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View Full Version : What's the Zune Missing? Podcasts, Audio Books, and Car Integration


Jason Dunn
01-25-2007, 04:04 PM
<div class='os_post_top_link'><a href='http://www.casadehambone.com/AllYouCanEatMusicFor1499EachMonth.aspx' target='_blank'>http://www.casadehambone.com/AllYouCanEatMusicFor1499EachMonth.aspx</a><br /><br /></div><em>&quot;I woke up one day last week and decided to join the social. That's right - the marketing from the billboard I see each and every morning, combined with the desire to see first-hand how we are competing with the iPod, forced me to get a Zune. Let me say that Zune Marketplace combined with a Zune Pass (i.e., all-you-can-eat music for $14.99 each month) is simply awesome. And I hate to admit it, but I love the concept of a music subscription service so much that if Apple were to come out with a subscription model for iTunes, I would likely subscribe right now. And I would do so despite considering iTunes to be the devil - after owning two iPods for well over two years, I have bought all of two albums from iTunes (both of which were done so I could see the process.) So for as much as I love the Zune Pass and the subscription model, there are a few key items lacking in my Zune experience that I desperately want: support for podcasting, audiobooks and native integration with car stereos.&quot;</em><br /><br />Blogger Kevin W. Hammond <a href="http://www.casadehambone.com/AllYouCanEatMusicFor1499EachMonth.aspx" target="_blank">shares his thoughts</a> on the Zune - and, specifically, what it's missing. He's a big fan of the music subscription concept, and uses it heavily, but has found the Zune to be lacking in other ways that he currently uses an iPod to fulfill. Specifically, the inability for the Zune to bookmark audio files means it's nearly useless for listening to long-form audio content such as podcasts and audio books. Myself, I don't listen podcasts very often (likely because I have no commute, and most I've heard are terrible in both quality and content), and have never listened to an audio book in my life.<br /><br />On the subject of Audible support on the Zune, I remember leading up to the official Zune launch there were many people asking about Audible support - but Microsoft never had an answer for them, and still doesn't apparently. Someone correct me if I'm wrong here, but Audible requires that you use their software to load up the audio books on the PC side of things, right? Or can it only be done through iTunes? So what would be required then would be for Microsoft to allow the Audible software to see and manage content on the Zune. Is Microsoft going to allow that? Good question - somehow I doubt it. They'll probably want to follow how Audible works with iTunes, which means integrating Audible content into the Zune Marketplace - and who knows how long that will take. I have a feeling you Audible fans might be in for a long wait.

David Tucker
01-25-2007, 04:11 PM
I remember this issue when I got my iRiver T10 and it took about 6 months to get Audible support following release. Its not really in the hands of the device maker. Audible actually has to provide support too. So there's a lot of things that have to be taken care of for it to happen. I'm sure its underway though.

williamc
01-25-2007, 04:17 PM
I do appreciate that the zune bookmarks video playback, and remembers those bookmarks until they're changed manually. I can't imagine it would be hard to add that as a specific podcast feature.

David Tucker
01-25-2007, 04:31 PM
I would like to note that overall this was a very fair article. I think that to expect the Zune would have any integration with car audio like the iPod at this point is a bit much since the number of Zunes out there numbers in the thousands and not 10s of millions like the iPod.

I really think we'll see most or all of what he wants within the next year.

smegmanufo
01-25-2007, 05:22 PM
I enjoyed the article for the most part. I am fortunate enough to be of a different demographic than the author, and my car has a cassette player. A simple trip to the audio store and I purchased a cassette adapter, and now I can listen to my Zune while driving without a worry at all.

I also wished that bookmarks for audio were available, but I do have to say that the fast forward on the Zune is much better than any other player I have ever used. It is speedy and I don't have to listen to clicks and pops as it is doing so.

NPrtmn4evr
01-25-2007, 07:52 PM
I enjoyed the article for the most part. I am fortunate enough to be of a different demographic than the author, and my car has a cassette player. A simple trip to the audio store and I purchased a cassette adapter, and now I can listen to my Zune while driving without a worry at all.


I guess I'm in that same demographic as that's what I use as well. It will be a sad day when I get a new car that doesn't have a cassette player ;) , as I'll either have to get an FM Transmitter or some other device to play my Zune in the car.

I agree with the blogger's comments about the Zune Pass. It's just so cool to be able to download as many songs as I want for one monthly fee.

I've never listened to an audio book, so that support isn't really a big deal to me I guess.

Aaron Roma
01-25-2007, 08:24 PM
It will be a sad day when I get a new car that doesn't have a cassette player ;) , as I'll either have to get an FM Transmitter or some other device to play my Zune in the car.

Just make sure you new car has a radio with some form of auxilary jack you can plug into! (Mine will.)

flooder
01-26-2007, 03:33 PM
I don't have a Zune or Ipod, yet. I am quite surprised that the Zune doesn't support Audible. I think it started with WM11, but all you need to do is install the Audible Download Manager (pretty thin piece of software). Once that is done and WM11 is activated for your account you can download content from the website directly into WM11.

After taking a year off, I have now started listening to books constantly. My normal method is via a PocketPC and using audible's PPC player.

Since Audible has made their content work so easy with WM11 then I am surprised that Zune has been left out.

I guess this might be the case of Microsoft's Left Hand and Right Hand not knowing the other exists.

andre
01-26-2007, 04:05 PM
Just make sure you new car has a radio with some form of auxiliary jack you can plug into! (Mine will.)

i had to install an after market aux jack in my vehicle. i hate it that most new cars will have a more seamless approach.

andre
01-26-2007, 04:08 PM
i am becoming more interested in podcast sense i have had my zune because i have basically worn out my music collection (about 2700) songs as i listen to it all day at work an on my commute. i hope integrated podcast support is next on the list

it would be nice to hear spoken words once in a while as my job/office has clamped down on downloading any mp3/wma files.

fmcpherson
01-26-2007, 09:58 PM
Audible is integrated with the iTunes Music Store, so you download audio books directly from iTunes and sync to the iPod seamlessly.