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Microsoft Zune MP3 Player Interface Revealed 356

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the monkey-see-monkey-try dept.
bain writes to tell us that iLounge has put up details on the Zune, Microsoft's MP3 player. According to the article, "Zune is a bit bigger than a standard 30GB iPod, and apparently made entirely of plastic." Interestingly, Microsoft forgoes a touch-sensitive scrollwheel in favor of wheel-shaped buttons. Included are WiFi capabilities, an FM tuner, and (in stark contrast to the iPod) a white-on-black color scheme. The 30GB model is expected to sell for $300. This story selected and edited by LinuxWorld editor for the day Saied Pinto.
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Microsoft Zune MP3 Player Interface Revealed

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  • by ackthpt (218170) * on Friday August 18, 2006 @12:02AM (#15932294) Homepage Journal

    The one thing missing for Microsoft, is panache. There's nothing hip or cool aboug having some music device from a giant corporation. Without that certain cachet of having something from a company which makes very stylish computers and operating systems and got U2 on board.

    It could say Ronco on it for all the Microsoft connection will be good for. It'll sell to some who want to experiment beyond the bounds of iPodness, but with that plastic case and wheel-like buttons it says WalMart-chic all over it.

    Of course, we can't discount the notion that Microsoft might further piss-off the EU and risk a severe look from US trustbusters, by bundling some shit into Windows Vista which only works with the Zune and means you have to have one to get those Zune-casts...

    Smells like another waste of money from a company that just doesn't understand that they are only profitable at a few things and should stop this kind of nonsense. FFS, who are they trying to be, the Sirius Cybernetics Corporation? [wikipedia.org]

    • There's no buzz about Zune. Microsoft will need a significant and unique advertising campaign to make this thing sell.

      http://www.realmeme.com/roller/page/realmeme?entry =apple_ipod_vs_microsoft_zune [realmeme.com]
    • Well, this has further cemented my opinion that while the Zune certainly would make me very, very afraid if I were the CEO of Creative, I'm not sure that it would have me shaking in my boots if I was in Steve Jobs' position.

      I think it stands a chance of being clearly superior to all the other iPod wannabes, and basically wipe up their market-share and send them into some other line of work, particularly because of the WiFi feature, but there's just nothing compelling about it that would displace the iPod.

      I have no doubt that Microsoft will capture close to 100% of the market: but the "market" for this device is "MP3 players other than iPods."
      • by ackthpt (218170) * on Friday August 18, 2006 @12:33AM (#15932415) Homepage Journal

        I have no doubt that Microsoft will capture close to 100% of the market: but the "market" for this device is "MP3 players other than iPods."

        Actually, they won't have the cellphone-mp3 player, PSP/other portable video game-mp3 player or cheep mp3 player market, either. They aren't simply a late entry into THE market, they're a late entry into a NICHE

      • by kfg (145172) * on Friday August 18, 2006 @02:09AM (#15932654)
        I have no doubt that Microsoft will capture close to 100% of the market: but the "market" for this device is "MP3 players other than iPods."

        In ten years that will be virtually the entire market. There will be a few hundred makers and they'll be so cheap they'll be selling them in drug stores at the counter for pocket change.

        Whoever controls the codec wins.

        KFG
        • Coke (Score:3, Insightful)

          by hotsauce (514237)
          Maybe. And you could say the same for Coca-Cola and Pepsi. But despite the fact that you can get supermarket cola for a quarter on Coke's dollar, you buy the brand-name every time.

          Nobody wants an mp3 player. They want an iPod. That's the genius.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by poot_rootbeer (188613)

          If that's the case in ten years, I expect Apple to STILL have the market sewn up.

          Today, one can buy a COBY brand progressive-scan DVD player at the drug store for thirty bucks, yet people are still eager and willing to go to a real electronics store and spend a couple hundred for a player that has a familiar brand name on it (and most likely much better quality as well).

          Branding and name recognition still count for a lot. I think there's a greater risk of Apple losing the "ipod" term to trademark dilution
      • by RareButSeriousSideEf (968810) on Friday August 18, 2006 @02:13AM (#15932662) Homepage Journal
        Hopefully, DRM will become a higher & higher bullet point item on big-name reviewers' bullet point lists. If that happens, let the most unencumbered player win, and you can bet that won't be Microsoft's.

