We don’t usually post block quotes, but we feel this needs to be heard directly from the source. Dave McLauchlan, Senior Business Development Manager for Zune, stopped by our forums to give an official statement on the “Zune is dead” rumor that took the internet by storm. Here’s what he had to say…
Goodbye to the social. According to several reputable-ish sites, the Zune HD obviously is no more, and there will probably be no more new Zune hardware players. It doesn’t come as a real shock, looking at the stepmotherly way Microsoft treated its Zune devices for the longest time. No international availability, no marketing/awareness/advertisements, no real updates in a long time, too crippled and locked down for many people’s needs, and so on. The software side of things however should live on (for now), on the Xbox and Windows Phone 7, which seems to be a somewhat safer way than competing directly with iTunes and iPods. Seems the whole Zune platform was just a long term sandbox for Microsoft testing the waters for more lucrative device implementations. Current Zune fans will not be amused. Good luck for your future endeavors.
Via Bloomberg, Engadget, PCMag. Check the forum thread for discussions.
Northernmost of all North Americans, rejoice – you too can now be part of the “Social”. Straight from Microsoft’s business development department, the Zune HD is now officially available in Canada, in three glorious capacities (16, 32, 64GB) and seven wonderful colors. Personal disfigurement customization via engravings is a possibility as well.
Of course the Zune HD has been sold unofficially in Canada for quite some time already, but now it’s all legit, more or less – yet availability of the online store, subscription service, and all that might still be missing. Head over to Zune Originals for more info. Personally, I can’t verify how well that works. Me being in Europe, the site rudely screams “ACCESS DENIED” in 40 point bold font at me when I try to access it. I feel a bit sad, not being part of the “Social”, but that’s how the story goes.
Read more about it in the forum thread.
After years of waiting, Mac support for Zune has finally arrived. Dubbed the Windows Phone 7 Connector for Mac, this application lets you synchronize your iTunes library with your Windows Phone (as the name implies) or, believe it or not, your Zune HD. The application has been beta since late October, and you may remember us reporting on how to unofficially set it up via the command line earlier last month. But the final version (which officially includes support for the Zune HD) has only been out for a few days.
At Zuneboards they are giving away two Kicker speaker docks for the Zune: the ZK350 and the ZK150. If you recall my two reviews on them, they are very impressive- so you don’t want to miss these. The rules are simple just make a image signature on Zuneboards with anything kicker in it. No graphic talent needed, one Kicker dock will be chosen for the best signature and one will be chosen at random just for participating. Check out Zuneboards for the details.
But wait there is more!
Not to leave ABI out of this, we will give away the ZK500 here on ABI in a similar fashion. Simply create Zune HD wallpaper with anything Kicker in it. Details in the Zune Forum.
I like to use Zune’s Smart DJ feature, those who are not familiar its like Pandora on Sterioids, but the problem always was that it didnt work well in the living room. Yeah, you could dock the Zune and hook it up to your TV but the UI was horrible with the tiny supplied remote. That all has changed with the addition of Zune Music on the Xbox. The third 10 foot living room UI was translated really well from the desktop PC experience- it has a very familiar feel but works great with an XBox controller or Xbox Harmony remote. While I haven’t yet tested it, this will also work with the upcoming Kinect to be released on the 5th of November.
Below I walk you though this new XBox/Zune experience. Continue reading…
The ZK350 is the third installment of Zune Docks by kicker. I have already reviewed the other two docks: ZK500 & ZK150 if you are interested in checking out those reviews. In short though, the ZK350 hits a sweet spot somewhere in between blending portability with bass. In order to make it even more portable there is an optional battery add-on that will keep your beats playing for a few hours away untethered from the wall.
Jaewoo Kim is a designer and student at Art Center College of Design that loves to design cases for MP3 players. A few months ago he sent me a hand made case for the Samsung P3. It was a cool project and like nothing i have ever seen from any of the other case manufactures. However there were some issues that didn’t make the case practical, the shape just didn’t allow the case to be secured properly. But as all students do, they constantly learn from their experiences. Enter Jaewoo’s second round- the Point Zero ONE Zune HD case.
In this round i am truly impressed with what he has crafted out of a sheet of thick plastic. This sheet is cleverly folded much like a complex piece of origami to protect your Zune HD. The tolerances are tight, lining up perfectly with the screen and dimensions of the player. All of the ports and buttons are easily accessible.
These cases sell for $10-12 on Jaewoo’s site. If you want something truely unique and would like to help put a talented design student though school check it out below.
I have been a big fan of the Kicker zKick ZK500 and use it almost daily. It has great room filling sound and some serious piss-off-your-neighbors bass. Paired with a Zune Pass you will never be without any fresh tunes. Being that the Zune Pass allows you to have up to 3 devices under the same account I thought I would check out one of Kicker’s other docks for another room in the house.
Currently for my bedroom I use an iHome ZN9 clock radio, but it’s not something I like to listen to music on since it sound harsh and hollow. It’s not bad to wake up to, but getting ready in the morning or evening you want to have some good sounding tunes to kick off your day or night out.
I spent last week in the Bellevue / Redmond area for the Microsoft MVP Summit. For those unfamiliar with the Summit, it is a chance for me to represent your voice in front of the Zune product teams. It is similar to what goes on behind the scenes with most of the other brands here on ABI tied in with CES- it’s just specific to Zune.
You won’t see much posted here about the Summit since what we discussed is covered under a non-disclosure agreement including the Zune HD Facebook app we are currently testing. However, I can tell you that it was a very productive week in conveying the concerns, opinions, and ideas of Zune users on Anythingbutipod and ZuneBoards.
One of the days at summit we got the privilege of joining Jessica and Matt on the ZuneInsider podcast #56. While there is nothing revealing about the future of Zune, we do have a fun discussion about the MVP program, our sites, and our music guilty indulgencies. I also make a slight gaff and talked about Matt’s 6 inch… (tune in for the rest – Subscribe | Stream | Direct MP3 Download).