Wednesday, May 2, 2007
Posted by Damion Chaplin in "Zune Talk" @ 02:00 PM
"More types of Microsoft Corp. Zune music players are in the works, but some analysts are unsure whether new form factors or functions will significantly boost Zune's popularity. Microsoft sees three main categories in the sector, and all of them are important as the company develops new Zunes, said Chris Stephenson, general manager of global marketing for Zune. The three categories include higher-end video players, mid-range music-centric devices such as the iPod Nano and low-end USB devices such as the iPod Shuffle, he said. "We think of [the Zune] as a broad entertainment offer that is driven by music at the moment," he said. "We will start to play more aggressively in a broader number of categories." The current Zune is just the "tip of the iceberg," he said. In the next month or so, Microsoft plans to reveal more about its vision for the future of Zune, he said."
Do we need more Zune options? Yes. Should they be clones of the Shuffle, Nano and Video iPods? Not necessarily. There's no doubt that a $99 Zune 'shuffle' would sell well, but I really think the people who buy Shuffles are looking to buy the cheapest unit that carries the name iPod. I'll admit the Nano is just about the perfect audio-centric MP3 player and there really should be a Zune equivalent. The current Zune could be considered the contemporary of the iPod Video, though that's arguable. So yeah, I think additional Zune models would be beneficial, though I have my doubts about a Zune phone. Please just don't orphan my current Zune.