Zune HD 4.5 firmware coming; 64GB models in the works?

zune-hd-smart-dj-rm-eng

Engadget was able to get some information on the next firmware version for the Zune HD.  The next firmware versions, 4.5, will bring SmartDJ and added codec support for videos.  Microsoft said they will not be bringing DivX support to the ZuneHD, but they will be adding Xvid, which will be fully compatible with MPEG-4 part 2 Advanced Simple Profile.

The SmartDJ will work just like the iPod/iPhone’s Genius, searching for similar artists and songs for you to listen to.  Microsoft hasn’t announced any release date for the Zune HD 4.5 firmware, but it is coming.

Other news today about the Zune HD, was a slipup on the Zune website, which made a 64GB model link available, an un-announced new version of the Zune HD.  Currently, Microsoft only has the Zune HD available in 16GB and 32GB models, but a curious user noticed the addition of a 64GB model on the website.

Microsoft was quick to remove the link and option from the website.  There also wasn’t any mention if Microsoft plans to go internationally with the Zune HD.

zune-hd-64-29mar-600

images courtesy of Engadget

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When you can add podcast to playlists, I will buy one. Until then, I will stick to iPod. It is amazing how this concept escapes Microsoft.

satukoro said,
Now if only they would fix the internet issues and allow support for hidden networks

Ditto. I'm selling mine because of that (hidden networks) and the lack of apps. Bad move, MS, for people looking for both.

Edited by briangw, Mar 30 2010, 4:02pm :

briangw said,

Ditto. I'm selling mine because of that (hidden networks) and the lack of apps. Bad move, MS, for people looking for both.

I couldn't care less about apps, all I want is better internet access support.

ahhell said,
i just wish they released Audiosurf for the standard Zunes.
I friggin love that game!!

Doubt the graphics card on those Zunes can stand up to that.

I'm still happy with my 16 GB model, though when that 64 GB one comes out I may buy that through the Zune originals. I actually looked at it and some of those designs are really cool, being able to change the Zune color is another huge plus.

Can't wait for the smart dj either, I'm going to abuse the heck out of it

tcaffeine said,
and what about other countries ? why isn't available to them
zune should available to countries not just us,canada

It will be with every WP7s device that will be sold. As for standalone ZuneHDs, I dunno yet. Maybe if they do a ZuneHD2 that could go international. But if I get a WP7s device like I intend to, the need for a ZuneHD device itself is then basically zero.

GP007 said,

It will be with every WP7s device that will be sold. As for standalone ZuneHDs, I dunno yet. Maybe if they do a ZuneHD2 that could go international. But if I get a WP7s device like I intend to, the need for a ZuneHD device itself is then basically zero.


I want a stand alone Music player tho. I dont want my music player to run out of battery after one phone call.
Still hoping for a UK release.

tcaffeine said,
and what about other countries ? why isn't available to them
zune should available to countries not just us,canada

It's not even available in Canada.. it's only available in US.... but I believe the plan is all windows 7 phones will be Zune HDs as well... but the standalones not sure yet.. I really hope so because not everyone wants a smartphone... so I agree with GP.. maybe the Zune HD2

As a developer, I'll just say that their current XNA plans have totally switched to Windows Phone 7 and exclude the ZuneHD entirely--just a few weeks ago they had the temerity to tell us to stick with XNA 3.1.

I had high hopes for the ZuneHD and was going to get one as soon as it's available internationally, but their stance totally put me off. It's really coming off as a half-hearted effort at this point.

_dandy_ said,
As a developer, I'll just say that their current XNA plans have totally switched to Windows Phone 7 and exclude the ZuneHD entirely--just a few weeks ago they had the temerity to tell us to stick with XNA 3.1.

I had high hopes for the ZuneHD and was going to get one as soon as it's available internationally, but their stance totally put me off. It's really coming off as a half-hearted effort at this point.

Because the hardware on WP7s devices compared to the ZuneHD at it's current state will be better? Last I checked the ZuneHD doesn't have a 1Ghz Snapdragon, or 512MB+ of RAM does it? It also doesn't fit into the screen res for WP7s phones since it's lower.

