Votes | Average: 0 out of 5 Votes | Average: 0 out of 5 Votes | Average: 0 out of 5 Votes | Average: 0 out of 5 Votes | Average: 0 out of 5 (Be the first to rate this article) Loading ... Loading ...

by Mike Zazaian September 14, 2006 - 4:28pm, 5 Comments

Microsoft Launches the Web-Savvy Zune

Microsoft released it’s new personal video and mp3 player today, sporting some innovative WiFi features that might give it a leg up on the iPod for the time being.

While Microsoft’s Zune was initially thought of as half-hearted follow-up to Apple’s iPod, Microsoft has put some real thought into the new personal media device. With WiFi capabilities, a 30GB hard drive, video playback, music, pictures, and a whopping 3″ QVGA LCD screen, the Zune is a unique entry in the PVP market.

Zune's 3-inch screenZune’s music interface is quite versatile, allowing users to play songs in h.264, MP3, AAC and WMA format. No need for lengthy format conversion here. Zune users can download songs directly from Zune’s partner app Zune Marketplace, on which Zunees can download millions of songs in any of the above formats. Unfortunately there’s no support yet for iTunes songs, but firmware and software updates for such functionality will likely become available as the Zune matures.

Perhaps the most unique feature of the device is that it allows users to share songs with other Zune users. You can download songs from a friend at which point the music becomes valid for either three listens or three days, whichever comes first. At that point the song will no longer be playable, and you’ll be offered a download from Zune Marketplace.

Zune's packagingAll in all the reactions to Zune have been overwhelmingly positive, with many users in awe at the massive 3″ screen and WiFi capabilities. Lots of praise is also given to the intuitive direction scroll wheel, which, while different from the iPod interface, is just as usable once you get used to it. One gripe that is common, however, is that the Zune is slightly larger than the current generation of iPods. So, for you music lovers who crave a pocket-stuffer, the Zune may not be for you.

Zune will be available in a variety of colors, but beyond that Microsoft hasn’t said peep about pricing or availablity, except to say this coming holiday season.

[via engadget]