Indepth Look at the Zune

Thanks to slimy for the heads up!

Looks as though PodTech (Robert Scoble anyone?) sat down with Matt Jubelirer, product manager of the Zune program and got a 40 minute video out of it. The video runs through the Zune in detail and really gives a nice overview of Microsoft's answer to the iPod. (PodTech has an awesome demo of Cisco's new TelePresence 3000 system as well over here if you're into Video Conferencing)

Video weighs in at around 120 Megs, but well worth the download if you're considering buying one, on or after, November 14th.

View: PodTech: Indepth Look at the Zune
View: Zune Details (Wikipedia) | ZuneInsider Blog

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I've got a 30gig 5G iPod and I love it. But I have to admit the Zune looks cool, even in brown. I think both products have their ups and downs. I'm going to need to get a Zune in my hand and start playing with it till I really get a good idea of what it's like. That was exactly how I was with the iPod too. I had to play with it before I realized what the hype was all about.

My biggest disappointment with the Zune specs so far is lack of divx/xvid support. Also if I were to trade in my iPod for a Zune I'd want to go bigger and expect to be able to get at least an 80gig.

I think for people that don't have any portable media player right now they could go either way and perfectly happy. A 30gig iPod or a 30gig Zune. But for someone who already owns an iPod like myself, there isn't much about the Zune that would have me trade in for one. So although it's cool by itself it's not really an upgrade option for iPod users.

Another thing to consider is your computer software. I'd be more willing to trade in my iPod for a Zune then I would be to trade in iTunes for something else. If only all these things could interchange.

If I already have a PocketPC, why would I want a Zune?

After seeing this video, I'm now convinced there's no way in hell I would ever want one. It's got less functionality than a PocketPC, only with more storage room, slightly more streamlined music navigation and wireless. I'm not gonna carry around both a PocketPC and a Zune with me.

Seriously, add the storage space, improve Media Player and throw in wireless to an existing PocketPC, and you have a much cooler (and useful) toy.

To save face, the presenter mentioned no less than four times that you could choose a picture and set it as your wallpaper. Yeah, killer feature.

Was anyone else bored stupid watching this video. I was falling asleep after ten minutes. I think this could be a very interesting product BUT only when backed up by all the other devices MS is promising. On its own, its simply nothing special.

Did you know that Zune in Hebrew is like the F word in english? It's a not-so-lovely but oh-so-common word for intercourse....

No, it almost 'sounds' like the Hebrew F word. It's not actually that word.

Supposedly it was argued by scholars until they realised it didn't matter.

Think I'll stick with my Archos 404.

But I hope MS do improve the limitations currently their with later revisions. May get one when I update in the future.

Just finished watching it, and I must admit, the first release sounds like it has loads of possibilities, but they'll be explored in future updates.

Halfway through, I was 100% sold, with all the possibilities. Now I'm thinking the iPod 6G might be better, and it might come out earlier.

I'm not sure. Zune seems too focused on the 3 types of media.

iPod has a calendar. Zune doesn't.
iPod has contacts. Zune doesn't.
iPod has games. Zune doesn't.
iPod will have a touch screen. Zune won't.
iPod can take pictures from a camera. Zune can't.
iPod actually has sizes bigger than 30GB. Zune doesn't.

But Zune can do some things iPod can't, like WMA, big screen, X360 support.
But...

Neither of them have a microphone!
Neither of them have alternative sources of music, other than their own software!
Neither of them have card slots!
Neither of them have replaceable batteries!
Neither of them have support for user made applications!

It's like WTF?!

Wait till it's released, the judge it. And as for your list of dos and donts, Microsoft may not have announced those features but they may be there in hiding! Also Zune will be better for hacking due to it's PocketPC design.

Quote - mrmckeb said @ #26.1
Wait till it's released, the judge it. And as for your list of dos and donts, Microsoft may not have announced those features but they may be there in hiding! Also Zune will be better for hacking due to it's PocketPC design.

I sure hope you're right. I can see some things (Windows Live/web browsing) being almost a "dream on", but if it gets hacked, that'll be alright!

Quote - PureLegend said @ #26
Just finished watching it, and I must admit, the first release sounds like it has loads of possibilities, but they'll be explored in future updates.

Halfway through, I was 100% sold, with all the possibilities. Now I'm thinking the iPod 6G might be better, and it might come out earlier.

