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All posts tagged "launch"

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Laptop Thoughts: We're Now Live!

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Thoughts Media Status Updates" @ 01:30 PM

I'm incredibly pleased to announce the latest addition to the Thoughts Media Network: Laptop Thoughts! The site went live this morning, so jump over to check out the welcome message. Please take part in our new community focused on laptops, netbooks, slates, and tablets.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Positive PC World Review

Posted by David Tucker in "Zune Talk" @ 10:00 PM

“It took them a while, but the folks at Microsoft have finally built a pretty good portable media player. With wireless syncing, a new touch-pad control to rival Apple's Click Wheel, and some interesting new features built into the Zune player software, this latest generation of Zunes should finally provide some real competition. We've reviewed both the $250 80GB Zune and the $200 8GB flash-based Zune that released today. Both offer very good sound quality and a nice set of features beyond standard audio and video playback, though the 80GB player is probably a better fit among its competition. But it's the Zune software--and the changes to the Zune Marketplace and online environment that come with it--that may eventually have the biggest impact on the Zune's success.”

PC World has a nice little write up about the new features in the Zune. It’s interesting to note that the review does focus entirely on the software and Zune Social aspect while ignoring the player in its entirety. Given the number of reviews out there it’s not much of an omission. I think most people expected the Zune UI to be better than the first, excellent, iteration. It’s nice that PC World gives the Zune team the credit they deserve by calling it serious competition.

The one thing I do disagree with, after my short time with the desktop software, is their assertion that it’s little more than an avenue to get media onto your device. I think as a desktop player for music and video it’s excellent. And to me the Zune Desktop’s primary purpose, after being a conduit for your music library to your Zune, is to be a vehicle to discover new music. And so far in that respect the desktop software has performed beautifully.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Zune Enters Jamaican Market; Question Marks Abound

Posted by Darius Wey in "Zune Talk" @ 10:00 AM


"Popular electronics store, Watts New, has added the 30-GB Zune player to its line over the last week, selling them for $29,5000 (plus GCT), compared to the 30-GB iPod for $33,500 (plus GCT)."

Out in left field, Jamaica Gleaner News has reported that the Zune has entered the Jamaican market with a hefty price tag of $295,000 JMD ($4,810 USD) each, or the more acceptable (typo-less) price tag of $29,500 JMD ($481 USD) each. You decide. ;-)

All that said, we're skeptical. There's been hardly a whisper out of Redmond about an official Jamaican launch, and we think this is more a case of a Jamaican store importing Zune devices from the USA and reselling them. Any new Jamaican-based Zune users here care to let us know if this is the real deal? How's that Jamaican Zune Marketplace, or is it non-existent?

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Zune to Hit Australia in the New Year?

Posted by Darius Wey in "Zune Talk" @ 02:15 AM

http://www.smarthousenews.com.au/iPods_And_Devices/Players?Article=/iPods And Devices/Players/F6F4A7W5

According to a report at Smarthouse News (which, by the way, we're taking with a huge grain of salt), Microsoft Australia's Managing Director has let it slip that Zune will be in the hands of Australian consumers in the New Year (it's still uncertain whether this means New Year's Day or any time in 2007; we're inclined to think the latter). Belkin's accessories will also be launched with the Zune, and of course, there are already a number of Australian-based manufacturers (e.g., VAF and 22Moo) of Zune accessories, so it's likely that they'll be invited to the social as well.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Shots of the Seattle Launch

Posted by Darius Wey in "Zune Events" @ 10:30 PM


"A Zune is born this day. This morning, Bill Gates bounced on stage, in Zune jacket and all, and introduced Zune to a crowd of enthusiastic Seattleites. Bill was preceded on stage by Secret Machines, who played a short set. We had breakfast with the Zune team, along with some lucky contest winners, and with Ben, Brandon, and Josh from Secret Machines."

It looked pretty cold in Seattle yesterday, but that wasn't going to stop the people gathering to see what Bill Gates and the Zune team had up their sleeves. Harvey from Zunerama snapped a few shots of the action. Head over there for a look.

