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Q: What is Zune?
According to Chris Stephenson, Microsoft General Manager of Marketing for the MSN Entertainment Business, Zune is
The first implementation of this will be the portable music player and digital music service…
Additional Zune-branded devices will follow, including a portable video player and, potentially, a portable game device, although Stephenson would not comment on the videogame element of the initiative.
Q: What does the Zune player look like?
Front View (white)
3 Colors (multiple views)
Angle Shot (black)
Q: What are the specifications of the Zune player?
- The first Zune supports music, photos, and video although there will be no video sales initially. There is no specific podcasting subscription support. Zune will support music files in MP3, AAC (iTunes ripped CD format), and Windows Media formats. Zune will not be compatible with music services using Microsoft’s PlaysForSure technology. Rumors that Microsoft would pay to replace a user’s iTunes store purchases with Zune-compatible tracks are not true according to Microsoft.
- 30 GB disk
- Colors: black, white, or brown
- FM Tuner
- 3 inch screen that works in portrait or landscape mode. 320×240 resolution (same as iPod video).
- 802.11 b/g Wi-Fi connectivity and file sharing. This is the big Zune differentiator and in a nutshell you can share music tracks with other Zune users via this wireless connection. However, there’s a catch. Any audio tracks that you share with others (and that’s anything, including tracks that you create yourself) will be tagged with digital rights management restrictions so that they can only be listened to 3 times in 3 days, whichever comes first. Shared purchased content will be bookmarked so that you will be reminded to purchase it.
- Battery Life is reported by Microsoft to be up to 13 hours, when listening to music with the wireless turned on. With the wireless off, battery life is up to 14 hours and up to approximately 4 hours for video or pictures, all of which is similar to earlier rumors and informal comments. However, some folks think the testing conditions are wildly unrealistic. By comparison, Apple’s 30GB iPod is rated at 14/4 hours (music/video) and the 80GB iPod at 20/6 hours. Also, note that the Zune’s rechargeable battery is not replaceable.
- Zune is preloaded with audio, video, and image content (see below)
- Also included in the Zune box are a Zune Synch Cable, headphones, and a soft, “micro-suede-ish” pouch.
- A selection of Microsoft and 3rd party accessories will be available. Other vendors who are working on accessories are Altec Lansing, Belkin Corp., Digital Lifestyle Outfitters (DLO), Dual Electronics, Griffin Technology, Harman Kardon and JBL, Integrated Mobile Electronics, Jamo International, Klipsch Audio Technologies, Logitech, Monster Cable Products Inc., Speck, Targus Group International Inc. and VAF Research.
- Pricing was announced on Sept. 28: the Zune will have a Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of $249.99.
* 4.4 × 2.4 × 0.58-inch (11.2 × 6.1 × 1.4 cm)
* 5.6 ounces (158.8 grams)
* 802.11b/g built-in Wi-Fi
* 30 GB hard drive
* 3-inch QVGA LCD screen, with a resolution of 320×240
* Radio Data System enabled FM receiver
* Supports unprotected MP3, WMA, WMA Pro (2-channel), WMV, MP4, MPEG-4,JPEG and AAC
* Charge Time: 3 hours; 2 hours to 90%
* With Wi-Fi turned on, up to 13 hours battery life when playing music (optimal conditions)
* With Wi-Fi turned off, up to 14 hours battery life when playing music, 4 hours playing video or viewing pictures.
* Operating system: Windows Mobile Portable Media Center edition.
* CPU: Freescale i.MX31L processor; ARM Core, FPU (SCIMX31LVKM5 / 3L38W / CTAU0629) 
* RAM: 64 MBytes x32 Mobile SDR DRAM / 133 MHz / 90 mA (K4M51323PC-DG75) 
* Flash: 2 MBytes NOR flash, 3.3V, 1Mx16 Boot block (PH28F160C3TD) 
* FS456LF: PC to TV video scan converter (Macrovision 7)
* Audio: Stereo CODEC with speaker driver / 0.9 W power out (WM8978G) 
* FM Tuner: Silicon Labs Si4701 single-chip radio tuner (4701A15) 
* TV out: Focus (FS456) 
* USB: USB2.0 Philips (ISP1504) 
* bus switch: Low voltage octal FET bus switch (CL245 / SN74CBTLV3245A) 
* ATA driver (?): 8-bit bus transceiver/driver (P003 / 620A5)
* Wi-Fi: RF/BB/MAC 802.11g Wi-Fi (KeyStream) module (KS3021 / KS7010)
* Power manager: Freescale MC13783 
* Battery: Li-Ion battery 3.7 V / 800 mAh (G71C0006Z110)
* Hard Disk: Toshiba 30 GB hard disk, 1.8" (MK3008GAL) 
Q: What exactly can the Zune Wi-Fi wireless feature be used for?
