30GB digital media player will come equipped with wireless functionality for Zune-to-Zune sharing of music, pictures and home recordings; a bright, three-inch LCD video screen that works in portrait or landscape mode to view pictures and videos; and a built-in FM tuner. The device will be available in three colors: black, brown and white.
• A selection of preloaded content including songs, music videos and film shorts are installed on the device’s hard drive to help consumers discover new artists and entertainment.
Zune makes it easy to find music you love — whether it’s songs in your existing library or new music from the Zune Marketplace:
• Its dynamic music service will be continually updated with new content and experiences so there is always something to discover. The Zune Marketplace lets users browse and purchase songs individually.
• A Zune Pass subscription gives consumers access to millions of songs for $14.99 per month.
• Users can purchase songs individually using Microsoft® Points for 79 points per track. Similar to a pre-paid phone card, Microsoft Points is a stored value system that can be redeemed at a growing number of online stores, including the Xbox Live® Marketplace.
In addition, consumers can choose from a full line of accessories to enhance the Zune experience and help Zune users enjoy their entertainment where they want to, at home or on the road. Accessories range in price from $19.99 to $99.99.
“On Nov. 14 we’re delivering not only a device, but a shared, social experience that will be shaped by the collective imagination of consumers,” said Chris Stephenson, general manager of global marketing for Zune. “We’re infusing the spirit of discovery and sharing into everything we do — from the experience we crafted around the device and service to pre-loading music and videos on every device to expose people to something new.”
Zune is a vehicle to explore new sounds and experiences. With that in mind, Microsoft pre-loaded each Zune device with a variety of songs and music videos from hot, new artists as well as some fun films and images. With something for everyone, the pre-loaded Zune content may just help you discover your new favorite band. Zune preloaded content includes the following:
• Band of Horses, “Wicked Gil” (Sub Pop Records)
• Bitter:Sweet, “The Mating Game” (Quango Music Group)
• CSS, “Alala (Microsoft edit)” (Sub Pop Records)
• Darkel, “At The End of The Sky (edit)” (Astralwerks)
• Every Move a Picture, “Signs of Life” (V2)
• Small Sins, “Stay” (Astralwerks)
• The Adored, “Tell Me Tell Me” (V2)
• The Rakes, “Open Book” (V2)
• The Thermals, “A Pillar of Salt” (Sub Pop Records)
• 30 Seconds to Mars, “The Kill” (Virgin Records)
• BT, “1.618” (DTS Entertainment)
• Chad VanGaalen, “Red Hot Drops” (Sub Pop Records)
• Coldcut featuring Roots Manuva, “True Skool” (Ninja Tune)
• CSS, “Let’s Make Love and Listen to Death From Above” (Sub Pop Records)
• Fruit Bats, “Live: The Wind That Blew My Heart Away” (Sub Pop Records)
• Grandaddy, “Elevate Myself” (V2)
• Hot Chip, “Over and Over” (Astralwerks Records)
• Kraak & Smaak featuring Dez., “Keep Me Home” (Quango Music Group)
• Kinski, “Live: The Snowy Parts of Scandinavia” (Sub Pop Records)
• Paul Oakenfold, “Faster Kill Pussycat (Featuring Brittany Murphy)” (Maverick Records)
• Serena-Maneesh, “Drain Cosmetics” (Playlouderecordings)
• 5 Boro: “A New York Skateboarding Minute” (Skateboarding)
• Radical Films: “Kranked — Progression” (Mountain Biking)
• TGRTV The North Face (Skiing/Snowboarding)
• A variety of images to personalize a Zune device, including 12 classic rock posters from “Art of Modern Rock”
For entertainment fans who want to experience their media from anywhere, Microsoft will offer the following accessories:
• Zune Home A/V Pack. The Home A/V Pack includes everything you need to amplify your Zune experience. This set of five products integrates Zune with your big-screen TV and the best speakers in your house. The wireless remote puts you in control from virtually anywhere in the room. When you buy the Zune Home AV Pack, you’ll get the AV Output Cable, Zune Dock, Zune Wireless Remote with Lithium Battery, Zune Sync Cable and Zune AC Adapter for $99.99.
