Editorial

A letter to Microsoft: Size is essential for the ZuneHD

A few days ago, we teamed up with LiveSide.net's Ryan Rea to let the world know what we know about the ZuneHD from Microsoft insiders. As many blogs have reported, it seems as if this device is a dream device for fan-boys. I personally just think that Microsoft is finally on the right track with the Zune hardware, needless to mention the fact that the Zune software updates are going to complete this international release.

A certain spec we reported a few days ago was that there would be a 120GB model of the ZuneHD when it comes to market later this fall. A few hours after we announced the specs, which were all confirmed by more than 4 Microsoft employees, someone backtracked and told us that there will NOT be a 120GB model. So at this point I'm confused why the folks up in Redmond would retract what they've told us here at Neowin. Kinda reminds me of the Osborne Effect.

When the Zune launched back in 2006, it debuted with a 30GB hard drive. When the second generation rolled out we were introduced to 4GB, 8GB, 16GB, 80GB, and 120GB. I don't know about you but when I'm looking to get the predecessor of any electronic device I tend to be consistent. Now that we've got confirmation that the ZuneHD will have all kinds of awesome hardware, the size of the hard drive (Which is flash based) is going to need to be a decent size in order to fit all of my 720p HD movies and podcasts (On top of my music).

I'm sorry Microsoft, but 8GB, 16GB, and 32GB models just aren't going to cut it. Especially if you're going to be competitive with Apple's iPod Touch. Unless of course, you're just trying to catch up lost market share? You guys have rocked the Zune platform this far, don't let the Zune HD perish because there isn't a decent size device! Don't forget that you're going international, and the European folks already love the Zune and have waited long enough for the launch.

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28 Comments

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i love that the article says that the zune hd needs a larger capacity in order to compete with the ipod touch, when the ipod touch's largest capacity is also 32gb. it seems they will compete just fine.

All Microsoft said was that there would not be a 120 GB model... I don't know that it's necessary to freak out at this point and assume 32 GB will be the largest size. If there isn't a 120 GB model, perhaps a larger model is planned?

i will be happy as long as there is a device with the size being larger than 60gb.... that is a must... i will not buy a zune hd if it was 32gb...that is a major drop back from my 120gb zune

Techno-lover said,
I hope there will be EQ as well as a 120gb version, i'd buy it up real quick

If it doesn't have EQ, I will not buy it. So bring back EQ(preferably customizable) and a 120gb HD or no buy.
Don't **** this up MS!

Techno-lover said,
I hope there will be EQ as well as a 120gb version, i'd buy it up real quick

My Zune 30GB has an EQ. Given, it only has presets. One with full control would be rather nifty.

tapping touch screens and hdd based players don't go well together like pickles in a chocolate milk shake.

Unless you don't mind skipping and whatnot while using the device. No doubt I would like to see them make a large capcity touch screen PMP but unless they wack 2-4 16GB flash chips inside then its price will shoot through the roof and you'll get a backlash so i just don't see it happening.

I would really like it bigger than a 32Gb, but I doubt Microsoft would put a memory slot... that would mean easy media sharing, copyright and stuff. I currently have an 8Gb and its battery doesn't last long, i hope this one does.

I'm glad it's going to be Flash. My current Zune has bad battery life and the UI frequently feels sluggish. If MS wasn't releasing a large screen flash based player I probably would have picked up a Samsung p3 or Cowon s9

32 gigs is WELL OVER a full season of TV... i dont get how that's not enough. It's roughly 24hours + of video at 720p/1080i. potentially 8+ hours (full workday) at 1080p. I cant see that as not enough.... I'm not buying one, but that's not the reason why.

Rolith said,
32 gigs is WELL OVER a full season of TV... i dont get how that's not enough. It's roughly 24hours + of video at 720p/1080i. potentially 8+ hours (full workday) at 1080p. I cant see that as not enough.... I'm not buying one, but that's not the reason why.

And what about your music collection on top of that? If 32Gb was more than enough, why are there ipods with 100Gb+ out there being sold? And they're SD only.

I have an 80GB iPod and have absolutely no way of filling it up with music. I think I managed about 40GB when I tried to.

Anyway, I reformatted now, uninstalled iTunes and have it as a 80GB external drive.

PLEASE have FLAC support. Not only would it please me as well as many many others, it'd actually help sell more Zune's and give MS an additional bulletpoint to put on their Powerpoint presentation as to what Zune offers that iPods don't.

I don't think it is going to happen. Microsoft features are ALWAYS average-consumer driven, not geek driven. FLAC is not popular enough to be justified as a feature.

E.Fahd said,
I don't think it is going to happen. Microsoft features are ALWAYS average-consumer driven, not geek driven. FLAC is not popular enough to be justified as a feature.

but isnt that contradictory, HD standing for 'high definition' yet something as fundemental as lossless audio isnt there

Yes, if this is truly going to be HD, it really should offer more higher capacity storage types. Hopefully, without making it too thick for comfort. That would really speed things up.

I was extremely ****ed when Apple released the iPod Touch with only SSD storage options. That being said, with constant physical thrashing (intentional and recognized by the builtin accelerometer) of the device, i don't think it would be such a good idea without serious buffer space and head lock mechanisms. But that screen was screaming for buckets of shows/movies to be on it.

As much as I would like it, I'm fairly certain the Zune HD (if it exists) will be SSD also. Microsoft has no reason to go against the current market situation. I would be impressed if they did any innovation, even artzm's idea of a SDHC slot would be sweet.

P.S. I wouldn't hold your breath on SDXC support on anything just yet.

I think a good choice would be to go with expandable memory slot. 32GB SDHC is $80-100 right now, I'm sure by Christmas it will be half that. I'd be happy with a 64GB ZuneHD, but if they aren't going to have anything bigger than 32GB they need to include a memory card slot(with SDXC support). BTW shouldn't SDXC be out now(Q1 2009)?

HD with small storage (flash or HD)... I would imagine there intention would be for shows, and not movies... and a tv show at 720p is around 1 gig, depends on codec. Movies would eat up the space like it's nothing.

Battery life must play a big part in this, but the way I feel all ready is this device is something that could've been great (if they do nerf it)... perhaps they're dreaming too big, and the tech (batterly life, flash/ssd) aren't cheap enough or capable enough (batteries specifically).

Well battery life for one would be worse on a hard drive based model. Not to mention size. These sizes places it on level playing ground with the iPod touch for the most part. Does it have an external speaker, I don't think I've seen it mentioned?

I like all my portable devices to be flash based, a 64GB model would be nice.

Yeah, really not. Flash memory does in theory consume less power, but practically, it comes out in a wash. Doubt there would be a noticable battery life difference for a flash based model vs a hard drive model - if there was any difference it would be very marginal, and me personally, I'd be happy taking a half hour hit on battery life to have a useful storage capacity on the Zune HD.