Archive for the ‘Portable Music Players’ Category

Zunes in Canada

January 27, 2008

 80 GB Zune and red 16 GB Zune along with great magnetic buds cozy up to the iPod classic.      Only 5 mm longer 80 GB and 16 GB Zunes cozy up to the iPod classic.

I have been playing around with the V2 80GB Zune, waiting for its release in Canada, this spring. My first impressions are good. It has a clean intuitive interface and it takes fewer clicks forward and backward  to get around. Like quickly looking at genre, album, song, playlist and artists instantly by toggling  from the top of the screen…and geting into your album or song.

The graphics are clean, and I was first tempted to finger touch the large screen. That off course is religated to the main four-axis and center push button that is also touch and slide sensitive. You can turn the touch function off.

I think the Zune requires less key movements than iPods, to get around. This means less work during a day of selecting and playing media content. And you quikly get to more options like song ratings or making a quick playlist.

More to some, but alas, I can only get in the US Zune Marketplace as an observer, until that also launches in Canada. But I can see and hear snippets of song samples from any album searched. Too bad though, they have to catch up on their Greek collection, past the several albums they have among the millions of titles.

Microsoft has done a good job on the software side of Zune. It now becomes another media player on your PC along with Media player, but has it’s own collection of media. Decisions, decisions. It’s fresh and a new face in the usually complicated GUI world of Windows.  Like not even having a definded bar on the top of its window. That area just gets a bit darker and you sort of just know to  click in that area to drag the window around. I think Zune GUI designers could give a few tips to the makers of Vista!

Microsoft is still taking it easy on expanding features. They told me they did think of making a Zune for Macs, but for several reasons, including whether that would be a good business model, they left that idea on the backburner. I don’t think Mac owners will be lining up for Zunes, but that would bring about some interesting dynamics, no?

Heck, if I was Microsoft, I would have released a  Mac Boot Camp to allow Leopard to run on Intel based Windows PCs.

Zune pricing in Canada is not officially out yet, but it is expected to be at par with iPod models. Let the games begin.

The Zune must be getting closer to release date in Canada, the first country outside the US to get it, according to Microsoft Canada’s Zune Product Manager Elana Zur. I am being sent more Zune gadget accessories to play with…more to come.