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$399 for a 30GB Zune

The Zune info just keeps pouring and this time we're getting additional details from Digital Music News. The publication has seen various presentation materials sent to Microsoft partners which shed some more light on the portable media player that everyone seems to be talking about these days.

According to the materials, Microsoft will initially be targeting Zune at young adults in the 18-24 age bracket. In targeting this segment of the market, Microsoft hopes to piggyback on the success of the XBOX, XBOX 360 and XBOX Live -- which have been made popular by young adults -- and use its console platform as a launching pad for Zune.  Digital Music News reports:

The Xbox community itself will be an important starting point for the campaign. Upon launch, Microsoft will create an impact though a "7 cities in 7 nights" tour, which will involve big-name artists, key cities, and live performances that will be exclusively positioned as downloads "on the web and music store". Throughout, the messaging will be focused on the "device plus store". Big box retail outlets will offer a nice push. Sources note that the device will be “overwhelmingly sold at Target, Best Buy, and Walmart,” and nearly 30,000 retail outlets across the US. A Super Bowl spot is also reportedly in the works.

The Zune Live feature, which takes advantage of the device’s built-in WiFi, is also key to Microsoft's aim at capturing 20% of the market. Zune Live would be a community-based system that would allow Zune users and XBOX Live users to stay in touch and share content. Whether this will lead to some sort of MySpace-esque ecosystem for the portable media set remains to be seen. Digital Music News reports that WiFi sharing can take place between up to ten people within close proximity to each other. Users will be able to stream music from each other, but simply copying music and heading off into the sunset doesn't appear to be an option:

If a user wants to purchase shared material, tracks can be bookmarked and later purchased when the device is synched to the computer. Unclear is whether users can share unlicensed MP3 content, though they probably will not have that ability. Meanwhile, interesting community aspects will be embedded into the device, including features like friends lists.

And now we get to the rough part. Pricing looks to be on the high side with a 30GB model coming in at the price of a 60GB 5G iPod: $399. Apple's 30GB 5G iPod is $100 cheaper. Another more interesting downside is that the device will not feature wireless PC syncing. Wireless PC syncing would be a big boon for Zune, but Microsoft has perhaps implemented some proprietary WiFi protocol in the device which would make wireless syncing impossible. USB connectivity, however, will be available for both PCs and XBOX consoles. The device will also be incompatible with existing PlaysForSure music services as Microsoft looks to a one-brand music store strategy similar to iPod + iTunes. All signs point to the recently launched MTV/Microsoft URGE music store.

Microsoft is hoping to launch the new player in three colors this November in the States with a worldwide launch coming early next year.

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By theapparition on 7/19/2006 3:02:27 PM , Rating: 2
I'll agree with you on almost all points.

Definitely have drag and drop capability without the stupid syncing required if the user is so inclined. As for the formats, your correct there.

I'd love to have a standard mini-usb connection, but how many accessories have them now? Remember, were talking about a huge amount of peripherals that work with the iPod docking connector. I don't like it either.......but it is here to stay. Can't beat em, join em.....comes to mind.
As for the car stereo, you just don't get it. Sure many have a headset jack to play back from. But the better way would be to control the player THROUGH the head unit, and not have to play it while driving. And with steering wheel controls, I can control it without even taking my hands off the wheel. The player could be installed under the seat, in the glove compartment, etc. That's slick. Or should I get some suction cup thingy to hold my MP3 player somewhere. Sorry, but a 2006 Corvette is not getting Velcro stuck ANYWHERE!!!!!
While I am not hung up on ergonomics and pretty technical(and I suspect that most people in these forums are), we have to remember that most of the buying population is. Style can sell more than features sometimes, when you and I just shake our heads and wonder what were they thinking. We're also talking about a majority of the population that don't know how to set their VCR's clock(<--wow, do they even exist anymore) and leave it blinking 12:00 forever.
And just to close, We hate proprietary solutions, general people take whatever is shoved down their throats. If not, then why would Sony still be in business???

"We are going to continue to work with them to make sure they understand the reality of the Internet.  A lot of these people don't have Ph.Ds, and they don't have a degree in computer science." -- RIM co-CEO Michael Lazaridis
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