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Zune's Wireless Almost Totally Worthless 442

Posted by Zonk
from the missing-the-point dept.
mikesd81 writes to mention an article at Engadget exploring what the Zune's wireless is good for. It turns out that, at least for now, that's not much. From the article: "You can search for and find other Zunes nearby. You can send songs / albums for the 3 x 3 trial. Songs past the three days / listens are deleted at next sync, but catalogued on your PC for record-keeping should you want to purchase them later. No word on whether Microsoft is going to keep track of which files are traded. You can send and receive image files for 'unlimited viewing.' (Oh, so copyrighted images aren't worth DRMing?) You can't: Connect to the internet, Download songs directly from the Zune store via WiFi, Sync to your computer via WiFi."
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Zune's Wireless Almost Totally Worthless

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  • Makes me wonder (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Lord_Dweomer (648696) on Tuesday October 03, 2006 @09:00AM (#16290337) Homepage
    Whenever I hear about crap DRM like this, it really makes me wonder what kind of technological world we'd live in if we didn't have these restrictions. We'd probably have fully wireless players that could play any format we wanted and could stream songs to anybody around us using a P2P streaming format to distribute the bandwidth/battery power. There would probably be a lot more diverse music going around as well. One can only wonder...

    • by Kamineko (851857) on Tuesday October 03, 2006 @09:03AM (#16290373)
      Total wireless free sharing hyper-media super-internet. YouTube on legs.

      Coincidentally, that's going to be the Zune 2. Or at least, the Zune 2 is going to approach it. The Zune 5 might have something similar to it, and they'll claim to have invented it too.
      • Re:Makes me wonder (Score:5, Interesting)

        by jacquesm (154384) <j.ww@com> on Tuesday October 03, 2006 @10:10AM (#16291185) Homepage
        hehe, it probably will. On another note, think about how nice it would have been if DRM would have been existant throughout history. Try to imagine archeaology with a past that had used DRM, encrypted scrolls, dutch masters that you can only see with the right kind of glasses, statues that desintegrate after being viewed more than three times on the same day by the same people.


        It's telling that our culture seems to put emphasis on how shortlived it really is, instead of thinking of the future and how we can best preserve our legacy for those that will come after us.


        I'd hate to be in the shoes of a 23rd century researcher trying to play back a 2005 issue SONY drm'd compact disc or the last copy of a tune surviving on some ancient file server in encrypted apple iTunes format.


        At least make it mandatory that media have to be deposited in DRM free format with some agency to make sure that the future will have access to todays cashcows (cash mice ? Mickey comes to mind), just in case congress at some remote point in the future decides that Walts estate has earned enough dough.

        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          "t's telling that our culture seems to put emphasis on how shortlived it really is, instead of thinking of the future and how we can best preserve our legacy for those that will come after us."

          In the case of Britney and Paris, I might actually think this is a good thing. I don't want them to be a legacy. :-D
          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by Ucklak (755284)
            Damn. Was Cleopatra hated by her peers?
            We'll really never know.

            Believe it or not, there are some real admirers of Paris and that is a disgusting indicator of our society.
            I happen to be in a position where I am privy to teenage essays and you'd be disgusted at the percentage of teenage girls that idolize her.
        • Re:Makes me wonder (Score:4, Interesting)

          by soft_guy (534437) on Tuesday October 03, 2006 @11:23AM (#16292221)
          On another note, think about how nice it would have been if DRM would have been existant throughout history. Try to imagine archeaology with a past that had used DRM, encrypted scrolls, dutch masters that you can only see with the right kind of glasses, statues that desintegrate after being viewed more than three times on the same day by the same people.

          It's telling that our culture seems to put emphasis on how shortlived it really is, instead of thinking of the future and how we can best preserve our legacy for those that will come after us.


          There are people who are trying to preserve things for the future. I heard a story on NPR perhaps a couple of years ago about a group of people who were creating brand new 78 rpm records of current music. The reason was for preservaton because a 78 RPM records is apparently extrememly easy to play even without much technology. Personally, I fail to see how the music of eminem is going to help future generations living after the collapse of technology (perhaps as a warning of what to avoid?)

          Our society may ultimately be remembered only for the work of those individuals.

          Who is to say that our view of past societies isn't mostly based on things that those societies chose to preserve for the long term. They may very well have had other artworks that were shorter lasting that we won't know about.

          I was reading about the history of photography. One thing I learned was that there were photographic techniques created in the 1700s that could take a photograph, but they had not yet developed technology to "fix" the photograph permanently. So, those images only lasted minutes in most cases.
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by kfg (145172) *
            The reason was for preservaton because a 78 RPM records is apparently extrememly easy to play even without much technology.

