Microsoft updates Zune.net, removes Zune Player [Update] Zune lives!

It looks like Microsoft may have killed the Zune player, if you travel to Zune.net you will notice that there are no longer links to purchase a Zune player. Also, traveling to the Microsoft store, the Zune player is now out of stock.

There has been a lot of confusion around the hardware side of the Zune brand over the last several months. It was rumored that Microsoft would be killing the platform, and then Microsoft said it wasn’t, but the rumors persisted. Then Microsoft tossed a wrench into the rumor brigade with the expansion of Zune Pass to Canada and also introduced another price option.

While the Zune specific hardware may be dead, the service is certainly not. Zune will, for the time being, living on in the Windows Phone and Xbox platforms as well as Microsoft’s flagship product, Windows.

Update: Microsoft has pinged Neowin stating that "This was an inadvertent publishing issue. The product page is back up now: http://www.zune.net/en-US/products/zunehd/default.htm." For Zune fans, it looks like there is still time to purchase a Zune HD...for now.  

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Never even seen one. If I was still in my college days when all I did was listen to music (before phones really started to have semi-decent music players built it) I would of bought one.

However when all I want to do is listen to music but not carry my phone, then my Creative Zen Xtra 64GB comes in handy and it still works

I wouldn't be surprised if Zune hardware gets phased out. I think they're going to start focusing more on Windows Phone 7 devices. My HTC Trophy is a fantastic Zune Player, among other things, especially since I swapped out the 16GB micro SDHC for 32GB.

Inferior in what way? I load music, I push Play, I hear the songs. I encode my portable media to LAME V0 (average bitrate about 245 Kbps, and arguably the best MP3 encoder ever made) and sometimes even Ogg Vorbis (using aoTuV's excellent Ogg Vorbis compiles) just for the hell of it. I don't feel like carrying around a dedicated DAP/PMP *and* a cell/smartphone anymore since my HTC HD2 can do all those things and more, with an 800x480 (landscape) display that plays my custom h.264 encoded videos at brilliantly.

I'm also not interested in lugging around a LOD/AMP combination just to supposedly improve the quality and volume of the audio coming out of the HD2's audio jack - it's got a 50mW audio amp in it, more than enough to power even my Sony V6 monitors.

There are pluses and minuses to carrying multiple dedicated devices, and believe me, I've done it for years by carrying a Dell Axim X51v as my audio/video device (using Nitrogen for audio with the MAD mp3 decoder, the best there is), and also TCPMP for video playback (which makes use of the Intel 2700G video chip in the X51v with 16MB of dedicated video RAM) etc.

Those days of carrying multiple dedicated devices are over for me. Some people still wish to carry such things, and that's fine for them - but nobody can say there's a "BEST" anything in any situation for every single person out there. While you - meaning Amarok, the person I quoted above - my find that having a dedicated mp3 player is best for YOU, that doesn't apply to ME or anyone else, because our needs and requirements and usage is vastly different from yours.

As for battery life, I get 20+ with my HD2 and the stock battery, over 40 if I decide to use the 3500 mAh Mugen extended I've got for it. And watch movies/TV shows/videos for 20 hours+, or surf the Net, or make calls, or whatever.

Ain't no "mp3 player" out there that can do all that... except smartphones, of course.

I'm surprised so many people seem to enjoy using the built-in MP3 players of their phones/tablets instead of a dedicated device. With the abysmal battery life of smartphones and tablets I can't imagine using mine for MP3 playing. Plus, just like the built in cameras, the built in mp3 players are far inferior to a standalone device.

There's no hope of a Zune HD "2" anymore. Microsoft gave it a shot, the market and people decided it wasn't enough to compete with Apple's near total domination of the DAP/PMP markets so, that's a wrap folks. I had a 16GB Zune HD in the past, and I hope to replace it when possible (just found one on craigslist in excellent condition for $60 but I'm broke because I just paid bills/etc on the 1st, oh well), but the party's over now.

I do love the devices - as straight PMPs they're damned tough to top, really - but Microsoft never made a dime on them, hardware-wise. And as the world and the population moves towards a more unified device (a smartphone in every pocket) the chances of a Zune HD or any other audio device from Microsoft is pretty much null and void at this point, and there's no third-party manufacturer that will bother to make JUST an audio/video device anymore.