According to Microsoft’s David Caulton you cannot use the Zune wireless feature to:
- Connect directly to the Internet - e.g. all music purchases or downloads have to be made via a separate PC
- Connect to any non-Zune devices including your PC - e.g. you have to synch with your PC using the USB cable
- Connect to more than one other Zune simultaneously - e.g. no broadcasting
- Search for and connect to another Zune in your vicinity
- “You can send them a song, album, etc… for a 3-day/3-play trial listen. Songs come over with metadata and album art (neat). After the 3 days or 3 plays are up, the song gets deleted from the Zune on the next sync, but the info on the song stays in a “journal” on your PC for later purchase or acquisition.” (Note that some purchased songs may have restrictions that prevent any sharing.)
- “You can send them photos for unlimited viewing (and these can sync back onto the recipient’s PC).”
The online Zune music store is called the Zune Marketplace and has “millions of songs,” but no video yet. You can either buy a Zune Pass subscription for $14.99 per month that gives unlimited access to all the music (while you continue to subscribe) or you can purchase individual musical tracks for 79 Microsoft Points per track.
If you are unfamiliar with Microsoft Points, they are a unit of “currency” introduced with Xbox Live for online purchases that can be obtained online with a credit card or from various retailers either online or in ordinary stores (generally in increments of $5 or larger). Currently 1 Microsoft point costs 1.25 cents in the USA so the per track fee in Zune Marketplace is 98.75 cents per track as compared with the Apple iTunes price of 99 cents per track. Note that prices may vary slightly at retail and if you buy Points locally, you will likely have to pay sales tax. The current understanding is that the Zune Marketplace will be incompatible with non-Zune players.
An image is available Here
Q: When will Zune be available outside of America?
Microsoft has made no definitive statement on when the Zune will be available outside the USA, but there are rumors that it might not appear in Europe until 2008.
Q: What content is preloaded on the Zune?
• Band of Horses, “Wicked Gil” (Sub Pop Records)
• Bitter:Sweet, “The Mating Game” (Quango Music Group)
• CSS, “Alala (Microsoft edit)” (Sub Pop Records)
• Darkel, “At The End of The Sky (edit)” (Astralwerks)
• Every Move a Picture, “Signs of Life” (V2)
• Small Sins, “Stay” (Astralwerks)
• The Adored, “Tell Me Tell Me” (V2)
• The Rakes, “Open Book” (V2)
• The Thermals, “A Pillar of Salt” (Sub Pop Records)
• 30 Seconds to Mars, “The Kill” (Virgin Records)
• BT, “1.618” (DTS Entertainment)
• Chad VanGaalen, “Red Hot Drops” (Sub Pop Records)
• Coldcut featuring Roots Manuva, “True Skool” (Ninja Tune)
• CSS, “Let’s Make Love and Listen to Death From Above” (Sub Pop Records)
• Fruit Bats, “Live: The Wind That Blew My Heart Away” (Sub Pop Records)
• Grandaddy, “Elevate Myself” (V2)
• Hot Chip, “Over and Over” (Astralwerks Records)
• Kraak & Smaak featuring Dez., “Keep Me Home” (Quango Music Group)
• Kinski, “Live: The Snowy Parts of Scandinavia” (Sub Pop Records)
• Paul Oakenfold, “Faster Kill Pussycat (Featuring Brittany Murphy)” (Maverick Records)
• Serena-Maneesh, “Drain Cosmetics” (Playlouderecordings)
• 5 Boro: “A New York Skateboarding Minute” (Skateboarding)
• Radical Films: “Kranked — Progression” (Mountain Biking)
• TGRTV The North Face (Skiing/Snowboarding)
• A variety of images to personalize a Zune device, including 12 classic rock posters from “Art of Modern Rock”
Q: What accessories does Microsoft offer for the Zune?