            You don't even need a source of electricity. Put the needle (a real needle, just a sharpened sliver of steel) in the groove and spin the plater. Sound comes out. The process is purely mechanical, not even electromechanical. Electromechanical cartridges are to send an electrical signal to an amplifier, not simply to reproduce the sound.

            In early days these things were sold from the back o
          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by iluvcapra (782887)

            The reason was for preservaton because a 78 RPM records is apparently extrememly easy to play even without much technology

            This was the theory behind the Voyager Golden Record [wikipedia.org], which one side of is nothing but audio. It is of course easy to play a record without much technology, because they were invented in the late 19th century and people back then, by our standards, "didn't have much technology," so maybe it's all a wash.

            If we'd put the music of the Voyager Golden Record on a USB key in iTunes Fairplay

          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by sh00z (206503)
            I heard a story on NPR perhaps a couple of years ago about a group of people who were creating brand new 78 rpm records of current music. The reason was for preservaton because a 78 RPM records is apparently extrememly easy to play even without much technology.
            Um. (Sadly?) that was an April Fool's Day joke [npr.org].
        • by QRDeNameland (873957) on Tuesday October 03, 2006 @02:35PM (#16295175)
          I'd hate to be in the shoes of a 23rd century researcher trying to play back a 2005 issue SONY drm'd compact disc or the last copy of a tune surviving on some ancient file server in encrypted apple iTunes format.

          I'm picturing the end of A.I., when the future robots find Haley Joel Osment at the bottom of the frozen sea, and when they also find the 2005 Sony CD, one sticks the CD in its chest and is instantly rooted, clutching its head moaning "Damn XP legacy code!!"

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward
      And the people who created all this content got paid how exactly?

      I'd rather live in a world with has DRM and copyrights that expire after 5 years. P2P and copy all the old shit, leave the new stuff for artists to make a living.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward
        And the people who created all this content got paid how exactly?

        They get the same shitty pay-cheque from the record company as always. The record company executives, on the other hand, are starving in the gutters.

        Hey, a man can dream...
      • Re:Makes me wonder (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Lord_Dweomer (648696) on Tuesday October 03, 2006 @09:15AM (#16290521) Homepage
        And the people who created all this content got paid how exactly?

        Nice try AC, but they get paid for this content because with the increased sharing, people are exposed to much more new music than they normally would (think P2P effect on speed), and therefore find more bands they like and want to support. Thus, they end up going to see more live shows, and purchasing more merchandise.

        For the bands that are smart enough to go with a label that supports sharing, or are Indie, they will thrive because thats where the majority of their income came from in the past and this would amplify that. Remember, traditionally bands really make their money touring, not from music sales which the labels gouge them on.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by James_Aguilar (890772)
          The study of economics proposes that people respond to incentives. P2P deincentivizes the purchase of music, because there is a substitute good for a lower price. This is the opposite of what you are suggesting. Do you have any data to refute this cursory analysis of your argument?

          I ask because I see this argument all the time, but I have never once seen data to back it up. The status quo assumption should obviously be that, if people can download something for free, they will not buy it. A serious ske
          • Re:Makes me wonder (Score:4, Insightful)

            by Mateo_LeFou (859634) on Tuesday October 03, 2006 @11:29AM (#16292283) Homepage
            The point of the whole free-culture position is that it does *not make economic sense to purchase what is downloadable for free. We're on the same side of that fence. Those who wish to make money need to find something non-digital to sell. The experience of a live show is one of many hundreds of possible examples.

            "The study of economics proposes that people respond to incentives"
            ---
            "According to the econodwarf's vision, each human being is an individual possessing "incentives," which can be retrospectively unearthed by imagining the state of the bank account at various times. So in this instance the econodwarf feels compelled to object that without the rules I am lampooning, there would be no incentive to create the things the rules treat as property: without the ability to exclude others from music there would be no music, because no one could be sure of getting paid for creating it."

            "The dwarf's basic problem is that "incentives" is merely a metaphor, and as a metaphor to describe human creative activity it's pretty crummy"

            http://emoglen.law.columbia.edu/my_pubs/anarchism. html [columbia.edu]
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by pilgrim23 (716938)
          Record companies gouge? I will have you know the one and only album I had rights to that I am on sold a good 100k copies and to this day I still have a photocopy of my one and only $20 royalty check. Gouge? I WISH it was only a gouge! Gouge, gore, rip consume, spit out and/or defecate. Then they hit you up for manufacturing costs and you end up owing THEM!
      • by BiggyP (466507)
        Even if copyright expired after 5 years would they be required to re-release that music to you in a non DRM infected form?
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by acvh (120205)
        "And the people who created all this content got paid how exactly?"