Now the cutoff is to do more with the fact that MS want's to keep WP7s consistant and the ZuneHD doesn't fit into that mold. Sure it sucks, but then there is talk of a new ZuneHD2 coming that will have the same hardware as the base WP7s devices will, that one will probably support XNA 4.0 I'd imagine.

GP007 said,
Because the hardware on WP7s devices compared to the ZuneHD at it's current state will be better? Last I checked the ZuneHD doesn't have a 1Ghz Snapdragon, or 512MB+ of RAM does it? It also doesn't fit into the screen res for WP7s phones since it's lower.

Now the cutoff is to do more with the fact that MS want's to keep WP7s consistant and the ZuneHD doesn't fit into that mold. Sure it sucks, but then there is talk of a new ZuneHD2 coming that will have the same hardware as the base WP7s devices will, that one will probably support XNA 4.0 I'd imagine.

Last time I checked, my Pentium II PC had 400 MHz CPU and 512 Mb RAM and outputs on 640x480 screen. It still runs XNA apps just fine.
Limitation for XNA4 is rather artificial.

GP007 said,

Because the hardware on WP7s devices compared to the ZuneHD at it's current state will be better? Last I checked the ZuneHD doesn't have a 1Ghz Snapdragon, or 512MB+ of RAM does it? It also doesn't fit into the screen res for WP7s phones since it's lower.

Now the cutoff is to do more with the fact that MS want's to keep WP7s consistant and the ZuneHD doesn't fit into that mold. Sure it sucks, but then there is talk of a new ZuneHD2 coming that will have the same hardware as the base WP7s devices will, that one will probably support XNA 4.0 I'd imagine.

While all true, I've always been a bit disappointed that XNA never allowed a developer to use the full potential of the devices. The Tegra has a lot of horsepower, but XNA 3.1 doesn't allow much direct access to the GPU. In the same vein, the network capabilities on the Zune 80 were capped to Zune to Zune communication in XNA. Why not allow web apps? I completely understand that it doesn't have the horsepower to stream Hulu. But what about pulling a 7 day forecast RSS feed down over the wifi? Microsoft's developer support here has been uncharactaristically lacking in direction.

RealFduch said,

Last time I checked, my Pentium II PC had 400 MHz CPU and 512 Mb RAM and outputs on 640x480 screen. It still runs XNA apps just fine.
Limitation for XNA4 is rather artificial.

While I agree that it's probably artificial, I point the hardware differences and the fact that MS doesn't want to fragment hardware as the reason behind it. That's what comes to my mind anyways.

Firethorne said,

While all true, I've always been a bit disappointed that XNA never allowed a developer to use the full potential of the devices. The Tegra has a lot of horsepower, but XNA 3.1 doesn't allow much direct access to the GPU. In the same vein, the network capabilities on the Zune 80 were capped to Zune to Zune communication in XNA. Why not allow web apps? I completely understand that it doesn't have the horsepower to stream Hulu. But what about pulling a 7 day forecast RSS feed down over the wifi? Microsoft's developer support here has been uncharactaristically lacking in direction.

I think they've held back on the ZuneHD developer stuff, or at least not pushed it strong becuase they've been hard at work on WP7s which is more of an extention to the Zune software/hardware as well.

If a ZuneHD2 is coming, it should get XNA 4.0 support, and over time MS will probably open up XNA/Silverlight more directly to hardware. You see them doing that now with SL4 and it's ability to access your webcam, mic and printer (and whatever else is in there). Moving forward I expect more and more hardware accass.

It'll only be a matter of time before they offer a bigger 64GB version. But I have to wonder if the only difference will be the storage size or if they up the screen size as well? There was all that talk about a ZuneHD2 a few weeks ago.

I own a 32 gig and i bought both my kids the 16 gig, screw apple .
I teach my kids you dont need the trendiest, settle for the better one.

Mekun said,
I own a 32 gig and i bought both my kids the 16 gig, screw apple .
I teach my kids you dont need the trendiest, settle for the better one.

Woot!

