Microsoft PressPass: Microsoft’s Zune Delivers Connected Music and Entertainment Experience
Here's the official press release from Microsoft on the Zune:
"REDMOND, Wash. — Sept. 14, 2006 — Marking the next big milestone for its Connected Entertainment vision, Microsoft Corp. today unveiled details of the first products to be released under its Zune™ brand. Designed around the principles of sharing, discovery and community, Zune will create new ways for consumers to connect and share entertainment experiences. The Zune experience centers around connection — connection to your library, connection to friends, connection to community and connection to other devices.
“The digital music entertainment revolution is just beginning,” said J Allard, vice president, design and development, at Microsoft, who is leading the charge for building the family of Zune products. “With Zune, we are not simply delivering a portable device, we are introducing a new platform that helps bring artists closer to their audiences and helps people find new music and develop new social connections.”
The Zune Experience Available this holiday season in the United States, Zune includes a 30GB digital media player, the Zune Marketplace music service and a foundation for an online community that will enable music fans to discover new music. The Zune device features wireless technology, a built-in FM tuner and a bright, 3-inch screen that allows users to not only show off music, pictures and video, but also to customize the experience with personal pictures or themes to truly make the device their own. Zune comes in three colors: black, brown and white.
Every Zune device creates an opportunity for connection. Wireless Zune-to-Zune sharing lets consumers spontaneously share full-length sample tracks of select songs, homemade recordings, playlists or pictures with friends between Zune devices. Listen to the full track of any song you receive up to three times over three days. If you like a song you hear and want to buy it, you can flag it right on your device and easily purchase it from the Zune Marketplace.
Zune makes it easy to find music you love — whether it’s songs in your existing library or new music from the Zune Marketplace. Easily import your existing music, pictures and videos in many popular formats and browse millions of songs on Zune Marketplace, where you can choose to purchase tracks individually or to buy a Zune Pass subscription to download as many songs as you want for a flat fee.
To get started with great music and videos out of the box, every Zune device is preloaded with content from record labels such as DTS, EMI Music’s Astralwerks Records and Virgin Records, Ninja Tune, Playlouderecordings, Quango Music Group, Sub Pop Records, and V2/Artemis Records.
Zune Accessories To enhance the Zune experience, three accessory packs help Zune users enjoy their music where they want to, at home or on the road. The packs and the individual accessories, all designed exclusively for Zune, will be available at launch:
• The Zune Car Pack includes everything needed to hit the road with a Zune device, such as the built-in FM tuner with AutoSeek and the Zune Car Charger. • The Zune Home A/V Pack enhances your experience in the home through five products that integrate Zune with the TV and music speakers: Zune AV Output Cable, Zune Dock, Zune Sync Cable, Zune AC Adapter and the Zune Wireless Remote for Zune Dock. • Zune Travel Pack is a set of five products designed to keep friends and family entertained on the road: Zune Premium Earphones, Zune Dual Connect Remote, Zune Gear Bag, Zune Sync Cable and the Zune AC Adapter. Providing consumers with additional options to customize and personalize their Zune experience, Microsoft is also working with leading accessory manufacturers Altec Lansing, Belkin Corp., Digital Lifestyle Outfitters (DLO), Dual Electronics, Griffin Technology, Harman Kardon and JBL, Integrated Mobile Electronics, Jamo International, Klipsch Audio Technologies, Logitech, Monster Cable Products Inc., Speck, Targus Group International Inc. and VAF Research
The Future is Bright In addition to the features available at launch, built-in wireless technology and powerful software provide a strong foundation to continue to build new shared experiences around music and video. As Zune evolves, the device can be easily updated. The Zune software on your PC will let you know when these updates are available for download.
About Zune Zune is Microsoft’s music and entertainment platform that provides an end-to-end solution for Connected Entertainment. The Zune experience includes a 30GB digital media player, the Zune Marketplace music service, and a foundation for an online community that will enable music fans to discover new music. Inspired by the vast and varied community of music fans, Zune focuses on helping emerging artists shape the digital canvas. Zune is part of Microsoft’s Entertainment and Devices division and supports the company’s software-based services vision to help drive innovation in the digital entertainment space. More information can be found online."
One note: Only 30GB? Apple already had 60GB, and just announced 80GB -- is MS already a step behind? (I already have 40GB, and need more space (and a new toy to play with, too!) -- there's no way I'm stepping down to 30GB, even for a fancy, pretty new Zune.)
Anything known about pricing yet? I would imagine that will be an issue - if it is "about the same" as the iPod, I suspect that MS may find this first generation a hard sell, even given the impressive feature set.
Yeah, I'm pretty disappointed with this as well, though I think all the numbers back up the fact that most people don't have even 30 GB of music. That certainly doesn't "wow" me personally - I really want to see a bigger version - but I think Microsoft is aiming at the "middle" of the market, and that means launching with a small hard drive. Personally, I think Microsoft needs to launch a HUGE Zune (80 GB) ASAP, because I think they need to capture the enthusiast market, especially for a video device. You can fill up 30 GB very quickly with video...
I understand that 30GB may be the "sweet spot", but it seems to me that, in order seriously to compete with Apple, Microsoft probably needs to sell as many Zune (Zunes?) as possible to as many consumers as possible. Those of us with more monsterous collections (~900 CDs = ~65GB of 160kbps .WMA files) need bigger devices, and being able to sell to everyone -- like Apple has the new 80GB and the older 30GB and the mini 8GB and 2GB and so on -- would give MS the best fighting chance to make a dent in Apple's market share. (I don't expect everyone, especially third-party accesory manufacturers, to jump on the Zune-wagon if MS does well in the 30GB-only sector, while Apple continues to do well in the 80GB- and 60GB- and 30GB- and 8GB- and 4GB- and 2GB- and 1GB-sectors.)
I understand that 30GB may be the "sweet spot", but it seems to me that, in order seriously to compete with Apple, Microsoft probably needs to sell as many Zune (Zunes?) as possible to as many consumers as possible.
Yeah, I'm a bit baffled as to why there isn't one high end Zune (80 GB) and one entry-level Zune. I guess the Zune team might want to keep their message "simple", but like you, I have a lot of music and 30 GB isn't enough. Granted, I'm used to not having enough storage on my 30 GB Zen Vision:M, so it won't deter me from getting a Zune...
As for me, I'm just not inclined to buy a 30GB player -- even a bright, shiny newfangled one -- to replace my working-perfectly-well 40GB player. I guess I'll just have to wait for Microsoft (or, my current choice, iRiver) to come out with an 80GB player... (Lord knows there's no way I'd even consider an iPoop, even though Apple already makes an 80GB player.)