        (Although, I wonder what the economic impact will be for the explosion of new sites devoted to Zune hacking....)

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by bahwi (43111)
        Yes, the wifi features for MP3 players, small little devices with a bloated, wasteful wireless protocol, making USB/Firewire completely unnecessary. Just what I want, a device to wireless sync to my computer before I leave the house so that I'll have my newest music and when I finally get where I want to be and turn it on, I realize(BATTERY DEPLETED. SHUTTING DOWN.)
      • From the article:

        At best, weve heard predictions that Zune will fight for the same fraction of tech geek market share (15%) that Apple hasnt yet taken.

        That sounds reasonable, but there's no way it's going to happen. People who have have avoided iPod have done so because they are getting the same functionality from cheaper devices and don't want DRM crippled music. According to the article, M$ has DRM crippled Zune's wifi sharing with some kind of silly "one day" only listening for other people with a

    • by arodland (127775) on Friday August 18, 2006 @12:30AM (#15932408)
      There's nothing hip or cool aboug having some music device from a giant corporation.

      Some day we'll teach the Apple folks this lesson.
      • by monoqlith (610041) on Friday August 18, 2006 @01:57AM (#15932629)
        I think he was more referring to the image of being a giant corporation.

        But you're right, Apple has perpretrated a pretty impressive deception. In fact, it is the ultimate marketing coup : a multi-billion dollar company masquerading as a marginalized, under-appreciated underdog. It works quite well - how else to get the too-cool-for-school, indie, emo, anti-conformist crowd to buy their mass-media-oriented, incredibly trendy device? I'm starting to think all those years of stagnant sales, bad management, and being tethered to a virtually ignored platform are paying off. That's what fostered this image. It's a text-book case study on how to form a brand.

        Moreover, this is a winning attitude that we see everywhere. After all, it's how people get elected, too. Make people think you are a little guy, fighting against a greater, unflagging, oppressive evil - even if you are the Man - and not only do they let their guard down, they're on your side almost immediately(witness: the bombastic "Star Wars" take-off the Republicans did at one of their conventions, framing the Democrats as the dark Imperial forces and themselves as the Rebel Alliance. Or the multi-millionaire cable executive Ned Lamont in the recent Democratic primary. )

        They won't be able to keep up this facade forever. For almost a year now, everywhere I turn I see an iPod. Even though I myself own one, it's starting to make me resentful. Do people have to be entertained every minute of the day? How much of our life are we willing to spend on distractions?

        Apple has to be weary of becoming disconnected - of pitching products *at* people rather than *to* people. Microsoft does the former, especially with Xbox and Zune. They are obviously grasping at markets they have no business being near. I think Apple is less evil, though - or maybe not, judging by the recent accounting scandal. Anyway, Apple doesn't want to go that route. Of course Jobs and his marketing department have mastered the art of the opposite - making people think that Apple furthers their individualism and self-expression, their person-hood. Apple's ads talk to you as people instead of as commodities. They've even gone so far as to anthropomorphize computers, as if to emphasize(or invent) the humanity sequestered in all this sterile circuitry. You're getting a friend, not just a tool. It's aesthetic genius - all geared towards delivering another channel for the mainstream recording industry to reach you with their over-produced crap. So I doubt Apple's music-player monopoly will go away unless some court or legislation tears down their partial vertical integration with ITMS.

        Have they sold out? Is this something we want to preserve even if it is deceptive? Maybe. I have no problem with big corporations as long as they don't start unduly influencing our public policies. I do however like it when gigantic corporations see the importance of talking to their customers as if they were human beings and not wallets - or at least pretending to. Google does this. Apple does this. It's great - but we mustn't let our guard down. If it's not too late.
        • by arodland (127775)
          I agree with you pretty much 100%, and I actually saw the irony in the whole thing before I posted, but hey, it's slashdot. I decided to go with the flippant option :)
    • by snuf23 (182335) on Friday August 18, 2006 @01:59AM (#15932634)
      "There's nothing hip or cool aboug having some music device from a giant corporation."

