Official image of Zune HD's marketplace released

The Zune HD is Microsoft's next big thing when it comes to mobile media, and aims to be a direct competitor to Apple's iPod touch line. To aid in the battle against Apple's current dominance, Microsoft will be offering a marketplace, as you may know, and a few days ago, an official image of it has been released.

It comes to us from 'fitret', who's the Xbox 360 Program Manager, but unfortunately doesn't offer much detail. We've included the image below for you to inspect, but there's also the direct link above. As you can see, it fits in nicely with the rest of the Zune UI; no doubt now that this one has been released, there will be more to come for those with a hunger for Zune details. Let us know what you think below.

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It shouldn't be called Marketplace. For one, as already mentioned the word gets cut off on the Home screen. And secondly and more important, "Marketplace" sounds too corporate. It's not consumer friendly. It should be called the Zune Store.

KISM (Keep It Simple Microsoft).

kraized said,
It shouldn't be called Marketplace. For one, as already mentioned the word gets cut off on the Home screen. And secondly and more important, "Marketplace" sounds too corporate. It's not consumer friendly. It should be called the Zune Store.

KISM (Keep It Simple Microsoft). :p

Keep in mind the whole 'social' aspect Microsoft is pushing. Which fits in better with that, a marketplace where exchanges are many and all can participate however they want, or a store where a cashier takes your purchase, and none of the customers ever get to meet eachother?

The difference is that Apple is primarily a hardware company, it will try to sell as many iPods as possible by making it compatible everywhere (same reason they made Boot Camp).
Microsoft is a software company, it is trying to sell as many copies of Windows as possible, and Zune is a nice "we can do it just as well as you" thing. Mac compatibility is not necessary.

Apple-a-Day said,
Apple made the Ipods windows accessible will MS bow down and make the zune able to be loaded from OSX

LOL, I seriously doubt you could get Mac users to do anything but laugh at a Zune.

billyea said,
The difference is that Apple is primarily a hardware company, it will try to sell as many iPods as possible by making it compatible everywhere (same reason they made Boot Camp).
Microsoft is a software company, it is trying to sell as many copies of Windows as possible, and Zune is a nice "we can do it just as well as you" thing. Mac compatibility is not necessary.


Steve Job said himself that he doesn't see his company as a "Hardware" company, he said his company is more of a software company. This is true because if his company was focused on hardware then we would not see all the over heating problems and exploding batteries.
This video is the proof....it's a 7 part video
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_5Z7eal4uXI

Apple *has* to make a Windows version of iTunes if they want to sell iPods.

Microsoft is not in the same predicament.

bob_c_b said,
LOL, I seriously doubt you could get Mac users to do anything but laugh at a Zune.

Crikey, I'm glad I'm not a mac user then - not sure if I could cope with that sort of arrogance!

I want a Zune HD, but the one feature that Ipod Touch WILL have (in Canada) is the Sirius Radio Feature.. If the Zune HD comes out with the capability of applications and a potential Sirius Canada application.. I will consider a Zune HD.

Since MS has said itself that the ZuneHD has WinCE bits (or all of it?) in there, it would only take time for someone to write a Sirius app if the need and want is there.

This product is filled with hope until the new iPods are launched in September, then it will just be another "me too" from MS.

GP007 said,
You sound pretty confident, what's so great about the new iPods that are coming in September?

Does it matter, as it looks the Zune HD will finally catch up with the iPod Touch, so whatever Apple does is a step forward.

E.Fahd said,
@bob_c_b

- So you're saying iPod Touch already has an FM Tuner, Tegra, HD Radio and an OLED screen ?

Try again.

Sorry, MS should try again, iPod already has satellite radio, HD graphics and excellent screen quality. You can throw specs out all day long, the same tiny crowd who bought the early Zunes (I just sold mine on eBay) will likely be the only audience for this.

bob_c_b said,

Sorry, MS should try again, iPod already has satellite radio, HD graphics and excellent screen quality. You can throw specs out all day long, the same tiny crowd who bought the early Zunes (I just sold mine on eBay) will likely be the only audience for this.

