Quick thoughts on the Zune HD

Quick thoughts on the Zune HD

Summary: I wasn't going to write anything about the Zune HD, but I've just peeked at my inbox and already seem several emails asking me what I think ... OK, here, in as few words as possible, is what I think of the Zune HD.

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I wasn't going to write anything about the Zune HD, but I've just peeked at my inbox and already seem several emails asking me what I think ... OK, here, in as few words as possible, is what I think of the Zune HD.

From a technical standpoint the Zune HD is pretty impressive. But the problem is that pretty much everything about the Zune HD ends up being compared against Apple's iPod touch. On several fronts the Zune HD is better than the iPod touch - the OLED is better, the design is certainly sleeker, and it has some snazzy features such as the ability to sync wirelessly with PCs. It's also the first device to feature the NVIDIA Tegra HD "computer on a chip" processor. Critically, the battery life is also better than that of the iPod touch. The downside ... well, basically the main downside for most consumers will be that it doesn't have the Apple logo on the back. Sad, but true I'm afraid ...

And that's the problem, because the Zune HD is a good year too late entering the market. The iPod touch has two years of betterment and refinement (and market share) over the Zune HD and that's a big hurdle to overcome. While there's definitely a market to exploit, and the Zune HD has enough to separate it from the other contenders, I can't see it capturing more than a small sliver of market share.

Topics: Mobility, Apple, Hardware, Microsoft

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16 comments
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  • This IS the answer

    This is exactly what needs to be explained to the
    apple fanboys.
    The ones who overprotect their apples too much always
    ends up bashing everything else.
    I mean, if they like their macs or ipods, just like
    it. They don't need to worry about everything that may
    "compete" with the products they are using.
    However, we can't blame the whole Apple community
    because of this. It's just the trolls who are not only
    making themselves look stupid, but is actually
    embarrassing their own community.
    psycoblaster
    • "Trolls"? You Mean Like Your Bush-Ballmer Sucking M$FT Bigoted Fanboiz?

      Pot.

      Kettle.

      Black.

      I know Your Lord and Master Darth Ballmer ordered you NOT to think - but think about it anyway....
      drprodny
  • So predictable

    When iPod and iPhone had small market share, they were
    successful because it was an exclusivity club. Now that
    iPod and iPhone have large market shares, it is because of
    herd mentality.

    Here's a radical thought: Perhaps the product fulfills
    customer wants better than the competition. So instead of
    whining about how MS can't overcome the Apple
    marketing hype, maybe you should comment on the
    challenges it faces in meeting customer wants.

    For example. The Zune marketplace. The idea of buying
    points and using them to purchase music is consumer-
    unfriendly. It's only purpose is to sneak a price increase on
    all items in the store. Guess what. Consumers get it, and
    are put off by it.

    Second: Macs are popular in the consumer space, the
    market MS is trying to compete in with the Zune. Yet MS
    won't support the Mac. Guess what that tells customers?
    That MS is trying to trick them into using Windows. That
    puts them off.

    The consumer space is NOT the corporate space. Different
    rules apply, and MS can't use their corporate strategy in
    the consumer space.
    frgough
    • remember the Palm CEO laughing...

      at the thought of Apple entering the mobile phone
      market? remember Balmer even laughing at apple
      after he saw what they had? Apple started from
      zero... forget small market share, forget long
      entrenched incumbents... give people what they
      want and they will ditch what they have and buy
      your product...
      doctorSpoc
    • M$FT Needs a "Killer Feature" for the Zune HD

      Right now, too many people have too much invested in music on the iTunes store to easily switch - unless the Zune HD comes up with a "killer feature" that Apple can't outdo for a few years, at least. That wireless syncing feature sounds promising - PROVIDED it's easy to purchase content without thinking about it from the Zune Marketplace...which if you're still dealing with "points" rather than actual money, it won't be.