      I guess you don't remember when having a Sony walkman was a big thing. Sony being a giant corporation.
      It's all about how the brand is managed.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by 7Prime (871679)

        Sure, but before Sony came out with the Walkman, they had positioned themselves as a hip, agile, youthful company. Their name was only starting to be common-place in the US, and everyone was willing to give them a shot. When they presented themselves in this light, noone had any reason not to believe them to be just that. By the time the discman came out, and the facade had fallen off to reveal a large corporation, their brand recognition was so huge that it propelled them forward.

        This is VERY different.

    • From the link: nothing they produce ever works properly or performs to expectations. So I guess they already are.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      ...but with that plastic case and wheel-like buttons it says WalMart-chic all over it.
      Do you mean like this? [walmart.com]
  • Scroll Wheel (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Baricom (763970) on Friday August 18, 2006 @12:05AM (#15932308)
    I did read TFA, but I didn't understand how the scrolling UI works. The photos weren't much help. If the Zune does have a wheel, though, that will be a very interesting development - that's really the feature that makes or breaks the iPod, and I was under the impression that Apple patented it. If Apple didn't, why haven't any of their competitors picked up on it yet?
    • by flooey (695860)
      I did read TFA, but I didn't understand how the scrolling UI works. The photos weren't much help. If the Zune does have a wheel, though, that will be a very interesting development - that's really the feature that makes or breaks the iPod, and I was under the impression that Apple patented it. If Apple didn't, why haven't any of their competitors picked up on it yet?

      From what I picked up from the article, it doesn't in fact have a wheel. What it has is a wheel looking thing with buttons. So, basically,
      • by flooey (695860)
        Not only did I write "a piece of the circular piece of the cover", I wrote it after he said he figured it out. I lose at Slashdot.
    • by pavon (30274)
      I am surprised that more devices don't use a (mouse-like) scroll wheel for navigation like the Blackberry or Rio Karma. It is much nicer than the up-down buttons that are universal for cellphone menu navigation. It has an advantage over the apple touch-wheel in that you have tactile feedback for moving up/or down a single menu item - on my iPod I am constantly moving two spaces when I meant to move one. Of course it has the disadvantage of having to pick up your finger. As far as reliability goes, I know th
    • I'm glad that it won't have one of those stupid touch wheels. I haven't bought an iPod, partly because that stupid touch sensitive thing is a real pain in the ass to use. I don't know people like those things. Everyone I've known has to squint and try 10 times to select a song because it just doesn't work all that well.
  • Good to go (Score:5, Funny)

    by SuperKendall (25149) on Friday August 18, 2006 @12:08AM (#15932316)
    * Wireless
    * More space than a Nomad

    Raging success I'd say!
  • UI pics (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ElitistWhiner (79961) on Friday August 18, 2006 @12:08AM (#15932317) Journal
    Don't believe anything you hear and only 1/2 of what you see.

    Those photos make for a good story but likely have very little to do with Zune.
    -r
  • by 1053r (903458) on Friday August 18, 2006 @12:11AM (#15932329)
    First, they rip off OS X and create Vista, now they rip off the iPod and create "zune".

    Steve: Well, Bill, what successful thing is there left in the market that we *HAVENT* ripped off?
    Bill: Umm... There's the PSP, and the DS...
    Steve: The team is way ahead of you bill, they've already got a Xbox360M in the works!

    (Just my speculation, of course)
    • by p0tat03 (985078)

      Does it matter? Sony rips off Nintendo motion sensing, Microsoft rips off Apple iPod, yadi yada. Now if OSX cloned a XP or Vista feature, all of the Applebots on /. would keep pretty fricking mum about it. I'm an Apple fan (look in my post history if you want), but this is the way technology moves forward. People take ideas from each other, build on top of them, adding and removing aspects as the market demands. It can only be good for the consumer to have more choice.

      That said, Zune sounds like it's goin

      • by nmb3000 (741169)
        features do sound solid, but honestly, it's the style that counts.

        Ah, the mantra of an (self-admitted in this case) Apple fan. No offense, but it seems like since the iMac, that's been the general feel Apple gives off. "Well, it doesn't have the feature I want... Oh! Shiny! Must buy!".

