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Image courtesy Paul Thurrott's SuperSite for Windows
Zune caught in the wild

Paul Thurrott's SuperSite for Windows has posted two photo galleries of Microsoft's Zune portable media player (PMP) in action. The images show a user scrolling through a music library, watching video content along with two users sending/receiving music files and pictures. Browsing through the photo galleries also gives us a pretty thorough overview of the menu system included on Zune as well as its FM radio functionality and Zune friends list.

The Zune was announced yesterday and is positioned to take on Apple's 5/5.5G iPods. The device features a large 3" QVGA screen, 30GB hard drive, WiFi connectivity and a USB 2.0 interface. Also announced alongside the actual player was the Zune Marketplace which rivals Apple’s iTunes as a one-stop shop for purchasing, listening to and syncing music.

Microsoft has also teamed up with Altec Lansing, Belkin Corp., Digital Lifestyle Outfitters, Dual Electronics, Griffin Technology, Harman Kardon and JBL, Klipsch Audio Technologies, Logitech and a host of other companies to provide accessories for the Zune. Apple's iPod has enjoyed healthy aftermarket support for accessories and Microsoft is doing everything in its power to ensure that its Zune players enjoy the same luxuries.

Update 9/15/2006: Team Xbox has posted some videos of the Zune along with commentary on the features of the player.

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um ok
By Gore98 on 9/15/2006 1:00:18 AM , Rating: 1
How is the ipod the best product out there when products such as the toshiba gigabeat and the archos 04 line exist!? Sorry, but the archos 604 blows away everything apple can offer!! lol@ipod owners who buy crap only because its trendy

RE: um ok
By abhaxus on 9/15/2006 4:17:23 AM , Rating: 4
perhaps ipod owners buy them because they have more accessories available.

I used to be like you, stupidly mocking ipod buyers. But we're barely into the second wave of ipod accessories. There are simply more accessories for the ipod than anything else on the market. I bought one because my onkyo receiver has a docking station for it.

RE: um ok
By JDub02 on 9/15/2006 10:47:11 AM , Rating: 3
I bought my iPod strictly for the accessories. I was able to get an adapter that plugged into the back of my stock car stereo that would make it think the iPod is a CD changer and keep it charged. There's nothing like that for any other portable mp3 player on the market.

iTunes isn't my favorite application, but I think it's just as good as WMP with regards to organizing music. iPod/iTunes is by far the industry leader, so it must have something going for it other than hype.

Now if I can just get the darn scratches off of my iPod ...

RE: um ok
By stmok on 9/15/2006 4:23:41 AM , Rating: 2
Sorry, but the archos 604 blows away everything apple can offer!! lol@ipod owners who buy crap only because its trendy

Welcome to the world of Looks and Marketing!

RE: um ok
By dysonlu on 9/15/2006 2:03:33 PM , Rating: 2
To stmok: Amen.

(By the way, I'm not one of those dudes that are bashing MSFT just for the sake of it, but I find the Zune quite fugly, especially that brown/bronze color. Hope it's better looking in "person".)

RE: um ok
By clementlim on 9/15/2006 5:44:54 AM , Rating: 3
Well...most people go for looks. What is the first thing you focus upon when you saw a gal/guy? Definitely not what's inside. I guess a lot of people are blinded by beauty. I just use my handphone for portable music and video. Not really a good option but I don't want too many gadgets in my pockets.

RE: um ok
By Hare on 9/15/2006 7:53:24 AM , Rating: 1
How is the ipod the best product out there when products such as...

I'm sure the gigabeat and archos offer the best usability and overall experience with their ease of use and the best onlistore for digital media? Wait a sec... They don't. I quess that's one thing that explains why the iPod has become so popular. It's easy to use and integrates extremely well to Apples online services. Not to mention the accessories etc.

RE: um ok
By Johnmcl7 on 9/15/2006 8:47:46 AM , Rating: 2
A lot of the Ipod success is because it has the Apple name on it, I know plenty of people who have bought one for that reason alone and then regretted it when they've seen the Ipod rivals in action.


