Microsoft Announces the Zune Again – Now With More Details!

zune colors Microsoft Announces the Zune Again   Now With More Details!

Finally! Months after the rumor mill and FCC-website fanatics first spotted the Zune, Microsoft today lifted most of the not-so-secret lid on its upcoming 30GB player. WiFi-enabled and sporting a 3-inch QVGA display that can switch between landscape and portrait modes, the Zune also has an FM tuner with RBDS (station and song information will show up on the screen) and will be available during the holiday season in black, white, and (heinous) brown. Still not a peep about pricing, though you can be sure that it’ll be tagged to compete with its adversary, who just got marked down to $249.

More stuff including video of the interface below…

The WiFi connection is what sets the Zune apart from the rest, moving your portable media experiences in a new direction with features like “Zune-to-Zune” sharing. This allows you to share songs, photos, and video with friends via WiFi. The details on this are sparse, only mentioning that you can listen to the track three times within three days before it becomes unplayable. Tracks can then be purchased at the Zune Marketplace by single-track download or an unlimited Zune Pass subscription. What the deal is with photos and video is still unknown.

The supported audio and video codecs are also up in the air. We can assume that the player will play MP3, WMA, and WMV based on the previous versions of Portable Media Center (PMC) seen on the Toshiba Gigabeat S series. However, that may be it since the press release mentions that users “can import audio files in unprotected WMA, MP3, AAC; photos in JPEG; and videos in WMV, MPEG-4, H.264 [QuickTime].” Import is the keyword, leading us to believe that not all of these are necessarily natively supported. On the plus side, the press release mentions that the player will notify you when there are updates that could possibly add new and unsupported codecs.

Below are a few videos of the Zune interface. It appears to be a version of PMC as seen recently on the Gigabeat S series. Based on first-hand experience with PMC, the Zune will have one of the slickest, easiest to use interfaces of any MP3 player. Go ahead, quote me on that. Here… I will put it in quotes for ya…

”…the Zune will have one of the slickest, easiest to use interfaces of any MP3 player.”

[Press Release via Engadget]


Don Corleone on September 14, 2006 9:21 PM

I have to admit that looks good. The screen is just the right size. Not too big that it makes it uncomfortable to carry around, but big enough to get a decent movie size.

Woody56292 on September 14, 2006 10:04 PM

according to engadget and zuneinsider, aac and quicktime will be natively supported. ( un-drmed of course )I think this thing looks awesome, if they would just adjust/add 3 things.1) recording/mic feature ( more important than fm radio in my opinion )2) podcast support ( make it a seperate section and allow syncing )3)change the black wheel back to the silver, at least for the white and brown. it looks decent with the black on black, but black wheel looks hideous on white ( the one I want most, maybe brown too )I for one am loving the brown ( specially once they fix the black wheel )also as long as batter life is good ( better be! ) I am all in on this one.( finally a decent ipod competitor WITH good support/software )

ONW on September 14, 2006 11:01 PM

AAC i think will be natively supported, one would hope so if they wanna take a slice of the Apple pie. either way i’m sold, time to start the whole re-ripping process again though :(

navv on September 14, 2006 11:16 PM

i am happy to see a “real” compitetor for ipod. the interface does looks really cool! looks like we can have our own wallpaper on this which is great…

Squampton on September 14, 2006 11:39 PM

Can’t wait to see a review here about it!

Michael2k on September 14, 2006 11:51 PM

Why rerip? What format do you have that the Zune doesn’t play?

Phil Urich on September 15, 2006 12:34 AM

Personally I’d only be interested in the Zune majorly if someone could add ogg-vorbis support and then if someone could add FLAC I’d be sold :) In reality, I don’t expect to ever buy a Zune, BUT it adds to the market and hopefully will be breaking up people’s iPod-myopia. It was damn hard to track down my Samsung player, heh.

Kurt Langland on September 15, 2006 2:37 AM

I have a couple of questions…..any news about battery life? Also, I’ve heard that it will only allow downloads from the Zune site….much like iTunes. Is that true?Rumor is that it will not use “play for sure.”

Kurt Langland on September 15, 2006 2:42 AM

Also….I don’t believe that it has a “wheel.” If you watch it would appear that there are merely contact switches that are arranged to appear like the Apple “clickwheel.”

Kurt Langland on September 15, 2006 2:43 AM

Also….I don’t believe that it has a “wheel.” If you watch it would appear that there are merely contact switches that are arranged to appear like the Apple “clickwheel.”

Atrax on September 15, 2006 2:49 AM

Awome, ill probably get one of them…..but….brown?