        We have had artists and musicians for a few thousand years now. They produced some pretty good stuff without worrying about DRM.

        "leave the new stuff for artists to make a living."

        That statement confuses me. Is there some secret stash of new music that artists go to when they need a song? Or are you saying that only newly written songs should make money? How about old songs with new recordings? Old songs in a new package?

        There are some strong
    • Re:Makes me wonder (Score:5, Interesting)

      by jacquesm (154384) <j.ww@com> on Tuesday October 03, 2006 @09:16AM (#16290529) Homepage
      I *hate* drm, and the distrust of the end user that comes with it.

      I'm working on a daz.com [daz.com] site that will hopefully solve that problem once and for all.

      It is my nsho that record companies are dinosaurs that just don't quite realize they're already extinct and it will be my great pleasure to help nail shut the coffins.

      Check out Janis Ian vs the RIAA to see how bad it really is.

    • by Anonymous Coward
      DRM is harmful to the economy. It results in businesses who create devices like the Zune, or software like iTunes, to spend millions of dollars adding this DRM.

      Now, one might say that it is good for the economy, as the hardware and software developers who implement the DRM get paid for doing so. In a sense, such a suggestion may be right. But considered further, we see that such a suggestion is completely wrong. While those developers are producing, what they are producing is of little, if not negative, int
    • by Yvanhoe (564877)
      That would be like :
      "Welcome to WikiTune, please chose :
      - Listen today's featured songs
      - Browse by categories
      - Browse by artists
      - Go to your playlists
      - Listen to what your friends recommanded you"

      An exhaustive music catalog, containing every version of every tune from classical music to the latest trash-ska-punk band from Canton, made by fans, organized by fans.
      All of this while sitting in the subway with your earphones plugged to your cell phone.
      Is that a communist utopia ?
      Is that the future ten years from
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by proxy318 (944196)
      We already have those players. They're called "Laptops".
    • It would be a world that you could do EVERYTHING with your wrist watch, sunglasses or cellular "communication center". EVERYTHING including computing, music, video, communication, internet, reports, movies, games, networking and more.

      Thanks to RIAA, MPAA, and other similar shit, we arent living in such a world.
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by GunFodder (208805)
      Yes, but the downside is that our streets would be full of unemployed record company executives. Think of the poor execs!
    • Sounds to me like a world without money! We'd have totally free trade, and services would be more diverse...
      And the economy would be less efficient... And investing in something would be a lot more complicated....
  • So? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Pharmboy (216950) on Tuesday October 03, 2006 @09:01AM (#16290341) Journal
    This from the company that brought us Bob and Clippy. MS is so consumed with keep aliances with companies by having heavily restricted DRM methods, it should come to no one as a shocker that the Zune is basically a "me, too" to the iPod, except it doesn't even do what the iPod can do.

    Anything that has DRM and fails is a good thing.
  • Custom Firmware (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 03, 2006 @09:01AM (#16290343)
    Can't wait for homebrew\open source firmware for the Zune. DRM free sharing over WiFi :D
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 03, 2006 @09:01AM (#16290345)
    Wouldn't an obvious business model be to sell music over the internet and allow people to buy/download music direct on their media player instead of needing a PC. This makes the device sellable to those without PCs. You can then do deals with wireless hotspot providers to offer your users wireless access like nintendo has done.
  • The iPod sales are likely to slow down in the next couple years anyway, merely as a matter of change in fads. But I'm not gonna dump my Apple stock because of the threat from MS Zune.

    Late to the game and adding nothing. If they hadn't lucked out with MS-DOS, you might never have heard of them.
  • The wireless feature was a great idea, they just screwed it up. Maybe they can fix it before Apple steps in with an iPod Shareable(TM)
    • by Megane (129182)

      The wireless feature was a great idea, they just screwed it up. Maybe they can fix it before Apple steps in with an iPod Shareable(TM)

      This is Microsoft. Just like Windows and the Xbox, they'll get it right on the third try.

      • Just like Windows and the Xbox, they'll get it right on the third try.

        Do you have any more information about the successful XBox you see coming after the 360? ;-)

        Besides, even if Windows 3.11 was pretty good, 2.0 still had Reversi.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Freaky Spook (811861)
      Yeah, it does sound a tad cripple-ware. I wonder how different the wifi features are compared to what the guys in the concept & R&D labs first built.

      Why the hell would I want a WIFI enable device if I can't even connect it to an AP or AD-HOC it to my notebook, it makes it really useless.