Microsoft is offering 3 big accessory “packs” for typical usage scenarios, plus a number of accessories sold separately. The 3 “packs” are:
• Zune Home A/V Pack. The Home A/V Pack includes everything you need to amplify your Zune experience. This set of five products integrates Zune with your big-screen TV and the best speakers in your house. The wireless remote puts you in control from virtually anywhere in the room. When you buy the Zune Home AV Pack, you’ll get the AV Output Cable, Zune Dock, Zune Wireless Remote with Lithium Battery, Zune Sync Cable and Zune AC Adapter for $99.99.
• Zune Travel Pack. The Travel Pack includes everything you need to travel with your Zune device in style. This set of five products is designed to keep you and your friends and family entertained while you travel. When you buy the Zune Travel Pack, you’ll get the Zune Dual Connect Remote, Zune Premium Earphones, Zune Gear Bag, Zune Sync Cable and Zune AC Adapter for $99.99.
• Zune Car Pack. The Car Pack includes everything you need to hit the road with your Zune device. With AutoSeek, setup is easy, and you can enjoy your music on the go and charge at the same time. When you buy the Zune Car Pack, you’ll get the FM transmitter with AutoSeek and the Zune Car Charger for $79.99.
The individual Microsoft accessories are:
• Zune AV Output Cable. The A/V Output Cable lets you connect your Zune device to a TV and home stereo. Ideal for listening to music and showing pictures and video, the A/V Output Cable is simple to set up and use, and will retail for $19.99.
• Zune AC Adapter. The AC Adapter lets you charge your Zune device without a PC. For convenience, the AC Adapter will charge your Zune device in about three hours and will retail for $29.99.
• Zune Sync Cable. The Sync Cable lets you connect your Zune device to your PC or the Zune AC Adapter (sold separately). It works as a replacement for your original sync cable or as a spare for travel and charging, and will retail for $19.99.
• Zune Car Charger. The Car Charger lets you charge your device in the car while listening to your favorite music and even while using the FM transmitter with AutoSeek (sold separately). The Car Charger will retail for $24.99.
• Zune Dock. The Dock elegantly displays your Zune device anywhere in your home or office. Featuring a connector port and an audio/video output, the Dock is ideal for syncing, charging and connecting with home A/V equipment. (A/V connectivity requires the Zune A/V Output Cable, sold separately.) The Dock will retail for $39.99.
• Zune Wireless Remote for Zune Dock. Designed for use with Zune Dock (sold separately), the Wireless Remote lets you control your device from across the room. The Wireless Remote gives you quick access to your current playlist as well as full control over menu navigation and volume. The Wireless Remote will retail for $29.99.
• Zune Dual Connect Remote. The Dual Connect Remote offers convenient playlist control and two headphone jacks with independent amplifiers and volume controls so you can listen with a friend or family member. The Dual Connect Remote will retail for $29.99.
• Zune FM transmitter With AutoSeek. The FM transmitter with AutoSeek lets you wirelessly listen to music through your car’s stereo through the FM radio. AutoSeek automatically finds the optimal station so it’s easy to set up, and will retail for $69.99.
• Zune Gear Bag. The Gear Bag lets you bring Zune and related accessories with you wherever you go. The Gear Bag comes with a rugged exterior and fitted compartments to protect your device while you travel. The Gear Bag will retail for $29.99.
• Zune Premium Earphones. Designed exclusively for use with Zune, the Premium Earphones produce superior sound and feature a noise-isolating, in-ear design. With a convenient storage case and three earpiece sizes to choose from, you can listen to your music with added comfort and quality. The Premium earphones will retail for $39.99.
As with all products, more can be expected in the future.
Q: Are there any official Microsoft Zune Web sites?
Microsoft now has an official Zune marketing site at Zune.net (Zune.com is not owned by Microsoft). Microsoft has also started Zune-Arts.net which has some Zune related posters and videos. The old viral marketing site at comingzune.com now points to Zune-Arts.net.
Q: Are there any reviews of the Zune?
Q: What are the future plans for the Zune?
Microsoft says they are in the personal media player business for the long haul and that the Zune rolled out on Nov. 14, 2006 is just the first step. In the future, Microsoft’s CEO Steve Ballmer says to expect video sharing and a variety of models including cell phones.
You can find some early info on the phone here
Q: Will Zune ever have games like the IPod?
"Microsoft will introduce video games for its Zune music player within 18 months to match features available on Apple's dominant iPod." (18 Months from January 2007) Announced at CES.
LAST UPDATED FEBRUARY 3rd 2007
Edited by Fuzzy, 03 February 2007 - 06:21 PM.