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Details of Next Gen Zune Surface 308

KMG writes "Zune Scene has got a scoop about the next generation Microsoft Zune. There will be two new models; a flash memory based and a hard drive based. Zune with HDD will be thinner and have larger storage capacity while the flash based will feature Wi-fi, video playback. So will we see another try from Microsoft to beat Apple's iPod or it will be another vain attempt from the Redmond guys."
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Details of Next Gen Zune Surface

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  • Yes, but... (Score:5, Funny)

    by Trivial_Zeros ( 1058508 ) on Wednesday April 11, 2007 @10:25AM (#18688729)
    Will it come in brown?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 11, 2007 @10:26AM (#18688745)
    Someone actually bothered to put up a fan site for it?
  • More the Merrier (Score:5, Insightful)

    by p0tat03 ( 985078 ) on Wednesday April 11, 2007 @10:28AM (#18688785)

    Bring it on I say. MS has shown that they can learn from their mistakes. The difference between the Xbox and 360 being a prime example. MS has the money to burn to keep making mistakes and learning from them. If that means they *eventually* make an iPod killer, so be it. The market needs more competing products, not less.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      Microsoft has yet to show that they learn from their mistakes. The keep making mistakes only to see someone else get it right then they either:
      a) Buy out the competition
      b) Copy the competition
      c) Throw more money at the mistake and wait until next-gen to re-try A and B
      • - XBox Live 2.0

        - USB input (iPod friendly) on 360

        - All The Other Media Extender Shit on 360

        At least try to refute what the parent said.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by p0tat03 ( 985078 )

        That's not a fair statement to make. While MS has done their fair share of "embrace, extend, extinguish", what we've seen traditionally with MS's hardware divisions is anything but that.

        Xbox: Single-handedly invents modern multiplay on the console. Still the leading online service that is leading in every way to the competing PS3 and Wii. There was no service for MS to copy from, and much of what they did is now being copied by Sony and Nintendo!

        Even Zune 1.0 had innovative features that were anything b

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by Saffaya ( 702234 )
          "There was no service for MS to copy from "

          Yes there was.
          You are forgetting the DreamCast and SegaNet. (Phantasy Star Online anyone ?)

          But I don't mean it in a copy sort of way.
          SEGA shared its know-how with MS to help them build Xbox Live.
    • Re:More the Merrier (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Luscious868 ( 679143 ) on Wednesday April 11, 2007 @10:45AM (#18689053)

      If that means they *eventually* make an iPod killer, so be it. The market needs more competing products, not less.

      There will never be an iPod killer. What you'll see is the iPod's market share steadily eaten away by a large number of other players. The iPod was a once in a decade phenomena like the Walkman before it. There's was and still is a lot of hype surrounding the iPod and it is a great product but other players have caught up in terms of functionality and are able to compete on price. What currently still gives the iPod the edge is the integration with the iTMS.

      Given the recent announcement that EMI will be offering DRM free music and Steve Job's statement that more than half of the music in the iTMS will be DRM free by the end of the year (suggesting that more deals are imminent), I'd argue that it is much more likely that people will begin buying DRM free music that they can use with the player of their choice and that will slowly but surely eat away at the iPod's market share as people chose to replace their iPods with lower cost alternatives without worrying about losing their investment in the music they've already purchased from the iTMS.

      That scenario is a lot easier to envision than some company producing the next big thing and having consumers dumping their iPods in droves for it. What is there really left for a portable mp3 player to do? Current iPods let you watch videos, listen to music, play games, store photo's and contact and the list goes on. I think the iPhone may be more popular than some people think but the concept will take a while to catch on and that's if Apple can deliver on it's promises. I'd love to have my phone and iPod in a single device that also gives me easy access to the web and e-mail. The price and the fact that it's currently tied to a single wireless provider are what will hold it back. Although both of those things will probably change in the future.

      If i was a betting man I'd say the 2nd or 3rd generation iPhone will be the closest thing that comes to an iPod killer provided Apple can increase the storage space, reduce the price and offer versions of the phone that can work with additional providers.

