My last post on the Microsoft Zune was made back in October of 2007 when the new Zune models were announced. I actually picked up a Zune 30GB classic at Woot for less than US$100, but have to admit after getting my iPhone it has seen very little use. I actually think the Zune has better quality sound output, but it has been so easy to get podcasts, movies, and TV shows onto my iPhone when I travel I haven't given the Zune much of a chance. Today, Microsoft updated the Zune desktop software to version 2.5 that includes gapless playback, smart playlists, new sorting options, multiple-device syncing, advanced song info editing (including the asked for drag-and-drop), and TV show downloads.
There are over 600 episodes of TV shows available now on the Zune Marketplace for 160 Microsoft points (approximately US$1.99 per episode), including some of my favorites like The Office, Battlestar Galactica and Heroes (is this show ever coming back?).
There have also been some improvements in the social aspects of the Zune, which is something I only tested once when a bunch of us geeks were together. Microsoft has now integrated the discovery experience into this update so you can do things like sync your friends' Zune cards with your device and discover what your friends are listening to and recommending.
It sounds like I need to dust off my Zune, charge it up and check out what is happening in this space again.
This is not a firmware update for your Zune hardware, but an update to the desktop application. It wasn't clear to me in the press release, but I learned that this IS actually a firmware update for the Zune devices as well so I definitely need to charge up my Zune and upgrade to this latest firmware to see how it performs. My Yahoo! Music unlimited subscription should also be ending soon and I may sign back up for the Zune Marketplace subscription service.
Thanks to Zune Thoughts for the heads-up on this latest release.