Mekun said,
I own a 32 gig and i bought both my kids the 16 gig, screw apple .
I teach my kids you dont need the trendiest, settle for the better one.

Better in what way? The Zune HD has a smaller screen, lower resolution, and no support for third party games/apps. It has slightly better battery life for video, but that is to be expected with a smaller, lower res screen. The only feature that the Zune HD has that I would like to see added to the iPod touch is the HDMI output support.

roadwarrior said,

Better in what way? The Zune HD has a smaller screen, lower resolution, and no support for third party games/apps.

Zune HD has better audio quality.
Zune HD has better screen.
The resolution and screen size is nearly the same. (long side is the same, short size is a bit smaller)
There ARE third-party apps. And I can create them myself without paying someone.

Stop spreading FUD.

Mekun said,
I own a 32 gig and i bought both my kids the 16 gig, screw apple .
I teach my kids you dont need the trendiest, settle for the better one.

Good for you! I do the same.. I'm anti-apple.. not because of their products (which are over-hyped IMO) and not because im a win-guy.. but mainly because of their business practices and because I don't like following hype. Usually people are so stuck on one thing that everyone is into or that they think is 'cool'.. they often dont explore the other options in great detail.

Edited by j2006, Mar 30 2010, 2:51pm :

RealFduch said,

There ARE third-party apps. And I can create them myself without paying someone.

Stop spreading FUD.

I was going by the Wikipedia article on Zune HD games and apps, which only lists those by Microsoft. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zune_Games
The only list I've found of third party Zune HD games and apps is here: http://www.zuneclan.com/zuneHD-downloads-apps-games.php and there sure doesn't seem to be a lot there.

Better audio quality is very subjective, and how do you consider a smaller, lower res screen "better quality"?

Edited by roadwarrior, Mar 30 2010, 6:48pm :

Unclean009 said,
If they finally add the god damn support for my school's wifi, I'll be happy.

I agree. I can't use my Zune HD with the wifi in my dorm room or anywhere on campus

rfirth said,

I agree. I can't use my Zune HD with the wifi in my dorm room or anywhere on campus

Did you enter the security credentials? If it's a secure wifi, you'll need to enter that in.. and there are settings for that.

j2006 said,

Did you enter the security credentials? If it's a secure wifi, you'll need to enter that in.. and there are settings for that.

It's most likely enterprise encrypted, like mine. The Zune HD doesn't support it.

doug_jnr said,
Are these available outside the mighty USA yet?

I guess not... But wait, Windows Phone 7 comes with Zune, and WP7 will be available outside USA, so you may consider it.

Shadrack said,

I wonder what the problem is...
Zune Marketplace I guess. They might have to renegotiate deals with the content providers. They're usually to blame for geolocking like this.

ZenVenT said,
how exactly do you accidently update a website with this type of information?

Making sure it's ready to go live when it's announced. Seems someone pulled the trigger too fast

ZenVenT said,
how exactly do you accidently update a website with this type of information?
Their "slipups" are all over torrents.

ZenVenT said,
how exactly do you accidently update a website with this type of information?
Weeellll if they use Dreamweaver its really the difference between clicking the "upload" button, or the "upload to testing server" button right next to it.

Ridlas said,
They should make more apps. Make the app tool available to everyone.

They don't share the app tools because they're messy from what I've heard. Nothing refined like Expression Blend for example.

Ridlas said,
They should make more apps. Make the app tool available to everyone.

Here I disagree, I like the Zune for its simplicity. I don't think the Zune needs all those crappy apps the iPod has, I still use a few, but most I've seen have no real function on the iPod, other than to drain the battery.

Frylock86 said,

Here I disagree, I like the Zune for its simplicity. I don't think the Zune needs all those crappy apps the iPod has, I still use a few, but most I've seen have no real function on the iPod, other than to drain the battery.


Then don't install any. You're essentially saying that just because you want your Zune HD to remain uncluttered and app free, that nobody else should be allowed apps either. And that my friend is selfishness incarnate.

Can't wait for this update. Been wanting SmartDJ on the Zune HD since the launch. I'd, also, definitely upgrade to a 64GB model when that comes out.