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ZuneHD Video on Engadget

The ZuneHD is seen in this video.  Note how the touchscreen makes the squircle look clumsy.  The processor looks responsive, and quite fluid as they navigate around.  The OLED screen also appears quite slick, although the quality of the video is not spectacular so we'll have to reserve final judgement on that for now.  If Microsoft can price this right, they could finally have the iTouch fighter to take the Zune platform to the next level.  Ok, without further delay, let's roll the video....

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Try a Podcast


I definitely enjoy subscribing to a podcast, in fact I listen to three of them.  However, sometimes users just want to sample a podcast, and not commit to the weekly download.  Also, a user may want to be able to listen to a podcast via the internet via a streaming format, and not commit to a download.  This is particularly useful if they have a slower connection.

Today, the Zune team announced some new features.  The first is to be able to download a podcast directly from without going through the marketplace.  The other is the ability to stream a podcast without downloading it.

Without reading too much into it, I think that Microsoft is trying to show us that the Zune is still a flexible platform that they are committed to.  While neither of these features will amount to sales, it's nice to feel that development is still going on.  Let's hope that this trend continues throughout the near future.

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Zune TV?

Steve Microsoft, after the recent round of layoffs, is in the regrouping stage.  Recently Ballmer went through his roadmap of where the folks in Redmond are heading.  While much attention got devoted to where Windows 7 will take them, and to a much lesser extent, Windows Mobile 6.5, at least the Zune got a mention.  Here's what was discussed:

Of course, similar things were once said about portable music players, and yet we have the Zune. That's apparently different, because it's part of a tool for a larger entertainment strategy. Ballmer promised that the Zune entertainment services would be coming to all three screens: the PC, the TV, and portable devices. The Xbox is simply another cog in this strategy, as Microsoft is looking to develop a "dollars per TV" revenue strategy—"the real opportunity is a device that sits next to or in a TV set," said Ballmer. The precise device involved is apparently far less relevant than the fact that Microsoft is on the end of the revenue stream. It's an interesting take, and one that the company may now have the pieces in place to attempt, but, without some well-enunciated roadmap to get there from here, it has a bit of the feel of a post-hoc rationalization.

I thought that the Zune already had a dock to sit next to the TV?  Something tells me that is not what he is talking about.  It's not much of a leap to think that they want to have some product to compete with AppleTV, but I'm not sure if ZuneTV is coming soon or not.  Notably absent was discussion of a ZunePhone.  While I think they have the right idea in broad terms- to have seamless integration of their marketplace across PC, TV and portable screens, we'll have to wait and see how the implementation is done.  Will the WiFi built into the Zune ever get used to its potential?

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Zune, Built Solid State

Toshibas-128gb-solid-state-drive_5638 For years now, the cheaper and smaller capacity music player were flash based.  For those with large music collections, it was hard drive territory.  What else was gonna hold all those songs?  The downside was that if you dropped a hard drive player, than all bets were off, and you just might get to cash in on the long term Best Buy warranty that you paid too much for.  I will admit that I do have concerns bringing my Zune 80 out on cold days, and don't like to leave it in the car when the temp is below the freezing mark, although this is hardly evidence based.

Soon though, you just might be able to have your cake and eat it too.  A recent analysis envisions that solid state drive will replace the mechanical hard drives in our music players in the near future.  They are envisioning 100% growth over the next three years in this segment.  Not even Starbuck's can boast that kind of rocketing growth rate these days!  They're talking a 5 billion dollar industry in a few short years, assuming the wheels stay on this economy, of course.  Apparently, much of that growth will be in the 1.8" hard drive segment, which is what the Zune sports.

With SSD capacities already large enough, it's just a matter of time and price before the venerable hard drive gets shelved out of this market segment.  I look forward to dropping my Zune then, and it surviving to tell the tale.

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Zune Amidst all the news of Zune falling $100 million short of estimates, and concerns of Microsoft's continuing commitment to the Zune, it was good to find something, make that anything else, of a Zune nature.  What I stumbled across today was that a Zune Wiki, a Zunepedia if you will, was started recently.  Sure, you could just go to the Zune page of the Wikipedia, but it's also good to have the Zune have a wiki devoted all to it.

As a repository of knowledge, that everyone can add to and edit, you just can't beat a wiki for knowledge on a topic.  It was started by Zac Altman, a serious Zune fan.  So far there are pages for each of the models, and als pages for each of the features.  Some of the pages are just placeholders waiting for some knowledgable Zune owner to share this knowledge.  Isn't this what the "Get Into the Social" tagline is all about?

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