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No App Store For Microsoft's Zune HD

kdawson posted more than 4 years ago | from the new-way-to-compete dept.

Media 351

Xerfas writes 'Microsoft's Zune HD, set to go on sale Tuesday, will not feature an open application store like its competitor the iPod Touch. It will come with some unique features, though, like an HD radio tuner, and with software that has been well-received by users. Those capabilities will determine whether the ZuneHD sells well — and whether Microsoft decides to keep selling its own music player, said Matt Rosoff, an analyst at Directions on Microsoft.' The Zune marketing manager was quoted in the Seattle Times on whether the Zune would open up for 3rd-party apps, and he gave a response of such mind-numbing PR-speak that John Gruber of Daring Fireball was moved to provide this English translation: "No, because our mobile strategy is a convoluted mess."

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Let me fix that foryou.. (5, Funny)

Bazman (4849) | more than 4 years ago | (#29428993)

"Microsoft's Zune HD, set to go on sale Tuesday, will not feature a tightly controlled by control freaks with degrees in control freakery application store like its competitor the iPod Touch."

Fixed.

Re:Let me fix that foryou.. (1)

zjbs14 (549864) | more than 4 years ago | (#29429027)

Done in one.

Re:Let me fix that foryou.. (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29429107)

In other news, I'm going out for a bike ride like my competitor Lance Armstrong . . .

Re:Let me fix that foryou.. (1)

b0r1s (170449) | more than 4 years ago | (#29429149)

If your bike cost you a couple hundred million dollars, you'd consider yourself a competitor too.

Re:Let me fix that foryou.. (3, Funny)

FlyingSquidStudios (1031284) | more than 4 years ago | (#29429435)

Because if there's one thing Microsoft is known for, it's not acting like control freaks. Am I right, guys?

Re:Let me fix that foryou.. (3, Funny)

Angostura (703910) | more than 4 years ago | (#29429645)

You missed a bit:

Microsoft's Zune HD, set to go on sale Tuesday, will not feature a tightly controlled by control freaks with degrees in control freakery application store like its competitor the iPod Touch. Instead any Seattle based company called Microsoft will be allowed to place applications on the device with no restrictions

I want my mp3 player to play music (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29428997)

I have a cheap sansa. It plays mp3/ogg/flac. It plays little xvid videos and plays and records FM.

What more do I need?

Are these damn players becoming like cell phones? Do app stores matter? Makes no sense to me.

Re:I want my mp3 player to play music (2, Funny)

Frosty Piss (770223) | more than 4 years ago | (#29429031)

Are these damn players becoming like cell phones? Do app stores matter? Makes no sense to me.

Here's what these music / video players need: An app to make them into a smart phone. I'd buy that for a dollar!

Re:I want my mp3 player to play music (5, Funny)

0110011001110101 (881374) | more than 4 years ago | (#29429075)

check your grass.. I think there are kids on it that need yelled at.

Re:I want my mp3 player to play music (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29429089)

why the FUCK is this stupid opinion propagating on slashdot? PEOPLE DONT WANT TO CARRY A TON OF DEVICES AROUND. Fuck you, and fuck whoever writes another "but i want my x-named product to only do x! - I CANT UNDERSTAND THAT THE VAST MAJORITY OF PEOPLE WANT A DEVICE THAT DOES IT ALL".

Re:I want my mp3 player to play music (1, Insightful)

dunkelfalke (91624) | more than 4 years ago | (#29429181)

It is a valid opinion. Some people do want to carry lots of devices around.
And those who don't wouldn't buy a Zune anyway but rather a modern Windows Mobile phone - they can do pretty much everything nowadays.

Re:I want my mp3 player to play music (1)

EastCoastSurfer (310758) | more than 4 years ago | (#29429659)

Yeah, some people love walking around with a Batman like utility belt full of all their devices. So far we have music player, cell phone, GPS, computer, video player....

Re:I want my mp3 player to play music (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29429321)

It never occured to you that "it all" actually is "just music" for some people? I see people with music players all day long. People doing something smart-phony with their smart phone are quite rare on the other side.

Re:I want my mp3 player to play music (3, Interesting)

stokessd (89903) | more than 4 years ago | (#29429121)

Do apps matter?

That depends on a couple factors, the first is what you want or need in a portable device, and secondly what is your device capable of.

for me having a phone with GPS and internet capability means that I'm never more than inches away from a map, thus I'm lost a whole lot less than I used to be. Product reviews and internet prices are always in my pocket, so I'm a smarter consumer even for impulse buys. If I get stuck away from home in a rainstorm on my bike, I can check to see if I'm screwed or if the rain will blow over while I sit under a bridge and wait.

So no, apps are not needed, but they sure made my life better without having to carry another item.

Sheldon

Re:I want my mp3 player to play music (4, Insightful)

b0r1s (170449) | more than 4 years ago | (#29429197)

You may not be the intended audience. If you have to carry a bare bones phone because (for example) you have one provided by an employer, or you cant have a camera (security reasons), or you don't want to upgrade and lose your ancient awesome phone plan, carrying an mp3 player that also doubles as a browser / calendar / email client / GPS / everything else is convenient and awesome.

If you just want it to play music, it's way too expensive and a waste of money.

Remember: not everyone just wants music.

Re:I want my mp3 player to play music (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29429263)

iPod touch has neither phone or GPS?

The app store arguments might make sense in a phone comparison.

I just don't see the big difference between a non-phone mp3 player with or without an app store. But I guess I may not be the target audience or understand that market.

Re:I want my mp3 player to play music (2, Interesting)

beelsebob (529313) | more than 4 years ago | (#29429433)

Bear in mind that, the iPod touch is not apple's music player device. Apple have the iPod shuffle/nano/classic for that purpose. As steve jobs himself stated in their recent iPod announcement, the iPod touch is a portable games console.

it does (4, Interesting)

jDeepbeep (913892) | more than 4 years ago | (#29429227)

Are these damn players becoming like cell phones? Do app stores matter? Makes no sense to me.

