Monday, November 13, 2006

Too soon for the Zune

In one of two major product releases due this week, the Microsoft Zune Media Player (or MP3 player) is scheduled to be released tomorrow. (The other is the Sony PlayStation 3, scheduled for release on Friday November 17).

By "Too soon", I don't mean that the player will not be ready. Instead, I would want to remind all those caught up in the hype that this is version 1.0 of a Microsoft product. Not only is this a hardware product running an OS, but a whole ecosystem to support that product. Just to make matters a bit more interesting, the Zune is not backward-compatible with PlaysForSure - Microsoft's own DRM (see Wikipedia Digital Rights Management). This means that subscription tracks purchased from stores such as Napster or Urge will not work on the Zune. The Zune is also a bit large, at 4.4 by 2.4 by 0.6 inches and weighing in at 5.6 oz. Okay, that is about the same size as the Creative Zen Vision:M, but the ZVM came out in December of last year.

Personally I wouldn't touch the Zune for at least a year or more. Still, it will be interesting to see how this version 1.0 product fares against the 5th generation (or 5.5) Apple iPod.

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