AfterDawn: Tech news

Microsoft to update Zune media players

Written by Andre Yoskowitz (Google+) @ 08 Apr 2009 14:22 User comments (33)

Microsoft to update Zune media players Microsoft marketing manager Brian Seitz has said that the software giant will be revamping its Zune media players this year, marking the first significant refresh since early 2008 when Microsoft added a firmware update and increased storage capacity.
Over the past six months, the only significant news to come out about the Zune has been negative, and Microsoft is under pressure to keep the media player relevant in a time where Apple continues to strive. In January, the company reported that Zune revenue had fallen over $100 million USD year-on-year from 2007. The number represented a 54 percent decline year-on-year, an to date only 3.2 million Zune units have been sold, compared to over 200 million Apple iPods.

The company remains committed to the media players however, and has said it is looking to port the "Zune Experience" to Windows Mobile and other "living room devices."

You can view Seitz' small Twitter entry here: MS marketing manager Brian Seitz' Twitter page

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33 user comments

18.4.2009 17:01

just give up already

29.4.2009 1:37

Zune's are i think one of the best MP3 Players out, it may not have the newest top of the line tech but, i'd pick Zune over iPods any day.

This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 09 Apr 2009 @ 1:39

39.4.2009 1:55

I just got a 120 gb Zune and I love it. This after having a couple of 30gb zunes. As long as they make them I'll probably keep using them.

49.4.2009 2:00

I also have a Zune. Plays everything I have as well--movies and songs. The only problem I have with the Zune is the software. They should have made it compatible with media player.

59.4.2009 10:27

I also own a Zune 120 and have found it to be a superior MP3 player. The problem most people see with the Zune line is a lack of product on store shelves and advertising to promote public awareness. When you go into a store, like Best Buy or Wall Mart for instance, you will find shelves simply "bulging" with Ipod's and Ipod equipment and very few Zune's and little to no Zune gear. The same holds true for Zune advertising. Just take a look at any Sunday paper and see what you find advertised for the Zune verses what you see advertised for Ipod's. I purchased my Zune 120 from Circuit City well before they announced they were closing and only found 2 Zunes for sale on their shelf verses about 20 Ipods. Is it any wonder that the Zune brand of MP3 players has seen such a decline in the market place? I think not!!

69.4.2009 12:12

I have a 80gb Zune and I love it and I think it's better than the Ipod. But like Foxman said, Microsoft didn't do a good job of advertisement. If you were on a TV quizz show and the question was "give me the name of a mp3 player", you would probably say Ipod.
That's because Apple just crammed it in our brains with the ads.

79.4.2009 13:19

Why would I buy a Zune? Their software sucks and because it is a closed system you got to be a slave to MS.

Well, you guys show real loyality but I don't know how close you are to reality. I am sure they will die off in a year or 2. Apple does not advertise as much as the Zune does.

Most persons are unwilling to buy a closed system. I guess you all like your M$ Massa. I don't think even the Apple closed systems are doing well. At least they have a well thought out recovery system. At lest you cna go to a factory reset. With a Zuine you just have to throw it away when they get to that point. I guess none of you were casulties of that leathal upgrade that wiped out 10% of the Zunes. I figure good riddance!

It does not matter that the player is good. Who wants to be a slave. I just bought a 16 g Sabnsa mp4 player for 60 bucks that I can buy an extra 32G SD card on ebay for another 10 bucks. The battery life for audio is 35 hrs. It is an open system. You can drag and drop from Windows explorer.

89.4.2009 13:53

I'm not too fond of Zune's software although it has improved a lot. I love the desktop album art and the customization tools it has. But overall it's not that good. And I despise iTunes! I've tried other mp3's in the past, (iRiver, Creative, Sansa). The quality of their hardware just doesn't compare to a Zune. And what mp3 has a better LCD other than the Ipod touch?

99.4.2009 14:04

I just can't come up with a good reason as to why Microsoft didn't use WMP 11 for the Zune.

109.4.2009 14:11

juaneryle, I can agree with much of that. You notced I did not knock the hardware. I will say the new Sansa View LCD is very much like the Zune except for size. Both it and the Zune have bright colorful displays. The device is smaller than the Zune screen. The screen is a good size for that sized device.

