Posts Tagged ‘Zune’

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This iPhoneless Life #9 – Waiting for the zPhone

April 17, 2009

iPod I am rapidly coming to the conclusion that with a little bit of effort you can set up a WM phone so that it can do all the things you would expect from an iPhone.  Maybe not with quite the same slick style and chic design, but there are some compensations.  Pocket Outlook is a better calendaring and contacts tool than comes with the iPhone, much better suited to business needs.  And the Pocket Office applications, although limited, are occasionally useful.

The whole balance may change though when the ZuneHD comes out, particularly if the rumours are true that the Zune software will be made available for WM phones, effectively creating the ZunePhone. I don’t know if that will be new WM phones only, but I can always claim an upgrade.


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AudibleReady Zune … Sune

April 22, 2008

iPod Audible.com and Microsoft have finally reached agreement on audiobook support for the Zune.

It’s confirmed by Paul Thurrott so I would trust this.

I gather the delay has been something to do with firmware. Audible require compatible devices to have the required support in the firmware, but MS were being difficult about this.

Maybe they didn’t like the idea of an outside party dictating what goes in the Zune’s firmware, but Audible support is too important these days. For many people, lack of Audible support alone is a deal-breaker. That would certainly be the case with me.

The Zune (in its second incarnation) is a credible and attractive proposition, but I am one of a growing army of converts who enjoy listening to audiobooks in the car or otherwise out and about. I have enough junk to take with me when I am travelling around so there is only going to be one mp3 player type device. If the Zune remained unable to play audiobooks it would definitely not come into contention when I retire my current iPod.

As it is, with this latest news, it stands a good chance.

I’m assuming here that if, as suggested, it is all about support for Audible in the firmware, then existing Zunes can be made compatible by means of a firmware upgrade, as opposed to having to wait for the 3G Zune.

As for when all this will happen: by the end of the year according to the link above, … so reasonably sune.

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Touched by the Zune

November 20, 2007

iPod Paul Thurrott made two interesting observations in this week’s episode of Windows Weekly, which got me thinking.

The first was that the iPod touch is really for video not for music, because you need to be looking at it to use it. You can’t control it when it’s in your pocket (while you’re, say, walking the dog) because you can’t use the controls by feel.

Ironic. You can’t control the iPod touch by touch.

apple ipod touch

That probably rules it out for me. I do use my iPod when out with the dog and I often need to pause it or advance to the next playlist item. I had long been of the view that an iPhone without the phone would have been the perfect iPod, but this looks like a showstopper for me.

The second interesting thing Paul said was that the second generation 80GB Zune can fill the role of an Apple TV, ie build a bridge for video content between your computer and your TV. This is because the Zune has built-in wifi which will automatically sync with Zune Marketplace (equivalent of iTunes) provided the Zune is plugged into a power source.

It’s a very attractive proposition. You come back from listening to music/podcasts while walking the dog, pop the Zune into a powered docking station on top of the TV, it syncs with the PC and by the time you’ve made a cup of tea you’re ready to sit down and watch the latest downloaded TV shows.

microsoft zune 80GB

It’s not quite there yet, though. The Zune only supports 320 x 240 resolution, which falls well short of the Ipod touch’s 480 x 320, so picture quality would be disappointing. There is also a dearth of content. No movies or TV shows for the Zune yet, in the US or UK. It would only be any use with video podcasts and home movies.

Another killer is the lack of audiobook support. But I’m sure that will change, just as I’m sure there will be a 3G Zune with better video resolution and one day more video content via the Zune Marketplace.

So if it came to a choice between an iPod touch and a Zune … right now I’m surprised to find myself gravitating towards the Zune.

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