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All posts tagged "hardware"

Friday, April 10, 2009

Zune Marketing Leaked: Zune HD On The Way?

Posted by Adam Krebs in "Zune News" @ 04:11 PM


Whoah. Engadget's got the scoop on what appears to be marketing for a new Zune player, called the Zune HD. Which, judging by its name, will feature an HD screen and what looks to be touch controls. We have no specs, or proof that it's even real, but I'm sure we'll find out soon enough. Even if it turns out to be a hoax, I still want it.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

New Zunes Coming

Posted by David Tucker in "Zune News" @ 06:40 AM


There was some Zune news last night via Twitter from Brian Seitz on the Zune team that there will be "new zune hardware this year." This is great, if not entirely unexpected news. Since we really have very little to go on, I expect there will be a lot of speculation as to what form this hardware actually takes. And no reason not to start now!

Personally I think there is going to be a refresh of the flash players. Maybe a few more size options for the flash drive. I wouldn't mind seeing them increase the screen size a bit on the flash models since there is plenty of room for it. I don't think that the Zune 120 will get a lift. I guess they could expand the HDD again but I think overall that model just seems to be at a sweet spot.

I think the biggest addition though will definitely be a touchscreen based Zune. Microsoft needs something to compete against the iTouch. My one hope for all of these models is that the screens are all upped to wide screen and have their resolutions and color depth increased. If the Zune finds itself integrated

Friday, April 3, 2009

Unapologetically Zune

Posted by Adam Krebs in "Zune Talk" @ 02:30 AM


"Let me be clear: I'm a damn proud Zune owner. I do not apologize for having a device that satisfies my needs as it should. If you're an iPod owner, you should be proud too but don't ever expect me to feel bad when I stand next to you. I probably won't be able to hear you speaking anyway, because I'll be too busy listening to the plethora of podcasts I synced the night before."

Marques (TromboneForHire) ain't gonna take it anymore. Fed up with the anti-Zune sentiment he seems to encounter regularly, he has penned what might be called the Zuners' Manifesto, a diatribe against the iPod owning masses. And honestly, it's about time. Most of my friends who poked fun at me for owning a Zune two years ago have since gone out and bought one of their own (no, we haven't used the device-to-device sharing feature.) And even in my classes, my Zune ownership has become something of an in-joke (there are three of us proud Zuners in Philosophy 001 serving as the active resistance against the sea of iPod Classics and Touches... our rallying call "Red Zune!" can be heard just about as often as the discussions about Dualism and Descartes, but I digress.) Honestly, I think most people hate the Zune out of ignorance. It doesn't have quite the same ecosystem as Apple's ubiquitous iPod, but feature-for-feature, it blows the competition out of the water. If Microsoft steps up its efforts and truly gets the word out (no device-less cartoons with irrelvant messages) and delivers a strong competitor to the iPod Touch/iPhone, I think we could be in business. Have you ever felt the scorn of a stranger because of your choice in media player?

Thursday, April 2, 2009

iZel Universal Device Stand

Posted by Chris Gohlke in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 01:00 AM


"The iZel is a totally unique and innovative way to support your device for hands free use. Its remarkable design supports a wide range of the world's most popular devices. It has a clever method for adapting its shape to landscape or portrait orientations and it is easily adjusted to position your screen for the optimal viewing angle. Best of all, it folds flat and travels easily. The iZel's durable construction is made possible by using a sophisticated slip-resistant elastomer that helps to keep your device in its place and looking new. Use the iZel when you want to watch a video, make a hands-free call, monitor your email, surf the web, or to simply use your device as a digital picture frame."

This is certainly one way to go about things, but it seems a bit larger than what I want to carry around. Personally, I keep a few paperclips in my bag and just make myself a quick stand on the few occasions that I need one.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Rumor: Zune Touch in the Works?

Posted by David Tucker in "Zune News" @ 11:30 AM


"While the picture to the left is confirmed to be a fake, we may know what the actual “Zune touch” will look like sometime this summer. My source is a user by the name of VolvoShine on twitter."

Zune needs something big for the holiday season and while I have no idea how accurate this rumor from Cruleworld's Lifestream may be, I think it would be a good release. And while the picture we've seen is a known fake, a touch version of the Zune would be very similar I think. I mean, there's really not much you can do with a touch device as far as looks. Its going to be a screen and maybe a button!

The Zune would do well with a larger screen for video. Especially if they could ever get some sort of subscription service going. I'm not letting go of that dream! My only hope, if this were announced, is that it used an HDD rather than flash memory because I don't feel that flash gives you a good value for your money with a device like this.