RE: um ok
By Burning Bridges on 9/15/2006 9:41:02 AM , Rating: 2
That's interesting, a lot of people I know that own an iPod have them because they have used other people's and seen how easy it is to use, and how much the other people enjoy theirs.

I wouldn't say the Apple name has much to do with it in these parts.

RE: um ok
By Vertigo101 on 9/15/2006 10:05:46 AM , Rating: 2
4 out of 5 iPod owners I know bought them because they were 'stylish'. Those same 4 owners have had issue after issue with them too.

My cousin-in-law bought a Powerbook because it was stylish....if that's not the worst reason to buy a computer, I don't know what is.

Anyone who buys an iPod for the iTunes Store deserves to be an iPod owner.

I'd consider buying an iPod if they had some kind of major price drop, but I'd never use iTunes with it.

RE: um ok
By retrospooty on 9/15/2006 10:12:06 AM , Rating: 2
"A lot of the Ipod success is because it has the Apple name on it"

I dont think so... The ipod is huge becasue its is nice looking, easy UI, and first off the block with that combo and it became huge. There may be others out there that are functionally better, but ipod is a HUGE name now. Apple's brand name means little, I would say the opposite, the ipod brand is bringling Apple up, not hte the reverse. Apple is a tiny player, the name hold's almost zero weight in the industry (for reference see the personal computer space)

RE: um ok
By akugami on 9/15/2006 5:12:34 PM , Rating: 2
Doesn't mean 4 out of 5 people overall bought the iPod for style. That just shows how shallow the people you personally know buying these iPods are. Not saying all the people you know are shallow, just those particular ones buying the latest fad. Most people I know of buy the iPods for the positives they hear about the useability and it's wide variety of peripherals. And also, it doesn't mean 4 out of 5 people buying their iPods have problems. If they were so problematic then we'd sure as heck have heard about it by now.

RE: um ok
By protosv on 9/15/2006 9:38:59 AM , Rating: 1
There's also this little thingy called iTunes, which requires an iPod. If you want to buy your music legally online, it's basically the only game in town. The archos and toshiba can be as beautiful and easy to use as they want, but they won't work with iTunes...

RE: um ok
By Vertigo101 on 9/15/2006 10:11:50 AM , Rating: 2
If you want to be stuck with iTunes and the iPod, you're right: it is the only game in town, and that's exactly the way Apple wants it.

I guess ripping your own CD's isn't an option any more, eh?

Personally, I'd never buy DRM'ed music.

RE: um ok
By melgross on 9/15/2006 7:13:01 PM , Rating: 2
They won't work with Zune either. Did you forget that?

RE: um ok
By AlexWade on 9/15/06, Rating: -1
RE: um ok
By akugami on 9/15/2006 5:17:18 PM , Rating: 2
For some reason, people are laying the blame for DRM on iTunes at Apple's feet. It's not Apple's fault, it's not MS's fault, it's not Creative or whatever's fault. It's the fault of the RIAA and MPAA. And as far as DRM goes, Apple's is one of the least restrictive as far as music goes.

And one of the reasons why it will be so so hard to beat Apple in the DAP market is the pervasiveness of peripherals for the iPods. Look around at the iPod market. It's huge.

lol, Microsoft
By Ralph The Magician on 9/15/2006 9:57:17 AM , Rating: 2
Who wants to bet that less than a month after they release the Zune someone codes a nasty virus for it and if you "accept" a file from that person, it will turn you Zune into a brick?

It's almost guaranteed.

Then you'll have to update your Zune to SP1, and will only be able to communicate with other Zunes that are upgraded to SP1. On top of that, the new message will read, "Are you SURE you want to connect to The Virus Man? Connecting to unknown Zunes may pose a security risk" and Microsoft will suggest that you only accept file transfers from people you know.

Anyone want to make a bet that I'm wrong? Anyone at all?

RE: lol, Microsoft
By Homerboy on 9/15/2006 10:14:22 AM , Rating: 2
sure I will
1 month?
I'm in.