In the case of the iPod Touch, it's become a highly popular gaming platform, not to mention having things like iCal, wifi, safari bundled, etc etc. It's either filled a void by providing a hybrid PDA+music player+gaming device, or created that void and told people that they need this. Imho it's a bit of both.

Re:it does (1)

nomadic (141991) | more than 4 years ago | (#29429637)

Not sure why, it is a terrible games platform (judging by my iphone); no controller, and uses up juice way too fast.

Re:I want my mp3 player to play music (4, Insightful)

rolfwind (528248) | more than 4 years ago | (#29429261)

What more do I need?

Are these damn players becoming like cell phones? Do app stores matter? Makes no sense to me.

First, when making an argument, consider you are not the only person in the world, so yes, someone somewhere probably needs something more/different/whatever.

And yes, App stores matter. Developers like them for saless. Non-geeks like them because it's a trustworthy point to get software that's pretty much guaranteed to be malware-free and won't hijack your system. Ubuntu, in fact, has an essentially same functionality in synaptic. Perhaps, if they were to leverage that into a store, it could help linux grow further.

Not all software can be free software. Can't sell support contracts for games and the like.

There is also cool software to be had for the iPhone - like some small apps to help you learn chinese or japanese, etc. App stores help promote this type of thing.

Re:I want my mp3 player to play music (4, Interesting)

Thaelon (250687) | more than 4 years ago | (#29429439)

Your opinion of what is relevant in the market is proportional to how much of that market you comprise.

The fact of the matter is, these apps and a convenient source for them are very much in demand. I highly recommend you at least borrow someone's iPod Touch of iPhone, check out the app store (right from the device!) and see if there isn't something there you would like to have.

My 3GS is not only my phone, my ebook reader, my mp3 player, my backup navigation device, my portable dictionary, my (surprisingly good) camera, my portable gaming device, compass, and, and even a crude level, in fact it's the first device I've owned that's fast enough and user friendly enough that I'd call it a general purpose portable computer. I held out on getting an iPhone until the 3GS and it was worth the wait.

I'll get off your lawn now.

Astroturf (-1, Troll)

Frosty Piss (770223) | more than 4 years ago | (#29428999)

Slashdot has certainly become the place to read Microsoft Astroturf, lately.

Re:Astroturf (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29429283)

... you realize this article is NEGATIVE towards Microsoft... right?

Re:Astroturf (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29429473)

Oh?

It will come with some unique features, though, like an HD radio tuner, and with software that has been well-received by users.

You need to lear to read.

Re:Astroturf (1)

fulldecent (598482) | more than 4 years ago | (#29429469)

Please read the gave a response [nwsource.com] link.

No amount of astroturf can cure the ridiculousification of messages in TFA.

So, no apps, or just not yet? (1)

Bruiser80 (1179083) | more than 4 years ago | (#29429033)

This is a major oversight if Microsoft isn't going to allow 3rd party apps. Maybe when they get around to supporting it, you'll be able to install apps without using an iTunes-style interface. Directly from app's website perhaps?

Re:So, no apps, or just not yet? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29429135)

I'm hoping somebody will hack it open like the iPhone was. As long as there's some path to add third-party applications, I don't care if it's supported or not.

Re:So, no apps, or just not yet? (1)

beelsebob (529313) | more than 4 years ago | (#29429459)

You know that you don't need an iTunes like interface on an iPod touch? It has an app store app built into it.

HD radio (0)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 4 years ago | (#29429041)

It will come with some unique features, though, like an HD radio tuner

It's ironic that the "HD" in "HD radio" stands for high definition, when current digital, especially with lossy comression, has a LOWER definition than the old analog vinyl did. Yes, FM is nowhere near the fidelity of LP, but neither is CD.

Have you ever heard a CD that you would confuse with a live performance? Me either. I have heard LPs played on high end equipment that you would confuse with a live performance. I guess that's why they changed it from "High Fidelity" to "High Definition, because at today's low sampling rates and especially lossy compression, the fidelity just isn't there.

I do realise that HD gives features lackin in the analog part, like song titles printed out and so forth. Maybe it should stand for "Happy with Digital"?

Re:HD radio (1)

watchoutbehindyou (1409847) | more than 4 years ago | (#29429081)

Don't try to find any meaning to "HD audio". It's pure Buzzword Bullshit. Me hates.

Re:HD radio (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29429099)

this guys gotta be a troll. Cause if he actually did some reading he'd see he has no idea what he's talking about.

Re:HD radio (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29429139)

It's ironic that the "HD" in "HD radio" stands for high definition, when current digital, especially with lossy comression, has a LOWER definition than the old analog vinyl did.

A few things:

1) It's a good thing the HD in HD Radio doesn't stand for "High Definition" then. It's "Hybrid Digital".
2) HD Radio is higher fidelity than FM, and that's what it's being compared to. ("Definition" doesn't really work with audio, anyway)
3) Vinyl may have a higher theoretical accuracy, but CDs have a far lower noise floor, which in practice makes them far more accurate.

I guess that's why they changed it from "High Fidelity" to "High Definition, because at today's low sampling rates and especially lossy compression, the fidelity just isn't there.

Again, they didn't change it. And at the recording studio, they're using higher sampling rates and less compression than ever. The fact that the music you buy from iTunes is more compressed (And the fact that CDs in the "Loudness War" are clipped) is irrelevant.

Re:HD radio (1)

Bruiser80 (1179083) | more than 4 years ago | (#29429385)

2) HD Radio is higher fidelity than FM, and that's what it's being compared to. ("Definition" doesn't really work with audio, anyway)

Partially True. A station has a set amount of data it can transfer. If a station splits its signal over too many channels (like High-Def's sub-channels), you can get down to a quality that is indeed worse than FM.