      So sorry, Bullyboy Ballmer. Go throw a chair at your Development Teams to "motivate" them, and tell them to get back to the drawing board....
      drprodny
  • @ psycoblaster wrong!

    what percentage of iPod Touch owners do you
    think
    frequent forums like this or care about the
    things
    people care about in these forum?? here's a
    hint.. a
    tiny, minuscule proportion.

    MS's problem is as Adrian alludes to and it has
    nothing to do with apple fanboisms etc since
    most iPod
    owners and are happy with and own PCs... the
    problem
    is that to most people on the street a PMP IS
    an
    iPod.. everything else is a gimped version of
    an
    iPod.. that's what MS is up against... this
    device
    will make it into the PMP ghetto behind the
    iPod
    section in the Best Best Buy.

    and hardware wise it might be impressive even
    the
    interface appears to be very beautiful and well
    thought out... but for now anyway but software
    wise,
    app and game wise, sdk wise, refinement wise
    they are
    so far behind... and with consumer perception
    being
    what it is they just don't stand a chance... i
    agree
    Adrian.. they've just entered the game too
    late..
    doctorSpoc
  • above @ psycoblaster nt..

    ...
    doctorSpoc
  • HDMI out to HDTV...I'm sold.

    My iphone can't output HD to an HDTV. If you're telling me the Zune can do this with just a cable, I'll buy one right now. All my movies are "backed up" on my PC. I'd love to be able to haul them around with me in a tiny little HD media player that could connect to a HDTV via a single cable. Throw in a tiny little mini remote and this is perfect. Did Microsoft make it this way or did they totally screw it up?

    ZUNE + HDMI cable + HDTV = Perfection

    Of course I'm willing to bet they want you to buy a dock or something for some ungodly amount of $$$ and on top of that need some proprietary cable that costs another months worth of income...nickel and dime us to death...
    GORGUTS
    • Update:

      Yep, they screwed the pooch. Just checked out the Zune HD website. Not only do you need the Zune HD for HD playback on an HDTV, but you also have to shell out damn near another $100 for a dock. Just to do what the Zune HD should have been able to do on it's own out of the gate. Guess I'll be waiting for the next iteration.
      GORGUTS
    • ever heard of HD streamers..

      there are any number of devices that will
      happily stream your movies from your hard drive
      on computer to your TV (even wirelessly) and
      they have remotes.. and you are not limited by
      a tiny 32GB storage capacity. everything and
      anything on your computer can be streamed..
      storing and transporting HD movies on a device
      with such limited storage capacity is both
      unnecessary and doesn't make a lot of sense
      either..
      doctorSpoc
    • Remember Apple TV?

      It's that wonderful invention that lets you output HD movies
      downloaded from the web to your HDTV--without a $100 dock!

      I agree w/doctorSpoc about carrying around an HD version of a
      movie on a handheld device. What's the point? A small screen
      doesn't really do HD any better than SD, and HD does take up
      mucho memory space. Doesn't make much sense to me.
      Userama
      • I noticed

        They both (AppleTV and Zune HD) only do 720p max. Those movies are 4GB+ per movie. Neither will do well housing an entertainment library so if your seriously going to hook it up to your TV a streaming device would be your choice. If your going to travel and want to carry a bunch of movies then stick with standard def file size.

        My2c
        oncall
        • Um, Guys? I Use a TiVO Series 3 Connected Wired to My Home Network

          and you know what? I Get iTunes video content, podcasts/IPTV direct from TiVO, Amazon Unbox, Netflix To Go and a whole lot of other stuff too! And it even - records and stores my favorite shows in HD, and lets me freeze and go back if I missed something! All for under $200 - and it's easy enough I could talk my Mom through setting it all up!

          drprodny
    • HD output requires...

      a dock. Cables, dock, AC adaptor and remote cost $89.99.
      msalzberg
  • I agree...

    ...whilst it's a superior device to the iPod Touch I don't think it's got a cat's chance in hell of outselling it.
    Sleeper Service
    • I don't think

      Thats Microsofts intention.

      There is no way in hell Apple is going to loose out on market share now. When people think MP3 player, the iPod is the first thing thata pops into people heads.
      The one and only, Cylon Centurion