• Zune Travel Pack. The Travel Pack includes everything you need to travel with your Zune device in style. This set of five products is designed to keep you and your friends and family entertained while you travel. When you buy the Zune Travel Pack, you’ll get the Zune Dual Connect Remote, Zune Premium Earphones, Zune Gear Bag, Zune Sync Cable and Zune AC Adapter for $99.99.
• Zune Car Pack. The Car Pack includes everything you need to hit the road with your Zune device. With AutoSeek, setup is easy, and you can enjoy your music on the go and charge at the same time. When you buy the Zune Car Pack, you’ll get the FM transmitter with AutoSeek and the Zune Car Charger for $79.99.
• Zune AV Output Cable. The A/V Output Cable lets you connect your Zune device to a TV and home stereo. Ideal for listening to music and showing pictures and video, the A/V Output Cable is simple to set up and use, and will retail for $19.99.
• Zune AC Adapter. The AC Adapter lets you charge your Zune device without a PC. For convenience, the AC Adapter will charge your Zune device in about three hours and will retail for $29.99.
• Zune Sync Cable. The Sync Cable lets you connect your Zune device to your PC or the Zune AC Adapter (sold separately). It works as a replacement for your original sync cable or as a spare for travel and charging, and will retail for $19.99.
• Zune Car Charger. The Car Charger lets you charge your device in the car while listening to your favorite music and even while using the FM transmitter with AutoSeek (sold separately). The Car Charger will retail for $24.99.
• Zune Dock. The Dock elegantly displays your Zune device anywhere in your home or office. Featuring a connector port and an audio/video output, the Dock is ideal for syncing, charging and connecting with home A/V equipment. (A/V connectivity requires the Zune A/V Output Cable, sold separately.) The Dock will retail for $39.99.
• Zune Wireless Remote for Zune Dock. Designed for use with Zune Dock (sold separately), the Wireless Remote lets you control your device from across the room. The Wireless Remote gives you quick access to your current playlist as well as full control over menu navigation and volume. The Wireless Remote will retail for $29.99.
• Zune Dual Connect Remote. The Dual Connect Remote offers convenient playlist control and two headphone jacks with independent amplifiers and volume controls so you can listen with a friend or family member. The Dual Connect Remote will retail for $29.99.
• Zune FM transmitter With AutoSeek. The FM transmitter with AutoSeek lets you wirelessly listen to music through your car’s stereo through the FM radio. AutoSeek automatically finds the optimal station so it’s easy to set up, and will retail for $69.99.
• Zune Gear Bag. The Gear Bag lets you bring Zune and related accessories with you wherever you go. The Gear Bag comes with a rugged exterior and fitted compartments to protect your device while you travel. The Gear Bag will retail for $29.99.
• Zune Premium Earphones. Designed exclusively for use with Zune, the Premium Earphones produce superior sound and feature a noise-isolating, in-ear design. With a convenient storage case and three earpiece sizes to choose from, you can listen to your music with added comfort and quality. The Premium earphones will retail for $39.99.
The Next Step in Connected Entertainment
In addition to the rich service and Zune-to-Zune sharing capabilities available at launch, the built-in wireless technology and powerful software provide a strong foundation for Zune to continue to build new shared experiences around music and video. “We’re offering a compelling experience right out of the box and providing customers with a solid base to customize and personalize their entertainment,” Stephenson said. “This is just the beginning.”
Zune is Microsoft’s music and entertainment platform that provides an end-to-end solution for Connected Entertainment. The Zune experience includes a 30GB digital media player, the Zune Marketplace music service, and a foundation for an online community that will enable music fans to discover new music. Inspired by the vast and varied community of music fans, Zune focuses on helping emerging artists shape the digital canvas. Zune is part of Microsoft’s Entertainment and Devices division and supports the company’s software-based services vision to help drive innovation in the digital entertainment space. More information can be found online at http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/presskits/zune.
Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.
Note to editors: If you are interested in viewing additional information on Microsoft, please visit the Microsoft Web page at http://www.microsoft.com/presspass on Microsoft’s corporate information pages. Web links, telephone numbers and titles were correct at time of publication, but may since have changed. For additional assistance, journalists and analysts may contact Microsoft’s Rapid Response Team or other appropriate contacts listed at http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/contactpr.mspx.