Re:HD radio (3, Insightful)

dunkelfalke (91624) | more than 4 years ago | (#29429141)

Yeah. All those pops and scratches and distortion really make you believe being in a live performance.

Anyway, there are only a bunch of artists who sound good live making your rambling a moot point.

HD radio sounds poor (1)

YesIAmAScript (886271) | more than 4 years ago | (#29429183)

It has poor quality and the user experience when the signal fades is awful.

But you are completely insane about the vinyl thing. It's in your head.

Re:HD radio sounds poor (1)

LS1 Brains (1054672) | more than 4 years ago | (#29429565)

HD radio sure sounds worlds better than sat radio (XM/Sirius) though. Egads, if I wanted to listen to an AM radio in the bathtub, I would. Can you bump that 34kbps up a little, please? I might Siriusly consider paying for XM, seeing as how it is pre-installed in both cars.

Re:HD radio (4, Informative)

Renderer of Evil (604742) | more than 4 years ago | (#29429225)

HD Radio stands for Hybrid-Definition [wikipedia.org] . It's misleading marketing bullshit.

The guy who initially demoed Zune couple of months ago was scrolling the list of songs on the device and said (in reference to a 480-by-272 display) "Look at the gorgeous screen. You can really see the HD." I don't think people at Microsoft really understand the meaning of High Definition or lying through their teeth in their marketing materials.

Re:HD radio (3, Insightful)

jhol13 (1087781) | more than 4 years ago | (#29429289)

Have you ever heard a CD that you would confuse with a live performance?

No. Thankfully I can play at less than ~100dBA.

I have heard LPs played on high end equipment that you would confuse with a live performance.

No, I would not. It does not have the ambience of a stadium and the feeling of over 1000 people around me.

I am so sick and tired of "LP is analog therefore better" bullshit that I strongly recommend you to calculate LP's channel capacity (according to Shannon's nice theorem). You will be surprised how much you have to fiddle with the numbers before you get higher than 1.4Mbit/s (stereo).

Re:HD radio (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29429297)

I agree with you Dude! I borrowed an HD radio for use during my commute to work. I was not impressed. They should call i 128k streamtuner or something.
My IPOD sounds better, then again I rip my CDs at 320k

Re:HD radio (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29429299)

HD stand for HIGH DISTORTION

Re:HD radio (2, Informative)

gnalre (323830) | more than 4 years ago | (#29429313)

Lets not also forget that HD is not a widely used system. Its closed source and only used in North America. In Europe DAB is the standard, so good luck using or selling the zune outside the states.

Re:HD radio (4, Informative)

JerryLove (1158461) | more than 4 years ago | (#29429381)

You make entierly untrue assumptions about HD radio, and unfair comparisons.

HD radio requires a fraction of the power of analog.
HD radio requires a fraction of the bandwidth of analog.
HD radio survives with 0% distortion over the majority of its receivable range.
HD radio is capable of CD-quality sound.
HD radio is capable of >2-channel encoding.

Similarly, your LP-vs-CD, while bordering on religious, is unfounded. Though LPs have a higher top frequency than standard CDs on their first play, both are well above human hearing.

The long-and-short is that the quality of playback on high-end equipment, when considered in light of the human ear, will be far more dependant on the mastering than on CD-vs-LP. And at that level we are usually discussing SACD and DVD-A... welcome to the 21st century.

And yes, I've heard CDs sound like live; and I've heard a number of SACDs that do. I suspect that you havent either because of a disparity in the mastering, a disparity in the playback equipment, or listener bias.

Re:HD radio (5, Informative)

ArhcAngel (247594) | more than 4 years ago | (#29429437)

From the HD Digital Radio FAQ [hdradio.com]

Q : WHAT DOES THE HD IN HD RADIO MEAN?

A: The 'HD' in 'HD Radio' is part of iBiquity Digital's brand name for its digital AM and FM radio technology. It does not mean either hybrid digital or high definition, it is simply the branding language for this new technology.

They are simply riding the wave of video High Definition hype nothing more.

Re:HD radio (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29429445)

Heh...it's been proven that the PVC polymer chains that comprise LPs don't offer as much resolution, even on the molecular level, as 44.1 KHz sampled audio. Not to mention that the properties of the material don't allow even that kind of resolution in the first place. The infinite resolution thing is a myth. I can't find it at the moment, but if anyone is really interested, look for data about electron micrographs of LPs.

Furthermore, LPs max out at maybe 70-80 dBa of dynamic range, while 16-bit CDs offer 96, and 24-bit "HD audio" formats even more (to the point where its not even needed). The full original signal is easily reconstructed from the sampled audio. CDs are in every way technologically superior to LPs.

That being said, many early CDs were poorly mastered. Engineers often boosted the treble when mastering for LPs to compensate for the medium. When they did that out of habit for CDs, they sounded scratchy and awful.

Re:HD radio (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29429485)

How many LPs, or even 45s, can you fit in your pocket? What's the battery life on your portable turntable? how important is sound fidelity on a crowded subway, or noisy cartrip? Oh dear, I've been trolled.

Re:HD radio (5, Interesting)

djbckr (673156) | more than 4 years ago | (#29429535)

Have you ever heard a CD that you would confuse with a live performance?

Are you *really* serious? I don't buy that at all. You must not have had a very good CD player or summin. I have a *large* collection of LP's, 45's, and CD's, and most of my library I listen to is on my iPod now. I've spent enormous amounts of time comparing the AAC version of what I've recorded to the original. Can't tell a difference.