APRIL FOOLS: Apple Subscriptions The Future!

Posted by David Tucker in "Zune News" @ 07:28 AM

You may be wondering about our new banner. I've long said that if Apple had offered subscription when I was first getting into using MP3 players that I would have jumped on board. Well, fortunately, that's not something any of us have to think about anymore. In order to better compete against the new Zune models expected to be announced this summer, Apple is going on the offensive. To effectively crush the last of their competition from the various other players in the market, Apple is finally going to release an all-you-can-eat subscription service. Highlights include:

  • Commentary on each track by Steve Jobs - Before each song, Steve himself gives his thoughts and reviews the song himself. This is why he's really taken some time off from Apple.
  • Genius Bar Support - With the vast selection of music on iTunes and the ability to get as much as you want, this is far more choice than most Apple users are used to. In order to help users work through this issue, you can bring your iPod to the Genius Bar where they will pick music for you and download it to your iPod.
  • 193 Kbps Bit Rate - While competing plans offer music at 192 Kbps, Apple is committed to ensuring the highest possible quality music experience. The 193 Kbps ensures unsurpassed fidelity compared to the meager 192 Kbps offered by other services.
  • $29.99 per month - While more expensive than competing plans, let's get real. You're listening to this on an iPod. This is the Maserati of subscription music.

There's just not any point of staying with Zune after this. Adam and Jason both agree. I'm excited with the new direction we'll be taking!

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Grab a Zune Gear Bag for $4.94

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Zune Accessories" @ 12:30 PM


"The rugged, durable exterior of the zune gear bag is designed to specifically protect your Zune and related accessories in style. The exterior of the gear bag is engineered to stand up to the wear-and-tear of traveling and features a woven, scuff-resistant material that will help keep your investment looking new despite heavy usage. The gear bag features specifically molded space for a Zune, a pair of premium headphones, an AC adapter, and a sync cable. In addition to carrying these essentials, the gear bag features soft, flexible netting to accommodate a wide range of other travel necessities."

Marked down from $29.99 to $4.94, the Zune gear bag is officially the best deal I've seen in a while - it's not meant for the smaller Flash-based Zunes though, it's for the Zune 30, Zune 80, or Zune 120. [Affiliate]

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Incipio Zune Accessory Sale

Posted by David Tucker in "Zune Accessories" @ 04:32 PM


If you’re an owner of one of the flash Zune models, then this may interest you. Incipio, maker of many cases and other accessories, is selling a large number of cases for the flash Zune at half price! If you need a case then now might be a good time to head over and see what they have since there is also no shipping in the United States. And I would imagine that covers about 90% of their potential customers. (Sorry Jason!)

If you don’t have a flash Zune there are a few accessories that are more universal such as screen wipes and a variety of chargers. Nothing amazing really but if you need a charger then you could pick one up here.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

How Many Quarks In A Zune?

Posted by Adam Krebs in "Zune Talk" @ 06:30 PM


"My friend Nick is good at answering the questions I didn't even know I wanted to ask. For example, how many electrons per song on an iPod? At approximately 4 minutes per song (Apple's average), we can play through 150 songs in 10 hours (far less than the 1000 song storage capacity), giving us approximately 1.09•1020 electrons used per song. That's downright efficient compared to the piggish 160 gig iPod Classic, which weighs in at 850mA•h, 40h: 1.27•1021 e / song."

File this under useless trivia, but maybe you've always wondered the number of electrons your Zune takes to play a song. Or maybe not.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Canada Only: 8 GB Zune + Armband for $99 CAD

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Zune Events" @ 08:15 AM


Just a quick note for our Canadian readers: Future Shop is having a one-day online sale on the Zune, offering the 8 GB Zune in black, red, or blue for $99 CAD. Also included is a free armband and a $30 "song card" (not sure where that's from). Or, if you're interested in the black 16 GB, it's $50 off and selling for $159 today.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Zune FM Transmitter Over 60% Off

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Zune Accessories" @ 11:48 AM


Pretty self-explantory: the regular price is $69.99 USD, and at the moment Amazon.com has the Zune FM Transmitter on sale for $29.95 USD in our affiliate store. Now's a good time to get one!