        Personally, and maybe this is the engineer part of me talking, if it doesn't have the feature set I want or implements them poorly, I won't waste my money on it no matter how pretty it looks. Style might be "hip" and "cool" bu
    • it's pretty much any of creative's devices, except with microsoft's name on it.

      bOOOring.

      my g/f has a creative zen 30Gb, it's alot slicker than this - has pretty much exactly the same interface - including the whole 'scroll & get the letter of the alphabet', except it's not nearly as obnoxious as that screenshot.

      I used it for a long busride recently and found that I liked it alot - i find the whole 'scrolling' ipod interface annoying - going up and down menus by scrolling a wheel around makes no sense.

      th
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      Shows what you know. Microsoft started Vista development WAY before OS X...
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 18, 2006 @12:14AM (#15932344)
    Just announced, Zune will only be available for corporate customers in November. Consumers can get it early in 2007.
    • That way they can pretend they're "on track" to ship by the end of the year when they're really not, or else it would see a public release. The dual-release schedule of Vista is corporate denial on a grand scale.
  • I don't get it (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 18, 2006 @12:17AM (#15932359)
    Will someone PLEASE explain why a *software* company feels its necessary to enter markets in which it has a competitive disadvantage years after the competition? If I were a MS shareholder, I'd want the company to focus on improving its OS and other software products - ya know, the stuff that made all the money in the first place.

    I think Apple should develop a random product, say an iToaster Oven, just to see if MS will follow suit...
    • Re:I don't get it (Score:5, Insightful)

      by kfg (145172) * on Friday August 18, 2006 @12:43AM (#15932440)
      Will someone PLEASE explain why a *software* company feels its necessary to enter markets in which it has a competitive disadvantage years after the competition?

      To sell DRM technology. ACC is the target, not the silly iPod thingy, but they've done ok with mice, keyboards, joysticks, etc.

      KFG
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by astromog (866411)
      They tried that. They got annoyed that none of their industry partners could make hardware for their software that could successfully compete with Apple. So now they're trying a more direct approach.
    • by spagetti_code (773137) on Friday August 18, 2006 @01:20AM (#15932538)
      Look, MS has $1,000,000,000 in profits every month to put in the bank.
      They can afford to take a few punts to see what works.

      If I was an investor, I'd be pretty pleased with this (well,
      actually I'd be more pleased if they paid some dividends or
      got their stock price up, but hey... this aint bad).

      All power to them - they want to create a complete
      home entertainment experience, and this is an essential part
      of the pie.

      Signed
      A happy iPod owner.
    • by mblase (200735)
      Will someone PLEASE explain why a *software* company feels its necessary to enter markets in which it has a competitive disadvantage years after the competition?

      Because, as the XBox has shown, they can actually succeed at this if they're willing to spend both the time and the money on it.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by MauMan (252382)
        If you look at their SEC 10K statements for the last 5 years you'll see that they have lost $4.7 billion net (revenue - expenses) and are on track to lose $1.2 billion this fiscal year for the business unit that the XBox is in. They've only had one profitable quarter ever, the one Halo 2 came out in.

        Explain to me how in any sense this is a business success to the shareholders?
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Frogbert (589961)
      The reason they branch into other areas is because they need to continue to grow to make more and more money. Face it, Microsoft products saturate the market place, there is nowhere for them to grow. There are no stong competitors and I truely believe that the would could run on Windows XP for another 5 years without problems. There is no real incentive to get a new operating system out.

      However by branching out they can find new markets to get into, they branched out into an office suite market that was dom
    • by uarch (637449)
      Microsoft has traditionally been a PC software company. While not there yet, the PC industry is transitioning into a commodity market. You do not want to compete in a commodity market. (I never tracked down the quote but didn't someone from MS recently proclaim the end of the PC era was at hand?)

      This is a big reason why you're seeing several companies shift from providing products to providing services.
      MS is making a transition to services in a big way (look at all of the services they're selling for xbo
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by DavidD_CA (750156)
      Say what you want about hardware/software, but Microsoft has made great developments in hardware particularly with their mice and keyboards. I don't know if they *invented* the scroll wheel and forward/back buttons, or the natural style of a keyboard, but they certainly popularized it and brought the price point down so everyone can afford one.