What I have found is that CD's tend to unmask the weakness of the original recording, making it a little less pleasurable to listen to. An extreme example is Journey "Lovin' Touchin' Squeezin". If you listen to it on a cheap radio over FM it's not too bad. Listen to it on LP it sounds better. Listen to it on a CD with high-end equipment (I have Mackie studio monitors) and it sounds absolutely friggin horrible. It's not the mastering of the CD or the quality of the A/D conversion, it's the original recording. Now go and listen to James Taylor "Everyday" - the remastered version - downloaded from iTunes. That's probably some of the best quality audio you'll ever hear.

Oh, and IAASE (I am a studio engineer)

Is a store really necessary (1)

stokessd (89903) | more than 4 years ago | (#29429045)

Sure a dedicated app store is a great way to funnel your customers to your door. But that's like saying you only have one store available to you, and you have to pay in Stokessd-town dollars. I'm sure you would have less total customers than if the unit was open to applications from anywhere, although you'll most likely collect more stokessd-town dollars.

If my quick read of the article (what there is of it), there "does not have plans for an iPhone-like app platform", but that doesn't meant that apps cannot be run on the device. Much like the jailbroken iPhone app market, there could be a zune app market independent of microsoft's non-existent store. The unit has too much potential not to have apps developed for it. It's just a matter of who and how many.

Microsoft has done a very consistent job of managing the Zune. That management got it where it is today, and I see this revelation as being consistent with all the previous management decisions.

Sheldon

Re:Is a store really necessary (2, Interesting)

99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) | more than 4 years ago | (#29429403)

Sure a dedicated app store is a great way to funnel your customers to your door. But that's like saying you only have one store available to you, and you have to pay in Stokessd-town dollars. I'm sure you would have less total customers than if the unit was open to applications from anywhere, although you'll most likely collect more stokessd-town dollars.

You're only seeing half the picture. Having a built in store that collects all the apps in one place is a feature and customers really, really, really like being able to get everything from one place in one consistent way. This leaves phone implementors with three choices:

  • be lazy don't do anything ignore the feature.
  • implement a store just like Apple did, so you have feature parity and either:
    • lock the device to the store down just like Apple, gaining the same disadvantages
    • don't lock the device to just the store down resulting in multiple ways to get apps, confusing users, and having to support multiple workflows
  • be innovative and provide a store but set it up so anyone can add things to it from their own hosting, like letting users add their own smaller stores

MS picked the choice that is the least work, least innovative, and works like Windows. For some reason I'm not surprised.

Re:Is a store really necessary (2, Informative)

unjedai (966274) | more than 4 years ago | (#29429559)

Microsoft has done a very consistent job of managing the Zune. That management got it where it is today, and I see this revelation as being consistent with all the previous management decisions.

And where it is today is right at 2% market share [marketwatch.com] (fifth paragraph from the bottom).

What about an SDK (1)

CubicleView (910143) | more than 4 years ago | (#29429059)

Can a third party develop apps on their own, can they be installed easily etc?

Re:What about an SDK (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29429211)

Yes. Install VisualStudio Express.

Good ol' Microsoft. Always thinking about devs... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29429067)

"we know people want things like this on their devices so we're going to build them ourselves, they're going to be super high-quality, and they're going to be free."

Thankyou Microsoft! Now programmers won't have to worry about getting carpal tunnel syndrome programming apps and games for the Zune HD. What a strategy. Grateful programmers will flock to the Zune just out of appreciation for Microsoft!

Then you get mean lazy old Apple making third party developers to make games and apps for their clearly inferior iphone, and ipod touch. I'm honestly surprised they haven't gone bankrupt yet.

Convoluted Mess or Just Bad Strategy? (0, Troll)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 4 years ago | (#29429077)

No App Store For Microsoft's Zune HD

I only read the Q&A on the blog linked but I did catch this:

All of our apps are free ... and it's a managed solution right now, so we're building these apps or working with third parties to build these apps and provide them to our customers for free.

Followed by:

That being said, we know people want things like this on their devices so we're going to build them ourselves, they're going to be super high-quality, and they're going to be free.

It sounds like you'd have a hard time getting third parties to release applications on the Zune given the above aims. Now, free apps are great but I don't think a store would have much of a purpose if everything there is free. Regardless, I expect this to fail with a 95% chance of that. The biggest influence that "we're going to build them ourselves" means a very very tight bandwidth for incubating games followed by literally mods of older games to take place in a different setting or tweaked to read "Spiderman" instead of "Superman." Gamers don't normally fall for that although your general populace might. And if I want to create a game "with" them what do I do? Get in line behind Project Gotham racing?

I don't think convoluted's a good criticism but it's certainly a poor or doomed strategy in my opinion.

Re:Convoluted Mess or Just Bad Strategy? (1)

je ne sais quoi (987177) | more than 4 years ago | (#29429325)

It sounds like you'd have a hard time getting third parties to release applications on the Zune given the above aims.

That's true, but what if they already have tried enticing 3rd party developers with a sales pitch for some kind of store and got so little interest they decided to can the whole thing?

The reason I bring this up is that, as a mac/linux guy, I had an interesting experience this morning: I had to burn a disc image using windows vista. I discovered to my dismay that Vista doesn't contain this ability natively, whereas macs do and just about every linux distribution does. The question is why wouldn't MS take the time to write some software to do that natively? My only thought was that maybe it was because they've got something 90% of the market share for OSes, they don't need to write their own apps because there's a million different disc burning utilities just a mouse-click and an internet connection. Maybe apple with about 10% usage share just couldn't attract the developers for every little thing they considered important and turned to writing their own software. Now flip this around for the portable media players, Apple machines are ubiquitous and can afford to let others write software for them whereas Microsoft can't find the developers willing to do it and has to write their own. You see that with games on linux too, a lot of the "linux games [linuxgames.com] " seem to be written by linux users themselves and not companies trying to sell their products.

Software? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29429103)

It will come with some unique features, ..., and with software that has been well-received by users>/i>
OOOooooo, that's a first.

