Tuesday, November 13, 2007

I fell for the Social

A year ago, I looked at a Zune and said to myself, "my that sure is ugly." I heard about $1.00 from every Zune sale was going to Universal Studios. Zune was being released from Microsoft. And did I mention that it was ugly? I could not see how this ugly MP3 player would be able to compete with the iPod. I didn't like the idea of Universal getting more money than they deserve. It would be a tough thing for them to do to try and take some market share from Apple. But Microsoft, being Microsoft, had to try. And they weren't that successful. People had trouble with it. And, well, it's ugly.

Move forward one year, and Microsoft has just released their second generation Zune. This time, they have an 80 gig version to replace the 30 gig original version. And they also have a flash based player in a 4 gig and 8 gig variety. The new Zune's include some nifty new features, like being able to wirelessly sync with the host computer. And they aren't quite as ugly as before.

One of the nice thing they are doing is allowing the original Zune's to take advantage of the new features. The original Zune has a firmware update that gives it most of the new features. The only thing missing has to do with video playback. Not a huge deal.

So, everything is looking up for Microsoft. They may actually give the iPod a run for its money. But only time will tell.

Why am I talking about this? Well, our good friends at Woot recently had a really good sale on refurbished brown original Zunes for $75.00. I just couldn't resist. Who ever heard of a 30 gig MP3 player for $80.00 (with shipping)? No one. So, I got it. But the thing that sold me the most is that, 1. Microsoft would be updating the firmware to allow the latest goodies to be included. Something Apple rarely does, if at all. And 2. podcasts are now supported. I listen/watch podcasts on my Sony PSP, and it's a pain to deal with the limited amount of memory. Having 30 gigs available was very tempting for that alone.

Now, I'm a Zune owner. (not quite ready to say that I'm a "proud" owner) And I'm happy that the latest software and firmware has finally been released. Over the next few days I'll go over some of the new features in more detail. But so far, I'm really impressed with the podcast aspects of the software. More on that in the next post.

If you are interested, my Zune card is http://social.zune.net/member/RonnieMorgan.