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Topic: Let's talk iPod vs Zune

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Old 12-17-2008, 12:16 PM
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Let's talk iPod vs Zune

Right off the bat: I had no idea where to put this - I'm gonna discuss iPod classic vs Zune, iPod touch vs Zune, and iPhone vs Microsoft (i.e. what Microsoft will do as response to the iPhone). Mods, feel free to change the location.

May have been a better idea to split this into around 3 seperate posts, would probably increase my chances at a reply too, but oh well, what the heck. Maybe I'll give that a shot later (way later). Here goes.

First: I view the Zune not solely as a competitor to the iPod classic, but also somewhat to the iPod touch (in terms of features if nothing else). 3.2 inch screen, similar interfaces, (aside from the touch part), games and apps, and the wi-fi are the main ones. Now, the Zune has gotten as close as it can to the touch as it can without a touchscreen, and kudos to that.
My topic: Windows Mobile on Zune (essentially making it a tabletPC), advertising the Zune/device, and where Microsoft could go with this.

I know many of you might not want to read this, but it's an interesting read, at least in my opinion

Windows Mobile: This would be unbelievably awesome, but I seriously find it unlikely, especially since there's no keyboard to the Zune. However, how cool would it be if Microsoft essentially added a stripped down version of Windows to work on the Zune, with the same interface as the desktop version (more or less, with decreased functionality of course), and using the Zune pad as a touchpad? I think it could go a long long way, maybe Microsoft could introduce like a keyboard accessory for the Zune to use it when you're using it as a Windows platform. You could have a choice between booting the normal Zune or Windows. There's no necessity for this though, as Zune is a PMP and will always be, but going by the recent "Windows Mobile with Zune functionality" I've been hearing, I thought this was an interesting idea (to add Windows to Zune as opposed to Zune to Windows Mobile, or both).
Next: Advertising. Not necessarily the Zune, but Microsoft and Apple in general.
Microsoft has yet to introduce a portable XBox system. See where I'm going with this?
Let's suppose Microsoft decides to do this: discontinue the Zune. "What?" Yep. Discontinue it. Wait - there's more. Then, introduce a brand new portable player, something of a response to the iPod touch. In an ideal world, they would do this, and include all the following: The normal Zune interface, repackaged into a Windows-like portable OS. XBox Portable system, with support for digital games, and graphics that rival the PSP. Some form of Microsoft Office, for editing documents. Nice design (probably not slim), touchscreen obviously, with a few controls for using with the XBox, but in a way they're unintrusive, maybe being on the sides of the device (top and bottom with 2 on the sides for your thumbs). Throw a camera in there too, a 5MP one even
You're probably thinking: Is this guy thinking in the realm of possibility or is he just listing his "ultimate portable device"? Well personally, my ideal device would be very similar to the above, but branded with PS Nothing against XBox though, but I just prefer PS.
They could advertise this as:
"Games. Music. Video. Internet. Windows. Camera. Still think you need a computer?"
Personally, I think the iPhone comes closest to all this. Needs some improvement to reach it fully (Office editor, better graphics, controls, camera). But I think Apple should go by the above slogan next year, seeing as they're the closest to it. Only remove Windows, and change that last line to "Chuck out your PC." Or just keep it the same. Whatever.

-ends rant-

Well, if you read through that, I applaud you. Few people will have (it was worth just posting it), but if you're one of the 13 who did, please reply

Last edited by Jimmy97; 12-17-2008 at 02:32 PM.
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Old 12-17-2008, 12:33 PM
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It doesn't appear MS has any plans on making a "Zune phone." If anything, it'll be the reverse, where Zune software/services are put onto Windows Mobile devices.

http://blogs.zdnet.com/microsoft/?p=1618



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Old 12-17-2008, 01:41 PM
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Just don't see this happening with current or near-term hardware. Games -- to be accepted by "gamers" -- would need at least 24-bit color and 30FPS; iPhone are on the cutting-edge of this stuff right now, and they can't get there. Portable XBox sounds nice, but what about a disc drive (without CD/DVD, can it really be an XBox)? Would gamers have to re-purchase all their stuff? Plus, users would look pretty silly walking around with a massive battery pack strapped onto their belts ;-) Oh yeah -- and the point of a portable game system would be...?