Mike on September 15, 2006 4:09 AM

Yeah, it looks awesome, but so did the Gigabeat S and I keep on reading of pretty major problems that owners are having with it. Has anyone heard of a possible 60 gig version? I think it’d be insane not to have one as the new Ipods are 80 gig with improved battery life. But anyways I’m still holding out on buying my first MP3 player until one that fits my wants comes out and this could be it. I’m just torn between waiting to see if the Zune is any good or getting a 60 GB Creative Vision: M.

Dell on September 15, 2006 9:37 AM

Looks cool but I’m wondering how the Zune will handle sharing of royalty free music. Will it be just the protected content which is deleted after 3 days? So far the Wifi connection does appear to be what sets the Zuen apart from the rest, but it would be pointless though if its sharing abilities are severely limited. I guess we all have to wait for the final product. I’m personally still loving my Zen Vision: M which I’ve had for a while now.

traut on September 15, 2006 12:06 PM

looks like a typical vaporware: announced much earlier than the real availability, with unclear specs (e.g. power consumption of WLAN). People now will hesitate to buy other / better players. And when it actually will be around, some people will be disappointed, but will buy it anyway – and they’ll be lost within the net of Microsoft’s DRM limitations…

mikerowe on September 15, 2006 1:20 PM

i don’t think you can call it vaporware if it’s due for release this holiday season.

kurt Langland on September 15, 2006 2:14 PM

Some of the initial reviews I’ve read suggest that the Zune will be a closed system. Have you read that as well? If that is indeed the case…then the Zune will be tied to the Zune download store. Will we then need a new website….Anything But Zune?

Mateo on September 15, 2006 2:19 PM

Looks cool! My iPod just broke and Apple won’t fix it, so maybe I’ll get this instead.

DLF on September 15, 2006 5:04 PM

@Woody… I agree; brown with a tiny bit of dark green trim is a great and unique color combination, solid earth tones that coordinates with a lot of my clothes. Screw that “Dress for Success” nonsense from the ’70s.@Phil U… You need a Rio Karma, which fully supported on-the-fly playlists, gapless, ogg Vorbis q1-10 and FLAC, but just sold the last “factory” refurbished unit yesterday (coincidence?) and of course Rio as a company is long since out of business.@Dell They*claim* they have no way to tell what kind of track you’re sharing, so they will wrap all supported formats in the 72-hour DRM. And why is it you can’t sync it wirelessly? And without proprietary software?@Mateo Apple thinks repairing/replacing is an admission of imperfection.

sonicbox on September 16, 2006 2:04 AM

Microsoft, what are you thinking? They had better get a clue and allow existing PlaysForSure DRM content to be loaded on Zune before it ships. I AM NOT RE-BUYING MY URGE OR MSN MUSIC CONTENT!

Michael2k on September 16, 2006 12:39 PM

sonicbox: Can’t you convert them into a Zune compatible format?

dave on September 16, 2006 2:01 PM

You guys are pathetic, you know you want a new 80 gig iPod just face it………………….:-).This player can’t even compare to a Creative, Toshiba, etc. No support for prayforsure, low battery, very restricted DRM laced wifi, and BROWN? nuff siad

Doug on September 16, 2006 2:42 PM

Looks interesting.(w00t! He has CSS, Be Your Own Pet and The Rakes on his Zune!)

Chris Meyers on September 16, 2006 7:05 PM

My god! How thick is that thing? It looks like a 1st gen Ipod! *Gasp* God, I feel sorry for Microsoft, they wait a little too long, get caught offguard by the new 30gb and 80gb Ipod which are cheaper that before and with the much, much brighter screen, and then they are forced to announce this monstrosity which is way too big for it’s own good.

Foster on September 16, 2006 7:33 PM

“You guys are pathetic, you know you want a new 80 gig iPod just face it………………….:-).”If I wanted an ipod I wouldn’t be at this site; I smell a troll.”and then they are forced to announce this monstrosity which is way too big for it’s own good.”The size is good for wide screen video.For me, it’s all about battery life. Anyone know what the rumored music hours for this thing will be? Thanks.

kurt Langland on September 16, 2006 8:00 PM

I know that this is unrelated to the Zune…but about 20-25% of the students here have apple computers. Do they have any option to ipods? Do you know of a MP3 player that operates with OSX? I would expect that the Zune player will require XP or Vista.

FROGGY on September 16, 2006 11:15 PM

@Kurt Langland, Have u ever heard of UMS…..if they had UMS compatible players it wouldn’t matter wether they have OSX or windows, the dap would be detected on both systems, and files could be drap n droped or synced with various softwares, just not iTUNES..