      My Phone has bluetooth on it, and I sync it with my notebook wirlessly to change my playlists or archive my messages, its fantastic and its really got me to use the MP3 player in it. I don't think ill need to by the
    • It's too bad, because this could have been the truly killer feature of the Zune.

      Imagine being able to turn on your Zune in a wifi hotspot and being able to buy a song from their music store? Or even streaming music from the Zune to another wifi device?

      The music sharing thing is kind of cool, but it only works if someone else has a Zune, and it's not at all a useful feature unless a lot of people have a Zune. So for early adopters, the Zune might as well just not have wifi at all.

      Oh yeah, and it DRM's

  • obligatory (Score:2, Funny)

    by MonoSynth (323007)
    WiFi. More space than a Nomad. Lame.
  • Good... No great (Score:5, Interesting)

    by manno (848709) on Tuesday October 03, 2006 @09:03AM (#16290375)
    This sounds like a great way to inform the general public on why DRM blows. Look at all the cool functionality in there, imagine the awesome potential! Now... here's how we castrated it. How long till they crack it and get OSS running on it? Will there be wifi drivers for the hardware?
  • still waiting (Score:4, Interesting)

    by gEvil (beta) (945888) on Tuesday October 03, 2006 @09:04AM (#16290379)
    I'm still waiting for any mention of whether the Zune only lets you trade music purchased from the Zune Marketplace, or if it will allow you to trade any music files you have. I've seen endless speculation on what happens when it DRMs certain songs (see the recent Creative Commons fracas), but I have yet to see hard confirmation one way or the other on whether it will even allow you to share songs not purchased from MS.
    • by bogie (31020)
      "I'm still waiting for any mention of whether the Zune only lets you trade music purchased from..."

      You know I don't actually know that much about the Zune beyond the very basics. One thing I do know is MS isn't doing itself any favors by keeping everyone in the dark on its wireless capabilities. Right now based on their silence things are not looking good at all. Let's hope everything else about the Zune measures up so that Apple actually gets some competition in the market.
  • by gergoge (1000510)
    ...before someone cracks the software. Look at all the trouble Apple went through to make getting songs off the iPod and onto a 'new' system impossible. Now there is software that allows you to pull files off it directly and in the original file structure. Give it time, and you'll find new software and firmwares that will allow us to not only bypass DRM but sync via wireless, etc. I love what hackers can do :) Who knows, maybe we'll be able to use it as a network fileserver like the XBox ;)
    • by timster (32400) on Tuesday October 03, 2006 @10:05AM (#16291119)
      Look at all the trouble Apple went through to make getting songs off the iPod and onto a 'new' system impossible.

      Not true; Apple didn't do anything at all to prevent this, they just didn't write software to do it. The files are stored on the iPod in their original form, but with a database index as the name. The database isn't at all difficult to read.
  • by kahei (466208) on Tuesday October 03, 2006 @09:08AM (#16290433) Homepage

    For the major stakeholders, i.e. IP holders, it's quite useful. It's just useless to _people_.

    I, for one, am happy and proud to be part of this next Microsoft step into the 'products that people actively try and avoid' space. Further initiatives are to include a portable game platform that makes the sound of a crying baby, and a new mouse that randomly fires blasts of deadly, mutagenic radiation, all the time, for no reason. Also Vista.

    It's all a difference in philosophy. Old Microsoft was about _giving_ people what they wanted, in the hope that they would then _give_ money in return. They would send people out who would discover needs (like the need for a Euro sign character, which the planet's committees and standards groups never grasped the point of) and then fulfil those needs. This kinda sorta worked a bit, but it was a bit pedestrian. Since 2000, New Microsoft has been focusing on actively _taking_ money out of the marketplace and _avoiding_ giving value in return. The Zune is part of this -- see, it has complex and interesting features, but they're there to prevent you from extracting value from it. It's like when they suddenly started charging for the Office / .NET interop package; they created useful functionality, in such a way that nobody could actually derive benefit from it.

    Basically, what MS understands that nobody else on the planet really grasps is that V + P = K, where:

    V = value delivered to the rest of the world
    P = profit for MS
    K = some constant

    See how decreasing V is just like increasing P? It's brilliant once you get it. So this Zune serves to drive V down just a little bit further. Next step? PROFIT!!!

    When I say 'profit' I must admit I mean 'ever decreasing relevancy'. But that's because I'm not a technical visionary like Steve Ballmer.

    • by dangitman (862676)
      For the major stakeholders, i.e. IP holders, it's quite useful. It's just useless to _people_.

      But corporations are people too! Won't somebody think of the corporations?