Now ... (1)

TheBilgeRat (1629569) | more than 4 years ago | (#29429109)

If they could only create a decent music storage device with multiple inputs/outputs that allowed you to record off a digital or analog signal or upload from your computer, put it on very stable media, and had great battery life...

Oh yeah, they did-the minidisc. Of course, Sony screwed that pooch. Let's do that again with an SD capable player and quit fiddling with video and all that other gimmicky crap. If MS could bring that to the table I'd buy one in a heartbeat. Until then I'll stick with my outdated antiquated MD player.

Zune HD is a bizarre product (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29429115)

Here's an interesting article [appleinsider.com] regarding the hype surrounding Zune HD (which isn't actually HD to begin with).

In Microsoft's world, HD means 480x272. HD Radio? It stands for Hybrid Digital, not High Definition and works only in US.

Re:Zune HD is a bizarre product (1)

stokessd (89903) | more than 4 years ago | (#29429175)

Be careful reading Daniel Eran Dilger's writings and assuming that they are accurate and unbiased, that's dangerous.

Sheldon

Re:Zune HD is a bizarre product (1)

David Gerard (12369) | more than 4 years ago | (#29429457)

They are usually accurate and biased - i.e., you won't find a factual error - but if Apple made baby-mulching machines he'd write a novel-length article on how they're the best thing ever created, baby-mulching is the most noble human activity possible and Steve Jobs deserves a Nobel peace prize. And how any objection is all Microsoft FUDding the press.

Re:Zune HD is a bizarre product (1)

sootman (158191) | more than 4 years ago | (#29429547)

The funniest part is the headline he chose: "Microsoft launches Zune, clarifies what's up with apps"

Q: Will it open up for third-party app developers?

A: It's hard to say right now.

That's clarification?!?!?

And this absolutely KILLS me:

Q: Are you concerned about competing with new iPods with cameras built in?

A: The more things like that that make their way into these devices that aren't about great music and video playback, the more it's distracting or sacrificing that original purpose of the device. Apps are jamming in, cameras -- that's work that's not being done on the music front.

With this release, you can see we're still really focused on music and video. We're still hyper-focused on that. Maybe that's the benefit of being the little guy. We can have that laser-focus.

Maybe some of those people ... did buy an iPod because it's all about music, and now it's not. Maybe we can get some of those folks.

I have never listened to music on my iPhone and thought "Boy, I could really be enjoying this if I weren't constantly distracted by the fact that there's a camera ON THE BACK, and a calculator button on the home screen that I CAN NOT SEE RIGHT NOW."

Riddled with bias (0, Flamebait)

gcnaddict (841664) | more than 4 years ago | (#29429285)

1) The OLED display is tons brighter than the display on the iPhone, so their point is moot.
Their battery life argument flops as they don't actually talk about Zune HD's energy savings. Zune HD nets the same battery life with a smaller battery than the iPod Touch.
2) The Quake 3 demo wasn't done on an iPod Touch; it was done on a totally different device. The hardware ecosystem in which a processor is used has a heavy impact on performance metrics, so the FPS gap noted here is a highly dubious claim.
3) Zune HD was never touted as mobile HD, so this point is moot.
4) The quality of digital radio is better than analog radio, so that point is also down. Think of how digital signals can carry HD video whereas analog signals are unsuited for the task.
5) "The Windows CE foundation that the Zune HD is built upon is regarded as a joke throughout the industry" unsubstantiated (and false, might I add) point. Besides this, the author doesn't provide much other "evidence"

Nice article.

Re:Zune HD is a bizarre product (2, Informative)

Cornelius the Great (555189) | more than 4 years ago | (#29429579)

HD also refers to the 720p HDMI-out capability.

Re:Zune HD is a bizarre product (1)

RightSaidFred99 (874576) | more than 4 years ago | (#29429601)

Actually it is HD. Sorry, you don't know what you're talking about. Please see its video output capabilities.

Re:Zune HD is a bizarre product (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29429701)

Well, what you get in the box is not HD. But, add a $90 dock, and an HDTV, and HD can be yours.

Crappy feature.

Marketing speak is pretty funny (4, Insightful)

sribe (304414) | more than 4 years ago | (#29429153)

Let's see, it's set to go on sale just about now. So how exactly has the software "been well-received by users"???

Re:Marketing speak is pretty funny (3, Interesting)

josteos (455905) | more than 4 years ago | (#29429215)

Beta testers. They have opinions that are ignored unless they properly align with prepared marketing assets.

Re:Marketing speak is pretty funny (1)

fee^ (94129) | more than 4 years ago | (#29429529)

srsly..

At 5:30am I was updating and installing the new software to my system and Zune. By 6:30 I was frustrated and pissed off because I realized and learned that anything the press had been up M$ arse about regarding the 4.0 software and features were, for the most part, left out for anyone with an "old" device. Unless of course you pay $15/month for DRM in your music collection, then you can certainly get more features.

Way to go Zune marketing...way to go.

Gruber is irrelevant. (1)

gcnaddict (841664) | more than 4 years ago | (#29429159)

Why is his comment on the matter even being taken seriously? Regardless of what Brian said, Gruber's level of bias in this matter renders him unfit for citation.

Re:Gruber is irrelevant. (1)

Renderer of Evil (604742) | more than 4 years ago | (#29429277)

Gruber may be fanboi extraordinare, but come on! Saying "windows mobile strategy is a convoluted mess" is like saying "the Pope is a Catholic"

Re:Gruber is irrelevant. (2, Interesting)

sootman (158191) | more than 4 years ago | (#29429349)

There's an old saying that goes "If Hitler says 2+2=4, you can't argue with him." Did you RTFA? How is this NOT a convoluted mess?:

It's hard to say right now. If you look around the company at other places where things like this are important, Windows Mobile rises to the top... Right now our product roadmaps didn't line up perfectly for us to snap to what they're doing or vice versa. That being said, we know people want things like this on their devices so we're going to build them ourselves, they're going to be super high-quality, and they're going to be free.

