Flash Zune And Enhanced WiFi

Recent news reports from Chris Stephenson have suggested that along with the Zune launch in Europe at Q4, he has also proposed a flash mp3 player based on the Zune platform, along with a massive improvement with the currently limited WiFi late this year or early 2008. What does this mean?

Firstly, we’re looking at a more “lite” version of the Zune. Not everyone needs the 30GB of space that the Zune offers. Personally, I’m using less than 5 GB of my Zune as of, when only counting music. Even when including a few video clips, I only hit the 9.5 GB mark. With Samsung and SanDisk developing larger and larger flash drives, its only a matter of time until we’ll have an affordable 10+ GB flash drive. With such a “smaller” (compared to the current Zune drive) drive and a more affordable one, I’m hoping that the Zune will attract more buyers, thus actually proving their slogan, “Welcome to the social.” Not only that, but flash drive based Zune will be significantly smaller. The current Zune is in some sense, fatty. Fatter than the fattest iPod video. Not too many users are fond of the bulge in their pockets. A slimmer design will definitely make the Zune look slick and actually be a media player that will be able to find its home in a normal sized pocket.

Regarding WiFi, the possibilities are somewhat huge. We’re talking WiFi hotspots, a longer range when finding other Zunes in your local area, a connection with your computer via WiFi, a connection to the Marketplace, etc etc etc. Zune’s WiFi feature was hyped up before November 14, 2006. Currently, it is under heavy criticism due to not only the disappointingly limited WiFi features, but also due to the somewhat massive DRM protection on contents.

Stephenson’s speech is definitely encouraging for Zune users. A flash zune, maybe people will need to dish out more cash if they so do wish, but enhanced WiFi… Hopefully it’ll be implemented through the firmware updates, rather than making it incompatible with Zune generation 1.