.
If the majority of the U.S. population has a MySpace account, many Asians have a Cyworld international account or is part of some sort of a social networking. The idea that Microsoft has with the Zune being a social networking player, will be quite a hit. This is something that iPod and other Asian based companies have not yet accomplished. The idea of sharing music without the need for another gateway (P2P, torrents, etc.) will become popular quickly. This isn’t only for Asians though of course, as it’ll surely be a hit in the Western market too.
Will the Zune suceed in Asia? The above 5 points are just some points comparing the Zune to other products in Asia. Only time will truly tell though, on whether the Zune will suceed or not in the Asia market.