      Their entry into the wireless market kinda sucked because they were so late, but had they of tried that a few years earlier we probably don't have Linksys or Netgear
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Tim C (15259)
      I'd want the company to focus on improving its OS and other software products

      And they are. Any experienced programmer or project manager will tell you that after a certain point, dedicating more people and resources to a project will not make it any better or bring it to completion any faster. In fact, due to increased communication and management overheads, it can make it worse and take longer.

      I don't know whether or not MS have reached that point, but I think we can probably safely assume that they're not
    • by Headcase88 (828620) on Friday August 18, 2006 @08:04AM (#15933607) Journal
      "I think Apple should develop a random product, say an iToaster Oven, just to see if MS will follow suit"

      An MS Toaster Oven is the last thing the world needs. God knows how convoluted the process would be to toast a simple piece of bread.

      1. Welcome to the Microsoft (TM) Toasting Wizard. What are you toasting today?
      • Bread
      • Bagel
      • English Muffin
      • Other

      2. What type of bread?
      • Microsoft (TM) White Bread
      • Microsoft (TM) Whole Wheat HealthyChoice (TM) bread
      • Other [text field]

      3. Microsoft (TM) Toasting Wizard is searching for "Dempster's white bread"...

      (little animated magnifying glass on globe icon)

      4. Toasting Wizard could not find your bread. Please make sure you've typed the type of bread correctly and try again.

      5. Wizard Completed!

      Toasting Wizard was quit by user before toasting was complete.
  • by pico303 (187769) on Friday August 18, 2006 @12:22AM (#15932378)
    iPod isn't just popular 'cause it's cool. It's popular because it's really easy to get music onto the thing. Buy it, install iTunes, plug in the iPod, and start ripping or downloading music. I just don't see Windows Media Player as competing in that space, especially not without blowing Microsoft's whole market strategy of giving users choices when it comes to Windows audio players.

    I have a feeling they'll get thousands of people buying these things. They'll get them home, try to install them, not be able to get music to upload, or the thing will crash all the time, or their PCs won't be able to see it when it's plugged in. Pack it up, take it back, and just go spend the $300 on something that actually works.

    Nice thing about this is Apple will probably lower the price of the 30GB iPod to $250 just to stick it to MS. Then I'll dump my mini and finally get a video iPod.
    • by arodland (127775) on Friday August 18, 2006 @12:33AM (#15932414)
      People have been ripping and downloading music for a looooooooong time now without any help from iTunes, thank you. iTunes/iPod is not easy. Easy is showing up as a mass-storage device when plugged in, and playing every format I've already got without any conversion.
      • by Firehed (942385) on Friday August 18, 2006 @01:18AM (#15932533) Homepage
        Not only does my iPod show up as a mass storage device when I plug it in, it automatically copies over all of my music too. And as 99% of my music is in MP3 (the other 1% being Apple lossless, which is admittedly a minor niggle, though less so since there's no harm in transcoding between lossless formats), I'd say the latter is covered too. Sorry, but your argument flatly sucks. I can put a CD in the drive, iTunes automatically rips to MP3 and tags it, then ejects the CD (or at least I can configure it as such in about three seconds), then I plug in my iPod and the new music is automatically transferred to it. Without a single click. I tried the mass storage device approach - it's nothing short of abysmal compared to automatic syncing. Not to mention ripping CDs was usually a many-step process, and half the time required me to type in all the track listings. With iTunes, I put or plug it in, wait a few minutes, and remove or disconnect it. No work on my part, no thinking, and it even organizes the local files in a standard and logical manner.

        I don't quite know how you define 'easy', but it's certainly not how I do, and I'd imagine not very close to Webster, either. I hated iTunes for the longest time, too, but at least I was never in denial about how my old process sucked. I'm not meaning to flame you here, but iTunes has been the best thing to happen to my music library since the MP3 format. Videos are another story, but I can deal with that (or, rather, just avoid it)
      • by EggyToast (858951) on Friday August 18, 2006 @01:41AM (#15932592) Homepage
        Which the Zune doesn't do. I hear you on the formats; to me, the only real competitor out there to the iPod are the products by iRiver. Which, not surprisingly, also cost more than equivalent iPods (due to the bevy of extra features).