Down the road if there's a way we can work with Windows Mobile or another group inside the company that's building an app store and take advantage of that, that's something we'll look into.

This thing has been in development for YEARS and they're JUST NOW realizing that maybe people will want to run apps on them, and they're announcing that they don't know how, if, or when that will happen? I don't care who says it--John Gruber, Steve Jobs, Larry Ellison, it doesn't matter--it is clearly a convoluted mess.

For fuck's sake, why on Earth DIDN'T MS just build the Zune functionality on top of WIndows Mobile? Zune has been out for almost 3 years; Windows Mobile for about 9. What is so mind-blowingly intense about what the Zune does (plays music, shows pictures, plays video; probably with neat sliding or fading transitions between menus and modes) that there was NO FUCKING WAY that all the great minds in Redmond could POSSIBLY make it work with ANY variant of Windows Mobile? Really, all they had to do was make a shiny "media app" that ran on top of Windows Mobile, the same way that "Media Center" is just an app that runs on top of regular Windows.

Re:Gruber is irrelevant. (1)

David Gerard (12369) | more than 4 years ago | (#29429483)

Indeed. They put wifi into the first Zune and DIDN'T put a web browser in. They could have had an iPod Touch beater SIX MONTHS ahead of Apple. Why didn't they?

Wow, biased much? (4, Interesting)

Facegarden (967477) | more than 4 years ago | (#29429213)

You know, I know this is slashdot and all, but this is a VERY biased article.

They don't have an open app store yet because they want all the games to be free, and developed in house, which isn't as bad as this summary makes it sound.

They aren't merging with windows mobile's store because they want to make extra sure the Zune is perfect, and I absolutely don't blame them.

I'm pretty annoyed that whoever wrote this summary was this biased, the Zune HD looks awesome and its really unfair to try to make it look bad on a site that gets 2 million hits a day. If it ends up being bad, that's one thing, but give it a freakin chance.

-Taylor

Re:Wow, biased much? (3, Insightful)

samkass (174571) | more than 4 years ago | (#29429393)

Someone is very biased, but I'm not sure it was the submitter. The very fact that Zune even has a headline on Slashdot considering its 1% market share and fourth-place finish behind iPod, Sandisk, and "Other" comes close to astroturfing in my book. Zune is irrelevant in the market and pretending this is a viable product launch at ALL is awfully biased in a pro-Microsoft way.

They don't have an app store yet because it's hard and they don't want to invest in it for a potentially dying platform.

They aren't merging with Windows Mobile because that strategy is a mess (6.5? 7.0?) and a moving target. ("Make extra sure the Zune is perfect"? What does that even mean?)

The marketing folks at Microsoft are trying hard to spin, but their explanations make no sense if you examine how the current market leader won.

Re:Wow, biased much? (4, Insightful)

Facegarden (967477) | more than 4 years ago | (#29429527)

Someone is very biased, but I'm not sure it was the submitter. The very fact that Zune even has a headline on Slashdot considering its 1% market share and fourth-place finish behind iPod, Sandisk, and "Other" comes close to astroturfing in my book. Zune is irrelevant in the market and pretending this is a viable product launch at ALL is awfully biased in a pro-Microsoft way.

They don't have an app store yet because it's hard and they don't want to invest in it for a potentially dying platform.

They aren't merging with Windows Mobile because that strategy is a mess (6.5? 7.0?) and a moving target. ("Make extra sure the Zune is perfect"? What does that even mean?)

The marketing folks at Microsoft are trying hard to spin, but their explanations make no sense if you examine how the current market leader won.

Really? The current market leader won by also not having an app store right away.

And this isn't astroturfing, as far as I'm concerned. I'm genuinely excited about the ZuneHD. Builtin HD radio, the first device with NVidia's Tegra processor for mobile 3D graphics, and a supposedly beautiful OLED screen are all reasons why this device is worth reporting on.

And I'm not a MS fanboy, I dumped windows mobile YEARS ago (thank god) for my iPhone, which I eventually dumped for Android. I just think it looks genuinely promising.
-Taylor

Re:Wow, biased much? (1)

PHoRD42 (306664) | more than 4 years ago | (#29429651)

Claiming that it's not even a viable product launch because it lacks a solid pre-existing market share is a pretty broken argument. Calling the Zune a "potentially dying platform" is just baiting, because ANY platform is "potentially dying" to the point that at least SOME degree of investment could be considered unjustifiable.

You're just throwing out a bunch of speculative claims and poorly-supported attacks under the guise of combating bias, which is deeply, deeply ironic.

Re:Wow, biased much? (1)

RightSaidFred99 (874576) | more than 4 years ago | (#29429681)

You're right. Any mention of a product released by the most successful software company in history is _totally_ astroturfing.

Quick, what irrelevent sub .05% market share Linux release just got published?

Re:Wow, biased much? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29429405)

If its not made by Apple, it sucks.

Q.E.D.

Re:Wow, biased much? (1)

mewsenews (251487) | more than 4 years ago | (#29429421)

They aren't merging with windows mobile's store because they want to make extra sure the Zune is perfect, and I absolutely don't blame them.

Yeah, Apple's version totally ruined the iPhone, what were they thinking.

Re:Wow, biased much? (1)

Facegarden (967477) | more than 4 years ago | (#29429479)

They aren't merging with windows mobile's store because they want to make extra sure the Zune is perfect, and I absolutely don't blame them.

Yeah, Apple's version totally ruined the iPhone, what were they thinking.