Microsoft's soon-to-be-released Zune MP3 player is a sure-fire iPod killer -- if you believe what you been reading in the press recently.
There's nothing the press likes more than a good fight, and the Zune looks like a worthy contender for the iPod's heavyweight crown.
The tech press loves the Zune because of its specs. They tally up the features and conclude the Zune is better because there's more stuffed inside.
When it launches next month, the Zune will cost $250 for 30 GB -- just like the equivalent iPod. But the Zune also has Wi-Fi for wirelessly trading songs; a larger, 3-inch screen (good for widescreen movies); and will connect to Microsoft's Zune Marketplace music service, which will sell songs at 99 cents each and offer a $15 a month subscription plan.
The Zune will definitely have an impact. That's guaranteed by Microsoft's clout, and is why music labels, movie studios and accessory makers are jumping on the Zune bandwagon.
But although the Zune looks good on paper, it's not going to kill the iPod because of three things:
1. It's not cool and never will be.
The iPod is streets ahead in the things that really matter: ease of use, aesthetics and -- here's the tough one -- cool. The Zune is not cool. You can tell that at a glance. Take the choice of colors. It'll come in black, white and brown.
Wait a sec -- brown? Surely this is some sick joke gone horribly wrong. Or are they trying to rip off LG's Chocolate phone?
The Zune's best bet is waiting it out until the iPod becomes passé, which seems unlikely given that Apple is constantly redesigning and refreshing the device.
2. The Zune will be locked down tighter than the queen's knickers.
The Zune's interesting features -- Wi-Fi sharing and the music subscription plan -- will be subject to a strict digital rights management scheme, and given Microsoft's reputation in this area (PlaysForShit) -- I'll bet the Zune will drive customers to the iPod.
After all, PlaysForSure is such a technical and marketing disaster Microsoft is abandoning it altogether in favor of the Zune, which will attempt to tightly integrate hardware, software and services, just like the iPod.
But whereas Apple's FairPlay digital rights management scheme seems to be working very well (surprisingly, there aren't widespread reports of glitches and problems), Microsoft's penchant for complex and glitchy verification systems bode ill for the device.
3. Wi-Fi song sharing will not catch on in public.
The Zune's only original feature is Wi-Fi song sharing, which will allow Zune owners to search for others nearby and temporarily trade songs over the air. Traded tunes will be playable up to three times over three days, and can be flagged on the player for later purchase online. Otherwise they disappear.
But while it's obvious that sharing songs will be fun with friends at school or college, it's not an activity that will take off in public. It'll largely be confined to peer groups.
How do I know this? Because that's what's happening with iTunes music sharing, which does more or less the same thing with a computer over a network, instead of peer-to-peer.
Think of the typical experience with iTunes at the office or conferences. Instead of finding all kinds of cool new bands, you marvel at the dreadful taste of your co-workers.
Granted, offices and conferences aren't the best feeding grounds, but where is? There are no hip cafes or bars that I know forging reputations for being good places to hang out and browse other peoples' music libraries.
Will this happen wirelessly with the Zune? Will teenagers gather at the mall or the park to share tunes, sitting around quietly with their headphones on?
I don't see it. It will happen at concerts and clubs where like-minded music lovers will share music they already know they like -- and it'll be kinda awkward and nerdy. Remember swapping business cards with your Palm Pilot via infrared?
And while it might be interesting to take a sneak peek at what the thug at the back of the bus is listening to, it won't be a great strategy for discovering new music. There just won't be enough Zune users around.
The only place I can think of in the United States where the Zune might be good for browsing others' music is on an airplane. But will the airlines allow wireless song sharing mid-flight?
Plus, iTunes shows that many people are so self-conscious of their music collections, they will turn off sharing altogether or carefully prune their library to present themselves in the best possible light.
Wi-Fi song sharing will be more about managing your image in public than sharing music.