It's all about smartphones, etc now. Windows Phone 7 *is* a Zune-powered OS from the audio/video perspective, and the devices are far more capable than the Zune HD by itself. Sure, the apps selection still sucks, it always will compared to the iOS behemoth and even the still up and coming Android platform, but it'll never be that ubiquitous.

Sad, but it happens.

The Zune HD is dead, long live the Zune HD.

i still prefer a DAP (Digital Audio Player) that can run Rockbox personally as it's just better (supports basically all audio formats) since it don't force any unnecessary software to be running just to transfer files to it which is why i dislike Zune devices in general and you can't use it for a hard drive either etc if you need to and transfer files to it through windows explorer and even navigating menu's/folders basically acts more like a PC which is a good thing.

i won't be getting rid of my Sandisk Sansa e250 (2GB internal and i added a 8GB MicroSDHC card to it for 10GB total space) running Rockbox anytime soon as for playing music it works quite well and there is no reason to really upgrade. i generally am using the musepack audio format on my player as it's more efficient and generally offers smaller files sizes when in comparison with LAME v2 (averages around 190kbps VBR) with good sound quality. AAC (.m4a) is a good choice as a lot of devices are using it but it's much less battery efficient on my Sansa vs Musepack/MP3 (i imagine Vorbis is solid to)

p.s. i got a Zune 30GB but it collects dust for the most part because my Sansa is better overall.

Edited by ThaCrip, Oct 3 2011, 7:24pm :

Apparently, it was an accident to remove it on the US site at the least.

"@yegr: Zune HD product page is still on Zune.net - publishing mishap when we pushed out the CA work."

Standalone audio players are a thing of the past, with smart phones being able to do so much. I would imagine that Windows Phone devices are going to take it's place.

TRC said,
Standalone audio players are a thing of the past, with smart phones being able to do so much. I would imagine that Windows Phone devices are going to take it's place.

Not everyone wants or can afford a smartphone though, so for those people a device like the Zune HD or iPod touch can fill a need.

TRC said,
Standalone audio players are a thing of the past, with smart phones being able to do so much. I would imagine that Windows Phone devices are going to take it's place.

Yeah, that means we will never again have phones with long battery life 'cause we're gonna use nothing but them in the future for all things imaginable… Modern smartphones are the perfect example of "Jack of all trades, master of none."…

This is a shame. I am literally listening to my Zune HD right now, with music that I got using Zune Pass.

For some reason, I have never been a fan with bogging my phone down (iPhone or WP7) with my music. I think that deep down I have a fear of killing the battery unnecessarily when I have a device dedicated to it. I also do not like to sweat on my phone (gym). Based on everyone else at the gym, and on the road, I tend to be in the minority, but I know that my girlfriend prefers her iPod touch to her iPhone at the gym for the same reason.

Hopefully Microsoft can release an update Zune HD running whatever the latest version of Windows Phone OS happens to be at the time. It would make for a great developer test device, as well as another simple way to get people into the ecosystem that is simply underrated because of a lack of a push and international support (I believe this has more to do with the record labels than Microsoft).

I'm excited, The Zune store launchine in Canada today, another music store! I'm not sure if I want a pass yet though. The Zune website seems slow and unresponsive right now, much like Xbox live services

Its a shame, I love my 120Gb... I have WP7, but the problem is storage - 8Gb - give me a WP7 with 60 - 100Gb storage please, and then yep the Zune hardware in no longer required

grunger106 said,
Its a shame, I love my 120Gb... I have WP7, but the problem is storage - 8Gb - give me a WP7 with 60 - 100Gb storage please, and then yep the Zune hardware in no longer required

My HD7 has 16GB, and it is quite possible to upgrade it to 32GB (and maybe even 64GB). It simply isn't cost effective yet to produce flash memory based devices at higher capacities. I doubt you want a hard drive in your phone.

roadwarrior said,

My HD7 has 16GB, and it is quite possible to upgrade it to 32GB (and maybe even 64GB). It simply isn't cost effective yet to produce flash memory based devices at higher capacities. I doubt you want a hard drive in your phone.

Hmmm. I have the HD7 as well. AFAIK it's stuck at 16GB. I'd be interested to know how you plan on upgrading.

PeterTHX said,

You seriously expect me to void my phone warranty?