      • by shawnce ( 146129 ) on Wednesday April 11, 2007 @11:40AM (#18689907) Homepage

        players have caught up in terms of functionality and are able to compete on price. What currently still gives the iPod the edge is the integration with the iTMS.
        The funny thing is many of the other players on the market, even when the first iPod shipped, had more (in some cases many more) end user features and/or lower pricing then the iPod. For example a couple players on the market at the time of the iPod could already play videos on screen or output to a TV/monitor. The initial thing the iPod had was FireWire (faster syncing and charging), iTunes (good GUI), and good UI (physical and graphical) with no extraneous features. With that Apple drove into the market and started to win almost immediately. When Apple opened the iPod up to Windows users it started to lose FireWire and gain minimal new features over the years.

        Apple was smart to slowly and systematically bring out new capabilities without making existing functionality more complex... this drove a repurchase tread that feed unit volumes and hype which allowed the iPod and Apple to capture mindshare.

        It is mindshare that makes the iPod truly successful and not any integration with iTunes Music Store.
    • by Lumpy ( 12016 )
      no they wont. the DRM is what is killing the Zune. remove ALL DRM and let the user put on it what they want in the format they want (I.E. make it play all video and audio formats) and call it good.

      they can make the thing order pizza and it still will not sell because of the DRM.
      • by p0tat03 ( 985078 )

        Funny how DRM isn't killing the iPod, and that MS is moving towards DRM-less now that Apple's made the first move. Sure, MS isn't being terribly original here, but DRM is really the least of their concerns.

    • by *weasel ( 174362 )

      MS has shown that they can learn from their mistakes.

      Their Zune 2.0 still has the worthless wifi 'functionality' and puts DRM on mp3s? Yes?

      I fail to see where they learned anything from the Zune debacle.

      Learning from their mistakes would look more like this [slashdot.org].
    • Microsoft may learn from its mistakes, but sometimes it seems that it is somewhat zealous in identifying what things it actually perceives as them. For example, take the XBMC situation on the Xbox. Instead of identifying that they could simply build the functionality into the 360, they tack on additional hardware with all sorts of gotchas.

      There is no reason for it besides making money, which is fine for the shareholders, but bad for the consumers. If not for this unnecessary complexity and expense, I'd

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by nine-times ( 778537 )

      I'll never understand why we need [such-and-such] killers. An iPod killer? Why? Whether people like it or not, the iPod is a good product, so why does it need to be killed.

      You're right, the more the merrier, so let's just leave the iPod in the game, but just hope that other people get in the game too. I'm hesitant to root for Microsoft after the abuse I've taken as one of their customers. I guess it's fine as long as they're sticking with MP3s or AACs, but in every instance where they're trying to for

  • Zune with HDD will be thinner and have larger storage capacity while the flash based will feature Wi-fi, video playback.

    that's a pretty great feature. While I'm not fond [at all] of the zune, that is a welcome addition. I'm just curious how much smaller the flash-based unit will be, if smaller at all. It would be interesting if they offered a smaller capacity, same-size unit with flash for the same price.

    Are there any other flash-based portable devices like this that play video out of the box?

    when is someon
    • by LMacG ( 118321 )
      Perhaps this is not the auxiliary storage you're looking for, but Samsung offers a few models of the Sansa, e.g. the e280, which have SD card slots. The e280 is flash-based and does play video OOTB.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Why is every new mp3 player hyped as the next "iPod killer" by every hack blog writer and fanboy? Why can't they coexist peacfully? Afterall, more choice is good for the consumer, right?
    • Because the ultimate goal of most new commercial product releases is to beat out the competition and make itself the ubiquitous choice in its category. iPod is the most popular digital music player gadget, so if you want to throw in on that market you have to aim to beat iPod.
    • I think that is exactly why they can't coexist. In Microsoft's (and Apple's for that matter) dream land the consumer will buy what they are told to and at a hefty margin.
  • Microsoft has a history of getting things sort of right eventually, usually around version 5.0 of something. Zune 1.0 was like Windows 1.0. Zune 2.0 will be like Windows 2.0

    A viable variant in this line of work will probably hit the market in time for the Christmas shopping season of the year 2012, long rumored to be the next season of the Apocalypse by the tin foil hat types, in cahoots with the Maya calendar freaks. Give my regards to Zule.
    • by mwvdlee ( 775178 )
      So at about version 3.0 we'll all be buying Zune's and about 10 years later we'll all be wishing we'd have stuck with iPod?
    • So all that marketing to get people to buy the Zune has just resulted in lots of people owning a device that will shortly be obsolete/badly out of date (by artificial product ageing through new releases).

