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All posts tagged "zune hd"

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

The Passing of Zune Made Official

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Zune News" @ 12:20 AM


"We recently announced that, going forward, Windows Phone will be the focus of our mobile music and video strategy, and that we will no longer be producing Zune players. So what does this mean for our current Zune users? Absolutely nothing. Your device will continue to work with Zune services just as it does today. And we will continue to honor the warranties of all devices for both current owners and those who buy our very last devices."

The above statement is from the Zune support page, and the above image from Engadget tells the story. Microsoft will not be making any more Zune hardware. The Zune HD was, and is, a truly great audio player. When I travel I take mine with me because I enjoy having a dedicated audio device. I especially enjoy not caring if I run down the battery on it during a long flight - and I can't say that for my phone. I can't go out and buy a Windows Phone 7 device with 64 GB of storage either, so there's not a true replacement product on the market today. It's not like we didn't see this coming a long way out, but it's still unfortunate to see.

While there are adequate portable media players from the likes of Creative, Archos, etc. none of them have the simplicity of being able to sync with the Zune desktop software. Going back to the days of dragging and dropping folders and manually managing a music collection is a big step backwards in my opinion...the Zune software does a great job at making it easy.

Zune hardware, you could have been a contender. You'll be missed.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Zune HD 16 GB Model Price Drops to $169, 32 GB to $199

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Zune News" @ 11:30 AM


I confess, I still adore my Zune HD to this day. As a music player, it's simply unparalleled. As a photo/video player, it also works great...or at least as great as something with a screen that small can be. It's a fantastic device, and it looks like it's coming to the end of it's life with yet another price drop. $169 for a 16 GB model is impressive, but $199 for a 32 GB model is even better. I wish the price had dropped on the 64 GB model - I'd still like to snag one of those at some point, but $299 is the sweet spot for me to make the jump. Think I'll get the chance before the whole line is discontinued?

UPDATE: The Zune HD 64 GB model can be found for $219 from Buy.com. Thanks to The Yaz for the tip!

Zune HD Apps Now Available to Canadians...Or Not?

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Zune News" @ 09:12 AM


The news came out a few days ago that the Zune HD apps were going to be available to Canadians - this has been something that has irked me for a while, because the process has worked like this for me in order to get apps: signing out of my Canadian Live ID, exiting the Zune software, changing the Windows 7 region to USA, starting up the Zune software, signing in with my USA Live ID, grabbing the apps, then reversing the above procedure before I can get back to it tracking my music.

It put a smile on my face when I heard this news, but that smile turned upside down when I tried to access it and got the above error. This is the same error I've been seeing since getting the Zune HD back in 2009. I exited the app...same problem. I logged out and logged back in with my Live ID...same problem.

I tried to get confirmation from someone on the Zune team over Twitter yesterday that this feature was actually in place and working, but haven't heard back yet...so I'm not sure if this is a unique bug on my end, or this is a case of an announced feature that hasn't been turned on yet. Any other Canadian Zune HD owners gotten this to work yet?

Friday, April 1, 2011

Email Client for Zune HD Now Available, Plus New Game

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Zune Software" @ 09:08 PM

I can't be bothered right now to jump through the inane hoops that the Zune team demands for me to grab these new apps - signing out of my Canadian Live ID, exiting the Zune software, changing the Windows 7 region to USA, starting up the Zune software, signing in with my USA Live ID, grabbing the apps, then reversing the above procedure - but according to Zunited, there's an email application, a tower-defence style game called BBQ Battle, and an updated Facebook app. Go grab 'em if they sound interesting and report back.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Zune Originals for Canada...Not Quite Ready Yet

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Zune Talk" @ 02:50 PM

When we reported last week that Zune Originals were now available for Canadians to order from, well, it seems that wasn't exactly true. Zune Thoughts reader Bob tried to order one, but the US site doesn't allow for the input of Canadian provinces. When he tried to toggle the location to Canada, the site fails to load. He contacted Zune tech support about the issue, and this was their response:

"Dear Bob,

Thank you for your inquiry. The Zune HD devices have recently become available to Canadian customers. Unfortunately, the Canadian Zune Store website is currently under construction to accommodate the new changes. We apologize for the inconvenience this causes you. We recommend periodically checking the website, it should be up and running by next week.