Official Zune Launch Email

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Zune Events" @ 06:30 PM

"Today's the day. Zune™ officially launched and to celebrate the occasion, we held a series of launch parties with some of the most influential and progressive bands across the country. You can see the highlights at www.zune.net. Also, get new updates on zune-arts.net including new animations, "The Ballad of Lion & Gazelle", "Eyes" and new artwork from ROSTARR® and Yuko Shimizu. We also opened the doors to Zune Marketplace*. It's like your favorite local record store, minus the walls. You can explore more than 400 hand-crafted playlists, guestlists from cutting-edge artists and personalities, and over 2 million tracks. Check out articles from leading magazines and editorial partners including XLR8R and The FADER to keep you up to date on emerging artists and styles. And because you signed up early, one of our retail partners has a special launch offer for you. Purchase a Zune™ digital media player online at Circuit City™ and receive 10% off of any Zune accessory plus free shipping. To get this offer, click here and enter the promo code PHA6ETVAT5 at check out."

If you signed up for more information at Coming Zune.com previously, that's the email you probably would have gotten today. If you haven't already ordered a Zune through our Amazon.com store (thanks for the support!) then this deal from Circuit City looks great!

Monday, November 6, 2006

ZuneGuy: Thoughts As We Finish Up

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Thoughts Media Off Topic" @ 11:25 PM


"Some of you who have been following my blog know that I've been involved with many different MP3 player launches over the years. Last week we had the "sign off" for version one (we literally sign off on our various parts of the project). While we were doing the sign off, I got to thinking about where we are in relation to other products I've shipped and I thought I'd share some of those thoughts. One of the difficult things for us is that we see the flaws as they arise and we forget that the experience for most users is much different. In every project there are lots of issues that come up. Some are major and others are minor. But, we get paid to solve those difficult problems. In fact we get paid to make sure the customer never knows about them."

An interesting post from Bill Wittress (ZuneGuy) as the Zune team enters the home stretch with the official retail product launch a mere eight days away. Bill said he tried to look at the product with fresh eyes, which is a very difficult thing to do when you've been immersed in something for eleven months. His biggest complaint? That he can't delete tracks of the device (hey, that's a complaint I have too, and I don't even have one!). All in all, Wittress is confident that the Zune team got it right - and from what I can see, they have. Now over the next six months, I want to see them get it even MORE right. ;-)

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Folks, It's Z Day!

Posted by Darius Wey in "Zune Talk" @ 09:42 AM

That's right. Today's Z Day - when all things Zune come out of the Microsoft offices and into the hands of the public. We've got official press information, pictures of the device (none of that blurry FCC stuff), and words straight from the mouths of folks on the Zune team.

First, what is the Zune project all about? Today, we start to realise that Microsoft's vision of "community" could not be any clearer. It struck gold with Xbox Live by connecting gamers worldwide. It plans to do the same with the Zune by connecting music fans worldwide, from the average music lover to the audiophile. All in all, these visions form this global picture of "connected entertainment". Quoting the words of Cesar over at the Zune Insider blog, "Take MySpace, YouTube, Xbox Live, and every cool record store on the planet. Then add 1000 of your closest friends, and make it all accessible though a little device in your pocket. That’s what we’re doing with Zune."

Moving on, what's in the Zune? Yes, it's confirmed. The Zune, available in three colours (white, black, and brown), is a 30GB media player with a bright 3" LCD - that's enough storage for up to 7,500 songs, 25,000 pictures, or 100 hours of video. You can create playlists and you can create slideshows, but more importantly, package all of your different media into different recommendations and experiences that you can share with your friends. Directly related, the Zune features wireless connectivity, so you can share your media (yes, for the doubters among us - that's media in its entirety from start to finish) and play it back with limitations (up to three times in three days). Like what you see/hear? Flag it. Find it later. Buy it later. Sounds simple! And keeping with tradition, we all know of Xbox Live's download central as the Xbox Live Marketplace. The Zune's service will be called the Zune Marketplace, and it supports individual track or album downloads, and all-you-can-eat Zune Pass subscriptions (take that, Apple). The fun doesn't stop there. An integrated FM tuner is included, and it supports RDS, so not only can you pull audio from stations, you can view track information too.