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by z0idberg (888892)
      For exhibit A see the DRM magic planned in Windows Media Player 11 http://yro.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=06/09/21/1 3 29208 [slashdot.org]

      It's exactly the same thing great for everyone, and by everyone I mean Microsoft and all the major IP holders.

      Not so great (actually pretty shit) for anyone that actually wants to buy and use the product.

      Funnily enough this seems to be a pretty common theme for products that revolve around DRM.
  • by Yag (537766) on Tuesday October 03, 2006 @09:12AM (#16290487)
    Microsoft knows that this player is going to be hacked. As in windows piracy will be its success, people will buy it because it will be able to share music illegally with an illegal firmware. Once spread microsoft will close it a little more and open a "itune" online store rival.
    Story repeats itself...
  • Unrealistic? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by CorporalKlinger (871715) on Tuesday October 03, 2006 @09:14AM (#16290505)
    I'm not sure I would *want* to be able to purchase songs via the wifi connection on my Zune. After all; I lose it or one of my friends borrows it for a while, they could really rack up some charges on my account. Sure, you could require a password be entered on the Zune - but with what? The touch wheel? That seems pretty silly to me. Further, there is a complaint about not being able to sync to your PC via wifi. Well, since the majority of wifi networks aren't secure - or require long, difficult to enter wifi keys (again, how do you input a 128-bit, 40-character ASCII WEP key on your Zune - or worse, a WPA key at 64 characters!) Sure, you could set that up on your computer and it would program the wifi settings on the Zune during a sync, but that brings forth the question - who would want to sync via wifi? I don't know - if I'm going to be syncing my unit up, I probably just setup Zune Media Center with a few new files I downloaded... I'm at my PC anyway, what's the big deal about dropping the unit in the dock while I'm there and waiting for it to sync? Most wifi routers in use today are still 11Mbps, too - any idea how long it would take to sync a Zune with even 50 new songs via wifi? I hope you brought your AC adapter - it will be a while. It seems like people are just poking holes in this for the point of poking holes. I mean - internet browsing? Maybe if there's a demand, but already in the USA, most people have internet enabled cell phones with pretty decent screens - and very few take advantage of true internet browsing on their phones. Whatever happens when this is released will be interesting, but I just wish people would stop acting like "they could do it better" - if so, why haven't they - or Sandisk, or Samsung, or Creative...?
    • Leave your portable music player in your car at night. Have it sync wirelessly with a playlist on your computer. Fresh songs for your morning commute.
  • Trouble with Wifi? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by acomj (20611) on Tuesday October 03, 2006 @09:14AM (#16290511) Homepage
    The trouble with wifi, although it seems like a great idea, is that its slow, takes a lot of battery power, and you can't charge the device using it. They could do a lot more with it, but it would kill the battery of a portable device fairly quickly.

    I really can't figure this device out. Knowing how the Zune is an MS only device (Linux and Mac users need not apply), its seems likely to me the reason for zune is an "get locked into MS Windows/ Windows Media Player".
    MS is not making a profit on the device, and content sale revenues are tiny.

    • Trouble with idea (Score:3, Insightful)

      by SuperKendall (25149)
      The trouble with wifi, although it seems like a great idea, is that its slow, takes a lot of battery power, and you can't charge the device using it

      Given all the things you mention are obvious to anyone technical, it doesn't seem like a great idea at all - does it? Why on earth did the designers include it when you know it also made the case that much larger?

      I really can't figure this device out. Knowing how the Zune is an MS only device (Linux and Mac users need not apply), its seems likely to me the reas
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by cyberformer (257332)
      It's more the other way round. Most people are already locked into Windows, so MS hopes to leverage the Windows monopoly to sell the Zune. The reason for making it is an attempt to control online music (and ultimately movie) distribution, something Apple has been much moer successful at.

      They won't make much (any) profit on sales of the Zune itself at first, but that's mostly because they don't anticipate selling many and so won't have many economies of scale. As with the Xbox, they expect that to change. An
    • by nine-times (778537) <nine.times@gmail.com> on Tuesday October 03, 2006 @11:56AM (#16292647) Homepage

      It's not about immediate profit, it's about control. Someone is making money in a computer-related market, and Microsoft doesn't control it. They have no piece of the iTunes/iPod action, and apparently they don't like that. They'll be willing to lose money on the venture all the way up until they've established control, and then they'll rake users over the coals once users have been locked into the Microsoft platform.

      That's what Microsoft is after these days-- an all inclusive end-to-end dominance on anything resembling a computer. Handhelds, MP3 players, servers, desktops, refrigerators, web browsers, e-mail, game consoles, etc. The result will be that, any emerging computer market, no matter what the market is, will need to go through Microsoft, and Microsoft will dominate it.