Really? You call those graphics HD? What? I'm sorry, you must be nuts. As for screen quality? Eh, it's decent at most... and their satellite radio is whatever... but then again, IMO I don't see a point of a FM Radio on a MP3 player... but I can see how some people might like eh.

Overall though, Apple's iPod is nothing short but a decent MP3 player that you can get for a cheaper price through Creative. iPod Tough isn't much better, while it did set a new standard, it's just not the best standard. Zune at least has Tegra, HD Radio, OLED Touch Screen, and of course HD output... can the iPod match up with that? If you put the Zune 80GB 2nd Gen side by side with the newest version of the iPod, Zune's specs are better. Get real Bob, Zune is better overall... and Zune HD will be no different when it's released... too many smug people out there with their crApple iPods can't seem to see that. Being 'in' is apparently better than better 'quality' overall. Gotta love society right?

bob_c_b said,
Does it matter, as it looks the Zune HD will finally catch up with the iPod Touch, so whatever Apple does is a step forward.

What, like removable battery?

@bob_c_b -

As others have pointed out, an OLED screen gives a far better picture than the screen the iPod touch has, even though that screen is okay.

i dunno about the Touch and iphone but now you are not stuck with using itunes with an ipod. songbird has a really nice ipod support plugin that works great. i don't even have itunes installed anymore

CrossCheck said,
i dunno about the Touch and iphone but now you are not stuck with using itunes with an ipod. songbird has a really nice ipod support plugin that works great. i don't even have itunes installed anymore

I don't really like iTunes. I prefer the Zune Software so much more. But the integration features between iTunes and my iPhone make it worth while to use, for me. Not sure if Songbird works with iPhone either, never tried it. But afterI played around with the Remote app on my iPhone I was moving my library over.

as good looking as it is it doesn't exactly look touch screen optimized... looks like they should use light opacity box or something to separate content or something which gives more definition where and what to scroll or touch or whatever...

I was actually thinking it looks too small :/

For starters, the screen looks smaller than the iPod touch's, to me.

I guess we'll have to wait to see it in person, though

Calum said,
I was actually thinking it looks too small :/

For starters, the screen looks smaller than the iPod touch's, to me.

I guess we'll have to wait to see it in person, though :)


The dimensions of it, which have been released, does have it being something like 40 pixels thinner than the iPod Touch's screen.

What I don't like (and is something I hate about some other phones and media players as well) is how they make the glass of the screen cover much larger than the actual screen, so there is a large bezel around the screen. When you look at the device in the store, with the screen off, it appears that the screen is much larger than it actually is. That was one of the reasons I got rid of my LG Incite.

I dunno, if the zune software does release on OSX I suppose that'd be big, maybe. I guess MS has to wonder that the OSX user base will just stick with iPods and iTunes. *shrug*

Same here. Since my iPod Touch 2G died (uh, I may have spilled water over it...) I've been stuck with my old 1G, and the Zune HD looks fantastic.

Would also mean I could uninstall iTunes. Ah, that'll be the day...

Callum M-R said,
Would also mean I could uninstall iTunes. Ah, that'll be the day...

Have you tried out the Zune Software (3.0) for Windows? That is just as fantastic as this new Zune appears to be :P

Microsoft's interfaces have always been top-notch, and they're doing it again with the new Zune. If it becomes available in Europe and it has sound quality matching my Sony this one will be my next Music Player!

Ambroos said,
Microsoft's interfaces have always been top-notch


No, they haven't - they have been the furthest thing from it. Only recently have they realized the importance of UI and a sense of taste.

That said, the UI looks really good in this photo. Keep up the good work.

Ryanlm said,
No, they haven't - they have been the furthest thing from it. Only recently have they realized the importance of UI and a sense of taste.

