Microsoft announced it’s latest lineup of Zune products to a fairly underwhelming response, which was frankly also fairly well expected.
It’s easy to get cynical about the Zune, especially considering Microsoft’s promises about delivering an amazing iPod killing device three years back.
The original Zune was pretty ugly, far too bulky and came in an attractive poo-brown. It still sold a million units however and Microsoft stayed in the game to bring out the Zune 2. For me the problems with the original Zune where that it failed to deliver anything the iPod didn’t have and came with some hideous software which was one of the biggest issues.
The wifi connectivity was almost un-utilised when it could have been a fantastic addition to an mp3 player and instead Microsoft let Apple steal it’s thunder with the iPod touch.\
The Zune 2 however was actually good enough that the best most commentaries could come up with where that it still wasn’t a success. The Zune software had been rewritten from scratch, the Zune interface was new, unique and attractive and the devices themselves where slimmer and far better designed then the first generation.
When my friend bought one (over Ebay, the Zune still isn’t released in Australia) what I loved the most was the navigational trackpad. The iPod scroll wheel was always one of the devices greatest strengths and something other companies struggled to compete with in their own products. The Zune however introduces a trackpad which has the same strengths as the scrollwheel (quick navigation through long song lists) while having an additional strength – ability to click up and down like a normal 4 direction pad which makes it a whole lot easier for moving up and down a couple songs at a time.
The generation 3 Zune is an incremental upgrade and is mostly changes in the services, firmware and pricing of the product, but still worth purchasing, check out Paul Thurrot’s review. I’m looking forward to trying the new software, some great new changes there.
As Paul mentions, the Zune 3 update is available for all Zune owners, even the original Zune 30. This is a great move on Microsoft’s part and actually shows they care about customers more then pushing them into buying the latest and greatest version.
Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.