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All posts tagged "zune hd"

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Three New Zune Apps Now Available for Download

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Zune Software" @ 02:09 PM

And just like that, blam, we have three new Zune HD apps: two games, and the stop watch app. Labyrinth, pictured above, should be quite fun - I've had similar games on my HTC Windows phones and they're a fun test of physical dexterity. All three apps are now available in the Zune Marketplace, though it did take me five tries to download the Labyrinth game (I kept getting a server error message). Two more screen shots after the break. Read more...

New Zune HD Apps Coming Today...

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Zune Software" @ 01:26 PM

Apparently later today the Zune team will be releasing three new apps for the Zune HD: Solitaire, Labyrinth (presumably a game, unless it helps you find your way out of mazes), and a stop watch application. Nice for Zune HD owners to get more functionality, but it's still no substitute for having a marketplace where developers can build and sell apps for the Zune HD.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Finally: Zune HD Plays Doom

Posted by David Tucker in "Zune News" @ 10:09 PM


There are two games that I think are ported to every platform, no matter how successful. One is Tetris. The other one probably doesn't need to be mentioned by name. If you play video games, you've played Doom. If you haven't played Doom then you need to turn in your gamer card. I'm pretty sure I've played Doom on every computing platform I've had other than my Commodore 64.

And now, thanks to Zuneboards member Netrix, you can play it on your Zune. The caveat is, of course, that you need OpenZDK. But if there is anything that shows what people really want out of their Zunes, this is it. OpenZDK has been around for about a week and we already have Doom. You'll have to provide your own WAD files if you want to play anything other than the shareware.

I really wish Microsoft would expand the Zune platform to a full mobile gaming platform. With the Tegra powering it, there is more than enough power to produce some amazing portable gaming. I'm not interested in the Windows Phone or the Kin (though for the Zune platform, I am happy that they're coming to the market) but the Zune as a portable entertainment device can be so much more!

When I get my Zune 64, I'm not sure if I'll go the OpenZDK route, but its definitely on my mind now!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Yours Truly Chats with Ian Dixon on The Media Center Show

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Windows Phone Talk" @ 01:30 PM


A week or two ago, I spent an hour chatting with Ian Dixon from The Media Center Show, and today he's published the podcast. I really enjoy being a guest on a podcast because expressing myself - hopefully intelligibly - is something I enjoy, but I don't particularly want to tackle the work involved in producing a regular podcast. If you have a podcast, and you'd like to have me on as a guest to discuss, well, pretty much anything, drop me a line.

In this episode, Ian and I talk about the Zune HD, Windows phone 7, and the way these two products intersect - as well as my prediction that 2010 is going to be a great year for Microsoft because all of their different assets (Xbox, Zune, mobile, Live) will finally come together the right way.

Have a listen and tell me what you think!

Friday, April 9, 2010

Zune HD 64 GB Model Now Available

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Zune Hardware" @ 10:03 AM


Want your 64 GB Zune HD? It's now available from Zune Originals.net, a few days ahead of schedule. It's a good thing I follow certain people on Twitter or I'd never know about these things when they happened. I'm feeling torn about ordering a 64 GB Zune - I'd like one, sure, but I'm still not happy with the way the colours look...the only one that's even vaguely appealing is the black one. They've expanded the artist series designs though, and there are finally some designs in there that are pretty slick. Decisions, decisions...

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Zune 4.5 Video Walkthrough

Posted by David Tucker in "Zune News" @ 07:30 AM


"A couple of days ago I mentioned that there was a Zune HD firmware update available, version 4.5, and then when I arrived home I performed the update. I had to connect a couple of times and prompt to refresh the software update check before my netback found an update available, but then everything went smoothly. In addition to the new features I mentioned earlier there was another surprise in the update, no more commercials in the games."

Matthew Miller over at ZDNet did a nice little video walk through of the new Zune HD 4.5 firmware. I have to say that the features he highlighted looked really nice. Having the Smart DJ functionality available right on the Zune looks like a great feature. I'm definitely a little jealous since I'm still holding onto my Zune 80.

If only they had a Zune HD in sizes larger than 32 GB. Oh wait, it's finally almost here! Finally a Zune HD looks to be in my near future. The only question I have now is will it be blue or red?

Monday, April 5, 2010

Zune 4.5 Update is Now Out!

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Zune Hardware" @ 10:07 AM

I guess the Zune team was all like "Screw that couple of weeks thing we told people, let's release this NOW!". And so they did. I just docked my Zune HD and grabbed the above screen shot. Updating it now...

Thursday, April 1, 2010

The Best Podcast Ever: Movie Trailers!