Welcome to the Social!

Rebecca C
The Zune Originals Team"

So it seem like the announcement from the Zune team was a bit premature - no Zune Originals for us Canucks just yet!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

New Zune HD Apps Showing Up Today

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Zune Software" @ 02:25 PM


Some new apps coming your way today - Zune Reader, Album Shuffle, and Penalty. Stay tuned!

UPDATE: The apps are ready for download where I am, so I've snagged them, but I can't share screenshots because the screenshots are blank in the Marketplace. It's weird.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Zune Originals Now Available in Canada

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Zune News" @ 10:21 AM


The Zune HD came out in September 2009. A year and a half later, it's now going to be available officially in Canada via the Zune Originals Web site. Nice to see, but is it too late for anyone to care? It's 2011 and while I still believe the Zune HD is a great media player, technology marches onward and the first-generation Tegra hardware and low-resolution screen don't exactly stack up well against an iPod Touch 4G with a Retina display. I've been wish for some news on the Zune hardware front, but this wasn't what I was expecting. And it kind of seems like Microsoft has quit updating the Zune originals series - look at the Xbox games collection...there's nothing current in there.

Yeah, I'm a little grumpy about the state of Zune. :-(

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Microsoft Releases Windows Phone 7 Connector on the Mac App Store

Posted by Darius Wey in "Apple Software (OS X)" @ 08:48 PM


"Windows Phone 7 Connector is a simple, easy-to-use application designed to sync your favorite media files from your Mac, with your Windows Phone 7 or Zune HD. You can also sync photos and videos you captured on your phone with your Mac, and when needed, update your Windows Phone 7 software."

Microsoft has released v1.0 of Windows Phone 7 Connector to the masses, while exploring new territory by releasing it on the Mac App Store. It's a free app that lets you connect your Windows Phone 7 device or Zune HD to your Mac, sync your music, videos, and podcasts from iTunes and your photos to and from iPhoto, and even download and install the latest Windows Phone 7 updates as they're made available. Alas, there's no option to browse the Marketplace, but at least this is better than nothing, right? Scoot off to the App Store and grab it today.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

New Zune HD Games & Apps Released

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Zune Software" @ 11:56 AM

Last week, a series of new games and app updates were released to the Zune Marketplace for your Zune HD:

  • Snowball
  • Finger Physics
  • Tiki Totems
  • A Beanstalk Tale
  • Alarm Clock
  • Facebook (Updated)
  • Twitter (Updated)

For anyone keeping track, that's 27 games and 12 communication/entertainment/other - for a grand total of 39 apps. My general feeling is, why bother? I don't think 39 free apps are going to sway people who are looking for a device with apps - they're going to go for an iPod Touch. It's nice that they're all free, but in the end, I'd prefer to see effort spend on the device and desktop software that would improve upon the things that we bought a Zune HD for in the first place: media consumption.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Zune Originals Now Offering Custom Etching, Including Xbox Avatars

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Zune Hardware" @ 09:51 PM


"Microsoft today opened up its Zune Originals customization to take custom images. Zune HD buyers can either upload a photo of their own or use their Xbox Live avatars in one of several different poses. The customizations are etched in grayscale and, for photos, allow four different etch styles."

Want to REALLY customize your Zune? Well, now you can with Zune Originals offering whatever image you want on the back of your Zune - including your avatar from Xbox Live! Though I just discovered that it won't show you "licensed content" - so my awesome Deadliest Warrior Samurai outfit can't get printed on the back. Sort of lame. :-(

Friday, November 12, 2010

Liberate Frees Your Zune HD From Attractive UI, Unlocks Windows CE Explorer

Posted by Adam Krebs in "Zune Software" @ 07:36 PM


I somehow missed this in our last roundup of OpenZDK apps, but it's so cool it's worthy of its own post. Zune HD hacker extraoidinaire Netrix released an update to his Liberate program which frees the device from its pretty but restrictive user interface. The Liberate program gives you access to the Windows CE operating system under the covers, with full access to explorer (ie your data) and executable apps like Opera Mini. The latest version adds support for an on-screen keyboard and right-clicking (two taps), but the really cool stuff is the familiar interface for editing files and adding software. Anyone with a Zune HD tried this out yet?

