New Zune Launches
I was skeptical about the latest Zune launch. Yes, there’s the new hardware form factor, but as an existing Zune user with friends on the beta, I was worried about some of what I was hearing about battery life, and just kept thinking about the klunky UI experience in the marketplace. Well, the launch was Tuesday, and I have to say that I definitely LOVE the new Zune experience.
The new UI has a bit of sparkle that sets itself apart from the iPod and the previous Zune UI, through both menu updates and overall presentation. But the best changes are to the marketplace. The interface is stylish and clean (I am a big fan of white space), and the controls are easy to manouver. Moving files between desktop and device is a breeze, as is the transition between marketplace to personal collection to other functionality.
The Zune Social is another great perk of the new platform, providing a window into what your friends are listening to and buying. Security is provided via Windows Live ID, of course, but once you’re in you have the ability to interact, leave messages, and compare collections. Users are provided with some basic personalization options (here’s my profile). While there’s not a lot there yet, I expect to see a lot of expansion here in the near future.
Overall, a great improvement. Yes, there is always room for improvement. There have been some good reviews, and some slaps for what is clearly still missing. As this article points out, Microsoft seems to have reached parity in what is available from Apple today, but hasn’t gone far enough to “leapfrog” the iPod. Maybe in SP1?
And this article brings up a good point: what about compatibility with Windows Media Player and other Microsoft technologies? Hmmm…