Monday, March 9, 2009

Steal of a Deal - Tekkeon TekCharge MP1800

Posted by Chris Gohlke in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 08:00 PM


"Tired of running out of juice when you're on the run? The Tekkeon TekCharge MP1800 is a rechargeable portable battery pack that supplies power to phones, MP3 players, Bluetooth headsets, and other mobile devices. The charger comes with seven adapter tips for use with most kinds of mobile phones, but you can also use the USB cable that came with your iPod, Zune, or other device. In other words, it's almost universally compatible, provided that your gizmo can be charged via USB."

I think I'm going to order one of these as is should cover my iPod, Zune, and phone. The normal price is $44.95, but right now Amazon has them for $28.99 $39.27 (they hiked the price!). [Affiliate] Unfortunately there is a couple of week backlog on their supply, so it will be a bit before I can share my thoughts. Anyone out there already have one of these?

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Microsoft Splits Zune Teams: Hardware, Software Now In Own Divisions

Posted by Adam Krebs in "Zune News" @ 11:30 PM


"Microsoft has quietly reorganized its Zune team, splitting up the hardware and software teams, CNET News has learned. The software and services portion of the Zune team—the bulk of its staff—will be added to the portfolio of Enrique Rodriguez, the vice president who currently runs Microsoft's Mediaroom and Media Center TV businesses. The hardware team, meanwhile, will now report to Tom Gibbons, who also leads the hardware design efforts within Microsoft's Windows Mobile unit. The move was made on January 22, as Microsoft made its first-ever companywide layoffs—layoffs which also hit the Zune team, although Microsoft won't say how many people were cut. In an hour-long interview on Thursday, Rodriguez said the move was not made in response to recent Zune sales, but rather as the company looks to create a more unified entertainment business and gears up to expand the Zune service to be available on more than just Microsoft's own devices. "The goal is to make non-gaming entertainment a first-class citizen within Microsoft's business," he said. That means building better software and gaining scale "a little further out than just in Redmond.""

Zune/Windows Mobile interoperability was inevitable, and, as it happens, necessary. The integration of Zune with Windows Mobile makes sense, not just on a business or marketing level, as the two products share a common center; Windows Mobile needs to be more consumer-friendly, and Zune needs a larger adoption base. By merging the two platforms, we can hopefully see better phones and a more connected media player experience. There is no reason why, at this point in the game, Microsoft should have so many divergent sync and media solutions. It's time for these all to work together, seamlessly. Hopefully at the Mobile World Conference, starting tomorrow, we'll begin to see some of the potential for this reorganization, and maybe even an international release or two. And hey, anything that makes "non-gaming entertainment a first-class citizen within Microsoft's business" is a-ok by me.

Monday, February 9, 2009

The MyVu Solo Plus: Great for Certain Travellers

Posted by Adam Krebs in "Zune Accessories" @ 07:00 AM


Product Category: Media player video accessory
Manufacturer: MyVu
Where to Buy: Amazon.com [Affiliate]
Price: $110 USD
Specifications: Glasses with 3:4 320x240 (QVGA) screen, 4 hour battery life, Ultimate Ears in-ear monitors with three different sized buds.


  • Good for long, relaxed trips;
  • Ultimate Ears earbuds sound great;
  • Comes with cables for many different portable media players.


  • Not very practical for day-to-day use;
  • Harder to watch during day flights;
  • Looks like something Geordi La Forge would wear.

Summary: The MyVu Solo Plus is hard to love. It's easy to like the idea of a portable, personal video screen, or the lure of a neck strain-reducing visor that handles all the typical problems associated with watching video on a tiny device. But in reality, the idea just isn't that well executed. Holding a Zune (or iPod, or Cowon, or any of the plethora of other players the glasses work with) at arm's-length has never been a particularly enjoyable experience, especially over an extended period of time, but this is where the MyVu glasses shine. They're light, portable, and good for long, relaxed trips where you would otherwise be sleeping or holding your player the whole time. Read more...

Friday, February 6, 2009

Zune Knockoff

Posted by David Tucker in "Zune Talk" @ 07:27 AM


“New Century Technology’s Zune copy gives us a glimpse of what lies ahead for Microsoft’s PMP: a free for all on the Zune aesthetics in China. This un-dubbed brushed aluminium PMP is just the beginning.”