Apple *also* didn't come out with an app store right away, to make sure everything was perfect. This article also fails to mention that they intend to have one when the time is right. For apple that was an entire year.
-Taylor

Re:Wow, biased much? (1)

fulldecent (598482) | more than 4 years ago | (#29429497)

Zune is not on the Windows mobile store because the Zune project leader doesn't know how to get in contact with the WinMo team. I think that came across pretty clear in TFA.

Re:Wow, biased much? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29429499)

I'd give it a chance, but I indeed do scoff at the option to only allow paid inhouse developers develope games and restrict the mass of freelancing developers

Re:Wow, biased much? (1)

Angostura (703910) | more than 4 years ago | (#29429693)

That's right. And opening an Appstore to third parties would absolutely prevent Microsoft from bundling free awesome games, because... wait, it's on the tip of my tongue.

I wonder why they didn't change their prices (3, Insightful)

antifoidulus (807088) | more than 4 years ago | (#29429327)

after Apple dropped the price on the iPod touch. Regardless of how good the new Zune is, the point is that it has a LOOOONG way to go before it catches up and pricing yourself about the same as your already well-established competitor is pretty much a recipe for failure.

Re:I wonder why they didn't change their prices (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29429557)

Nonsense. Haven't you read the tech sites lately? The vast majority of people after a new touch were pretty pissed off with apple's pathetic update last week. The new touch is still born, other than the 64GB bump, it's 2-3 years old tech with the worst LCD screen on a premium media player. The touch has a lot of catching up to do to the better products. When MS surpass it you know how far apple have fallen. Gaming playform? Yeah, if you've never used a DS or PSP and waste your lunchtimes on MS card games.

uslefull (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29429339)

What happened to the day when microsoft made a million useless machines usefull again... now their just making a million useless machines

No App Store for YOU! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29429347)

- Zune Nazi

Microsoft launches Zune MusicTurd service (-1, Troll)

David Gerard (12369) | more than 4 years ago | (#29429353)

In a bid to win back profits after huge layoffs worldwide, Microsoft has launched the new Zune MusicTurd(tm).

The highly competitive MusicTurd(tm) music store offers tracks at twice the price, DRM-locked to a chosen individual ear of the purchaser. Microsoft were careful to point out to the financial press that charging your account, however, works perfectly and that the helpline number has been connected to a fax machine.

Microsoft is confident the MusicTurd(tm) service will attract millions of people who will buy tracks from them to play on one player ever, not transferable to any other device including the same device's replacement, in preference to stores offering cheaper unlocked MP3s, and won't just drive people to filesharing networks, MP3 blogs or copying terabyte USB disks full of music from their friends in sheer disgust at these corporate tools.

"We understand that lots of people use electrical devices they carry around with them these days," said marketing marketer Hugh Jarse, "and you can even play music on them. A bit like a transistor radio. Whatever will they think of next! So if we get the consumer interest, we'll offer an enhanced version, MusicTurd(tm) Polished(tm). Like we're doing with Windows 7. You can't expect it to be any good until the third version, of course. So buy the first two and it'll be fantastic. Trust us on this. We have hundreds of loyal suck, er, customers, I'm sure we can squeeze them until the pips rattle.

"What do you mean, I'm lacking enthusiasm for our product? You'd think I was trying to get redundancy in the next round of layoffs or something. Ha! Ha! What a ridiculous notion."

Illustration: The new Zune logo [today.com] .

This article is really sided (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29429363)

Zune does have a 'store'. There is the Zune Marketplace, around longer than the iphone app store. You can download games to your Zune (very limited) from the Marketplace, isn't that essentially what the iPhone app store does? The Zune isn't the iPhone or the iTouch (comes close), it is a DRM heavy Microsoft portable media player with the ability to run certain apps and share things with other Zune owners. If you have the cash and easy wifi access, then you are set on the media front. The Zune isn't for the pirate with a billion mp3's on their system as the Windows software is tailored to help you download from the Marketplace. The Zune is for listening to music, podcasts, watching videos and movies, being part of a Zune community.

An app store doesn't even make sense with the Zune fees. You can buy songs piecemeal but that would be idiotic when you can get all-you-can-eat plans. And if the smartest thing to do on the zune is pay for all-you-can-eat, why would somebody then pay extra for little games and apps?

The HD radio thing is not new, it's been in the Zune since the first incarnation. The newest feature would have to be it's ability to download tracks (from the Marketplace) that you hear and tag while listening to the radio.

There is an SDK for developing apps, if you are into that kind of stuff.

No more squirting (4, Informative)

vivek7006 (585218) | more than 4 years ago | (#29429371)

They got rid "squirting" feature which Balmar was so proud of.

First, Microsoft has removed the "squirting" feature, which let you send songs directly from one Zune to another. This feature was supposed to be a big selling point of the first Zune but was crippled by unreasonable rights restrictions that let you play songs only three times or within three days (whichever came first). Microsoft and content owners gradually loosened those restrictions, but the feature never made much difference--mainly because there were so few Zune users out there to exchange songs with. (The "first man with a telephone" problem.) Now it's gone

http://news.cnet.com/8301-13526_3-10352637-27.html [cnet.com]

US only, why ? (4, Insightful)

Pascal Sartoretti (454385) | more than 4 years ago | (#29429395)

Why do they only sell the Zune it in the US ? If they don't have the complexity of an application store, it should be relatively easy.

You have to wonder if Microsoft really wants to sell Zunes... As an iPod user, I would welcome a stronger competition.

Please Microsoft, keep Apple at work, else they will become another lazy monopolist !

Re:US only, why ? (1)

Cornelius the Great (555189) | more than 4 years ago | (#29429621)

Please Microsoft, keep Apple at work, else they will become another lazy monopolist !

Will become?

Re:US only, why ? (1)

kick_in_the_eye (539123) | more than 4 years ago | (#29429671)

It's for sale in Canada, for about 6 months I think. Don't think they sold many tho'.