You implied that it wasn't possible at all, so I showed you that it is possible. If you choose to do it or not is not my problem. There are lots of things that people do to their phones that technically void their warranties.

roadwarrior said,

You implied that it wasn't possible at all, so I showed you that it is possible. If you choose to do it or not is not my problem. There are lots of things that people do to their phones that technically void their warranties.

Well, you have to admit there is no way to do it...without voiding your warranty. I was hoping you or someone else found a way that wouldn't do that.

I still use my Zune HD from time to time. I love the Zune HD hardware. Even if the hardware doesn't live on, the service is still awesome on WP7/Xbox/Windows.

I still use my Zune HD from time to time. I love the Zune HD hardware. Even if the hardware doesn't live on, the service is still awesome on WP7/Xbox/Windows.

IMO, the reason the Zune failed was because for a very long time it was only available in the US. It is not sold worldwide even now for that matter.

The Dark Knight said,
IMO, the reason the Zune failed was because for a very long time it was only available in the US. It is not sold worldwide even now for that matter.

True, but there was no point in releasing the Zune HD device without support for the Zune marketplace/service itself to back it up, it makes it a harder sell and also not in MS's interest.

Only now with WP7 is the Zune service finally expanding around the world.

The Dark Knight said,
IMO, the reason the Zune failed was because for a very long time it was only available in the US. It is not sold worldwide even now for that matter.

Well, that was one thing. The other thing was the fact that compared to its closest competition (the iPod touch), it was very limited in many respects, especially app support. Sure there were some apps for the Zune HD, but nowhere near as wide of a variety as the iPod.

roadwarrior said,

Well, that was one thing. The other thing was the fact that compared to its closest competition (the iPod touch), it was very limited in many respects, especially app support. Sure there were some apps for the Zune HD, but nowhere near as wide of a variety as the iPod.

It's a shame that Apple has successfully drilled that idea into people's minds. The Zune HD had a web browser. You don't need apps when you have a web browser.

xpxp2002 said,

It's a shame that Apple has successfully drilled that idea into people's minds. The Zune HD had a web browser. You don't need apps when you have a web browser.

It's a very poor web browser... it's based on IE6 for CE.

They should make a new Zune, base it on the OS of WP7. More apps and more support.
Launch it with Windows 8 so we have 4 unified products, Windows, Windows Phone, XBOX and maybe Windows Player/Windows Music?

TechDudeGeorge said,
They should make a new Zune, base it on the OS of WP7. More apps and more support.
Launch it with Windows 8 so we have 4 unified products, Windows, Windows Phone, XBOX and maybe Windows Player/Windows Music?

I think they could, at the most, just license the Zune OS (WP but without all the phone parts) to any media player OEMs out there that want it. But the truth is more and more people just use a phone to play media on, it's turning into a niche market year after year.

GP007 said,

I think they could, at the most, just license the Zune OS (WP but without all the phone parts) to any media player OEMs out there that want it. But the truth is more and more people just use a phone to play media on, it's turning into a niche market year after year.


I was thinking this as well. IMO, I think it would almost stupid not to try this...

TechDudeGeorge said,
They should make a new Zune, base it on the OS of WP7. More apps and more support.

They need to make a Zune\Microsoft-branded phone. If they got the Zune HD, made it bigger (not much thicker if it can be helped) with a nice 4"+ screen, threw in a camera, added the requires buttons, I would seriously consider buying one.

Rudy said,
I'm surprised to hear they still made them

Indeed. Even Apple is killing off the iPod year after year, because the music player has just become a default feature of every phone/tablet device everyone sells now.

Rudy said,
I'm surprised to hear they still made them

Indeed. Even Apple is killing off the iPod year after year, because the music player has just become a default feature of every phone/tablet device everyone sells now.

Hardly a surprised. When did they last refresh the hardware? It seems like ages ago.

The Zune was a decent product, but it's hard to defeat the Apple machine.

At least the work that went into Zune is going to live on with Metro.

DukeEsquire said,
Hardly a surprised. When did they last refresh the hardware? It seems like ages ago.

The Zune was a decent product, but it's hard to defeat the Apple machine.

At least the work that went into Zune is going to live on with Metro.


And anyone who want the zune experience could get a WP7 based phone, the media player on it is pretty much the same as the zune one.