        I'm an iPod guy cos I've got a mac, but if I just wanted to play some OGGs and FLACs, iRiver would be the way to go.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by detect (227148)
      Really easy to get music onto the thing? Are you kidding? Really easy in my book would be something like: plug in iPod, iPod gets recoginsed as a storage device, drag mp3s into iPod directory. It took me an hour of mucking around in iTunes before I figured out that you couldn't even do that! You need to buy third party software to properly manage music on your ipod, ie. Anapod. iTunes is the most convoluted piece of useless software I have ever used.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by pboulang (16954)
        a) Sure looks like anapod does a lot of the things that iTunes does. iTunes runs on more platforms, though.

        b) It took you an hour to find preferences and set it to manual?

        Seriously, do you really think that view represents the market? iTunes smart playlist are simple for the consumer to use and for managing music, simply plugging an iPod in doesn't get any easier. anapod has a niche market, but I'm sure it wouldn't be a large % even if it were free.

  • Lame picture (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Lorean (756656)
    What the hell? Is that the best picture they could get? Would it be too hard to remove the headphones? Would it stress the camera too much to take multiple angle shots?
    • by gad_zuki! (70830)
      This is a leak photo. Its acutally not black, its a black and white photo because all the testing units are a different color so MS can track people who break NDAs. The headphones are still attached and their magenetic, so theyre sticking together in the photo. The final product will most likely be different.
  • Black and white??? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by stox (131684) on Friday August 18, 2006 @12:37AM (#15932431) Homepage
    Don't think so. The pictures that have been floating around claim that the each unit has a difffent color combination. By using BW photographs, the origin can't be traced back to the current holder of the unit. Of couse, this may be making the fatal mistake that MS didn't code the units so gray-scale images wouldn't reveal the current holders.
  • by Hepneck (876605) on Friday August 18, 2006 @12:41AM (#15932436)
    for the Zune; It has a color screen that only displays a single color, their patented shade of 'Blue Screen of Death' blue.
  • by 56ker (566853) on Friday August 18, 2006 @12:46AM (#15932447) Homepage Journal
    a) be behind the competition
    b) bring out something with more features and is the hardware equivalent of bloatware
    c) As the wi-fi feature only works with other Zune models it seems pretty pointless to have such a feature until it becomes popular enough for this feature to be worth including
    d) be more expensive than the competition

  • But... (Score:4, Funny)

    by settrans (902777) on Friday August 18, 2006 @12:49AM (#15932454)
    ...does it run Windows?
  • What the hell? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by eebra82 (907996) on Friday August 18, 2006 @12:54AM (#15932465) Homepage
    Eh. Apparently you can use the Wi-fi feature to "loan" other Zune owners music for some short period (a day), giving them the opportunity to buy the tracks themselves from the Zune music store. While this is a cool idea, and could work well for ubiquitous iPods, it gets an "eh" here because you're unlikely to randomly bump into other people who have Zunes, and unless Microsoft actually gives away music, you're even more unlikely to find people who are willing to purchase tracks from its latest music store.

    I am not sure what this guy is on to here. While it is very wise commenting for any music player from a company like Creative or iRiver, this is just dumb. Microsoft already told people it will market this thing even at a loss. Although I doubt it's going to be as cool as what we're likely to see in the next iPod, I think it is very safe to say that a lot of people will buy this thing. A lot of people speculated this way about the Xbox, but that one turned out great if you ask me. Say all you want, but Microsoft is very successful with hardware. They sell a lot of keyboards, mice, Xboxes and probably also mp3 players.

    It is difficult to speculate what Apple has to offer on their next generation of iPods, besides the very large touch screen that has been rumored for so long. Honestly though, I have two iPods next to me that I've stopped using many months ago. I have the latest generation of iPods and the Nano. The big one I don't use because it is simply too big for my taste. I've come to the conclusion that keys, a mobile phone, a wallet and a music player is a lot of stuff at once, and you hardly want to mix the tools because they will just make scratches on the other one (aside from the wallet, which requires its own pocket). So what I did was to get a Nano, but I quickly realized that the small form factor was even offered in phones, so I got a phone with a 6 GB hard drive. Now I'm very happy with that choice. Fewer items to wear in my pockets, less to care about, less to forget, less to charge when I get home.