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Zune Articles & Resources" @ 10:00 AM


I love watching movie trailers, maybe because sometimes the trailers are better than the movie itself. The art of movie trailer editing is truly magical; even the worst movie can be made to look amazing by clever edits and a great background song. I've long wished there was a Windows Media Center-based solution for watching movie trailers, and I still want that, but I've found the next best thing: the New Movie Trailers podcast, courtesy of the Zune Marketplace. I'm not sure how long this has been available, and for many of you this is old news, but I have to say I was thrilled when I found it. Most of the trailers are in HD, so the quality is fantastic. It's also available via the trailer Web page, so you can stream movie trailers without needing to go into the Zune software (the trailers won't be in HD though). Nicely done Zune team, nicely done!

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

New Zune 4.5 Featured Demoed on Video

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Zune Hardware" @ 02:08 PM


"The Zune team gives you a sneak peek into some of the new Zune 4.5 updates coming soon. Matt Akers, host of the Zune Insider Podcast, talks with Nate Muller a PM from the Zune team about Smart DJ coming to the Zune HD device and also browsing Zune Marketplace on the TV through a Zune HD and a Zune HD dock. Nate gives us a demo of how Smart DJ will work on the Zune HD and also some of the new browsing features of Zune Marketplace through the TV from a Zune HD connected to a Zune HD docking station."

Wow, does the TV-out experience ever look fantastic! After the 4.5 update comes out I'll have to hook up my Zune HD to my TV set again...I've only done it once and found the experience a little disappointing.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

What's Still Missing from the Zune HD Experience?

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Zune Talk" @ 07:00 AM

Now that you've had a chance to read about the 4.5 update for the Zune HD, what do you think is still missing from the Zune experience today? What sorts of things do you want the see added to the Zune HD from a software perspective? Myself, I think the app story continues to be weak - Microsoft doesn't move fast enough to get even a reasonable number of apps (say, 100) into the marketplace to offer people options. I know there are developers who would gladly build apps for the Zune HD if Microsoft would give them the opportunity and a platform to make money from.

The US-centric focus of the Zune HD also continues to pain me; it's a great piece of hardware, and a great overall service, but the Zune team seems content to remain in the US and not go international with the product. To a certain extent that's going to change when Windows phone 7 comes out; my understanding is that in order for a Windows phone 7 device to be sold by a carrier in a market, the Zune Marketplace has to be available in that market, and hopefully that means the Zune Pass as well. I hope I'm right about that, because if I am, that means the Zune experience - even if it's not with Zune HD hardware - will be a world-wide thing by the end of this year.

Lastly, I really wish it were possible to play music directly from the Zune HD when it was connected to a PC running the Zune software. I don't have a Zune Pass (though at least now I know how to get one), so I can't do that fancy streaming music thing. When I travel I have my Zune HD with me, and I don't want to plug in my headphones in my hotel room - I was to connect the Zune to my laptop and listen to the music on it. It seems silly that I still can't do that.

How would you improve the software/services portion of the Zune HD?

Monday, March 29, 2010

64 GB Zune HD Teased on Zune.net

Posted by Adam Krebs in "Zune Hardware" @ 09:28 PM


"The link's dead now, but there's no mistaking the appearance of a Zune HD 64 on the official Zune website. Hey Microsoft, got something you want to tell us?"

Well, it's about time. Ever since the device launched in the fall, there have been rumors of a 64 GB model. It looks like much of the speculation about it coming out in time for the spring update is proving true, as the Zune.net site showed a Zune HD 64 today. It was quickly taken down, but it's likely to be back up again soon when it's offically announced.

I've been saying for months that I was going to hold off getting an HD until the 64 GB model came out. But now that Windows 7 is on the horizon, I'm considering just waiting for my next mobile phone upgrade. What do you all think?

Zune 4.5 Features Video Demo

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Zune Software" @ 05:05 PM


Michael Yaeger, Marketing Manager on the Zune team, sat down with Engadget and demoed the new features coming in the 4.5 update. Worth a watch!

Zune 4.5 Update Coming Out Soon

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Zune Software" @ 03:00 PM

[click here for a high-res version of the software screen-shot above.]

Zune 4.5 is coming soon, and it brings with it a few key updates that some people will enjoy. In terms of a timeline, the exact wording I've received from the Zune team is "the next few weeks". As the launch gets closer hopefully I'll notified of the exact date. So what does the 4.5 update bring to the table? Keep reading to find out. Read more...

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Windows Phone 7 Won't Kill Zune HD... Yet

Posted by Adam Krebs in "Zune Software" @ 07:57 PM


"[W]ith the impending release of the Windows Phone 7 Series, which will include full Zune HD functionality in its "Music + Video" hub, I've begun to wonder if Microsoft will phase out the Zune as a standalone music player. Here's one clue: Microsoft developer Michael Klucher on Tuesday put up a blog post about the upcoming XNA Game Studio 4.0. Thus far, XNA Game Studio has been primarily used to develop casual games for the Xbox 360 and, more recently, to create games for the Zune HD. ... Long story short, Klucher confirmed that XNA Game Studio 4.0 will support game development on Windows Phone 7 Series phones, but not on the Zune HD."