And something tells me MS won't be all that keen to port Windows down to a 16- or 24-bit version for WinMobile....they've spent years getting it up to 32- and 64-bit.

For the processing power this gizmo would need, it would require some sort of cooling system...size, noise, and weight. And stop producing Zunes? That would win MS lottsa friends, maybe even more than "Plays For Sure (Or Not)".

Just doesn't seem like a do-able convergence; any such device would be huge, power-hungry, expensive, and unfocused.... better for MS to take small steps, like learning how to offer smart playlists ;-)
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Old 12-17-2008, 02:24 PM
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@ Dim
Yep, That's what I said.
Did you see anything "Zune phone" in there? Nope. I think it's a ridiculous concept (and name), but I'm almost positive we'll be seeing Zune functionality on Windows Mobile, with the WinMo7 at the latest.

@S2_Mac
I was pointing out a perfect portable device, combining all major portables into one (aside from a phone, which come to think of it might as well be on there), at no cost to any part's functionality. Such as: an iPhone being a top quality phone (kinda) with a top-quality iPod that isn't at all inferior to stand-alones. But this device would have it all: Gaming, phone, camera, GPS, iPod, internet, and as much PC functionality as possible.
I was thinking of adding a small disc-player like the UMD on the PSP, but thought it'd add bulk. But who am I kidding, a device like that would be unbelievably thick anyway, so add that in anyway. And it wouldn't have the same games as the XBox 360 does, think PSP/PS3 type differences. PS3 has some exclusives, PSP has some, and they share some titles. Another alternative for the portable XBox is to have a small memory card slot designed to read specific memory cards that would be sold in stores with games on them. This way not too much bulk is added.

Just to clarify: I don't expect Microsoft to do any of this. I just said what it could do (well it probably couldn't, at least not currently, as it would cost a LOT to produce and get out on the market, and it'd be bulky, seriously), but it's just a concept. I meant it would be really cool if they did that.

Just felt like throwing theories out there about awesome gadgets, and more realistic (compared to those gadgets I mean) advertising options for Apple (seriously, they could do that last one, or another similar alternative at the ad: Phone. Games. Music. Video. Internet [or whatever combination]. 5 of one.)

I have some sort of obsession with all-in-ones, they just keep things simple and easy. The iPhone is the closest device to accomplishing this, and that's why I have one

By the way, thanks for reading

Last edited by Jimmy97; 12-17-2008 at 02:35 PM.
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Old 12-17-2008, 03:17 PM
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Microsoft has already tried releasing devices that ran portable versions of Windows XP Media Center. Toshiba has one such device that had its followers but failed to truly penetrate the market as did the iPod line and the Zune line. That is why Microsoft went with the Zune (I believe that the 30GB Zune was supposed to be the successor to that one Toshiba model), they wanted a portable player using software and hardware designed/approved by them and they wanted to introduce computer software that would compete with iTunes. So Microsoft went from portable players running mobile versions of Windows Media Center to portable players running media centered custom firmware. Apple started off with media centered custom firmware and is migrating towards portable versions of Mac OS X. Maybe Microsoft will go back to their old ways but I doubt it. The current Zune formula is working and I was even tempted to purchase the 120GB Gears Of War 2 Zune. I would have had it not been for the Zune's screen quality when compared against my 1G or 2G iPod touch (Zune still uses a resolution of 320X240, why?!?!).

If anything Microsoft is going to bring Zune features over to their portable versions of Windows. I could see Microsoft taking away Media Player portable and adding a Zune option where Windows Mobile boots the Zune firmware allowing you to playback files on your portable device.