RE: lol, Microsoft
By Vertigo101 on 9/15/2006 10:15:09 AM , Rating: 2
I will.
You're wrong.

RE: lol, Microsoft
By dysonlu on 9/15/2006 2:18:55 PM , Rating: 2
I'm in too.

Screen caps
By stash on 9/15/2006 1:00:51 AM , Rating: 5
lol, I love how Paul thinks he's got some exclusive there.

Those are screen caps from this video:

RE: Screen caps
By stmok on 9/15/2006 3:58:11 AM , Rating: 2
What do you expect?

His site is basically the unofficial Microsoft technology preview web site. (Its great publicity for Microsoft when Paul has positive things to say about them).

Although, its quite interesting to see he also publishes articles of the negative aspects of Vista. (Stuff he doesn't like...Like the UAC implementation and some inconsistent UI bits).

Usefull features
By Arribajuan on 9/15/2006 10:14:51 AM , Rating: 3
As for me, a killer feature would be to include an integrated fm transmiter...

This way you can use the thing in you car or in whatever stereo system in your household out of the box.

It is crazy to spend 400 in an ipod (or equivalent) and then spend 100 on a transmitter for you car, and then another 50 for a dock for you house, 200 on a speaker system, etc.

They could also include a small cell phone like speaker. It would not bring excelent sound quality but you can show you videos to someone with sound out of the box too.

I do not know it the wifi thing will take off but I think there are other ways to "innovate" in the narket. Ways thatr are already there and I do not think it would be extremely expensive.

Just make the thing more practicar and versatile.

Give me a zune with the transmitter and a cell phone speaker and I am sole. The wifi feature does not mean anything to me at this point.

Additional to this, why does Microsoft include the 30 GB disk if toshiba is not producing 40 and 80 GB versions?? It is the same manufacturer!

RE: Usefull features
By Vertigo101 on 9/15/2006 10:16:38 AM , Rating: 2
But that's just the way they want it. The accessories market loves the iPod, especially when you buy that Bose speaker dock to go with your iPod.

You know, the best speakers for the best MP3 player....

RE: Usefull features
By Arribajuan on 9/15/2006 10:20:51 AM , Rating: 2
Yeap, I figure the industry is happy selling $300 speakers for maximum quality for mp3.

As a consumer, I am not :(

So until that happens I can afford not to have an mp3 player. :)

By JaredExtreme on 9/15/2006 12:15:20 AM , Rating: 1
Eh, not going to buy it. I think Ipods are tacky and cliche' and this is just a lame imitation.

RE: .
By Crusader on 9/15/2006 12:23:43 AM , Rating: 1
yeah, too bad theres nothing better than the ipod. as "tacky" as having the best product on the market might be. itunes sucks, but i wouldnt trade my nano for anything else out there currently.

looking forward to seeing MSs version though. will prob be pretty good if their great hardware decisions on the xbox360 are any indication.

RE: .
By Vertigo101 on 9/15/2006 10:13:52 AM , Rating: 2
I've got a 4gb MS Pro DUO in my PSP, and I wouldn't trade it for your Nano either.

It's not the best, it's just the most 'cool', if that's an important function for you.

RE: .
By Crusader on 9/15/06, Rating: 0
RE: .
By akugami on 9/15/2006 6:17:43 PM , Rating: 2
If you're going to be arguing about better DAP's than the iPod, the PSP is not the one you should be bringing up. I have a PSP that is collecting dust because it's simply too bulky to carry around as a DAP and there hasn't been much in the way of compelling games. My iRiver IFP-999 and iPod are what I use all the time. I'll take an iPod Nano as a DAP over a PSP any day.

My, how excited our great nation gets about toys
By Plester on 9/15/2006 10:48:45 AM , Rating: 2
I suspect the Romans did too.