Matt on September 17, 2006 2:26 AM

Wal-Mart has Zune pages up on their website already…

Utew on September 18, 2006 2:31 AM

Plays-for-Sure being dropped….Nipping a budding DRM scheme like Plays-for-Sure now and going singly proprietary, leaves the partners flapping in the breeze as to continued support. This, of course is nothing new in the Microsoft way of doing things and though it may pay off for MS in the long run… the by-product of this kind of treachery (yes.. treachery).. will have potential future partners leery of a deal with the devil.MS had better correct this issue, before it poison’s a new product launch. Yes, I feel this strongly about it and it will cause me to refrain from purchasing the Zune.. unless they reverse this mistake.We don’t need another Apple-clone closed system of restrictions that alienates not only the public, but the good-faith partners that MS may need in the future…

crash res on September 19, 2006 12:35 AM

Based on 2 articles and 2 videos and about 2 pictures… with this immense knowledge and wisdom I have aquired… I can surely say with confidence that the iPod PWNS the Zune. It’s obvious to anyone with a brain. ;)

rodrigo on September 20, 2006 11:57 AM

Every one here is angry?I think we are all trying to figure out whats the best option. Id say, a player that can freely play anything you have stored in some time and thats valuable for you, I think we all have tons of music, photos, videos and staff we want to carry along with us witch no software restrictions I think this guys now this but they only care about business.I think ipod users are angry because they want to be sure that what they payd and have been paying downloading itunes stuff and limited to special software was worth it. Mac did the treachery first and now microsoft is planing on doing it now that the market is ready and it has become a revolutionary life style to have one of this things.I will just wait and see what turns out to be, there are a lot of partners involved here, music an movie industries are also frightened you can figure why.I´m no ipod fan but I would not like to see another ipod branded by MS.

Alemister on September 21, 2006 6:52 AM

I think if Microsoft adjust 2 thing to Zune, It will be best in the MP3 player’s world…1)Recording feature…2)Bluetooth(or infrared) optional….( for conect to other devices)

ocv on September 21, 2006 10:35 PM

There is no doubt that Zune is a great MP3 Video player, but I got a few questions.- What is the point of WIFI, when you can’t keep the files???- How long is the battery life, cuz iPod just increased their battery up to 50%, which is really gud for students on campus and travelers.- What is the size of this Zune [ plz not the like the 1G iPod.- Does Microsoft has a 80GB version.- Is it gona be another iTunes store by Microsoft again!- And I heard that the “Clickwheel” actually is a 4 BOTTONS function.It’s great to have radio build-in and a large 3 in. screen for $249, I think it’s a pretty gud 30GB MP3 player.

onw on September 22, 2006 10:10 PM

personally the whole wi-fi thing with the zune is kinda lame. the idea behind it is sharing right? opening music to new ears? for this to work to ANY effect, these Zunes are going to have to be as visible in the public’s consciousness as the Ipod. i hardly see this scheme taking off. if my friend and i were sitting in a park and he wi-fi’d me some awesome new band, i’d say “great, wanna burn a me a copy of that later” and he’d say “sure, no problems”. if i was “sent” some music that was gonna just fizzle out after 3 days i’d be annoyed the sender hadn’t bothered to hook me up with a permanent copy.and lets face it, anyone that likes their music and is clued in enough to know how to use the wi-fi, chances are already will have some bittorrent program running on his/her pc anyway. couple this with the fact that the wi-fied track doesn’t actually dissappear after the allotted time (it stays on your player taking up space until deleted or paid for), i don’t really see it taking off.the Zune is about “sharing” content, well what the hell does MS think everyone’s been doing with bittorrent and limewire?

brainybrian on September 25, 2006 9:45 AM

whats vrong wtih you guys you haven´t seen it live yet.LIVE, for real, in your hand and tryed it

Caleb on November 16, 2006 3:23 PM

Is the Zune UMS compliant? Do you have to use the software? If not, then can you use other software (like Media Center) to sync music to it (because i am running Windows Vista currently not supporting the software).

Kenny on November 16, 2006 6:40 PM

This is stupid the zune is cool and it should work i saw a video by you tube and it seemed like it worked fine the thing is cool and i probably will get one for christmas there not to expensive and the BROWN one is my favorite

bobthefloatingfish on November 28, 2006 8:51 AM

@onwI think you just answered your own point with the park and bittorrent scenario. Unless you are camping in the park for like a week then, if the tune is that good, you can go get it when you get home. I personally think it’s an awesome idea to be able to introduce someone to a completely different genre on the go (without having to give up your headphones).Now i have a big problem. Do I shell out and get myself a Gigabeat S60 or do I wait for this little gem? After just being intoduced to FLAC i don’t know if i can go back to mp3s. Although considering the toshiba runs on pmc, is there not a way to add support?

AYOKUNLE ERIC on January 24, 2008 4:20 PM

pls help me out on how to download a software for my toshiba s series gigabeat.

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