Here’s a tip for everyone on this coming Valentine’s day. Do not buy this instead of a Zune. Nothing says “I love you” like a terrible knockoff! PMP Today reports that the specs on this are nothing impressive and something tells me you won’t be able to find this outside of China. If you really want to see the gory details you can check them out here. I suppose it’s a good thing though that the Zune at least has enough mindshare to be worth copying.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

iFlyz: The Portable Media Holding Solution

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 09:30 PM


"Inspired by you, the consumer, iFlyz was born after spending tireless hours traveling and watching as passengers tired to master a way to watch their media. Either you hold it, share the holding responsibilities with someone or rig it up a cup of some sort. Every option leaves you annoyed and with a slight kink in your neck, just reassuring you that flying is sheer joy. iFlyz introduces hands-free viewing while traveling, allowing you to relax and enjoy your downloadable movie or TV show while flying."

It's hard to get a handle on how compact this is, but it's a brilliant idea for anyone that travels a great deal and wants a better way to hold their media playback device. I know I could have used this product many times in the past! It would work equally well on a Zune, a Windows Mobile smartphone, or any other number of devices. The product is available for pre-order ($29.95 USD within the USA, $34.95 to Canada, and $36.95 elsewhere in the world, shipping included) and they'll be shipping them out come February.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Zune Originals Canada Offers New Artwork for Valentine's Day

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Zune Hardware" @ 12:35 PM


"Starting today, Zune Originals, the online design studio that lets people customize Zune players with detailed laser engraving, is launching a new collection of Valentine's Day designs. Inspired by themes of music and love, the new collection features designs from artists like Canadian Gary Fernandez, Sanna Annukka and Si Scott that will make a great personalized gift for your sweetheart. Zune will offer customers free engraving (a $15 CDN value) for any design in the Valentine's Collection between January 15 and February 14. Zune is also making the Zune 120GB device widely available in red just in time for Valentine's Day at ZuneOriginals.ca and at major retailers nationwide including Amazon.ca (www.amazon.ca/zune), Future Shop and Best Buy."

The Zune in Canada still has no Marketplace, or Zune Pass, but that isn't stopping the Zune Canada team from releasing some splashy new designs in time for Valentine's Day. Can you sense my frustration at still having a half-launched product in this market six months later? That's a topic for another time. Here are the new artists who have contributed designs:

• "Gary Fernandez - new contributing artist to Zune Originals, this Vancouver BC-based illustrator and graphic designer created a fluid and rhythmic composition that represents the idea that music and love make the world go around.

• Rubens LP - a Brazilian-born illustrator who's new to Zune Originals says this piece is about kissing. That moment when time stops and 2 lovers find each other and the world disappears.

• Sanna Annukka - also a new contributor to Zune Originals, this design by Finnish-English illustrator and printmaker depicts two song birds entwined amidst a garden of flowers which are encouraged by music to blossom into explosions of pattern.

• Si Scott - new to Zune Originals and known for his unique blend of hand-inked design mixed with modern & traditional typography, Scott uses swans (known to mate for life) in his design to convey the universal belief that there's a true soul mate for everybody.

• Tado - second-time contributors to Zune Originals, the design-duo explains that this design is a light-hearted twist on a classic romantic evening."

As we get new product photos for the designs (the above one is the only one the PR firm has) we'll post them.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Order Your Gears of War 2 Zune

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Zune Hardware" @ 02:00 AM


You want your own Gears of Wars 2 Zune, complete with 120 GB of storage, the original Gears of War soundtrack (why not the GOW2 soundtrack I wonder?), and 244 images? Sure ya' do. Order one now for $279.00 USD.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

The OTHER Zune Originals Artist Series Zunes

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Zune Hardware" @ 05:07 PM

Turns out that when I posted on the new Zune Originals artist series designs the other day, the source I linked to didn't have all of the images - ah, the joys of a fragmented PR release! At any rate, after the break there are six more designs: one by Alex Trochut, two by Alvara Arteaga, and one each by Ippei Gyobu, Kate Moross, and Siggi Eggerstsson. Read more...

Zune Originals Iosefatu Sua Chinese Astrology Series in Pictures

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Zune Hardware" @ 04:57 PM

The headline speaks for itself: these are the Iosefatu Sua Chinese Astrology Zune Originals designs. I'll point out the ultimate irony here since doubtless some of you will be thinking the same thing: because the Zune still lacks unicode support, it doesn't support any non-Latin character-based languages...meaning that anyone who has Chinese-language file names (or Japanese, or Korean, or Thai, or...) gets an ugly mess when that content is moved over onto the Zune. So you can have your Chinese astrological Zune, but you can't have your Chinese songs. Kind of sucky, no? They've got to get that fixed - you can't say you're all about music as a product team if you only support certain languages. The whole collection is found after the break - they look hot! Read more...

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