Zune HD browser, UI and On Screen Keyboard hands on Videos

Engadget has posted a detailed Zune HD hands-on video, full to the brim with good looking Zune HD features - including the UI, which was previously reported about by Neowin, and the On Screen Keyboard in action. Crunchgear is also featuring a video which shows off the browser UI. Some of the highlights of the videos are found below:

On Screen Keyboard - The typing interface in the video seems very easy to use - the onscreen keyboard allows a lot of space and seems to work just fine with larger fingers too.

Pins, History, and New - From the home screen, a quick tap on the left icons bring you to your Pins and History. There you can view all your pinned items and your recent history. Pinned items can include music, pictures, and videos. Just below your history you'll find the most recently added items making it easy to find your media in one place.

HD Radio - Similar to the original Zune's radio interface but now featuring the HD radio which allows you to listen to radio stations in high quality. Flick left and right to scroll between radio stations.

Music Selection - Scroll through your artists with a quick flick or tap the alphabet header to view all of the alphabet and skip to a certain letter. The interface is still carried over from the old Zunes meaning that you have headers on the top containing different categories, like artists, playlists, etc. You just tap on the next one to go over.

Artist Screen - Shows the artist's albums, songs, pictures (downloaded from the marketplace), bio (downloaded from the marketplace), related (downloaded from the marketplace, similar to Mix View).

Videos - Play in landscape, as expected. Tapping on the screen reveals transparent video controls.

Pictures - Pictures are well laid out with two pictures per column which makes it quick and easy to find the picture you want. Zooming (with multi-touch) and panning is very smooth as is rotating from portrait to landscape. And to set the picture as your background, just tap the picture, and then click "apply as background".

Now Playing - The Zune "now playing" screen is very similar to the slick looking Zune desktop player's "now playing" interface. The background image of the artist is automatically displayed as the background while in the "now playing" screen (pre-loaded from metadata/the Zune marketplace), and tapping on the album brings up the controls. There's a beautiful looking new screensaver which brings up the artist's image, pans and zooms and displays "now playing" information.

Web Browser - This can be found at the end of the second video from Crunchgear below which shows off the new Internet Explorer for Zune. It is based on the version included in Windows Mobile 6.5; multitouch features are incorporated and panning and zooming looks well implemented, finally.

Integrated Bing - Microsoft is all about Bing right now, and as expected, Bing has been integrated into the Zune's firmware - it fits quite nicely, allowing quick, integrated search from Bing.

The only gripe with the current firmware is that usually the home screen button will bring up the home screen very quickly, but when inside the browser, the Zune freezes up, and you must press the button multiple times before the home screen will appear.

Remember that the firmware shown in the videos below is subject to change as the Zune HD has not been released yet and has changed a lot over its lifecycle. That said, it seems too late in the game to change a lot seeing as it's rumored to launch on the 8th September.

Engadget Hands On:

Crunchgear Hands on Video:

Thanks to forum user andrewbares for the news tip!
Images are screens from Engadget hands on video

UPDATE:Pictures of an official display sent to Gizmodo by a best buy employee seem to confirm the street date will be the 15th of September.

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So basically, it has the radio and other HD stuff, things that the iPod Touch and iPhone do not have and should have had a long time ago (I'm specifically talking about the radio here). Well it's a good way to differentiate the product from an iPod Touch or iPhone, but other than that, I much much prefer my iPhone. I just wish there was a way to listen to the radio without streaming, come on...

The HD radio on the Zune... will it need a wireless connection or something? Or you can listen to HD radios in your car?

An HD radio means it can tune into those broadcasts... Why would you need internet? It's simply the radio, except it can access HD channels.

The Zune HD was designed for music addicted people who want a good device that has internet. It can give bio information, photos of artists, cache a nice now-playing screen so when your not in wifi it can show you a now-playing screen with hi-res photos of the artists and how many times the song has been played, what album, etc. The Zune HD competes with the iPod Touch, but it doesn't do it directly since it's for a different crowd, and that is music addicted people. It wasn't designed to be some handheld device that can do virtually anything with a wifi connection. It can do internet, it has games and might extend more later on, but it is not directly competing with the iPod Touch.

The iPod Touch is simply a handheld device that can do music, but it doesn't do it good, it can do internet, get apps that take advantage mostly of the internet unless it's an offline app, it can do email or IM, etc. The iPod Touch is a cool handheld device, but it is nothing more.

The Zune HD is for music addicted people who want something nice. The iPod Touch is for people who want computers that fit in their pockets and can do almost anything with them. The Zune HD was designed for something specific, the iPod Touch can do everything but it isn't a rich experience like the Zune HD. Certain things are better on Zune HD, such as audio playback, the UI of the collection of music compared to a simple library of music that looks like a spreadsheet. That's my comparison.

You put it much better than I ever could Electric Bolt. I'm sort of annoyed because I only purchased my 32GB iPod touch last year, but now I want one of these Zune HDs so much that I'm also going to buy one of these

Hopefully by the time my subscription runs out for my current phone there will be a Zunephone or something like that. This looks amazing, but carrying this AND my phone around is too much imo.