I'm not sure. Zune seems too focused on the 3 types of media.

iPod has a calendar. Zune doesn't.
iPod has contacts. Zune doesn't.
iPod has games. Zune doesn't.
iPod will have a touch screen. Zune won't.
iPod can take pictures from a camera. Zune can't.
iPod actually has sizes bigger than 30GB. Zune doesn't.

But Zune can do some things iPod can't, like WMA, big screen, X360 support.
But...

Neither of them have a microphone!
Neither of them have alternative sources of music, other than their own software!
Neither of them have card slots!
Neither of them have replaceable batteries!
Neither of them have support for user made applications!

It's like WTF?!

iPod has a calendar. Zune doesn't. - Nothing was said whether it did or not
iPod has contacts. Zune doesn't. - " ^^ "
iPod has games. Zune doesn't. - Doesn't matter much - ipod games are lame with spin wheel.
iPod will have a touch screen. Zune won't. - Not according patent just filed by apple.
iPod can take pictures from a camera. Zune can't. - Never heard of this feature
iPod actually has sizes bigger than 30GB. Zune doesn't. - ¡YET!

Neither of them have a microphone! Add-on features do - but im surprised my generic chinese mp3 player does built in
Neither of them have alternative sources of music, other than their own software! - Doesn't matter Zune Markplace will have subscription service which will win alot of people over
Neither of them have card slots! - They have hard drives so they don't need media card readers.
Neither of them have replaceable batteries! - True that is a bad point
Neither of them have support for user made applications! - ipod linux does i believe.

compare 1st gen ipod to Zune. then look at Zunes potential considering ipods development life since then. Then think about the potential of the Zune in times to come in the same style life cycle.

iPod has a calendar. Zune doesn't. - Nothing was said whether it did or not - It can't sync with Outlook
iPod has contacts. Zune doesn't. - " ^^ " - ^
iPod has games. Zune doesn't. - Doesn't matter much - ipod games are lame with spin wheel. - They're something to keep your brain engaged with though
iPod will have a touch screen. Zune won't. - Not according patent just filed by apple. - Wha? If the click wheel will be virtual, how will people use it without a touch screen?
iPod can take pictures from a camera. Zune can't. - Never heard of this feature - http://store.apple.com/1-800-MY-APPLE/WebObjects/AppleStore?productLearnMore=M9861G/A ;)
iPod actually has sizes bigger than 30GB. Zune doesn't. - ¡YET! - Not good enough! If they can launch the X360 in 2 flavours, why can't they do it for Zune?

Neither of them have a microphone! Add-on features do - but im surprised my generic chinese mp3 player does built in - Exactly, my teeny mp3 player can, why can't this?
Neither of them have alternative sources of music, other than their own software! - Doesn't matter Zune Markplace will have subscription service which will win alot of people over - Napster has a subscription service, this isn't anything new
Neither of them have card slots! - They have hard drives so they don't need media card readers. - It would be nice to breathe life back into it in the future, though, instead of throwing it away
Neither of them have replaceable batteries! - True that is a bad point
Neither of them have support for user made applications! - ipod linux does i believe. - Well, why can't it be put into the iPod's OS?

The thing does everything I actually expect an MP3 player to do. I actually like the way it looks and I think they are going in a good direction with the whole subscription thing to download as many songs as you want. So I'll more than likely be picking one up.

Strictly entertainment (no calendar, calculator, timer... support), yet no xvid/divx support (h.264 is nice, but it's not widely adopted), poor design for navigational buttons, (the guy in the video almost dropped it, and it doesn't look very comfortable to hold the device with one hand for any long periods of time) and poor implementation of WiFi. (music only?) Makes me want to wait for version 3 for sure.

Ha. He did almost drop it. You can't laugh that off.

The iPod really sold me with the 'click wheel'. Scroll and click on the same pad. That's ingenious. My friend had an 'imitation-iPod' which replaced the click wheel with buttons. Oh God, how I missed the click wheel.

He completely lost me when he said there was no video sharing. Research shows people don't share video? Who have they researched?! People have bluetoothed funny videos between mobile phones for years. It's the only thing that happens at high schools in the morning. Very disappointing.

And what about sending files? That would have been interesting.