    The summary: I honestly think that cell phones with growing hard drives and flash drive capability are the future. I doubt it would go from mp3 players to phones simply because PDA:s have taken that path with not so much success. It's probably because of the form factor, but also the fact that people want this device to work primarily as a phone, secondarily (yet with ease) as a media player and then every thing else overshadowed. As for businessmen, there are plenty of phone/PDA/media player solutions already, but kids, teenagers and probably a whole lot of other people are probably more and more interested in phones with mp3 capability.

    Microsoft will sell Zunes all over the world and I am sure people will buy them. I just don't think Apple and Microsoft can compete with such players as soon as phones increase capacity to 10 GB and with a better interface. I know Nokia is investing in their own music store, so it is a safe to say that we're going to see a lot of new media phones very soon. Bulky players like these will obviously always be there, because some people still prefer large displays and video capability, but I think that larger phones with a large 300 DPI display and 10 GB drive would beat it if it was offered at $300, like Zune and about like iPod.
  • I'm loving this quote from the comments on ilounge

    "i hope MS has done some studies on the effects of wearing magnetics against ones brain for prolonging periods of time?? considering that our brain works on magnetic pulses i am sure that this one feature alone will be enuff to turn a sh*tload of people off"

    Because regular headphones don't have magnets, right? ...right?

  • by whitespiral (941984) on Friday August 18, 2006 @01:03AM (#15932496)
    No FLAC? No, thanks.
    • by hugzz (712021)

      This is my number 1 priority for an MP3 player actually. No one could ever work out why the hell I used carry around a god-aweful looking Rio Karma, while they used their trendy ipods.

      But then again, few of them could understand why I lugged around full sized open headphones instead of cute white earphones

      Any manufacturer who puts flac support in their MP3 player will automatically catch the attention of a niche market. I dont understand why few do. It just requires free software, doesn't it? Or is it so

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by TheRaven64 (641858)
        The reason FLAC is not in the iPod is that it is too costly to decode. This is why the Apple Lossless codec was developed; to allow lossless playback on existing hardware (and without reducing the battery life too much). There is no reason why you can't transcode your music into Apple Lossless since transcoding from one lossless format to another doesn't reduce the quality.

        I don't know what the status of the FLAC plugin for iTunes is, but it may just be a matter of selecting the FLAC files and hitting

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by radish (98371)
          The reason FLAC is not in the iPod is that it is too costly to decode. This is why the Apple Lossless codec was developed; to allow lossless playback on existing hardware (and without reducing the battery life too much).
          Sorry, that's crap. FLAC is amazingly easy to decode, as evidenced by the fact that Rockbox running on the exact same iPod WILL play FLAC. The reason iPod doesn't have FLAC is simple - it wasn't made by Apple and it doesn't have DRM.
  • Wtf? Zune? With a name like that, why would anybody even care to buy?
  • by davmoo (63521) on Friday August 18, 2006 @01:50AM (#15932617)
    If Microsoft really wants to be like Apple, now they need to file a suit against iLounge for leaking the pictures.
  • by Masa (74401) on Friday August 18, 2006 @01:56AM (#15932627) Journal
    This made me wondering, if there is somewhere people wearing T-shirts with Microsoft (or Windows) logos and chanting the Microsoft name. Is there such fanboyism, which will guarantee the sale of this kind of device? Because, otherwise it could be quite difficult to penetrate the market with this new device. We already have Apple and Creative and they both provide well-known music players. And I have this feeling (so, no real knowledge) that the music player industry is like mobile phone industry. You have to be hip to be on the belt of a teenager. Right?

    So, the question is, is there such a movement - like behind Linux or other subcultures we are familiar with here in Slashdot - for Microsoft products? And now I'm not talking about business software. I'm talking about the passionate young people with ideologies and ideals.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      "This made me wondering, if there is somewhere people wearing T-shirts with Microsoft (or Windows) logos and chanting the Microsoft name. Is there such fanboyism, which will guarantee the sale of this kind of device?"

      It's not quite the same, but there are people like that - I work with one of them. Nice guy, but he tends to give Microsoft credit for everything. Such as predicting IE7 will kill Firefox because of its tabs and nifty search box. But thing is, these folks fall into a pretty narrow group - Windo
  • and (in stark contrast to the iPod) a white-on-black color scheme.
  • ... you ugl-eh!

