Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Thoughts on Zune 2

The new Zune software is out now and it's pretty cool. I have a first gen zune and it's updated for free with the new firmware.

Here are my thoughts:

- Gorgeous UI on the device, more glowing stuff, smoother fades and wipes and nicer alpha channel/translucent effects. Very slick indeed, more chic than the now dated iPodesque glass buttons

- Girly/swirly UI on the software but it can be skinned to a muted minimal look/feel. It's really minimalistic in a Stark/Bang Olufson kind of way but at the same time organic like your moms velvet wallpaper. They definitely didn't copy iTunes and it shows.

- The software is very easy to use but it lacks some of the depth it used to have. I guess they rewrote it from scratch because a lot of the metadata and playlist features are gone. So are the heirarchical views of artist/genres/albums. We're left with minimalistic lists that can be sorted but you can't re-order the columns. Very nice for kids and noobs but a little lame for the rest of us. I would expect this to be built back up over time.

- There are lots of new social networking features and wireless features that I haven't tested yet.

Final thoughts: I think M$ will steadily chip away at A$ by honing into the facebook/mobile/xbox/pvr/tivo features that A$ will never have. M$ makes money by letting partners have a piece of the pie, A$ makes money by keeping partners out.

2 steps forward, 1 step back. 8.5/10.

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