Friday, October 22, 2010

What's the Future of Zune Hardware?

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Zune Articles & Resources" @ 04:14 PM


"With Windows Phone 7 finally out, what does the future hold for Microsoft's line of Zune media players? I suspect that very few people outside of Redmond are asking themselves that question right now-and that anybody who does care assumes that the Zune HD will turn out to be the final stand-alone Zune. (Like all the other Zunes before it, the HD suffered from a malady I like to think of as "Gee, this is quite a good product, but it's in a class of devices that people lost interest in a year ago" syndrome.) Me, I'm hoping for a new Zune soon-maybe several of them. Hold on, hear me out, I'm serious."

I've been muttering about this one for a while: if Microsoft doesn't come out with a media player that's basically a chassis 1 Windows Phone 7 without the phone, they're missing a vital opportunity. If they want to build an ecosystem, they need to both offers consumers connected and non-connected models, and they need to offer developers the most populated platform they can - everything possible capable of running their software. The Zune HD is a great device, but people want apps and enhanced functionality beyond just the basics, and the Zune HD can't deliver that right now (no, the 30 apps so far on the Zune HD really don't count - the damn thing still can't view YouTube videos).

One catch here is that the baseline Windows Phone 7 spec has a lot more ooomph than the Zune HD - a 1 Ghz processor and bigger, higher resolution screen won't come cheap - so if Microsoft can only offer this type of product at the $499 price point, well, that's going to fail...

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

More Zune HD Apps Availabile

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Zune Software" @ 11:43 AM

Hey Zune Thoughts readers, I'm phoning this one in since I'm frantically working on something else right now: if you fire up the Zune Marketplace, you'll find a few new apps: Drum Machine (yes, it's a software drum machine), a word game called Tiles, and a game called Hairball. There's also supposed to be an updated version of the Windows Live Messenger app, though I don't see it yet in the Marketplace.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Zune Spring Celebrating Their 4th Anniversary

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Zune Events" @ 08:00 PM


"Another year gone! We've made it to another ZuneSpring birthday celebration and this time it's going to be a dozy. If you want to stay clued into all the giveaways and festivities coming your way all week long, visit our ZuneSpring4th Hub on the ZuneSpring Forum, or follow along with the #ZuneSpring4th twitter tag."

Want to win some Zune accessories, and perhaps even a Zune HD? Then stop by the forum hub where all the prizes are being given away. There aren't a ton of entries yet, so your odds of winning are good!

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Windows Live Messenger, and Three New Games, Make it to the Zune HD

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Zune Software" @ 04:06 PM

The slow but steady trickle of Zune HD apps continues; if you look in the Zune Marketplace, you'll find a brand new Windows Live Messenger application ready for download. You'll also find three new games: WordMonger, Dr. Optics Light Lab, and Castles and Canons. If you're a Zune HD customer, this added value is pretty cool. If you're a Zune fan like me though, the app strategy on the Zune HD continues to be a frustrating puzzle. Screen shots of all three games after the break. Read more...

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Yes Virginia, the Zune HD is Still at Most Wal-Marts

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Zune News" @ 02:26 PM


"ONE of our readers, who used to work at the Bill Gates-funded [1, 2] Walmart, says that "Walmart is no longer carrying the Zune". Well, the Zune has been virtually dead for a long time, but there was never any formal announcement about discontinuation. Moreover, some shops continues to stock and put this unpopular item on a shelf. When will an announcement finally be made to say that Zune is officially dead, just like "KIN"? It's probably inevitable. Walmart also de-emphasised Xbox 360 earlier this year."

