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Sunday, September 7, 2008

Partial V3 Feature List Leaked. Thanks Fry's!

Posted by Adam Krebs in "Zune Announcements" @ 06:30 PM

http://gizmodo.com/5046488/blue-8gb...of-new-features

"A cool new "Buy From FM" feature lets you listen to FM radio stations and tag the songs purchase when you sync with a PC."

So much for a surprise. Fry's has let us in on a few of the cool features we can expect to be announced this Tuesday, including "Device to Cloud", "Channels", and one I've been hoping for for a while, "Buy from FM." It also looks like Games are coming out of beta, and maybe we'll see more details soon. Buy from FM sounds a bit like the deal between HD-Radio and iTunes, which should be a good competing feature for Zune.

It looks like the long-awaited "Marketplace Anywhere" will be coming too, allowing you to buy songs, sync your collection, and download media on-the-go at any wireless hotspot. And if all that wasn't enough, Microsoft's throwing in a blue Zune8 for good measure. Of course, none of this official, and this Tuesday might prove to offer something that will put all these other features to shame. But for now, bravo Zune team, bravo.


Tuesday, August 12, 2008

NYTimes: Zune Only Selling to iPod Haters

Posted by Adam Krebs in "Zune Talk" @ 03:00 PM

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/08/10/m...consumed-t.html

"When the Microsoft Zune digital music player first appeared, it was the latest in a long line of gizmos to which the phrase 'iPod killer' was hopefully attached. And let's be clear about something: This column makes absolutely no suggestion that there is any credible evidence that this is happening. The most recent figures from NPD Group, the retail-data collector, showed Apple's device holding 70 percent of the MP3-player market, compared with 3 percent for the Zune. (This put Microsoft in third place, behind SanDisk, at 10 percent.)... But the most salient feature of the Zune seems to be that it’s not an iPod."

The New York Times Magazine's Consumed column always offers an interesting outside perspective on trends among consumer products. This week, Rob Walker sets his sites on Zune buyers, wondering why anyone would consider a Zune if Apple's iPod is seemingly fine for most people. Walker concludes that the only people who buy a Zune do so simply because it isn't an iPod. As Ars Technica points out, this just isn't the case; "Zune would still be selling if the iPod didn't exist. Consumers aren't simply buying the Zune because they don't like the iPod: there are features (like wireless sync) that the iPod doesn't have and that some consumers want. If the Zune didn't have unique features and Microsoft didn't keep trying to add them, it wouldn't succeed against the other, non-iPod competition."

One only needs to look to websites like the excellent AnythingButiPod to see the market for non-iPod players is still quite large. In order to have any success in this market, the Zune team will need to show not only why it is different from the iPod, but also how it will tap into the market that does not yet own an MP3 player. Things like the recent Hollywood/Zune whisperings should help expand its reach some.


Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Tip: Discover 'New and Necessary' Music

Posted by Adam Krebs in "Zune Media" @ 02:30 PM

"You ever wanna hear new stuff but have no idea where to look other than scouring Zune Marketplace?" ACE from ZuneBoards asks in paraphrase, "Well Zune makes it easy with this ever changing playlist! Check it out!*"


If you're a subscriber to the Marketplace, you have no excuse not to check out the New and Necessary playlist. Featuring the latest in hip hop, indie rock, pop, electronica and reggae, plus everything in between, the New and Necessary list is bound to have something you'll like. Personally, my music collection has been stuck in the stone age for years, and this looks to be the kick start I need. Thanks ACE!

Tags: Music, New, Tip, Playlist

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Zune Update Coming Soon?

Posted by Adam Krebs in "Zune News" @ 10:40 AM

http://zunerama.com/forum/index.php?topic=9714.0

With the Spring Xbox update just around the corner, it only makes sense that Microsoft's other main E&D device should receive the update treatment as well—after all, we haven't really had a significant update since the launch of the gen 2 devices. With many rightly feeling that the upgrade to Zune v2 had taken away several desirable features, it appears we might be getting a few of those back. Zunerama member Ricardo Dawkins spotted a video on Zune.net that appears to hint at a few of the upcoming features, including a new genres link in Browse view of the Collection, a videos (!) link in the Marketplace (but strangely no downloads link), and on the artist page in the Marketplace, a new link for "listeners", likely something relating to further Social integration.


Notice the "videos" link in the marketplace (and removal of downloads link).

Details are of course sketchy (and the video has since been pulled), but we'll keep you updated as the update approaches.


Tuesday, January 15, 2008

A Valentines Treat

Posted by Adam Krebs in "Zune News" @ 03:00 PM

http://zuneinsider.com/archive/2008/01/15/red-zune-80-new-artwork-in-zune-originals.aspx?CommentPosted=true#commentmessage


"Just in time for Valentine's, Zune is releasing a Red Zune 80gb, available via Zune Originals starting today. We'll also have 20 new designs available through Zune Originals until Feb 14. Zune Marketplace will also have a collection of love-themed playlists, including “Talk to Me, Barry,” love jams from Barry White, featuring spoken introductions."


Wow these things are nice. It's good to see a new color come out for the 80s, and what a fine color it is--it'd make an excellent gift for whatever sweetheart you may have. Okay, it's a little expensive, but it sure beats the alternative....

And I'm not going to lie: I'm excited for "Talk To Me, Barry." I might just not be able to wait that long...


Thursday, December 13, 2007

Zune Social update

Posted by Adam Krebs in "Zune Announcements" @ 09:45 PM

http://zuneinsider.com/archive/2007/12/12/zune-marketplace-and-zune-social-back-online.aspx

You may have noticed that Zune Social was down for the last few days

Included (according to Cesar):
  • Improved overall stability and performance
  • Ability to view Favorites on your profile and the ability to remove a favorite
  • Most played artists will be displayed on your Zune Card, including three of the top songs for each of those artists (based on community usage)
  • Zune Gadgets Page: http://social.zune.net/profile/gadgets.aspx
  • Ability to view up to 24 recently played songs and 24 most played artists (increased from 5)
  • Easier to remove friends (directly from the friends activity module)
  • Timestamp for your recently played songs
  • Song and album information is now displayed in the send dialogs


I'm seeing a lot of the "stability and performance" upgrades, especially in Firefox, though for some reason, a few of the features are quirkier than last time (the "add to friends" link seems to only work when it feels like it, logging in is similar, e.g.), though this may just be due to Firefox's own weirdnesses.

Also, I got kind of excited by the idea of being able to remove a "favorite song," but I guess that isn't fully there yet either (or I'm missing something). I'm also beginning to see a bit of feature creep, as the lists don't seem to be scaling well to the design of the page. I hope they do something about that in the future, but for now I like the integration between the more static HTML and the cool Flash design.

EDIT: I knew I wasn't crazy! Jay-Z, my top-played artist, now shows 25 plays, when just yesterday (see above) it showed 26. The same thing with De La Soul a couple days ago (20 down to 19). Social seems to pick-and-choose which songs it wants to have show up on the "played" list. Sometimes, songs I know are supposed to show up (because their metadata is correct and have shown up before), simply don't. It's a little frustrating, and I hope it's just a small issue that'll be fixed soon. Then again, this is a beta...

P.S. Not sure where Train came from... I looked through my computer and I'm pretty sure I don't have any of their songs...


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