Coretron’s Tech Blog

September 15, 2008

Zune Software Updates and The Glorious Future of Zune

Filed under: Microsoft, Technology, Zune — Tags: , , , , — coretron @ 4:40 am

Set your extreme hatred for Zunes aside for just a moment. I seriously considered writing this post as if I were talking about the iPod or some other media player so people wouldn’t apply their Zune bias against it. I wanted to make a sort of Mojave Experiment, but for Zune instead of Vista. Anyways, tomorrow all Zunes are becoming a little more useful. One feature I’ll be using is the ability to have the zune mark a song playing on the radio for download. They should have had this long ago since all zunes have radios and can already tell you what is playing on the station. I don’t know how many people know this but Zune has the option for a subscription allowing unlimited downloading of music. You can now access the Zune Marketplace’s library of songs anywhere you have wifi. It can stream or download the songs. Access to the marketplace on any wifi means Zunes can download podcasts. Subscribers can also access playlists on the marketplace and have their zune download them and keep synced if the playlist changes. There is supposedly a social network type thing which allows you to suggest music to friends and sync your zune to some of your friend’s playlists. Another feature is the new music suggester, which analyzes your listening behavior and suggests new music.

Here’s the deal breaker for me: $14.95/mo. I could see myself paying as much as $9.99/mo. for easy access to legal music downloads. I’m sure there are tons of people spending far more on iTunes who would gladly pay the flat rate of $15/mo. Without the subscription you can still download songs over wifi for $.99. Maybe in the future when I see what else Microsoft has planed for the Zune I would pay $15/mo. 

As for what Microsoft has planned for the Zune’s destiny, they hinted that the Zune software was going to be available on non-zune devices, namely its getting friendly with the 360. Unlimited song downloads and song streaming while playing CoD4 is a pretty good advancement in legal music distrobution. When Microsoft was asked if any Windows Mobile phones would be getting zune software integrated they said they couldn’t comment on that. I think throwing the Zune software on any new smartphone that wants it is a great idea. It at least makes sense to group it up with the Windows Mobile phones, if not Andriod and others. Microsoft needs to tie all their branches of products and services together in its typical monopolistic style. Compete against the iPhone and iPod by combining Windows Mobile and Zune and gain even more subscribers by letting Android, Blackberry, or any smartphone install Zune software. Once on a phone I have no doubt that there will be over-the-air downloading and streaming of songs. It is worth mentioning that I had a previous prediction where I say that imeem.com will be able to be accessed on mobile browsers and this may allow for over-the-air streaming of music. The zune software solution for $15/mo may still beat out imeem since it stores the songs and doesn’t rely on streaming. But thats all in the future anyways, so we’ll see.

Microsoft says they see all their music become DRM-free in the future, they currently only have 1 major record company. Until then there are Zune DRM removing programs.

You may resume your regular Zune bashing.

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