I would rate the Zune software from 12/07 to be worse than itunes. That is saying something because I dispise itunes. I would not buy a device that locked you into itunes any more than I would buy a Zune. Well, I did buy a 30g on 11/07 for $80. That was not a bad deal. It is still running fine while an Apple disk player might not be. If they were an open devise, I would say buy a Zune if I really need a disked system.

119.4.2009 14:31

Let's go back to the beginning. Before the Zune. Microsoft made sure that all 3rd party mp3's were PC compatible and able to use the WMP. Even Apple switched the Ipod from the firewire to usb to more PC friendly eventhough you still needed iTunes.
Microsoft invents the Zune and for some crazy reason, they make it uncompatible with their own media player! They went against the stragedy that made them the #1 PC. Could you imagine Win XP being locked to Internet Explorer, Outlook Express, and Paint only?

129.4.2009 16:28

Yes if you could use WMP, Zune would be far more desirable. Apple was comming out with a closed system, the touch, when the Zune was being concieved. The touch even though it is a nicer device doesn't do well compaired with the ipods. They hope they can lock you into buying all your tunes from them. Well, it aint happening much. People like open systems.

MS over estimated their sellability. At that time, the Asians were just getting into the market. I don't think even Apple has much chance against Sansa. They are building them better, smarter and cheaper than Apple. Apple doesn't have the Sansa battery technology yet. The Sansa screen is vivid like the Zune. They do not have that stuipd scroll wheel either. Being Sandisk they are going to probably come out with the 32 G flash player before Apple.

Then you got the Zune! It doen't have a snowballs chance in hell!

This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 09 Apr 2009 @ 17:18

139.4.2009 17:54

Mez . . . for your information, I had no problem whatsoever transferring almost 8000 songs from the music library that was located on my computer's external hard drive directly into my Zune 120. The process was a very simple "straight forward" process using the Zune software program. If the Zune is a "closed system" as you say it is, I would have been prevented from moving any of my music into my Zune. Also there are a number of sources for "do-it-yourself" Zune repair parts as well as "on site" repairs to keep your Zune running after the battery dies or you get a cracked display window or need a new hard drive for instance.

149.4.2009 18:43

i think its a shame the zune is struggling , i have a ipod ive had several 30gb 60 gb 80 gb video 80, 120 gb video classics but thats in 3 years the things dont last a year ive had 7 ipods in 3 years tbh thats not good having to return them all the time, cus the battery sucks, or it has dead pixels or it the drive fails, i tryed a zune it was fun to use but the software sucked as much as itunes does, tbh but the zune standard earphones were great compaired to the apple ipod ones there junk, but i would buy a zxune if i knew a place that sold one in the UK over a ipod anyday i just wish theyd increase accessories support and well use WMP 11

159.4.2009 22:40

What's a zune???????????

169.4.2009 23:27

Answer for Salsa36 . . . .

Read the information found on this web site to learn more about the Zune: http://www.zune.net/en-us/mp3players/default.htm

1710.4.2009 0:59
itisanice
Inactive

I have a 80gb Zune and I love it and I think it's better than the Ipod.

1810.4.2009 1:12

It is better than the Ipod. I'm telling you what's hurting the Zune is the advertisement. Look at the Ipod ads. They are so hip and upbeat. The Zune ads are dull and all business. I mean that's cool with PC's, but not with mp3's.


JB

1910.4.2009 1:37

The Zune is a better piece of equipment than the iPod. Too bad it came to the market after the iPod became "THE" player. It has a better screen than the iPod classic (although nothing beats the Touch in that regard). It plays mp3 and AAC like the iPod, and it has something the iPod doesn't have, Wi-Fi. I don't own a Zune. I own an iPod like everybody else. The reason? I bought it before the Zune was available.

2010.4.2009 7:32

Foxman, what a closed system means is, you are locked into a specific audio manager.

The Zune can only use Zune software. If you think it is not closed try using WMP with it and see what happens. If you can use it, the Zune is not closed if you can't, it is closed. Most people do not like Zune software. However, Zune says "F*ck you" use our software or else, so they will go out of business. Good for them!

The touch can only use itunes. ipods are not locked into itunes however the audio manager must be made to be able to access the ipod.