      Microsoft is not in the business of providing consumer products or OEM software-- they're in the business of dominating markets and eliminating competition.

  • by freedom_india (780002) on Tuesday October 03, 2006 @09:14AM (#16290513) Homepage Journal
    Zune is a progressive attitude from Microsoft. However with Microsoft's penchant for tying Windows into everything, Zune will soon become hard-bloatware by the time it releases.
    As it stands today, Zune (even with its crippled WiFi) MAY prove a formudable competitor to iPod, if the screen resolution and usage factor is good and NO bloatware.

    The KISS attitude is a far cry for Microsoft. Their products tend to be bloatware almost always:

    Expect the following "feature" from Zune when its released:
    1. WiFi connection to internet (thus opening up way for new Worms and viruses).
    2. Ability to add an SD Card.
    3. Runs Pocket PC OS version 9.9 !
    4. Comes with 30 GB hard-disk out of which 25GB is available to you! Rest 5GB is for the OS.
    5. Comes with 128MB internal RAM !!! To run Zune Pocket PC OS.
    6. Comes with a voice-activated interface that's enabled by default thus allowing your train pal to just say Maroon to make it switch playlists and start searching for Maroon 5 songs.
    7. Comes with mouse-pointers.
    8. Comes with virtual keyboard.
    9. Plays AVI, WMV files inside Media Player inside Zune. Microsoft forgets Zune itself plays WMV natively.

    For Microsoft multi-platform means Windows Mobile, Windows CE, Windows 98 SE, Windows NT, Windows XP, Windows MCE, Windows Vista. All OS have to co-exist with one another and use same API. So Zune OS would be a version of Pocket PC Version 9.9

    If Microsoft could pull its head out of the sand and Windows A*s am sure they would build a great new OS for Zune alone. Of course, it would never be compatible with Windows (as OS), but then who cares. Apple didn't exactly open up iPod API to developers.

    No, Seriously, iam saying this is a good start, but am sure Microsoft will screw it up.

    • by mwvdlee (775178)
      6. Comes with a voice-activated interface that's enabled by default thus allowing your train pal to just say Maroon to make it switch playlists and start searching for Maroon 5 songs.

      I'm going to be saying "Britney" a lot.
    • by suv4x4 (956391)
      Zune is a progressive attitude from Microsoft.... Zune will soon become ....Zune (even with its crippled WiFi) ... "feature" from Zune ... Zune Pocket PC OS....Media Player inside Zune... Zune itself plays WMV natively.

      Doesn't anybody notice it!? We can now say "Zune" without laughing like retards! It's the "Wii" paradox all over again...

      Do you know why this is? Because Zune gets bad press. You can't make Slashdot publish good press for Microsoft easy these days. It's the same on most geek blogs out there.
  • by Greyfox (87712) on Tuesday October 03, 2006 @09:17AM (#16290539) Homepage Journal
    I can send a couple of gigs of mp3s from my laptop to my cellphone using bluetooth. Unfortunately it doesn't support stereo bluetooth headphones natively, but I can get some software and stereo headphones that work with it from a company called i.Tech Dynamic. [itechdynamic.com] Although I haven't tried, I'm sure I can also send images and mp3s to another bluetooth device with the owner's permission.

    Sure my phone cost a couple hundred bucks more than the Zune (So did my iPod when I bought it) but I can also use it as a phone, browse the Internet through T-Mobile's data service or wifi if there's a node in range and use it to connect my laptop to the Internet. And use it as a camera or a video camera. And get a GPS fix from any nearby bluetooth GPS...

    We're going to be seeing more and more of these smart phones in the USA within the next couple of years and they will make everything the Zune promised to do possible without the odious DRM restrictions from Microsoft. Those will be the devices Apple really needs to worry about.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by glesga_kiss (596639)

      I can send a couple of gigs of mp3s from my laptop to my cellphone using bluetooth.

      Ironically, I have a cellphone running a Microsoft OS and I can do the same. It can also do it over Wifi using samba, FTP or HTTP. If it had an HD it would be better and smaller than the zune, but with SD cards at approx 20UKP / 2 gig it's not a big deal.

      Sure my phone cost a couple hundred bucks more than the Zune

      With 12-month contract mine actually cost a lot less, approx $50 USD.

      We're going to be seeing more and m

  • by PontifexPrimus (576159) on Tuesday October 03, 2006 @09:17AM (#16290541)
    What (to use everyone's favorite extreme example) if someone decides to "push" child porn pics on all neighbouring zunes? Can he be identified via a serial number or similar traceback mechanism? Is there any way to "agree" to a transfer or "deny" all but a select few?

