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Zune 2.0 (second generation)

Microsoft Plans a Fix


With the dismal sales numbers from the holiday season, the Zune team is definitely having a big time huddle over the last several weeks.  While we can all blame a lukewarm economy heading South, there are also fundamental issues.  Take a look at this analysis, and head on back for some further discussion.

I think Microsoft made a good product in the Zune.  The hard drive based Zunes, 80 and 120 gigs strong, are very good products.  They are well made, easy to control, and have decent battery lives.  The LCD screens are wasted on just music as many of us use them for.  The Zune software is good enough that folks don't complain about it anymore.  I use it often and it's stable and capable.

The flash based Zunes are decent, but not spectacular in a crowded field.  They're pretty enough, but there's too much competition.  Here Apple gets the vote of the kids that buy into their ads marketing, and SanDisk gets the dollars from the spendthrifts seeking good value.  It would seem that Zune suffers from "me too" syndrome among this market segment, that it can't find its niche in.

However, Microsoft has made one serious mistake here.  They targeted the iPod Classic, which is yesteryear's iPod.  It also is not selling  spectacularly well.  It's pretty clear that if you want to dethrone the leader, you need to attack their best selling flagship product- the iPod Touch.  No point in going after second best, right?  Heck, I own a Zune 80, and I keep debating if I could use an iTouch as a PDA to replace my Palm T/X, and I don't even buy any Apple products!

If the Zune team wants to seriously get back into this race, they shoud all figure out the weaknesses of the iTouch be scouring the forums.  They also need to use it themsleves, and only then can they build a better Zune.  It's lousy to see the Zune, which pioneered wireless in a music player, get beat on their own turf.

While the zPhone is dead, will there be an iZune instead

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Zune Christmas Miracle?

With the Christmas sales still being tallied, it will be a time before we know how well this year's Zune sold.  While many of us are still rooting for the Zune, there are some factors working against it including less interest in pure players, Apple's continued dominance of this segment, and overall slowing of the economy.  On the flip side though, let's not forget that the Zune lineup, particularly it's flash offerings continue to offer good value, and overall the Zunes were the strongest players put out by Microsoft yet.

One hint that the Zune may have a had a strong showing comes from Google.  You see, all those Google searches get tabulated and analyzed.  It turns out that this past Christmas morn, search terms with the word Zune in them, including and had an unusual spike, and even broke into the top 20 search terms, which apparently they are regularly not even in the top 100.

So, does this mean the Zune sold well, or just that lots of folks had trouble setting it up and sought assistance online?  Too early to say, but intriguing nonetheless!  I'm hoping the final sales numbers are as good as these search results might suggest...

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Obama Zune Usage Still Unsettled

Dnczune So, Obama gets spotted with a Zune, the blogosphere jumps all over it, and his administration denies it.  I thought this issue was all settled, and Obama was back to being an iPod sort of guy.  Even this article from today goes along with the theory that the original reporter didn't know what he was looking at, or that the Zune definitely was not Obama's.  Done deal?  Not by a longshot!

Apparently, during the Democratic National Convention, there was a giveaway of the Zune variety.  The Dem faithful not only got to promote their nominee to candidate, but they got some giveaways as well.  In their goody bag was a Zune of all things, loaded up with some exclusive content.  No word if "Happy Days Are Here Again," or "Don't Stop Thinking About Tomorrow" were among the preloaded tracks.  However, the latest theory is that Obama got the Zune, a special edition model no less, from this "un-conventional" source.

Is this now the final word?  Honestly, I don't know.  Every time I think this story is over, some other detail shakes out so stay tuned on this one.  I don't know about you, but getting a free Zune just might make sitting through one of those conventions worthwhile!

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Obama Denies Zune Usage

Barack hasn't taken office yet, and is already in the middle of a scandal, of the mp3 variety.  While he apparently is an avid Mac fan, he was spotted yesterday with a Zune... reportedly.  For 24 hours, the blogosphere was lit up regarding the incoming President's music player choice.  After all, could the liberal Obama really use a corporate Microsoft product?  I hadn't really thought about it, but perhaps folks had been reading too much into the iPod choice, and now they were already disillusioned?  While it was hardly grounds for well, anything, this went so far as the Wall Street Journal calling the story ZuneGate.  Now maybe they just wanted to get everyone's minds off the lousy stock market, but an Obama spokesperson actually wanted to set the record straight, and let the American people that Obama uses an iPod.  Meanwhile, the reporter that broke the story is sticking to his guns, and suggests that perhaps Obama was borrowing the Zune from his entourage for the workout.

