A few days ago the talented hackers on ZuneBoards created “OpenZDK” that will allow programming of 3D games and applications- something that XNA would not allow on the Zune HD. So what would be the first logial 3D game to port to the Zune HD? …Doom of course.
Update 4/14/2010: Creative contacted me on their own accord shortly after this article was posted to get a list of the developers they offended. As a token of their appreciation Creative sent these devs some Auravana In-Ear2 headphones and a wireless bluetooth speaker system- the Inspire S2. So a speacial thanks to Creative from ABI and the developers for making good on this issue!
There is a great group of developers in our forum programming new applications for the Creative Zen X-Fi2. To date they have created 36 applications that range from simple sound boards to solitary to the classic pong.
In a recent advertisement sent out via email, Creative pictured and touted these member created applications as “NEW enhanced features!” without crediting its creators whatsoever. Most developers have mixed emotions as our X-Fi2 Development Moderator, Habhome stated: “It’s both an honor and a bit of a let-down. They could’ve asked before.”. I tend to agree, it’s fantastic that Creative is paying attention to the community but a big disappointment that there is no dialog or acknowledgment of their hard work.
So Creative, step up and recognize who is creating “NEW enhanced features!” to your products. It’s the right thing to do. It also wouldn’t hurt to throw a Creative swag bag and an apology to these truly creative developers.
While creative is taking small steps with the ZiiEGG development they have not forgotten about their other flag ship in the Zen series, the X-Fi2. The ADK can be downloaded now and comes with a Zen X-Fi2 simulator, programmers guide, and an API reference. The scripting language for the Zen X-Fi2 is based on Lua. Lua is a lightweight scription language that seems to be catching on. It has been used in places like Adobe’s Lightroom and World of Warcraft.
If you are interested in learning more about Lua, check out their site. If you would like to dive in and start programming for the X-Fi2, a developer group has started in the X-Fi2 Application Development Forums.
In the Zune HD forums there are some frustrated Zune HD users patiently waiting for more Zune applications. I do sympathize with them since it is a little bit disparaging having such a powerful Nvidia Tegra device being limited by application releases. In the thread, Microsoft’s DaveMac-MS cannot yet offer a time table for app releases but does offer this:
“I’ll be able to tell you more about the Twitter and Facebook apps once they’re out – in the meantime, there are a number of cogs in this wheel and we’d rather stick to a quality-driven release schedule, than a date-driven one.”
The important piece of info here is “quality-driven”. The time frame is no doubt frustrating and no excuses should be made for the slow release but it is good to hear that time is being spent to get it right the first time. Too many devices recently have been rushed to store shelf unfinished and buggy. Recent examples: Archos 5, Motorola Droid, Creative Zen X-Fi2. It’s a sad trend in the device industry we see way too often.
No information on upcoming apps for the Zune HD is available at this time, but in the mean time you can check out some demo’s and proof of concepts currently being made Zune enthusiast Roguemat to get an idea of what is to come.
The Clip+ has a fantastic little form factor; somewhat cheap in build quality but very rugged. The interface is simple and relatively straightforward. The features on the Clip are more or less average, however it supports the alternative Rockbox firmware which provides tons of additional options (gapless playback, Replaygain, playlists, Last.fm scrobbling, etc). Read the full review or go ahead and buy it.
The J3 is a fantastic PMP with a very nice AMOLED screen and tons of features. It sports Cowon's trademark BBE sound enhancements, and offers a customizable user interface with strong support by our user community. You can usually find it at Amazon for the best price - and don't forget to check out our review.
Microsoft Zune HD
Sure, many of us are not big fans of the walled garden, but there are a lot of great things going on with the Zune: sturdy hardware, ultra easy to use user interface, and a media player that is worthy of Editor’s Choice. You can check out our Zune HD review or stop by our Zune forums for the latest info and gossip.
Phonak Audéo PFE
Phonak Audéo PFE offer outstanding clarity and precision; natural, dynamic mids and treble, and decent bass for a single armature in-ear phone. They handle dense, complex music very well. The PFE work well with most acoustic and some electronic music genres, but bassheads might have to look at other alternatives. They're great for sports as well, since they fit very securely. Check out our review.
The Hippo VB (Variable Bass) offers a serious subwoofer for on the go, right in your head. They don’t just deliver generous quantities of punchy, textured bass, but good audio quality over the whole frequency range with decent clarity and exceptional soundstage. Exchangeable bass ports let you customize their sound to your liking. Read our in-depth Hippo VB review.
Soundmagic E10 / E30
The Soundmagic E10 and E30 are basically right in the middle between the Phonak PFE and Hippo VB - not too analytical sounding, not too bass heavy. The E10 provide a bit more bass, the E30 a bit more clarity. Both come with a very fair price tag considering the sound quality they deliver - a great choice for the audio aficionado on a budget. Read our E10 and E30 reviews for more info.