    What if someone uses a poisoned mp3-file (initially sounds like a very low volume, current pop hit, then abruptly cuts to full volume static or sheetmetal noise)? In most other P2P communities there is either a central oversight (torrents) or a user community rating system (like in eMule) to avoid such malicious behaviour - will Microsoft take responsibility?

    Oh, and another thing: Can you imitate a zune using a WLAN access point and send out files this way? Certainly there is right now no software available to do that, but think of the opportunities in the future: stores sending targeted high-tech-ad-jingles or catalog pages to all zune owners in range; anarchists distributing (audio) versions of the anarchists cookbook or recipes for drugs or explosives; political offices sending the (audio) equivalent of leaflets to everyone passing by...

    Sounds like a really great idea, if there's anything people want then that's more spam!
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Abcd1234 (188840)
      Sweet! Finally, goatse for the masses! It takes this [extraneo.it] (don't worry, SFW :) to a whole new level.
    • by pubjames (468013)
      A very good point. There has to be a mechanism to limit who sends you stuff - "only receive content invites from people on my friends list" - type of thing. Otherwise the potential for abuse is huge.

      That being said, I don't see how this is much different than the functionality many Bluetooth mobile phones have - they can already send images and sound files to other phones.
  • ...another company from coming out with sharing via wifi without DRM? I already have the ability to share between two wired MP3 players with my current setup (unless they are iPods), so surely sharing via wifi without restriction can't be far off.
  • by wild_berry (448019) on Tuesday October 03, 2006 @09:22AM (#16290587) Journal
    Putting an alternative firmware on it to peer-share any and all your files and to sync with a computer wirelessly will happen and almost makes the Zune a tempting project. But I don't need a wireless backup hard disc that also plays movies and music. Yet.
  • by etheriel (620275)
    aaah, there's nothing like a cup of microsoft-sux to get the day started.
  • by TCQuad (537187) on Tuesday October 03, 2006 @09:30AM (#16290683)
    I think people are focusing in on the "share with others" feature, which is how Microsoft is advertising the Zune but not really... pertinent. It's just all they can offer with the wireless now.

    Where this is going is to an "it just works" system where you can just bring your Zune into your car, the stereo detects it and you can start playing from it. It's basically undercutting the iPod/car adapters model since you don't have to go through the hassle of adapters and wires, etc. If they can do that and steal the iPod's battlecry (effective simplicity), they could steal a large chunk of the market quicker than the /. crowd expects.
  • Without the Wi-Fi that will connect to the Internet, to at least get new songs from the Zune store, this media player is worthless. I would rather buy an ipod for its price or at least wait until iPod with true wi-fi comes out. Another stupid move by M$. There's a perfectly good product idea starring them in the face and they look right passed it.
  • ...yet someone thinks I'm bashing Microsoft and it gets modded down. Will someone learn from history this time?

    Microsoft releases version 1.0 of a product. It lacks all sorts of features that you expect, has some serious problems, really isn't all that good. But they've got their foot out there. And they listen. They listen very well. Version 2.0 comes around, a bit better, but still needing work. Finally, Microsoft releases version 3.0 of a product. This is what you would have expected from another vendor'
  • It's a second rate copy of the iPod and its online store is a second rate copy of the iTMS. It's got a couple of features over and above what the iPod / iTMS offer but it's not nearly as easy to use as the iPod / iTMS combination. It's like the typical Microsoft v1.0 product, a day late and a dollar short.

    I just don't see how Microsoft can turn this one into a winner unless Apple drops the ball Sony style. They haven't been successful yet in leveraging their desktop dominance to drive customers away from th
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Zamfir (585994)
      I see. So the well-review product that you have never seen is "second rate" and the music store that no one has ever seen is not easy to use. No anti-MS bias here!
  • This is news? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by 93 Escort Wagon (326346) on Tuesday October 03, 2006 @09:39AM (#16290789)
    Look, I think Zune is going to be yet another iPod wannabee that falls by the wayside - but in what way, shape, or form is this news at all? Basically this is saying that Zune's wireless is going to work like... well, like the way Zune's wireless has been described to us ad nauseum.

    What new tidbit of information was revealed here, exactly?
  • If it could be made to run rockbox or linux, it would make a great portable player, and you could use the wireless in more useful ways.
    I imagine they've made it difficult to break though.
    I certainly won't buy one unless it is made able to run homebrew, and even then... I dunno.
  • OK, I don't think I've seen or heard this rumor anywhere else, so I guess I invented it myself. You know the new upcoming Apple iTV? What's the point? I mean, they already sell the Mini for use with your TV, right? So why develop this iTV thing with Wi-Fi? Just so you can wirelessly view movies & TV shows that are sitting on your Mac Pro? I don't think so.