But of course, for a lot of people, that's the point: Music-clerk types will show off their bona fides by loading their Zune with obscure indie bands, while the rest of us will be frantically deleting treasured show tunes for fear of looking ridiculous
Rumored Specs & Features()
● might have a 400MHz DSP processor
● might have Xbox Live Anywhere integration.
● Microsoft will try to buy your way out of iTunes
● might be like a..."A Microsoft portable gaming system"
● run a program called "Windows Mobile" <
● be able to Wireless connect to the Xbox for exporting music.
● have reduced battery life (6 hours max, and a little less than a hour when WiFi is turned on)
● User-Customizable Wallpaper skins
● probably feature a accessory such as a mini keyboard
● be used Vertically, except for widescreen movies.
● allows you to stream music to up to 4 other Zune devices.
● MIGHT (slim chance) have XM or Sirius satellite services built in.
● might have VoIP capabilities<<
● might feature anti-shock hard drives and software << See below for def.
● release date might be as early as October
● Microsoft to ship 3,000,000 units in 2006
● Future Zune products may compete with Shuffle, Gameboy, PSP and tablet PC’s
● Li-Ion battery
● Preloaded audio and video content
● Toshiba will manufacture first gen Zune hardware
● Zune will be launched in '06, most likely Nov. 14
● WiFi (802.11 b/g) connectivity
● 30 Giga-Byte Hard Drive
● available in 3 different colors, black, brown (chocolate), and white
● magnetic headphones.
● LCD high resolution screen, the screen is 3.75 inches diagonal
● built-in FM radio tuner
● TV output connectivity
● dedicated song download site
● DJ Mode (broadcast what you are listening to)
● wheel is NOT a wheel it is simply 4 button (up, down, left right)
● Zune brand will eventually include multiple entertainment devices
VoIP: Also know as Voice over Internet Protocol is the routing of voice conversations over the Internet or through any other IP-based network in such case of WiFi.
Windows Mobile: Windows Mobile is a compact operating system combined with a suite of basic applications for mobile devices based on the Microsoft Win32 API. Devices which run Windows Mobile include Pocket PCs, Smartphones, and Portable Media Centers. It is designed to be somewhat similar to desktop versions of Windows.
Anti-Shock: A common software and integrated into the hard drive to help prevent the crash of your hard drive. By detecting sudden movements (similar to dropping the Zune) the software will automatically kick in and help “cushion” the fall by placing the hard drive into a low battery use state, so if it is to have bad effects they wont be as bad cause its as if it's almost off.
WMA, MP3, AAC, JPEG,WMV, MPEG-4, H.264 media playback
Wi-Fi (802.11 b/g) connectivity
30 GB Hard Drive
3 inch video LCD 320x240
White, Black, and Brown Colors
TV output connectivity 640x480
Dedicated song download site (Zune Marketplace)
Estimated 12 hr battery life for audio, 3.5 hr video
3 day playback of Wi-Fi transfered songs from friends
XBOX (Microsoft) points compatability
Preloaded music videos
Over a dozen accessories at launch
5.6 ounces in weight, 4.4 x 2.4 x 0.58 inches size
Metric: 158 g, 112 x 61 x 14.7 mm size
Custom background images
WiFi transfer of photographs
Tag based storage system (Will not appear as drive)
PC Compatability (no Mac client at launch)
Zune tag enabled
Horizontal and vertical video orientation
Social Aspects of Zune
Lets face it, since the beginning of recorded history, music has always been a social activity. In ancient times hunters and gatherers huddled around the campfire at night. They sang and beat animal skin drums, telling stories, and taking part of the key social event of the day.
Zune endeavors to bring back the social side of music, and break the isolation of the lonely man with his ear buds in the corner. Zune promises a new connection between listeners on a plane, at school, or even on a crowded street. Sharing what you hear, on the local level, or possibly connecting to others through music online. The age of isolation could be replaced, by the dawn of "us".
Analysts Fear iPod Loosing it's Cool
Analysts warn that the iPod has passed its peak. From its launch five years ago its sales graph showed a consistent upward curve, culminating in a period around last Christmas that saw a record 14 million sold. But sales fell to 8.5 million in the following quarter, and down to 8.1 million in the most recent three-month period. Wall Street is reportedly starting to worry that the bubble will burst.