Robert McLaws: Windows Edition

Blogging about Windows since before Vista became a bad word

Zune Finally Out-iPods the iPod

In a move that is unlikely to silence those who ignore Microsoft products until their third revision, the software giant will launch their third-generation Zune on Tuesday, Sept 16th. This release, available through new Zune models from 120GB down to 8GB, as well as through firmware updates available to all previous-gen Zunes, has more (long-awaited) features than you can shake a stick at. They include:

  • Zune Wireless Marketplace: You will be able to access the entire Zune Marketplace without having to plug into your computer. As long as you are near a WiFi hotspot, you can get your tunes.
  • Buy from FM: Using your built-in FM receiver, you can tag songs you like off the radio, and the Zune will automatically download the track for you later. (Looks like someone from the Zune team overheard Marc Canter on the CES bus in January.)
  • Zune Games: In the works for months, this is a part of XNA Studio 3.0 that will probably RTM at the same time. Hexic and Texas Hold-em will be included for free.
  • Sync from WMC: Improved support for syncing your Recorded TV from Windows Media Center
  • FINALLY! Audiobook support lets you sync your Zune with

...And lots more! I'm really looking forward to this release, and I think that for the first time, Microsoft has a better feature-set that the iPod. This is all supposed to go down the day before Apple's iPod event, so next week ought to be very interesting indeed. And hey Zune guys, I'd love to get a sneak peek to put up a launch-day review!



  • JeremyR said:

    While I am not generally an iPod fan (I'm a Windows guy...hency my subscription to your RSS feed) Your "Buy from FM" point should be stricken as it's already been matched and bested by the free Shazam! application available for iPhone and iPod touch.  It's a magical application that "listens" to the music being played to find a match.  I have tried very hard to confuse it but it always impresses me.  Whether I'm at a loud club with muddled music, listening to some esoteric country radio station (Marty Robbins), it is almost always able to figure out what the song is, tag it on iTunes (granted iTunes is so awful on its own that it makes me never want to use my iPhone), and/or lookup a matching YouTube video...

    September 8, 2008 6:09 PM
  • Devin said:

    This looks like a good release. My old Creative is starting to act funny. I just might have to pull the trigger on this one.

    Heck, the new color alone would be enough for Apple to throw a whole launch event over.

    September 8, 2008 6:12 PM
  • Bob said:

    Yeah, I'm looking forward to the software/firmware update for my existing Zune. But not sure this Rev 3 is still compelling enough to drive any meaningful share gain vs iPod. If MS really wanted to be successful here they should have opened up the platform to 3rd pty developers and for free.  Now the iPhone has beaten them to the former, though Apple is still taking a huge piece of the action. Also agree with JeremyR about iTunes.

    September 8, 2008 6:57 PM
  • Rick Huizinga said:

    I can only wish that it can sync Windows Media Center content recorded using a digital cable card tuner...  If it does, I'm a buyer...

    September 8, 2008 8:15 PM
  • Rumor has it that Microsoft has bought 5 hours of airtime on G4TV on September 25th. According to Kombo

    September 8, 2008 8:32 PM
  • DosFreak said:

    "a better feature-set that the iPod."

    Doesn't matter if you don't care about the features and/or the features in the other product are better and/or better supported.

    None of the features you listed in your post hold any interest for me.

    Just checked out the link in your post. Nope. Nothing there interests me either.

    I'll stick with my 160gb Ipod Classic. Thanks.

    I stick with IPOD because of the HD size, it's easy to use while driving (UI is bettery), battery life, and it has alot of support (3rd party accessories and software on the PC.

    and finally it's a Microsoft product, it's had nowhere near the amount of development time that the IPod has had. When it has then I'll take a look.

    September 8, 2008 9:02 PM
  • Devin said:

    I am the only person in the world who thinks the iPod wheel thingy is crap. Especially now when the menus on the iPod are so deep, it takes forever to get anywhere. I've never been able to use one without all kinds of mistakes.

    September 8, 2008 9:20 PM
  • David Pechon said:

    Thank goodness about the Audible thing.  Their software is horrible and doesn't work on Vista unless you turn off IE protected mode.  Their tech support even blames Microsoft for the problem.

    September 9, 2008 2:20 AM
  • Bonus Codes said:

    Nur wenige Spieler im Pot:

    November 10, 2008 6:03 AM
  • bettina said:

    I hated my Zune the first year I had it, but I love it now that it has audible.  There are other things about this last release that has made my Zune even more lovable, but best of all it updated my 1st gen Zune for free!

    November 17, 2008 9:38 PM