Finally, from what I understood from the podcast section that a podcast is treated as a normal music file. Therefore, it has the same 3 day - 3 time limitations. Not very promising. And what about non-copyrighted (e.g. home-made) music? The whole point of this 3/3 restriction is protect the recording companies. What if I want to send my friend my band's music? He can't just "flag it and purchase it later".

its sound interesting, but a bit underdeveloped in some areas :(. Maybe they will listen to the customers soon after luanch and release a update/patch with these features. Otherwise it's nice :D.

lol, If you want a quick summary:

Scoble: "Can it do X using Y and Z?!"
Microsoft Rep: "Blah Blah, Customer Experience, Blah Blah, Research Shows People Actually Want... Blah Blah, Basically No"

Theres one point around 31:10 where Scoble asks a question where the rep replies "YES! ABSOLUTELY!" right away. Hilarious! Another awesome moment is near the end where Scoble is talking about the headphones and he 'lmao's' while the Microsoft guy doesn't even break a smile.

Still a very interesting product offering.

The only thing I wish they'd have done is make it the same size as the iPod. Size is basically the main thing I look at when I buy an mp3 player. I don't think you can deny that the interface looks pretty good, though. And I want to see one in person before I say whether or not it's ugly.

The fact that I own an Apple computer and iTunes Store music tracks pretty much means I'm locked in to one mp3 player though.

haha just listen to the lame excuses when he's asked: can it do this? can it do that?

it looks pretty boring overall... absolutely no innovation or wow factor, heck even the colors are boring...

'Album Art Experience'? give me a break!

Zzzzzzzzz...

You know, I want one of these, but only for the storage size. It's really dissapointing. I have a Sony W810i, and I can do everything the Zune can do, and more. Download music, watch videos, FM radio, share files (Bluetooth or wireless - and no 3 day/play limitation, btw), AND synch with Outlook, play games, record sounds, and more. If they made a 30 GB Duo card, I'd be *all* set. It was just really disappointing how many times he had to say (in effect) "No, it doesn't do that", "No, we didn't make that happen." This is a good start, I guess, but this is just catch-up to iPod. Since they've lost the first mover business, they need something like wireless to make them stand out. But if iPod ever puts wireless, or makes a card that adds that, where is the edge? People already buy the FM accessory - every one of my friends has it. I guess this could just be better....

Any word on Media Center integration? I'd buy one in spite of anything if that was the case: to be able to watch my recorded TV on my Zune.

i want the brown.

it's the most original colour i've seen; and based on public reaction, the only colour i'd be guaranteed to get my hands on come launch since all the white and black will be gone.

"dramatically larger screen"? Maybe marginally larger, but what's it matter...don't they both have the same resolution? That's what's important. And the product manager obviously knows the resolution of the screen. He was hesitant to say because he knows that it's the same as the iPod and defeats the purpose of having the larger screen.

Not an iPod fanboy, just averse to marketing-speak and obvious marketing ploys.

44% larger is pretty "dramatic" in comparison. Although as you say it has the same resolution, that doesn't mean it's a waste of time. Look at TV's, they've had the same resolution for decades, yet they come in all shapes and sizes. Even HD-TV's come in a range of sizes, but they'll all display at the same resolutions, so it really does make a difference.

Quote - Kushan said @ #10.1
44% larger is pretty "dramatic" in comparison. Although as you say it has the same resolution, that doesn't mean it's a waste of time. Look at TV's, they've had the same resolution for decades, yet they come in all shapes and sizes. Even HD-TV's come in a range of sizes, but they'll all display at the same resolutions, so it really does make a difference.

Because TVs all get the same picture (until HD becomes more mainstream). This is more comparable to a computer screen... So should we have 17" computer screens displaying only a max of 800 x 600? That definitely would be a waste of time. Who wouldn't want higher-resolution videos playing on their portable player, especially when there's such a "dramatic" increase in screen size?

Kushan, just curious where you are getting your wondrous numbers and/or math skills. The diagonals are 3" and 2.5" respectively. A square area comparison would be best, but even using these simple numbers we can't get close to your 44% figure.

.5/2.5*100 = 20% larger.

44% larger than the 2.5" iPod screen would be a 3.6" screen, not 3" (which would be considerably larger than the Zune than the Zune is larger than the iPod). So... yes, not "dramatic" in comparison.

And as Jack mentioned: that means 20% bigger pixels.

Quote - dp123 said @ #10.3
Kushan, just curious where you are getting your wondrous numbers and/or math skills. The diagonals are 3" and 2.5" respectively. A square area comparison would be best, but even using these simple numbers we can't get close to your 44% figure.

