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by Mike Zazaian October 2, 2006 - 11:37am, 3 Comments

Zune's WiFi Not for Internet

While Microsoft has been touting the unique WiFi capabilities of its upcoming Zune, limitations on the firmware won’t allow internet connectivity right out of the box.

The announcement comes from David Caulton, a Zune team member and webmaster of Zunester.com. According to Caulton, the Zune will only be able to set up ad hoc networks with other Zunes, meaning they can only connect to each other. While they are equipped with full 802.11 b and g capabilities, the firmware on the Zune won’t allow direct internet connections with factory-loaded software. Caulton says that the Zune will only be capable of the following tasks:

  • You can search for nearby Zune owners to interact with.
  • MYou can send them a song, album, etc… for a 3-day/3-play trial listen. Songs come over with metadata and album art (neat). After the 3 days or 3 plays are up, the song gets deleted from the Zune on the next sync, but the info on the song stays in a journal on your PC for later purchase or acquisition.
  • You can send them photos for unlimited viewing (and these can sync back onto the recipient’s PC).

Perhaps the biggest feature that Microsoft missed is being able to connect to a network in order to download songs directly from their new Zune Marketplace. While it’s nice to be able to share songs with other Zune owners, the WiFi capabilities are completely moot unless there other Zune users around with whom to use the WiFi capabilities.

That said, it’s not impossible the Microsoft will release firmware or software updates that will allow Zune to connect directly to the internet. Hopefully Microsoft will realize that by giving Zune owners an avenue by which to download music directly, both the Zune Marketplace sales and number of Zune owners will spike considerably. But even if Microsoft doesn’t jump on this feature right away, it wouldn’t be surprising if some Zune homebrew applications popped up sometime after the new year.

[via Zunester]