By milnerw on 9/15/2006 5:26:30 PM , Rating: 3
I have had my ipod mini for soo long now.. and its getting time to upgrade to a bigger movie one i think a zune is on the list to check out.

by the way... would all you kids stop slating apple at creating something which most "ignorant, stupid" people buy because they enjoy listening to music. Im no mac or apple fanboy as such but the main reason from my take on things is because yes they are a known brand. They dont care if the flippin thing doesnt take 1000000 tB more information, they dont care that they cant view ultra high def tv on a poxy 2 inch screen, they dont care that they cant wirelessly syncronise with your limwire downloads from halfway round the globe. They want a working mp3 player so that they can buy a few tunes from iTunes chuck em on the ipod so they can listen to it on the way to and from work, shopping, cleaning i mean hell what ever you do with it. Now thats were other companys have gone wrong. Appeal to the masses not the minority. Spend less on functionality spend more on advertising. simple

I really like the look of this thing.
By Tamale on 9/15/2006 12:06:26 AM , Rating: 2
Now please, just make a bigger version MS!

By urosv on 9/16/2006 10:01:22 AM , Rating: 2
What? I can't believe how ugly this thing looks. BROWN COLOR?! How can you make an MP3 player that's gonna compete with an iPOD in BROWN?!

It is allready doomed. Definitely.

I'm not an apple nor ipod owner but... When i saw this i lauged... UGLY!

Why I got an iPod...
By freemaker9 on 9/15/2006 12:04:16 PM , Rating: 2
Frankly the reason I remember getting an iPod was because of iTunes and the fact that it didn't have everything plus the kitchen sink built in; I wasn't looking for FM radio or support for WMA, OGM, etc. when all I wanted was an MP3 player. IMO, iTunes is the best way to buy legal content and has the most acceptable DRM restrictions. To day, I've purchased about 40+ songs and a couple of TV shows.

As for the Apple name, iPod/iTunes pretty much created and built the Apple name for most people who weren't overly familiar with their computer offerings.

The styling/design is obviously a consideration, but the ease of use and the iTunes integration are the iPods key selling points.

RE: Why I got an iPod...
By jmunjr on 9/15/2006 3:46:33 PM , Rating: 2
"IMO, iTunes is the best way to buy legal content and has the most acceptable DRM restrictions."

That's a bad opinion..imo. The best way is to buy the CD, rip it, and encode in the format of your choice. Ogg imo is the best format. Do iPods play back Ogg? My mp3 player from 1999 will and does so extremely well.

accessory makers
By melgross on 9/15/2006 7:18:33 PM , Rating: 2
It seems as though MS (and SanDisk) is overblowing their accessory support.

I wonder how many of the others, aren't.

RE: accessory makers
By urosv on 9/16/2006 10:08:36 AM , Rating: 2
Wow! Can you imagine people at Belkin when they read such stories: Do we really make Zune accessories? I didn't knew we do :)

I just hope it sounds good.
By dblagent on 9/16/2006 7:15:43 AM , Rating: 2
I'm hoping it sounds better than the iPod. I just used a friends iPod to play music in my cars mp3 plaver jack and before I even connected he said it would sound like crap because the mp3 car jacks ALL sound bad. Waaaa? He was right it sounded very bad, staticy. He then got an iriver player and installed the same songs and it sounded great, no static. He now admits sound quality is not good on the apple. I like the interface on the ipod better, but I need better sound quality more.

Please make the Zuns have great sound quality MS!

RE: I just hope it sounds good.
By urosv on 9/16/2006 10:06:08 AM , Rating: 2
Looks like there is something wrong with your cabling. My friend has a Ipod Color in his Audi A6 and the sound quality is very very good indeed, another friend has the same model in his BMW 530d - not a trace of any static whatsoever...
Are you sure you have checked you cables?

No chance
By Zebo on 9/15/2006 7:04:52 PM , Rating: 2
Too Big Too Fugly!! No chance Microsoft sorry...

There is a reason Apple owns all and it aint because it's "trendy" it's because it's small, sleek and has superior backend support.

“We do believe we have a moral responsibility to keep porn off the iPhone.” -- Steve Jobs
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