Wednesday, May 21, 2008
Posted by Adam Krebs in "Zune Talk" @ 07:30 PM
While the 2.5 update fixed a number of missing features and introduced several new ones, the Zune team still has a long way to go to make everybody happy (don't they always?). GotZune's Jason Rasmussen posts a nice article highlighting the important features that he'd like to see in upcoming releases. Several of these are no-brainers that the Zune team can and should implement in the next release. Some, like DivX/XviD support would be killer, but I don't see anything happening on this front until Zune Gen3 at the earliest.
Jason talks about the need to further integrate Zune into Windows Media Center and Xbox. At this stage in the game Microsoft has so many services that are not only incompatible, they compete with each other. It's time to bring the Entertainment & Devices division on the same page and build a fully compatible ecosystem. I shouldn't have to deal with several different stores just to get the content I want on the devices I already own. The whole point of inconveniencing Zune owners with the Microsoft Points system was to allow greater interoperability between the systems.
Jason also mentions the need to bring back flagging and a five-star rating system. I don't know about other people, but my main use of the flagging/rating system is to remind me to do certain things. Delete a song, for example was a single star (or now a broken heart); remember to add a certain song to a list, or fix metadata was a flag. The problem with this system arises when I can't distinguish which flags or star/heart ratings mean what. If I can't tell if I don't like a song, just don't want it on my Zune, or want to delete it completely, then the rating system is useless. I hope the Zune team can create an elegant way to flag songs for later use. What I'd like to see is the ability to add songs on-the-fly to playlists or sync groups. For example, I could create a playlist called "songs to delete" or "fix metadata" or "for Julie's wedding", and when I'm listening to my Zune and encounter a song that fits this criteria, I could add it to the playlist. When I sync it back to my computer, my lists are all there, and I can do with them what I want.
This would of course go hand-in-hand with playlist arrangement enhancements such as track re-ordering and a more functional now playing system. Hopefully it won't be November before we see a few of these basic changes.