Older Zunes are getting some new software love too
with a 3.2 update. The new software is fully Windows 7 compliant,
naturally. It Supports all those nifty 7 features like Jump Lists,
previews, and Aero Snap.
Other new features of the software
include a Quickplay menu to access your favorite media on the Zune HD
player. Smart DJ is rather like the Apple Genius feature and creates
music mixes with similar genres from your collection and it will add
music from the Zune marketplace for those with a Zune Pass.
new Mini Player mode is now available that keeps the mini player on
top of any PC apps that are running. Microsoft has also introduced
download to rent or own movies and TV shows in SD and HD formats.
Engadget also reports that the ability to move DRM tracks between
Zune users has been removed from the new software.
most interesting new tidbit of info for the new Zune HD player is
that Microsoft plans to position
the device as a mobile gaming platform. If the popularity of
gaming on the iPod touch and iPhone are an indication of the
popularity of mobile gaming, this is a very good thing.
official Microsoft press release states, "Later this year, Zune
plans to release free applications such as Twitter for Zune and
Facebook for Zune, in addition to fun 3-D games such as "Project
Gotham Racing: Ferrari Edition," "Vans Sk8: Pool Service"
and "Audiosurf(TM) Tilt." Games can be added to Zune HD via
Zune Marketplace over the Wi-Fi connection or when connected to the
Zune PC software."
Microsoft reports that its strategy at
this point is to keep some games and apps offered on the Zune HD as
free products that are developed in-house or in close collaboration
with third parties. Premium 3D games will be items you have to
purchase presumably. There will be no SDK to allow devs to build apps
for the Zune HD at this point.
The launch of the Zune HD today also
marks the retirement
of all other Zune devices.