Well that's a kicker. Microsoft really isn't going to roll out the Zune HD app plan like they said they would? It's hard to see a silver lining in what is essentially Microsoft cutting off any hopes of a Zune HD app store, at least for this generation. Microsoft's Klucher confirmed that current XNA 3.1 code will continue to work with the device, but the features in XNA 4.0, like 3D APIs, Xbox Live integration, and the cool cross-platform Windows/Xbox/WinPhone7 game porting won't be coming. There's talk of a Zune HD2 in the works, which would follow Apple's lead in providing an experience similar to WinPhone7 without a cellular radio (i.e. iPhone to iPod Touch), but Microsoft has made no announcements yet. Personally, I prefer having a dedicated device for music and video, rather than feeling like they're tacked on as an application which needs to be loaded each time I search for a song, but it appears that device convergence is the direction the market is heading.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Video Walk-Through of the Zune HD Facebook App

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Zune Articles & Resources" @ 01:00 PM


Haven't had a chance to install the Facebook app on your Zune HD yet? Or don't have a Zune HD and want to see this app in action? My friend Matt Miller shot a video - an especially geeky one since he shot it in his car while the Zune HD was connected over WiFi to his Palm Pre - that walks you through the whole thing.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Updated Zune International User's Guide

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Zune Talk" @ 08:00 AM


A quick note to let you know that I've updated the International Zune User's Guide. I spent a couple of hours on Saturday going through every part of the article, seeing what was new, and what was the same, updating it for the Zune HD era we now live in. About a month ago I had my buddy Grahm Skee from ABI send me a couple of Zune Pass cards in the mail - the one-month pre-paid cards that sell for $14.99 - and guess what? They worked! So if you live outside the USA and want a Zune Pass, this is the only way I'm aware of for you to get it. Sadly, there's still no way to get any video content other than music videos - hell, I can't even watch the movie trailers. Really Zune team? Even the movie trailers have to be IP-blocked? Sheesh. :-(

Thursday, March 4, 2010

The Zune HD Facebook App is Finally Working for Me

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Zune Talk" @ 12:04 PM

As of last night, the Zune HD Facebook app was still busted for me - updates not loading, news feeds not loading, etc. This morning, surprisingly, it all started to work - without a new version of the app. That tells us that it wasn't a problem with the application itself - which I guessed at - but instead a problem with Facebook itself, or something between Facebook and the Zune HD application. The Zune team has made some vague statements about Zune and Facebook engineers addressing the problem, but they've provided no details about what actually went wrong. Regardless of whose fault it was, or why this happened in the first place, it's unfortunate to see the Zune HD getting more bad press related to apps - and this is the second botched app release in a row now, after the Twitter curse-word blow-up (which most people made into a bigger deal than it really was).

Ultimately this highlights again how broken the Zune team's approach to apps is: they can't continue to release apps one by one, relying on internal resources to build up their app selection. The only thing that makes any sense is to open up the Zune HD to third-party developers, give them the ability to make money in a marketplace, and let them have it it. I suspect we'll hear some good news on this front when MIX10 happens in a couple of weeks - the root problem here is that Zune HD app plan was out of sync with the Windows phone 7 series app plan, and the only thing that makes any sense is for them to come together into one big happy "develop for our two device type" family. Guess we'll have to wait and see!

Monday, March 1, 2010

Zune HD Facebook App is Out: Download Now!

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Zune Software" @ 08:39 PM

After a long wait, the Zune HD app is finally available - good thing I opened my Twitter client tonight! You should see it in Marketplace > Apps now, but if you don't, it will likely appear shortly. I downloaded it and decided to take it for a spin. After waiting 10 seconds for it to start - seriously Zune team, you've got to fix the awful app load time - I entered my Facebook log-on information using the shockingly impressive keyboard. I don't use my Zune HD for much Web browsing, so I haven't used the keyboard since it was first added, and they've definitely improved it since launch. After logging in, you'll be presented with your wall and most recent status update. You can pivot left or right and choose from photos, status updates, or news feed. Unfortunately, nothing loads for me. I waited several minutes, but none of those three feeds showed me any information. Not a great first experience.

I pivoted over to the profile tab, and this was more functional. It loaded my status update, and I could see my info and uploaded photos. More photos and impressions after the break. Read more...

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Zune HD Gets $30-$40 Price Drop at Amazon.com & NewEgg

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Zune Events" @ 03:30 PM


Looking at the price in our affiliate Amazon.com, the price on the Zune HD 32 GB has dropped to $249 USD, and the 16 GB Zune HD is $189.99 USD. Not bad!

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Vote for the Zune HD at Engadget's Gadget of the Year Award

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Zune Events" @ 10:03 PM

The Zune HD is one of the gadgets up for Engadget's "Gadget of the Year" award - jump over to the voting page and cast your vote. We can't let the iPhone 3GS win! ;-)

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