Enough rambling, though. Jason has posted the press information in the previous post. There's oodles at Zune Insider to absorb. Head over to Coming Zune and check out the updated clip (be prepared for a raging bird). And of course, we'll be keeping you updated throughout the day, so keep your eyes and ears (it's all about the audio, right?) locked on Zune Thoughts.

Friday, September 8, 2006

So Where's the Zune News?

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Zune Talk" @ 03:46 PM

At this point, we're playing a bit of a waiting game: there's not much new Zune news until the device comes out of course, and we don't know 100% for sure when that will be. Speculation is November, but we'll see. I've heard a rumour about something happening on September 14th, but I have no idea what might be happening. Microsoft doesn't seem to be close to announcing the actual hardware and specs (though the FCC documents told us a lot about that), so if I had to guess I'd say it might be some sort of content partnership announcement. Music? Video? Anyone want to hazard a guess?

Tags: launch, sept14

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Welcome to Zune Thoughts - the Beta!

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Zune Thoughts Site Updates" @ 01:46 PM

I'd like to welcome everyone to Zune Thoughts, the most unfinished Thoughts Media site we've ever launched. As the post title indicates, this is a beta site: there's a line in Braveheart about "playing outlawed tunes on outlawed pipes". In the same way, Zune Thoughts is an unfinished site about an unreleased product, running atop an unfinished content management system layered over incomplete forums. Sounds a bit crazy doesn't it? Let me explain a bit further about why I'm doing this.

Why Zune Thoughts? From everything I've read about the Zune, it seems like it will be a great step for Microsoft to take. I don't own an iPod. While there are many things I respect about the iPod and what it's good at, I very strongly dislike the Apple way of "Do it our way or no way at all". I think there's a great opportunity for the iPod to have some serious competition, and in the end all consumers will benefit as every company in this market strives to make better products. I think Microsoft has the long-term vision and fortitude needed to succeed in this market. And in many ways, I think it's a step they need to take in order to stay relevant in the area of portable entertainment.

I've been involved in the Pocket PC/Smartphone world since 1997, and I've watched as Microsoft developed software, gave it to their OEM partners that do the hardware, and the end result was often less than impressive. That's not to say that all OEMs are incompetent or Microsoft is perfect in their execution (there are certainly software problems with Windows Mobile), but the idea is that when Microsoft leaves the "destiny" of a product up to an OEM, it doesn't always live up to its full potential. I'm an Xbox 360 owner (one of the crazies that waited in line on opening day), and have been extremely impressed with what Microsoft did with that product. The Zune team is at least partially made up of Xbox 360 team members, and functions under the same corporate umbrella within Microsoft as the Xbox 360 does. This tells me a lot about Microsoft's goals and visions for the Zune. I also happen to think that Microsoft has a good track record with hardware development (more on that later).

Why now? I've been asked why I'd launch a site about a product that I do not own, have never seen in person, and have very little information about (that's right, I don't have any special insider information). And contrary to what some have said, no, Microsoft is not paying me anything to launch this site. This is the first new Thoughts Media site launched since 2003, and many were expecting a different topic for the next site. There are two main reasons why Zune Thoughts makes sense right now: first, timing. In order for a online community to be successful, it's vital that the community is created at the right time. As of today, there are already around a dozen Zune sites already out there, and several with forums and growing new communities. Although cooperation with other communities is paramount to me, I want Zune Thoughts to be as successful (or more so) than Pocket PC Thoughts. I want Zune Thoughts to be the #1 Zune site on the Web; the destination for everything Zune. That means starting the community building aspects early, focusing on learning everything I can about the product, and being in place for the official release of the product.

The second reason why Zune Thoughts makes sense is the breadth of topic: Zune is a platform that incorporates hardware, software, content, and accessories. That's a good amount of topics to cover, but it's also not so broad that we'll lose focus or not be able to gain traction as a site. The difference in success I've seen with Pocket PC Thoughts and Smartphone Thoughts (both focused on a platform) compared to Digital Media Thoughts (focused on a concept or trend) has taught me many valuable lessons about the sweet spot of content and community focus.

I have some great team members from other sites helping out here, so over the next few days they'll introduce themselves and we can all get to know each other as we prepare for the launch of Zune. More to come later from me on many of the above topics, but for now let's start talking about Zune!

Tags: launch, zune, welcome

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