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Zune HD: No YouTube in the browser for you

I understand the core of the Zune HD browser is not webkit, but some kind of Internet Explorer base. That said, it was natural to want to compare the Zune HD web browser to the latest mobile browser from Microsoft, IE 6 Mobile, that is found in the T-Mobile Touch Pro2 and will be present in Windows Mobile 6.5 when it is released in October. I don't expect my media player to browse the web, but since Apple supports this with the iPod touch it is expected that other high end models do the same. Unfortunately, the Zune HD browser is not going to compete with the iPod touch Safari browser or even the latest Windows Mobile default browser, but at least it is very quick.
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Written by Matthew Miller, Contributor on
I understand the core of the Zune HD browser is not webkit, but some kind of Internet Explorer base. That said, it was natural to want to compare the Zune HD web browser to the latest mobile browser from Microsoft, IE 6 Mobile, that is found in the T-Mobile Touch Pro2 and will be present in Windows Mobile 6.5 when it is released in October. I don't expect my media player to browse the web, but since Apple supports this with the iPod touch it is expected that other high end models do the same. Unfortunately, the Zune HD browser is not going to compete with the iPod touch Safari browser or even the latest Windows Mobile default browser, but at least it is very quick.

Here is what I found on the Zune site regarding the browser usage:

You can surf the Internet on your Zune HD, as long as you're able to connect to a wireless network. Connect to a wireless network on your Zune HD 1. From the home menu, touch internet. The browser will automatically launch. 2. Follow the instructions to connect to a wireless network. After you connect, the browser will navigate to the last page you visited. • To search, touch the search icon in the lower right. A keyboard will pop up. Type in your search terms and touch search. • Touch the favorites icon to see your favorites, or add a site to your favorites list. • To navigate to a specific web site, touch the three dots in the lower bar to display the URL input bar. Touch the current URL to bring up the keyboard and enter in the URL. Then touch go. To exit and return to the main menu, press the home button.

There are only a couple of minor settings for the web browser (delete history, enable/disable cookies, and enable/disable Javascript) and you cannot control it any further. You will also find that the browser forces sites to load their mobile versions, if they have them, which actually makes for a fast and rather pleasant browsing experience. However, today's mobile browsers are good at serving up the full internet and users are coming to expect this more and more, especially with the specs found on devices with these browsers. The Zune HD loads pages super fast and the multi-touch zoom is fluid when using the browser, but I really want a toggle to turn on or off the mobile formats. I don't like that I cannot view my ZDNet blogs in full view like I can on most of my modern smartphones.

The QWERTY keyboard that appears helps you enter URLs by having a .COM and / button readily available and it is easier than using the keyboard on the PSP. There is no predictive text, but your history is filtered as you enter a URL in case you have been to the site before. You can also manage Favorites in the browser. As you can see in my video above, you cannot view YouTube videos in the browser and you will find it is limiting when trying to access all your favorite sites.

I think the browser is something that should be able to be updated via a firmware release and I do hope it is improved upon over time because the hardware supports a better browsing experience, even if most people just want to use their Zune HD for music and video enjoyment.

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