    Seriously though, those photos are terrible quality.
    Although I do like the idea of a relatively large screen, I feel it is a total knock-off of the iPod. Not that I like the iPod or anything, as I am a proud owner of the amazing iAUDIO X5 [cowonamerica.com] -- a little bulky, but plays everything[OGG, FLAC, etc.], and mounts as a USB Mass Storage Device on any OS, and not a DRM-infested steaming heap of s**t.
  • /. Tags (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Trogre (513942) on Friday August 18, 2006 @02:48AM (#15932749) Homepage
    Off-topic for this article, but relevant to this site:

    What's up with Slashdot tags these days? Articles seem to have few if any tags whereas a couple of months ago every article had 3 or 4.

    You can even see informative, relevant tags listed in the Examples when you expand tags for any given article so they are still being submitted.

    Supposedly the rate of tag 'submissions' has declined after the initial novelty wore off, but I would have thought SlashCode would compensate by displaying the top 4 tags once each one passed a troll-filter threshold of, say, 2 occurences.

  • Just a black iPod (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Rik Sweeney (471717) on Friday August 18, 2006 @03:05AM (#15932795) Homepage
    Seriously, this thing looks so much like an iPod it's ridiculous.

    If Microsoft can threaten people who put up Gravity Wars clones then I think Apple should threaten Microsoft for creating an iPod clone.
  • by TwilightSentry (956837) <twilightsentry AT gmail DOT com> on Friday August 18, 2006 @04:04AM (#15932940) Homepage
    Wow; an mp3-player that runs Dos!
  • by DrXym (126579) on Friday August 18, 2006 @04:33AM (#15933009)
    It's a WMA player that also happens to play MP3, although just like Apple, Microsoft will ensure that the defaults are set to WMA, as well as only selling WMA content. MP3 is considered "legacy" by these companies. Not because it's noticeably of lower quality, but because they both want to lock you into their proprietary format.

    I wish one of them (i.e. Microsoft) would just concede to the other and be done with it - let us buy our music from anywhere and play it on any device. Or at least reach a pact where each supports the other's unprotected format, at least allowing some interchange between devices for content people may have ripped for themselves.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by UnknowingFool (672806)

      let us buy our music from anywhere and play it on any device. Or at least reach a pact where each supports the other's unprotected format, at least allowing some interchange between devices for content people may have ripped for themselves.

      I don't think that neither MS nor Apple will ever have the final say in that. I think the RIAA want to ensure that you have to buy a copy for every device you own. And there is an unencumbered format that anyone can use. It's called MP3. Both of them play MP3s.

  • by skingers6894 (816110) on Friday August 18, 2006 @05:20AM (#15933144)
    Microsoft are about to make their big entrance to the digital music party.... ....again.

    Ta dah! ......... guys, I said "TA DAH!" .....over here with the scroll wheel thing that isn't.....
  • OK my head hurts (Score:4, Interesting)

    by gelfling (6534) on Friday August 18, 2006 @08:35AM (#15933751) Homepage Journal
    What EXACTLY is MS going to do to improve my mp3 "experience"? Seriously, it's a codec, a screen and some controls. This isn't Star Trek you know. And there are lots of non iPods out there that do yeoman's service. I have a Chinese USB thumbdrive mp3 player that doubles as an optional encrypted data drive and a voice recorder. If they wanted to stoke my "experience" they'd make the screen a little bigger and double the flash. But for the $30 it cost me, I don't care. In fact I could buy another one and carry both of them.

    $300? C'mon. I got one of those for one of my kids who HAD to have a video iPod. Guess what - after about a month of squinting he stopped watching videos. Now it's a just a big audio mp3 player. It's nice to have that storage but functionally it's LESS functional; e.g. heavier and more fragile, then my other kid's 4GB nano. So the 'function' tops out at about $129.

    Next we come to what I call the Furious Factor. Let's face facts; it's an MS device. It will require gobs-o-hardware which translates to limited battery life. It will probably try to force me to adopt it as a PDA or ignore the duplicative PDA functions.

    It will likely ladle on generous scoops of DRM making is useless for most people.

    It will likely not interface well with any other MS code let alone the 'other' MS hardware, the Xbox360.

    It will likely not interface at all with any high end phone.

    It will be over promised and undermanufactured creating instant unavailability.

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