I have never seen an add for a Sansa but the Sansa clip is only second to the ipod in popularity. Do you really do what the adds tell you to do? I say value is what wins out in the long run. People mostly get what their friends bought and like and avoid what they bought and didn't like. Lots of persons hate the Zune for good reason.

ipods are 'the player' for good reason. Even though they probably 'stole' most of the technology from various sources, they put put it all together in a nice, pleasing to the eye package that was more usable than any mp3 player up to that point. Ever since then the rest of the mp3 players have just been knock offs. Apple's vision made digital music popular.

2110.4.2009 11:23

Mez...so your contention is "most people do not like Zune software, their software sucks and this is going to make them go out of business." One might say the same thing about Ipod's software and iTunes. The truth is there are software compromises made for all MP3 players, some more than others.

2210.4.2009 12:09

Foxman, one could say that about the ipod but that would be false.

The reason that the ipod sells better than the touch which has better hardware is, you don't have to use itunes with an ipod but you do with the touch. Even deeply discounted, the touch sales are flagging behind the ipods. I have an ipod; I haven't used itunes in 4 years. I will not install that garbage on my computer. It will try to attack ipods that 'have gone over to the dark side'. Once attacked, it will have to get updated with the latest version of 'police in a box' software (itunes) to work again.

The touch and Zune are both on many don't buy lists including mine. I will suggest buying a zune disked system over an ipod disked system. I am down on disked players because of battery life and equipment life.

2310.4.2009 14:23

What do you use to manage your iPod? Rockbox, Anapod, Floola...Just curious about it.

2410.4.2009 14:51

Media Monkey has a wide array of sync options

Has a SQL engine for a back end which is about as fast as itunes with 300 times larger library. It is a must have, for an extremely large library.

It has a great integrated disk burning software.

Allows VB scripts to be installed into MM altering its performance. If MM nor an existing script can not do a worthy task someone will write a script for you. There are probably 500-1000 scripts that do truely amazing things. You have to convince the script writter that the job is important. Most requests for both the app and for the script writters are inane as you might expect. I have yet to see what I thought was a good idea ignored. The willingness to incorporate any good idea makes it a powerful app.

It will rip CDs but I use the top of the line ripper instead.

You can get a bairly crippled version for free. The paid for upgrade is 20 USD. I recommend trying out the free version.

2512.4.2009 15:31

I'll do that. I stopped counting songs after 10,000.

2612.4.2009 19:40

So a Zune is like an Ipod wannabe. Cute.

2713.4.2009 20:59

Originally posted by Mez:
Why would I buy a Zune? Their software sucks and because it is a closed system you got to be a slave to MS.

Well, you guys show real loyality but I don't know how close you are to reality. I am sure they will die off in a year or 2. Apple does not advertise as much as the Zune does.

Most persons are unwilling to buy a closed system. I guess you all like your M$ Massa. I don't think even the Apple closed systems are doing well. At least they have a well thought out recovery system. At lest you cna go to a factory reset. With a Zuine you just have to throw it away when they get to that point. I guess none of you were casulties of that leathal upgrade that wiped out 10% of the Zunes. I figure good riddance!

It does not matter that the player is good. Who wants to be a slave. I just bought a 16 g Sabnsa mp4 player for 60 bucks that I can buy an extra 32G SD card on ebay for another 10 bucks. The battery life for audio is 35 hrs. It is an open system. You can drag and drop from Windows explorer.

I don't just use my Zune for listening to music. I listen to podcasts, audiobooks, and the radio more than I listen to actual music. My girlfriend has a Sansa and that is fine for her since she listens to music mostly. I just don't like the tiny screen it has. I also watch tv shows and movies on mine. I don't feel it is a closed system since it plays everything I have. If I have avi or a dvd I just convert it to MP4 no problem. I'm not a Microsoft follower since I believe the 360 is the worst thing visited on mankind since the plague and I own one.

2814.4.2009 9:27

I am nobodys groupy either. The Sansa view I just bought has a large screen for the size of the player. They have been upping the size of screen. The Zune is a larger device so it can have a bigger screen. It is still too small for my eyes. I only listen to music. I like the hardware but hate the software and I really hate that you are locked into Zune software. I am sure that is the reason they are selling poorly since the hardware is superior.