That said, the UI looks really good in this photo. Keep up the good work.



I suppose to him, and others, past UI's have been top-notch.

GP007 said,



I suppose to him, and others, past UI's have been top-notch.


The Zune interface, Windows Media Center, and select others have been top notch.

andrewbares said,


The Zune interface, Windows Media Center, and select others have been top notch.


I agree, I also really like the new 360 UI, though the original one was pretty good as well.

andrewbares said,
The Zune interface, Windows Media Center, and select others have been top notch.


Which just goes to prove Ryanlm's statement. In terms of the history of Microsoft, Zune and WMC are recent UI's. Ambroos said that their interfaces had always been top notch. Anyone remember Bob, or are most of you too young to remember that monstrosity?

roadwarrior said,
Which just goes to prove Ryanlm's statement. In terms of the history of Microsoft, Zune and WMC are recent UI's. Ambroos said that their interfaces had always been top notch. Anyone remember Bob, or are most of you too young to remember that monstrosity?

Bob was an application, not an OS UI. It was fine for who it was targeted at: the terminally computer-illiterate. (I've got a copy floating around somewhere...)

GreyWolfSC said,
Bob was an application, not an OS UI. It was fine for who it was targeted at: the terminally computer-illiterate. (I've got a copy floating around somewhere...)


It was not just an application. It was intended as an alternate user interface for the computer. At least that was what Microsoft said back in the day when it was released. It competed with other similar Program Manager replacements that were being released by computer OEMs.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Microsoft_bob

Microsoft Bob was designed for Windows 3.1x and Windows 95 and intended to be a user-friendly interface for Microsoft Windows, supplanting the Program Manager.

Well, as was said BoB was targeted at younger kids and/or older people who didn't fully understand the native UI.

But that said, if you wanna go back then what about the Win95 UI itself? IE's UI with v4 and 5 were also spot on imo. Each person can point to other things he/she liked as well.

I agree, WMC, 360, Zune, and a lot in W7 are excellent UIs, but they are recent. I was at MIX09 this year, and the opening keynote really showed the new direction MS is going, and Bill Buxton is really spot on in his approach to it.

That said, they do have a long way to go and they can't just change overnight. Even in Windows 7 there are many applications with bad UI. Media Player for example, it's like Jekyll and Hyde - it has a well thought out, media focused, mode for playing content, but a shockingly bad UI for sorting and managing that is baby blue for some reason. Quicktime X copied the approach while playing, the new QT for snow leopard (and in some ways did it a notch better).

The big problem facing MS in UI is continuity. The single biggest reason, I would argue anyway, that people say OS X looks better is that it looks like one artist designed everything (save a few exceptions that are decreasing with every release). It's not that grey is all the pretty, it's that everything "fits" and the OS ends up being understated and the Apps pop on the screen.

Here is an example I illustrated over on the aero taskforce - http://www.aerotaskforce.com/view/77 and of all the vista issues listed, this climbed to #3. WMC, Zune, W7, and so on are all fantastic, but in NO WAY shape or form look like they are made by the same company, let alone look like they all run on the same OS.

Here is the real stinker - can it be fixed? I for the most part program on windows, recently I have been doing some iPhone stuff, so my desktops are PC, but I do have a Mac for the iPhone, one that happens to run in Boot Camp (which sucks, don't believe the hype) most of the time (running Win7). But using the UI tools of Xcode, Interface Builder, you can see how well thought out the whole approach is.

Apple and MS take completely different approaches to UI. Apple has a firm hand, but makes it incredibly easy to make an interface in the design standards they have put in place, on the flip side, if you want to make a UI that is different, it sucks. They have a strong convention, everything is MVC based (which I do like). MS is on the other side of the fence, their tools are built to let the developer do whatever the heck they want and force no convention on them, often if developers want to follow the art direction of MS, they have to build it themselves or buy third party components, many did this to copy the ribbon in Office 07. MS is now building this in the dev tools, but years after release. The problem with MS's approach is that developers are most of the time terrible at design. Terrible.