    I believe Apple is developing an iPod with WiFi for use with iTV. Or, a better way to put it is that Apple is developing iTV as an accessory

  • Wireless Speed (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Chrononium (925164) on Tuesday October 03, 2006 @09:51AM (#16290939)
    Seems a little silly for me to be (apparently) the only one to notice this, but is it a big deal that you can't sync wirelessly with your computer. Compared to USB2 and Firewire, 802.11g is pathetic speed-wise. Ever try copying a bunch of files onto one of those old USB1 flash drives? Impossibly slow. Wireless (at least in its current popular implementation) is too slow to do full syncs. A song or two is fine and amazingly convenient, but don't think that you can suddenly transfer gigabytes in seconds. The device would run out of power even if you had sufficient patience. Don't hold your breath on Apple somehow magically inventing new wireless technologies, much less new wireless standards.
  • by rbarreira (836272) on Tuesday October 03, 2006 @09:58AM (#16291015) Homepage
    My feeling is that, as it stands, the sharing feature will not be very useful for music, but will be great for pictures. People around here share a lot of pictures, usually using cds or flash drives, which are both much less convenient than just sending them over WiFi (that is, if whole folders can be sent).
  • by dpbsmith (263124) on Tuesday October 03, 2006 @09:58AM (#16291019) Homepage
    Sounds diabolically clever to me. Short-distance short-time song sharing sounds to me like something that would really get used if you have friends who have Zunes.

    A lot depends on just how that three-day limit works. If you give a song to a friend and it expires, can you give it to him/her again?

    I think quite a lot of music might get sold on the basis of short-term trials when the music was, in fact, recommended by a friend.

    I can also see a lot of social gratification in being the first kid on the block to have paid for and bought a hot new tune, and therefore being the one who's in the position of being able to give trial versions to everyone else. (If Microsoft is smart, you will be able to give fresh trials over and over. Then the kids who haven't bought the music need to repeatedly go to the kid who has, in order to get their new time-limited free copies.) All of this in turn provides powerful reinforcement for wanting to buy the tune and be the go-to kid.

    Actually, you want to do it in a hurry. If kid A gives you a free trial version, and you can afford to buy it, you'd want to buy it quickly, so there are still kids whom A hasn't given it to yet—kids for whom you can be the wealthy song-dispensing patron.

    Furthermore, if there are a fair number of Zunes in play in a social group, then the kids with iPods are excluded... they see the kids with Zunes trading tunes and they're out of it, even if the kids with Zunes are their personal friends.

    And I don't think these kids are going to spend much time stripping DRM from their music or exploiting the analog hole or anything like that.

    The big "if" is whether the Zune garners enough critical mass for any of this to happen. If only two kids in school have Zunes and neither of them is interested in being a social patron of the other, it isn't going to work.

    Mind you, this isn't what I want from a "wireless" mp3 player. But that doesn't mean it won't be effective.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by glwtta (532858)
      gratification in being the first kid on the block to have paid for and bought a hot new tune

      Yeah, cause nothing seems cooler to kids today than paying for music.
  • by codepunk (167897) on Tuesday October 03, 2006 @11:37AM (#16292401)
    Microsoft is about to get a little lesson in why the public is not going to go for this DRM crap. I predict
    the sales to be very dismal at best.
  • by SnprBoB86 (576143) on Tuesday October 03, 2006 @12:38PM (#16293305) Homepage
    Ok so it can't sync by Wifi and it can't browse the web. Bummer. Both things can be fixed with software upgrades -- which can be delivered wirelessly!

    Let's not forget that the Zune was built in 9 months. This is from the same people at Microsoft who built Xbox. The original Xbox was mostly on par with the PlayStation, like the Zune will be with the iPod. The 360 had more time to be thought out and appears to be capable of blowing the PlayStation 3 out of the water. I'll be waiting to buy a Zune 360 :-)

    I don't want to browse the "web" on a Zune, but I might like to browse a custom set of web applications designed for the Zune. Here's one crazy idea that I would love to see: wifi communications from my digital cable tuner (or a Media center PC?). The tuner could broadcast an ID number of the show I'm currently watching and the current time into that show. I often say "aw man -- what is this song they are playing?" Whip out my Zune, click "Current Show" and then "Recently played songs", preview them right there, buy immediately.

Don't steal; thou'lt never thus compete successfully in business. Cheat. -- Ambrose Bierce

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