Since you do not listen to music, the software is not going to impact you at all. I would guess it handles videos great. It is how it handles and stores music information, albums and album pictures that is the short comming. I am just curious, does it allow you to book make audio books and podcasts?

2914.4.2009 21:15

hay mez, I understand your comments, but one kind of caught me off guard. Your one about the zune commercials. Its only within the last month maybe 2 months have I seen zune commercials. Prior to that all I saw were commercials for the ipod, ipod nano, ipod..........
along with every celebrity wearing them. Which was more then likely given to them by apple.
You are right though, on it being a closed sysytem. Took me a little reading to figure out what you meant by that. (I aint the smartest) BUT, although you can only sync a certain way, the compatabiltiy of the songs I feel is pretty good. It can handle almost any format of songs or video/movie. (yes you can watch movies on it)
On the topic of covers, what the zune does is looks at the total folder, as long as you have the album art it loads it. If not the zune software connects to the net and finds it. Or you can do this via WMP then the zune software.
I'll admit it was a pain to finger out all the little quirks on the zune software. But I have not had any issues since I actually read the manuals, and let the zune software do its thing.
The software is slow and a resource eater. But In my opinion the zune itself is supior to the ipods.
better sounds and sturdier. (lord only knows how many times I've dropped mine)
The reading ebooks you asked about.......ahhh its ok, but its a small screen and it bothers my eyes, but it works. Havent done the podcast.
Anouther cool feature with zune is for $15.00 a month you can have unlimited downloads of songs. And I'm sure somebody will talk trash about it, but hay......
Not trying to start a pissing contest, just puttin some other facts out there

3015.4.2009 6:51

Hey Lawn Dog good to see you weighing in. You ACTUALLY READ THE MANUALS! Well you would not catch me or my son doin that!

The Zune is a good player. I did buy one for my son. As far as quality the Apple products and the Zune put out equally great HiFi. The Zune comes with good but not great ear buds. Apple products bundle ear buds that are made to look cool but have no sound quality. You will get better sound out of the Zune if you buy better ear buds. You actualy do need to read the manual there. Most of the cost of ear buds is to make them good. Pricing has no bearing on the sound they produce.

Quote:
$15.00 a month you can have unlimited downloads of songs.
doesn't Rapsody have a plan like that? I personally prefer the torrent plan.

Quote:
And I'm sure somebody will talk trash about it, but hay......
, not from me. Last I checked it was a free world. Actually, I spend more than that. I actually buy some music after I have downloaded and listened to it. Unfortunatly that averages more than a CD a month. So I am in it for more than $30/mon. Your plan is half that.

3115.4.2009 8:34

#1 I said the plan was $15 a month, lol not that I partake of that plan. lol I get mine out at the "bay"
not sure whats rhapsody plan is.
yeah those earbuds were crappy, bought a pair of sony's, work good enough for me.
hell, i said manuals, was more like reading the forum boards. There were things I wanted to do, knew it could be done, just couldn't finger it out.
you know its funny, when you tell somebody you use a zune #1 answer "whats that"
then theres the fanboys
but
seems like everybody that has one or has had one loved it, all except for the sync software.
looks like microsoft may finally get the picture, more advertising to get their name out there,an changeing up the sync ware.
I use microdoft mobile sync for my phone, cant be to much more difficult then that.
Who knows

3215.4.2009 9:14

Fish from the bay are fresher.

M$ was an hour late and a dime short. Sansa and the Chipods are starting to paste the market. Sandisk, who makes the Sansa, already has a 64 g USB disk out there. They will have 120 g USB disks in a year or so. My last Sansa gets 35 hrs of audio and 8hrs of video due to new battery technology. Apple who used to be a market leader is falling behind. Solid state players are the future. Sansa is surely comming out with 32 g Sansas this year. M$ and Apple are only middlemen and their days are numbered. Sandisk will not be selling their cutting edge chips to their competion. Apple and MS will be selling out dated thchnogy for over twice the money hoping their names still will mean something. - Losers!

3315.4.2009 11:11

AD just reported the release of a new Zune, set to hit in September. Kinda got my intrest peaked a little.
Who knows though

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