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  #1  
Old 06-11-2009, 04:30 AM
David Tucker
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Default No Zune Left Behind

<p><em>&ldquo;Apple's official reason was that the iPhone 3G doesn't have enough power to run those two features. Really? They're saying that on-the-fly voice control (albeit one that doesn't just match what you say to a pre-recorded sample on your voice) can't be done on the iPhone 3G? You mean the same feature that's been available for Windows Mobile FIVE phones for about half a decade now? This can't be done with the iPhone 3G's processor?&rdquo;</em></p><p>Microsoft has taken a lot of heat over the years on the Zune but the one thing that they simply can&rsquo;t be faulted on is their long term support of their hardware. The first three generations of Zune didn&rsquo;t change much in terms of hardware. The firmware, however, has changed significantly.</p><p>Every major update has brought the Zune significant new features.&nbsp; And Microsoft has not left any device behind.&nbsp; This is the type of opportunity that Microsoft has to take advantage of. When you&rsquo;re the underdog, which Microsoft is actually quite skilled at being, you jump on every stumble that your competition gives you and take market share inch by inch. With the economy in the state that it is, consumers shouldn&rsquo;t be expected to buy a new device for updates that can come from software.</p><p>With the Zune, that hasn&rsquo;t been an issue and hopefully Microsoft keeps this attitude going forward.</p>
 
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  #2  
Old 06-11-2009, 06:36 AM
Darius Wey
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gizmodo
Apple's official reason was that the iPhone 3G doesn't have enough power to run those two features. Really? They're saying that on-the-fly voice control (albeit one that doesn't just match what you say to a pre-recorded sample on your voice) can't be done on the iPhone 3G? You mean the same feature that's been available for Windows Mobile FIVE phones for about half a decade now? This can't be done with the iPhone 3G's processor?
It's easy to draw comparisons between Microsoft Voice Command and Voice Control on the iPhone, though keep in mind that the underlying technologies are different. It's also worth pointing out that Microsoft Voice Command is only localized to four languages and is only designed to support one language at a time, whereas Voice Control on the iPhone offers simultaneous support for twenty-one languages, which may indeed require more processing power.

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Originally Posted by David Tucker View Post
Microsoft has taken a lot of heat over the years on the Zune but the one thing that they simply can&rsquo;t be faulted on is their long term support of their hardware.
Yes, the Zune and Xbox 360 are a testament to that. I only wish that kind of support translated to the Windows Mobile space, though that'll never happen as long as Microsoft continues to rely on OEMs to deliver different hardware, with no HAL in sight.

As far as phones are concerned, first-generation iPhone users will still be able to upgrade to iPhone OS 3.0 at no extra cost. It won't support all the features that the iPhone 3G and 3G S will, though at least the upgrade path is still there to be taken advantage of. Most Windows Mobile users don't enjoy that level of support. If you want Windows Mobile 6.5, you pretty much have to give up your current device and fork out for a brand new one, which is frustrating on so many levels.

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Originally Posted by David Tucker View Post
The first three generations of Zune didn&rsquo;t change much in terms of hardware. The firmware, however, has changed significantly.
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Originally Posted by David Tucker View Post
Every major update has brought the Zune significant new features.&nbsp; And Microsoft has not left any device behind.
To a degree. Every Zune has received updates, though you can only deliver so much with software. The Zune 30 still lacks the H.264/MPEG-4 support that its successors enjoy. Also, keeping in mind the pace of hardware evolution, and the fact that the Zune HD is significantly different to its predecessors, I'd say it's inevitable that existing Zunes will get left behind even further as Microsoft continues to push updates out the door.
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  #3  
Old 06-11-2009, 08:35 AM
Stinger
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What puzzles me is that MMS functionality isn't being offered to older iPhone customers. If even the most basic phone can support it, why not a 400Mhz/128MB smartphone?

And it's good to see that Microsoft don't charge for their updates.
 
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  #4  
Old 06-11-2009, 02:16 PM
Ron Hostetter
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I'm anxious to see what will happen when the HD comes out. How much of that new firmware will be backward compatible to non-touch screen devices? Will they have 2 versions of the new firmware?
 
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  #5  
Old 06-11-2009, 02:39 PM
David Tucker
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Originally Posted by rdhoss View Post
I'm anxious to see what will happen when the HD comes out. How much of that new firmware will be backward compatible to non-touch screen devices? Will they have 2 versions of the new firmware?
Yes, I think the Zune HD is a pretty big change. Not just the fact that its a touch device but the screen differences are pretty significant. Its going to be hard to support the same features on older devices, which is understandable when the hardware undergoes a signifcant change.
 
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  #6  
Old 06-11-2009, 03:30 PM
jdmichal
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One of the reasons I got the Zune is Microsoft's great commitment to providing backwards support. I felt safe in my purchase, knowing that anything big coming in the future would likely make it onto my Zune 120 also.

As far as Zune HD features... I guess I haven't really seen much in the way of software features to be backported? Unicode support and the browser are what I can think of right now. Unicode support would be nice. (No effect to me... Just so that I stop hearing about it ) Browser... I'm not really sure if there's really a use-case for it, but I'll take it if they give it to me. (And never use it, since I'd rather use my phone.)

As far as the iPhone... Maybe if the older phones can't run the voice recognition because of processing power, they're doing it wrong? Oftentimes in programming you have to sacrifice nice-to-have features in order to make sure you can push out the need-to-have features. In my opinion, I think Apple just failed at this. But I guess it depends on your outlook.

Finally, H.264/MPEG-4 I would guess is a patent licensing issue. If the Zunes were released without Microsoft having a license to produce them with that codec installed, Microsoft would have to go back and expand the license to include those Zunes. I won't deny that it would be super-cool if they did cough up the money to do this, but I don't think their balance sheet is really amenable at this moment. (More directly, they're hemorrhaging enough money as it is.)
 
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  #7  
Old 06-11-2009, 08:55 PM
Janak Parekh
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David Tucker View Post
Every major update has brought the Zune significant new features.&nbsp; And Microsoft has not left any device behind.&nbsp; This is the type of opportunity that Microsoft has to take advantage of. When you&rsquo;re the underdog, which Microsoft is actually quite skilled at being, you jump on every stumble that your competition gives you and take market share inch by inch.
I think Microsoft's efforts in backwards feature porting on the Zune are commendable, but I don't think it is a winning strategy marketshare-wise, especially because you're talking about two different markets.

The Zune's primary competitor is the iPod, not the iPhone. And on the iPod, Apple has noticeably not backported almost any features whatsoever, and this has been the case for years. And as Darius mentioned, the iPhone's primary Microsoft competitor, Windows Mobile, is one of the most upgrade-unfriendly mobile operating systems on the market today, as opposed to the iPhone, which despite certain features not being added has been consistently upgraded across the board.

So credit the Zune team, and they deserve it, but I'm not sure you can draw the conclusions you do.

--janak
 
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