Many of the team members behind the Xbox 360 were also behind the Zune. However, Microsoft's "Xboy" has been circulating in the rumors column since 2006 and nothing has come of it. The new Zunes (and maybe the older Zunes with the newer software) can run simple games but I don't see Microsoft releasing a portable Xbox this time around. A portable device does not need a disc drive (look at the success of the GameBoy, GameBoy Advance, GameBoy Advance SP, DS, DS Lite, and the DSi [in Japan]). The PSP is even going the route of downloadable games and moving away from the power hungry UMD drive. Microsoft may release a portable Xbox after they release the Xbox Skynet but, right now and for the next few years, their gaming hardware division if focusing on the next Xbox home console. I would purchase a portable Xbox but it would have to provide Xbox 360 quality graphics. I can already get PS2 quality graphics from a PSP (look at its God Of War game, that looks like a home console) and near PS2 quality graphics from my iPod touch. Microsoft would have to take that one step further by providing a portable system (no discs, 64GB SSD!) with a large (4.5") screen, wi-fi (802.11n), and media playback capabilities along with Xbox 360 quality graphics (you don't need HD on such a small screen but that level of detail and smoothness where round heads actually come out round and not looking like stop signs). This just isn't going to happen anytime soon.

There are only two companies/groups that come close to offering the ultimate portable devices: Apple and Smartphone manufacturers. The iPhone is great when it comes to media but it sucks when it comes to office functionality. Sure, it can sync with your calendar, contacts, and send e-mails but that is about it. Smartphones aren't as good when it comes to media but they are much better when it comes to office functionality. They can open most office attachments (PDF documents, Word documents, Excel documents, etc.), work with presentation files, Apple's e-mail application is no match for the portable version of Outlook, and so on. Now, if Microsoft were to come out with the ultimate portable device, it would have to be a better gaming device than the PSP2 (when that comes out), have better media playback capabilities than the iPod touch, be able to do at least VOIP so it can go up against a small percentage of the iPhone market, and do some basic office functionality. A device such as this is at least 3 years away from being released.

I believe that Microsoft and/or Apple could pull it off. I don't think that Sony could do this as their hardware is great but their software has always sucked. Look at their ATRAC3 audio encoder, their Sonic Stage software, the PS3's firmware (it was good for the PSP but a home console's firmware should be deeper), and so on. Sony always wants to use their own software, except when it comes to their computers, and that is their single downfall. I don't believe that Sony could come out with a portable device running great software capable of offering all those features. Both Apple and Microsoft are somewhat close to these ultimate devices but it will be quite a bit of times, at least 3 years, before anything like this comes out.

So currently the iPhone and iPod touch are the players that will give you what you want. The Zune is about 1 generation away from the iPod touch and, if anything, Windows Mobile will have a Zune option integrated with the OS soon.



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Old 12-17-2008, 03:38 PM
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I have some sort of obsession with all-in-ones, they just keep things simple and easy.

LOL, for me it's just the opposite. What happens when your all-in-one breaks? You lose everything, until it's repaired or replaced. I'm all for convergence, but not at the price of utility.
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Old 12-20-2008, 04:23 PM
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You won't get an unbiased answer by asking this question on a forum called iLounge.



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Old 12-20-2008, 04:36 PM
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After reading the post, one would see that they are not actually asking for a direct comparison between Zunes and iPods. They are thinking about the future of these portable devices and are asking which company will pull off a supreme all-in-one unit (cellphone, music playback, video playback, gaming device, and PDA). The OP wanted to know if we see the Zune line going the route of the iPhone and, right now, it isn't. There might be a possibility of Zune functionality coming to Microsoft's portable OS but it doesn't look like a "Zune Phone" is coming out anytime soon.



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Old 12-21-2008, 12:47 AM
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Quote:
There might be a possibility of Zune functionality coming to Microsoft's portable OS but it doesn't look like a "Zune Phone" is coming out anytime soon.
Just to clarify, I didn't mean Zune Phone at all, because I think it's absurd that Microsoft would release one, when it already has Windows Mobile, and that's not even done well yet. They're going to invest in improving WinMo, and it's almost guaranteed it's getting a Zune feature with a Zune-like interface. I was talking about all-in-ones mostly, and some advertising ideas, in addition to the Zune becoming something like a tablet, but that's not happening
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Old 12-21-2008, 09:20 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by S2_Mac
I have some sort of obsession with all-in-ones, they just keep things simple and easy.

LOL, for me it's just the opposite. What happens when your all-in-one breaks? You lose everything, until it's repaired or replaced. I'm all for convergence, but not at the price of utility.
I am highly in with what S2_Mac said..!
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Topic: Let's talk iPod vs Zune

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