To me, it's like comparing MySpace to Facebook. If you let masses pick pea green backgrounds, hot pink text, and blast any pop music, they will and eventually people will move to a system (Facebook) that doesn't do a full on assault to the senses.

It should be noted as well, that the tooling MS provides, maybe save Interface Builder, is so far ahead of Apple it's almost a joke. I so quickly miss Visual Studio when using Xcode part of me is waiting for MS to get their mobile space up to par so I don't have to go back. I also think that WPF, the new UI platform, and the basis of Silverlight is incredible, but it too needs solid convention applied to it before it's too late, it will be winforms, GDI all over again. The new tools coming out which really take UI prototyping to a new level are fantastic, but without convention to actually build them, I think most devs are still going to end up with average interfaces.

MS does release some application frameworks, but man, talk about complex and over thinking (over thinking is what I attribute most of MS's mistakes to). Granted, you almost would need to pick one solution to do what Apple has done and build your toolset around it, where window management, screen/form management and so on is really almost handled and you can just focus on building your apps function.

GP007 said,

I agree, I also really like the new 360 UI, though the original one was pretty good as well.

The original UI of the 360 marketplace was atrocious.

Really? looks hideous to me that is the main letdown for me with the Zune and that is the UI. Apple have nailed it with the iPhone/iPod touch and MS really are playing catch up. I'll wait and see what the whole UI is like but if this photo is any indication of where the visual direction is going, I see a Gen3 touch in my future to be honest.

Xerxes said,
Really? looks hideous to me that is the main letdown for me with the Zune and that is the UI. Apple have nailed it with the iPhone/iPod touch and MS really are playing catch up. I'll wait and see what the whole UI is like but if this photo is any indication of where the visual direction is going, I see a Gen3 touch in my future to be honest.


lol. lots of people LOVE the Zune UI. Apple's is plain and boring, like a spreadsheet, compared to the Zune.

andrewbares said,
lol. lots of people LOVE the Zune UI. Apple's is plain and boring, like a spreadsheet, compared to the Zune.

Well I guess it's down to personal taste, I can't stand the Zune UI I find it too "over the top" and gastly but I love the simplicity of Apple's UI, "boring" it maybe but I like it that way

I own an iPhone but I've been impressed with the UI show from the screenshots/pics of the zuneHD - except for the fact that the word "marketplace" gets cut off on the home screen!

In my opinion Microsoft tends to take things over the top in order to make it look "cool". They did the same thing with Aero in Windows Vista and they're doing it again with the Zune and Zune software.

.Neo said,
In my opinion Microsoft tends to take things over the top in order to make it look "cool". They did the same thing with Aero in Windows Vista and they're doing it again with the Zune and Zune software.


I don't think Aero is over the top at all. Just because it has glass title bars now? Or maybe cuz of Flip3D? What exactly is over the top with the UI?

Aero is FAR more reserved than Luna. If anything, it's downright plain. But a pretty kind of plain. No strange, sudden changes in lines or colors (I'm looking at you, ChaNinja/98% of custom XP themes).

You must be kidding. The UI for iTunes does not compete with Zune Marketplace. The only place where iTunes beats Zune Marketplace is on content.

Xerxes said,
Really? looks hideous to me that is the main letdown for me with the Zune and that is the UI. Apple have nailed it with the iPhone/iPod touch and MS really are playing catch up. I'll wait and see what the whole UI is like but if this photo is any indication of where the visual direction is going, I see a Gen3 touch in my future to be honest.


What!?!? I guess, like you say, it is a matter of taste. While I like the ipod touch interface, I absolutely hate the standard ipod GUI. And that stupid wheel... *shudder* I hate it so much. The current gen Zune interface, however, and the new HD interface are spot on. Easy to navigate and use, plus sleek. Apple used to have a monopoly on good UI design. Not anymore.