.5/2.5*100 = 20% larger.

44% larger than the 2.5" iPod screen would be a 3.6" screen, not 3" (which would be considerably larger than the Zune than the Zune is larger than the iPod). So... yes, not "dramatic" in comparison.

And as Jack mentioned: that means 20% bigger pixels.

.5" is the increase in diagonal length. The correlation between diagonal length and screen area is positive, not direct. A 2.5" diagonal on a 3x4 aspect screen correlates to a screen area of 3 square inches. A 3" diaganol on a 3x4 aspect screen correlates to a screen area of 4.32 square inches. As you can probably compute, 4.32 square inches is 144% of 3 square inches. As for quality of resolution, 240x320 pixels produce a very nice image on either screen, given that both are as small as they are.

Just saw an article on T3 about the Zune (yeah and i have read about it in the past, but T3 usually favors Apple's stuff) and its shaping up quite good :)

Lets see if it ends up on my Buy For Christmas list

Microsoft PR has a limited vocabulary. If it wasn't "experience" then they'd have to figure out some way to schlep "innovate" in there...which wouldn't work, since they haven't done much of that with the Zune. Or "clarity", but I think the quota on that word is pretty much being sucked up by Vista.

Hell, how many times did he say, "of course, we could consider that feature in the future if we learn that customers want it"?

How 'bout considering it NOW, in the present, when the competition already has it!

That depends.

If you have a Vista/Microsoft avatar or sig image, then no. You'll love this thing no matter what.

If you live in reality and aren't some Microsoft fanboy dork, then yeah, it's pretty ass-tastic looking...even if it is just a rebadged Toshiba Gigabeat.

well, no, it actually doesn't look that bad.

of course, if you're an anti-microsoft troll who will pretty much despise any product they put out, you'll despise it no matter what.

...or if you value function over form <<insert jab at Apple here>> you'll probably appreciate the features and ignore the design.

In terms of marketing and PR with the pop culture-minded masses, Microsoft is the equivalent of the fat, nasal-voiced computer nerd who tries to stop the popular girls in the halls between classes to talk about his science fair project.

^ phantasmorph's signature. Obviously, you will never be able to give a fair assessment of this product so don't bother.

In terms of marketing and PR with the pop culture-minded masses, Microsoft is the equivalent of the fat, nasal-voiced computer nerd who tries to stop the popular girls in the halls between classes to talk about his science fair project.

Don't think so
I think it's more like Linux.
Linux is a techno nerd. He wears some unusual clothes he thinks are the latest fashion and tells everyone how he is the best man in the world. Always whines that stupid people don't know about his greatness. Nags others about his notorious adventures with half-working gadgets. Than sees that he scares people and so tells them just how good it is and how he likes it. To prove that his way is the best he can tell everybody that he has a great girlfriend and she is just like he.

Firefox is gay. Not just some gay, but a man, proud to be gay. Very proud. Yau can spot him in any place, noticing his loud high voice. He will try to get attention to his persone. He will cry that people are too old-minded and afraid of changes. He will advise anyone to become gay too since it's so wonderful to be one. People who don't want to switch just don't understand anything.

Quote - tehl3x said @ #2.4
well, no, it actually doesn't look that bad.

of course, if you're an anti-microsoft troll who will pretty much despise any product they put out, you'll despise it no matter what.

No, I'm just someone that expects one of the most powerful and influential corporations in the world to come up with something a bit more than a rebadged, mediocre media player with a few irrelevant features that no one but the staunchest of nerds will care about. That's all. If it was good, I'd say so. But people are acting like this is the greatest thing ever, and it's just not.

It's the same way I feel about Vista. I'm tired of half-assed products coming from this company, and I want to see something from them that actually makes me go "Wow!" again. Unfortunately, it's been about 10 years since i've said that about Microsoft.

...or if you value function over form <<insert jab at Apple here>> you'll probably appreciate the features and ignore the design.

You mean like building a fake scroll wheel that's actually a D-Pad?

Quote - phantasmorph said @ #2.7
But people are acting like this is the greatest thing ever, and it's just not.

OF course that _never_ happens for the iPod, rriiiiiiiiiiiiight?

...or if you value function over form <<insert jab at Apple here>> you'll probably appreciate the features and ignore the design.

this is a very flawed idea, because no matter how you flame apple's decisions, design is never to be ignored. Form and function could and should be together, with form having more priority.