zune hd

As someone with a moderate amount of interest in the Zune community, I feel obligated to comment on the Zune HD confirmation finally issued by Microsoft. While the full details of the device and its capabilities have yet to be revealed, what is known is shown below:

  • 3.3 480272 (16:9) OLED capacitive multitouch display
  • HD radio tuner
  • HD video output (720p) via HDMI on optional dock
  • IE-based web browser
  • Accelerometer
  • Wi-Fi
  • Flash drive (capacity unknown)
  • Processor unknown
  • Release Fall 2009, price unknown

Those are pretty solid specs, but nothing game-changing. With all the rumors floating around about a portable Xbox this seems a bit disappointing. The beloved Zune pad controls are gone in the interest of directly copying Apple with a touchscreen-only design. The previous Zune controls met with nearly universal praise so I cannot see how this move is beneficial except in appealing directly to those who think that screen control is high-tech. Unless the side buttons do more than just control the volume, this device looks very difficult to navigate semi-blindly, which is something I often do with my Zune 30. The HD radio is a non-issue, because I cant stand to listen to the radio; the rare times I do, Im in the car and using poor speakers in a noisy environment, so higher quality wont help me.

The screen does seem nice, even if the resolution is a bit low. Its quite likely that new Apple devices will have similar screens, so that benefit will be gone. What that screen is displaying, however, will be the difference maker. In my estimation, this new Zune will need to offer some compelling applications or games to really compete against the iPod Touch and its App Store. The Xbox is supposed to be getting a Zune overhaul, and it has been said that we dont know everything there is to know about the Zune HD, so some hope remains - but these things really do sound better when theyre hyped and not everything has been elucidated. If there were some way to get compatibility with Xbox Live games and/or existing Windows Mobile programs, a solid library would already be available.

If this device is not using NVIDIAs Tegra platform, it will instantly lose a lot of its appeal to me. The added power of such a processor opens up many opportunities and would really set the Zune HD apart. At this point, a PMP device will need to be very enticing to earn my money because of the increasing multimedia functions of cell phones. Convergence is key; I would much rather have only one device to carry around than two, and Ill need convincing that this player will do what no phone can. I just fear that Microsoft will be dropping the ball a bit on this one, but maybe E3 will prove me wrong.

I will say it looks a lot more stylish than my original brown Zune 30.

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5 comments to zune hd

  • chrome 2.0 has your precious middle-click mouse scrolling

  • Oh well Ill have to give it a try then. It really is surprising how much I use that function.

    What do you think about that new Zune?

  • wee

    definitely cool-but the palm pre is cooler

  • Trey

    tbh, I would really like to see a hardware/software manufacturer come out with a network-independent phone that had decent features. It would rock to be able to have actual freedom to do as you pleased on your mobile devices. Maybe the Microsoft will happen upon this message and deliver upon me glory with the Zune Phone. LOL!

  • Man, Palm tried that with the Treo Pro. They sold it unlocked and its actually a pretty sweet Windows Mobile-powered phone; arguably its more capable than the iPhone (as are most Windows Mobile phones).

    Still, without the subsidies/rebates offered by a carrier the thing was like $500 or $600 so no one would buy it.