"It's been a long, arduous trip prying our way into Microsoft's inner workings this past year, but we finally got a chance to sit down with all three Zunes and get some serious play time with the damned things. It may be a little early to give final impressions, but let's just say what we saw is a very decent start. The player was responsive and fast; all functions worked flawlessly and without delay. The software and storefront has a lot of new, unique features that make browsing and finding music a more engrossing, enjoyable experience. Obviously Apple is the game to beat -- and a tough game at that -- but something tells us this little player's got some fight in it. We're not going to talk too much about the device itself, namely because we'd rather show you; later today expect a walkthrough of every nook and cranny of the device, and a demo of its wireless functionality. But in the mean time, click on for loads more high res shots of the Zune family, software, Marketplace, and, um, executive briefcase."
It's a good thing Ryan Block lives so far away from me, because I'd totally mug him to get some hands-on time with the Zune at this point. At any rate, the engadget article has some nice pics and details about the Zune desktop software, though I'm still waiting for someone (anyone) to give me a screen by screen breakdown of the Zune desktop software. The devil is in the details for a product like this, and the sync/desktop experience is really where all of other media player makers have fallen down flat. The Zune has to be light years better than what Creative + Windows Media Player 10 offered the world or it's in for trouble.