I wish their was Apps and Games for the ZuneHD.... Right now, the iPod Touch is still winning just because of that.

Even if the price is lower....

I played that video and my Zune 80 walked slowly away from here........ He knows he will get replaced soon.

Man thats nice. I wouldn't mind buying that to replace my iPod touch unelss Apple comes up with a much improved iPod touch gen 3.

OMG OMG OMG! Is that multi-touch in Crunchgear's video (watch the last section, browing the Internet)? I love it.

Yes.

Capacitive Widescreen OLED Multitouch display.

How many more specs can they fit in a screen! hah. But yes, Microsoft is including multitouch, as you could see from the pictures, and from the browser. We need more footage of the internet browser, though. That was a very small clip. From what CNET said, the zooming and panning was better than the iPod's! They said that they haven't been that impressed since the release of the iPod Touch! Now that's some good news for IE

Thank you Owen for fixing up my article with pretty screenshots :)

I couldn't figure out how to embedd the videos, since that was my first news article submission, but you were able to, so that's good!

If microsoft does not make a phone version of this somebody in redmond needs to be fired. This raped and pillaged my iPhone. (if there will be an app store to go along with of course.)

I'd love to know how the "HD Radio" feature is going to work in the UK. We don't have "HD Radio" but we DO have DAB.

Hmm. Well HD Radio works with the original Standard Definition radio broadcasts, so I'm guessing if the original Zunes worked with the UK radios, this one will too.

Kushan said,
I'd love to know how the "HD Radio" feature is going to work in the UK. We don't have "HD Radio" but we DO have DAB.


I don't know about HD Radio, but DAB is vastly overrated. It's digital, but that's about it. It sounds like you are listening to a 64kbps MP3, aka, not as good as just FM. HD Radio should sound a lot better, but well, we don't have that anywhere in Europe... (DAB+ soon I hope)

While excited to get my hands on this, what i REALLY can't wait for is the next round of one-upmanship out of Apple. Hopefully behind all that politicking over the app store there's some major advancements taking place - they won't stand for another device to be sexier than theirs, for long... (and no fair comparing the G2 Zune to the iPod Classic - though they share the same focus Apple had clearly moved on from that model)

wow wow wow wow.. thank god theres the iPhone.. Now i have a reason to buy this.. :D.. if only microsoft made its own pc's and phones to... what amazing products the would make..

Yea, but if they made their own WinMo phone, that would be an insult to HTC, which currently makes them. Just like if Microsoft made their own laptop. But I agree that it'd be tons better if it was all Microsoft, and the Zune is proof

Lol, no chance of that. WinMo 6.1 is dead and gone! I'm sure XDA-Developers made a new 6.5 ROM for your phone (forum.xda-developers.com)

well.. honestly, the chances that microsoft would have made the zune would have been next to nothing if not for the iLine of products..

Actually you cant help to notice how much the ipod touch had a mayor influence with the GUI of this zune, yet i see it like a more affordable and compatible version of the ipod....i just hope they get a good app store.

Meconio said,
Actually you cant help to notice how much the ipod touch had a mayor influence with the GUI of this zune, yet i see it like a more affordable and compatible version of the ipod....i just hope they get a good app store.


I don't see how the iPod influenced the Zune interface one bit. iPod Touch is more like a spreadsheet. The Zune interface is natural, everything flows together, more free, less structured. I see no similarities.

Please, point out some similarities!! Prove me wrong!

andrewbares said,
I don't see how the iPod influenced the Zune interface one bit. iPod Touch is more like a spreadsheet. The Zune interface is natural, everything flows together, more free, less structured. I see no similarities.

Please, point out some similarities!! Prove me wrong!


Are you blind? It's not because the colours or the fonts are different that it is not directly inspired by and developed to compete with the iPod Touch.

andrewbares said,
I don't see how the iPod influenced the Zune interface one bit. iPod Touch is more like a spreadsheet. The Zune interface is natural, everything flows together, more free, less structured. I see no similarities.

Please, point out some similarities!! Prove me wrong!

So according to you, making things less structured makes a winning interface, or did I read you wrong? I agree with you that the Zune interface is less structured, I couldn't agree with you more. But you sir, would not be hired at my company.

--

I agree that they did a great job at NOT copying the iPhone OS firmware in overall, but come on, some parts of it are about exactly the same.

(the exterior of the device has a different design, but has the same number of buttons placed at exactly the same places and same for the connectors, the layout of the keyboard is a blatant copy of the iPhone's, when you press a key on the keyboard it does the same as on an iPhone, ...... and I've only checked the first picture showed on those YouTube videos, so you don't want me to look at them for real...)

Oh god that's sexy. You can also see some of those features being implemented in Windows Mobile 6.5, particularly in the new builds like 23025.

Still waiting on battery life. I hope it ends up being the rumored 10 hours for video. If the leaked price is correct this is going to be a killer product. Love that they are using the Mighty Mos! I wonder if he's signed on like Common?

Why does the browser seem so slow? When scrolling around the screen, it seems to lag. I hope they fix this before the release, the HD seems to have loads of power, so they should. I sure hope they didn't put active-x in there!