What does this mean for the future of this country?  Well, in all likelihood nothing either way, but I can't resist a president "Getting into the social," and enabling their wireless sharing at the inauguration.

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President Elect Spotted With Zune

Obamawantsyoutosignupforobamarama Regardless of who you voted for, the blogosphere is abuzz regarding a certain President Elect, and a piece of electronics.  Namely, the next President, Obama, was spotted in the city of brotherly love with a Zune.  What is even further intriguing is that reportedly this guy is a mac guy, and the Zune doesn't support the computers of the Macosphere, better known as OS X.  How he got the music on there remains a mystery, but rumors of dual booting abound.  Personally, I'd bet that if this guy gets his own chef, pilot, and security force, I'm sure someone can manage to load up his music player of choice for him.  Think really different?

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No Place Like Zune For the Holidays

Christmastree When it is time for some holiday shopping, most of us around here would much rather get some electronics rather than a necktie.  An audio player of some sort is a "must have" item for any gadget fan, and an up to date one with a really large capacity is my personal preference.  While it is hard to believe that I'm coming up on my year anniversary of owning a Zune 80 gig, I'm still intrigued to see what players are being recommended this year for music lovin' holiday shoppers.

I spotted this piece today in The Washington Times.  Topping their list, was, you guessed it, the Zune. They mention that there are both flash and hard drive models available, and that the Zune is "nice and affordable," which makes it kind of the girl next door that you don't think of while fawning after some cheerleader.  At least the paragraph does mention the Zune's strong points: WiFi music sharing (which they got wrong and characterized as streaming), and the all-you-can-eat music pass, which they are out of date and didn't mention the latest iteration to keep a generous 10 tracks a month.

While their details are a little less than accurate, I do agree that the Zune should top any holiday shopper's list.

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Canada Gets Zune Originals

Zune_originals_canada We knew this was coming, but details about the availability of Zune Originals in Canada will be announced tomorrow. A Microsoft Canada press release will give Canadians all the details on how and where to buy Zune Originals in Canada.

But don’t expect to see the same designs currently available on the US version of the Zune Originals store. Canucks will get their own designs made by Canadian artists. Artist names, designs, prices and availability will be revealed tomorrow morning.

That's cool! No? That means that we'll see more and more unique designs in the wild. The Canadian launch sketches how Zune will be launched throughout the world. Since the green Zune will be available only in the US, could we see colors only for the Canadian market?

A media event called “Zune Originals Media Tour” will be held tomorrow in Montreal. Cliczune will of course attend the event. Stay tuned!

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Belkin introduced a Sports Armband for Zune 4GB/8GB and Zune 80GB


Here’s the last new Zune case from Belkin for tonight.

Belkin adapted its Sports armband for the second generation Zune players. The armband are still hand-washable and water-resistant (Be careful! It doesn’t make the Zune water-resistant!)

The case is made with a reflective material for use in the dark and has a useful key pocket.

Belkin offers a lifetime warranty with this product. Retail price is also $29.99.

A picture of the Zune 80 version is available after the jump.


Continue reading "Belkin introduced a Sports Armband for Zune 4GB/8GB and Zune 80GB" »

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The "Zune a Day Giveaway" from Windows Live!


Do you feel like using Hotmail? No? Well, think about it twice because, until March 31st,  Windows Live-Hotmail is giving away a Zune 8 per day. That's it, one Zune 8 per day.

Here's how you can enter the contest:

1. Select "Hotmail" on your mobile phone menu, or to make it even easier, click here and enter your mobile number — we'll send you a text with the link.*
2. Sign in to Hotmail with your existing Passport or Windows Live ID.
3. Send an e-mail to with "Go Zune" in the subject line.

Windows Live-Hotmail [via GotZune]

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Introducing Zlive for Zune


Are you interested in a new Zune speaker system? I am! We don't know much about the upcoming puppy, but it looks great.  Digital Products International (DPI) is releasing a completely new brand called the Zlive. DPI is the company behind ilive, a maker of iPod accessories. ilive has 14 different speaker systems for the iPod.


Are we going to see them all made for the Zune? Probably not, but the picture above looks very similar to the ISPK2806BLK, made for iPod. And if the specs are going to be the same, well, the first Zune dock to be release by Zlive should look like the following:

  • Charging, amplification & remote control of Zune player
  • Built-In Zune Cradle
  • Stereo Speakers
  • Slim, Full-Function Remote Control
  • Video Output/Auxiliary Input
  • AC Power
  • Accessories Included: Remote Control, Auxiliary Line-In Cord

The retail price should also be $69.99. To be followed!

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