Neat, maybe I want one! Oh, fine print: (3, Interesting)

2obvious4u (871996) | more than 4 years ago | (#29429425)

*Zune HD AV Dock and an HDTV (all sold separately) are required to view video at HD resolution. Supported 720p HD video files play on the player, downscaled to fit the screen at 480 x 272 â" not HD resolution. Zune Pass subscription required; streaming via wi-fi available in U.S. only. HD Radioâ is a proprietary trademark of iBiquity Digital Corp. Learn more about HD Radio here.

So does that mean I need a "zune pass" to play video on my zune? What the hell is a zune pass [zune.net] anyway? Ok, so I look it up, but now why do I need it again?

what the press still isn't saying... (3, Interesting)

fee^ (94129) | more than 4 years ago | (#29429429)

...is how this time, M$ decided to leave behind their prior Zune models with any new features in the update. Discontinuing them should have been the sign. As a 18-month owner of a Zune80, I'm seriously disappointed. The only new features we legacy Zune (18months is legacy now?) users get are for the desktop app, which personally I only use to manage my device, and nothing more. Since I have it running on a Windows Media Center PC, why do I need yet another app that does pretty much the same thing, especially from the same vendor. Even more, in a time of recession, where I don't want to drop another couple hundred for a replacement device that's hardly showing its age or need for replacement, why would I possibly want to replace it?

If you read the Zune forums, its full of device feature requests for simple things...unicode support, crossfade, better playlist management, better integration with Windows apps (there is currently none for WMP or WMC). All of these pretty much since Gen-1 of the device, and all have been disregarded since the Zune marketing team felt it necessary to take this route instead.

Its simply a sad example of greed overtaking common sense at the expense of a bit more hard work. A philosophical example of modern capitalism and American excess too?

Anyone wanna buy a Gen-2 Zune80 is Good condition? I'll use the $ to buy a MiniSD for my cellphone to consolidate my gadgets instead.

They might be pacing themselves... (1)

Churla (936633) | more than 4 years ago | (#29429467)

Obviously we're moving more and more towards convergence devices which will handle many or all of the mobile technology needs of people. But we're not at that point fully yet.

Knowing this establishing yourself as a solid contender in one venue (music/media playback) isn't a bad thing. Then put together future offerings once others have dangled around in the market and figured out what people really do and don't want.

I could see MS coming out with a version of Windows Mobile that is a "everything under one roof" approach, but probably in another year or so. Take the interface of the Zune's and put it with the backside of Windows Mobile. Forcing a convergence of these two ahead of time would probably only cause a bad product to be made. Also waiting until the Windows 7 release machine hits full force, then release a new mobile OS and tie it all together with Xbox becoming a full on media center and you have something Apple wouldn't.

Must be a new definition of "unique" (2, Interesting)

Shag (3737) | more than 4 years ago | (#29429523)

It will come with some unique features, though, like an HD radio tuner

Does "unique" mean "just like the iPod Nano"?

(The Nano's ability to show artist and song names, and its "iTunes Tagging" features, shared with some FM radio iPod docks, also use HD radio. Apple just doesn't, for whatever reason, put "HD radio" in giant flaming letters in its advertising.)

The death of the MP3 Player? (0, Offtopic)

OneFix (18661) | more than 4 years ago | (#29429533)

I no longer *need* my iPod or any MP3 player. I use an application called Orb that streams all of the media on my Windows desktop to my Cell Phone or any web browser. I don't have to worry about syncing my iPod to download media or running out of space on my iPod. As long as it's on my PC, I can stream it to my phone. Orb is free, but it uses the bandwidth of your home PC to stream out the media...which is fine for music and live TV or video on the cell phone. But the lower video quality is noticeable when you stream it to a desktop. I expect this to change as residential upload speeds will eventually go up.

This release seems... apologetic? (1, Insightful)

malevolentjelly (1057140) | more than 4 years ago | (#29429563)

I don't know how else to put it. It seems like Microsoft is coming straight out the gate on the apologetic. What sort of impression is this going to send to people considering investing in the platform? They haven't expressed any clear strategy for a possible addition of Windows Mobile apps in the future, which seems equally stupid.

Do what Apple does- sometimes you just have to lie to make yourself sound impressive!

Let's take a lesson from Apple here: they've been pawning off old technology in Mac OS X as impressive new features for years. Apple knows what the fuck they're doing. The Zune marketing presentation, on the other hand, seems hyper aware of its shortcomings and the marketing response is a hurried explanation for why they aren't competing. "Sorry guys... we'll write a twitter app by the end of the year"...

END OF THE YEAR?! That's like a student project for beginning .NET development. How about they start spitting out some apps fast, and if not, just release a goddamn SDK. You are MICROSOFT, you have Visual Studio, XNA, etc. What the hell are you doing releasing a closed platform? They are competing with the iPod Touch, not the original iPod!

Do you want to know how bad of a release this is? I was going to buy one of these things until today. I assumed they had some clever card up their sleeve they were waiting to unveil at launch... nope... they were avoiding showing the App store because it has like 5 applications.

Do you want to know what I saw when I opened up the Zune software to check the app offerings this morning? ... a fucking calculator.

Really? Maybe they can distribute a Hello World app to go with that. This thing makes me want to buy an iPod Touch... and I totally hate Apple.

yawn... (1)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 4 years ago | (#29429569)

How many slashdotters were going to buy a Zune anyway? It is a dead-end product, regardless of whether or not they offer an app store. How many third party developers are ready, willing, and able to develop apps for Zune? Seems like most of them are too busy supporting iPod to even support Android, let alone Zune. Given a choice, and taking into consideration Microsoft's long history of screwing third party developers, which platform would you target?

Huh (1)

Stumbles (602007) | more than 4 years ago | (#29429689)

Zune users must be some real tards if they think a device having a radio, HD or otherwise is a real marketing hook. Radios are soooo last century.
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