Zune 2: An intimate conversation with the Zune team

Cesar Menendez, a Microsoft employee working on Zune, had some interesting things to note when Channel 10 interviewed him. It turns out that the newly released Zune 4 ($150), Zune 8 ($200) and Zune 80 ($250), the names of which you may have guessed correspond to the device capacity in GB, aren't the only part of the Zune experience that received a revamp. The Zune software and the Zune Marketplace have been recoded from the ground up. Cesar also throws out a statistic: the Zune Marketplace now has 3 million tracks available, 1 million of which are DRM-free.

He goes on to saying how Microsoft has taken off the limit of 3 days to play a song received from a friend's Zune. It used to be 3 days or 3 plays, now it's just 3 plays before the song is gone. The new Zunes are smaller and come in more colours. The Zunepad, Microsoft's answer to the clickwheel, allows for "flicking" as well as clicking through the menus. Why no touch-screen? Well Mr. Menendez believes that the Zunepad is the answer as it gets the same result without smudges on the screen.

Is there a clock? No, it wasn't a big priority. What about the Zune 30 and the firmware update? The Zune 30 ($200) will have the same firmware as the new Zunes. "That's the same menu, same features, the Zune 30, if you bought it last year, you'll get wireless sync, you'll get the updated wireless send, you'll get connection into the Zune community, you'll get the new store. So basically we really value our early adopter customers."

Oh yeah, and still no plans for Europe.

Link: Forum Discussion
Video: iPod | MP3 | PSP | WMA | WMV | WMV (High) | Zune
News source: Channel 10

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gawd you complainers!
there is absolutely nothing preventing you from ordering the thing online. i got mine from PC Mall, and there are oggles of e-tailers selling the thing.

i live in the caribbean (Trinidad to be exact) and i own a Zune 30. i purchase "hard to find stuff" (wink-wink, nudge-nudge) from the Zune Marketplace with points cards you can get pretty much anywhere, in various point quantities. the only thing separating me from the North American market is geography... and that is easily bridged by a credit card or even a money order if you really need to get your hands on one.

i plan to upgrade to the Zune 80 and pass my Zune 30 to my bro, just like i did with my Gigabeat S.

No clock, idiotic 3 plays "feature", un-buyable in most countries, and twice the price of my sony ericsson w810 mobile phone. 'Nuff said.

Get a watch. The 3-play feature doesn't hurt anything. Most things "un-buyable" in other countries (just like the best cellphones aren't sold in the US.) Put all your music on your 30GB w810, oh wait, you can't because you bought a crappy Sony "music phone."

I'm not saying I like the Zune all that much, only that you are a tool.

To be fair, the 3 plays limit is on a 'feature' that (afaik) no other mp3 player has (automated sharing direct from device->device over wifi).
Plus why compare the price of a wifi equiped 3" screen 30gb mp3 player [I presume you were comparing it to the original] to a 20mb [+up to 2gb card] 1.9" screen (that may have been subsidised. I can't find it for half the cost of a zune - a quick net search brings it up @ around £100 without contract, which would be roughly $200)?

As a Zune "30" owner I'm glad I'm not being left behind, something Apple really had no problem doing to their early iPod adopters.

Wireless sync is an awesome idea, but I'm wondering how the speeds would be. Even with a full signal, my wireless network is pretty slow and I wouldn't want to transfer 80 GB with it. It would be fine for adding a song or two, I guess.

Its nice to see Microsoft improving their product line. Its true, can't give credit solely for effort, but at least they're responding to market feedback.