The Techrights Web site sort of freaks me out - I was half expecting to find an application form for a combination militia/alien abductee support group - but when I saw that they were claiming that the Zune HD was no longer being sold at the largest retail chain in the USA, I was a little dubious. I contacted a Microsoft Zune spokesperson and asked them point-blank whether this was true.

Q: "Is Wal-Mart no longer selling the Zune HD at retail stores in the USA?"

A: "Sales of Zune HD devices continue at Wal-Mart. Our understanding is that individual stores have authority over when specific items are restocked once they're sold out, but the device is still available at Wal-Mart and other retailers like Best Buy, as well as online at Amazon.com and www.ZuneOriginals.net."

Seems like someone should do a bit more research before making unsubstantiated claims, no? Oh wait, this is the Internet that we're talking about...

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Two More Zune HD Apps Trickle Out

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Zune Software" @ 11:22 AM

Hey there, Zune HD owners! You now have access to two more apps in the Zune Marketplace: Animalgrams, a word game, and MSN Money, a personal finance app. Basically /msn Money is a stock ticker app with a few extras added in. About two months ago we saw another two apps, so at the rate this is going, the Zune HD app catalog should hit 100 apps by 2017 or so. Hooray. More images after the break. Read more...

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Zune HD and Windows Phone Output Profile Now Included in Windows Live Movie Maker

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Zune Talk" @ 12:22 AM

In 2008, I was involved in an early beta of the new Windows Live Movie Maker, and I interacted with a friendly Microsoft Product Manager for that program. When the Zune HD came out, I started a little email campaign to get Windows Live Movie Maker to support the Zune HD with an optimized output profile - I really wanted to see Microsoft support their own product.

If you look to the left, I've taken a screenshot of the Mobile Device output profiles from the new Windows Live Movie Maker beta (a.k.a. Wave 4), and wouldn't you know it, there are output profiles for the Zune HD device, and the Zune HD 720p profile, for video output via the dock. Sweet!

I'm not claiming credit for this of course - it wouldn't have been added unless many people asked for the same thing - but hopefully my attempts to connect the right person on the Zune team to the right person on the Windows Live Movie Maker team helped move things along. You'll also notice they've added two Windows Phone profiles - another great sign that the Windows Live Movie Maker team is paying attention to what the rest of Microsoft is doing, and making attempts to be in sync.

This has been a historic flaw of Microsoft's; previous versions of Windows Movie Maker were still using 320 x 240 Pocket PC profiles from five years ago. It's like no one on that team was told newer and better devices had come out, and they weren't called Pocket PCs any more.

Unfortunately, the Windows Live Photo Gallery team didn't get the memo - unless I'm mistaken, there's still no way to batch resize (or resize even one photo) to a Zune HD-sized screen or a Windows Phone screen. Since the Zune software will resize the photos upon sync for the Zune HD, this isn't much of a problem - but neither ActiveSync nor Windows Mobile Device Center will resize images today for Windows Phones, so this is a clear oversight. Guess I'll keep using Picasa for that! Read more...

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Zune HD vs. Kin Two: A Comparison

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Windows Phone Software" @ 04:08 PM

Adam Lien from pocketnow has put together an interesting video that will interest anyone in the Zune or Windows Phone camp; how exactly does the Kin - which is a precursor to the Zune experience on Windows Phone 7. All in all, there aren't that many big differences between the two - but it's interesting to see the way the Zune experience evolves when you have an always-connected device.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Two New Zune HD Games, Two Apps Updated

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Zune Software" @ 01:59 PM

The slow train of Zune apps just keeps on truckin': two new apps have just been added to the Zune Marketplace: Hearts and Spades. Also, both the Twitter and Facebook apps have been updated with landscape keyboard support. This is all well and good, but where's the YouTube app? That's the #1-with-a-bullet app request I get asked about over and over again. YouTube matters Zune team; old games that my grandma used to play? Not so much. Read more...

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