      Is it that media device owners replace their players often? Or is it that Microsoft want them to start doing it. Is this a trend likely to extend to other manufacturers?

      This is something I'd actually like to get a handle on, since my battered and well used ipod is a few years old now, and I'm pondering a ne
    • not true. microsoft gets stuff right at version 3 and then goes down hill from there. windows 3(3.11 actually) we the best, most stable version of windows. from then on windows got more unstable, heavier, and buggier. zune 3.0 and xbox 3 will rock but zune 4 and 5 with suck hind tit and xbox 3 will get destroyed by wii2!
  • Is it worth it? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by timeOday ( 582209 ) on Wednesday April 11, 2007 @10:31AM (#18688843)
    With enough retries, Microsoft usually gets it about right and succeeds in the end. (Deep pockets are a huge advantage). But my crystal ball says portable music will increasingly just be an expected feature of other devices, mainly cell phones. I think Apple may have milked the standalone music player fad dry by the time Microsoft gets out a good product.
    • by afidel ( 530433 )
      The problem is battery life. Smartphones like those based on Windows Mobile 5 already have a hard time lasting through the day with heavy use, constant decoding of compressed audio, feeding the phono output, and reading from flash/HDD is going to almost guarantee it dies before the end of a long day, so I don't see it being an option. All of my friends who have tried it have gone back to carrying two devices if they want to use the music function for more than a morning jog.
      • Dead on with Windows Mobile 5. However, Windows Mobile 6 does a pretty fantastic job with battery life compared to WM5 (WM5 with AKU3.3+ isn't too bad either). A full day of listening to MP3s, pulling email every 15 minutes, some web browsing, and an occasional game of tetris generally brings my battery to ~30/40% by the time I go to bed. Doing the same with WM5 would have my battery dead by lunch.

        The GSM radio stack you use has a big impact on battery as well, but that's a whole other story.
    • Re:Is it worth it? (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Andy_R ( 114137 ) on Wednesday April 11, 2007 @10:51AM (#18689143) Homepage Journal
      Does Microsoft really get things right with enough retries? It's a common misconception that Windows 3 'got it right' and took over the world, but I think that was actually down to luck, when Windows 3.1 for Workgroups cashed in on the coincidental boom in office networking. Recent versions Office and Windows don't seem to be any more 'right' than before, they still sell because they are de-facto standards rather than actually 'good'.
      • By "standard", we mean "right enough to be accepted by most people".

        So yea, MSFT is "right" about a lot of things. Both past and present.

        That does not mean, however, they are "right" about the Zune. Personally, I think it's wrong. Its the wrong product at the wrong time with the wrong capabilities and features.
    • by Fross ( 83754 )
      But my crystal ball says...

      Doesn't that jingle against your keys when you walk?
    • by fermion ( 181285 )
      MS gets thing right when they are willing to be in some way innovative, and not just copy a concept in a attempt to extend the monopoly. Take Excel for instance. A wonderful product, very useful, very innovative. It was derivative, as all things are, but was right from day one. Compare this with Acess, which was never right.

      With MS Windows, until NT and the radical redesign, Windows was terrible. The best thing that could be said about it was it worked and it was cheap. XP does get many things right

  • by donstenk72 ( 593985 ) <slash&incalabria,com> on Wednesday April 11, 2007 @10:31AM (#18688849) Homepage
    This is a halfarsed attempt to get some hype going in the way Apple does. Hint, hint, hint, but no clear release schedule. Zune Scene editors are very hard to spot in the wild - you are more likely to meet them at Ms campus. What a joke.
  • by glavenoid ( 636808 ) on Wednesday April 11, 2007 @10:34AM (#18688893) Journal
    If they can get the Wi-fi to do something, you know, useful, then the Zune 2 might be a neat little device.
  • by thecalster ( 1081075 ) on Wednesday April 11, 2007 @10:35AM (#18688907)
    Microsoft Zune may not be quite up to the iPod standard but it's getting there. One of the good things about having microsoft join the mp3 player wars is that it will make iPod come out with better updates to their ipod (the 5.5gen ipod was a little weak in the upgrade features). That and with the music copyprotecting systems getting lifted off itunes there is going to be some big changes happening with mp3 players in the future. The competition will make both of their products better.
  • by rholliday ( 754515 ) on Wednesday April 11, 2007 @10:36AM (#18688929) Homepage Journal

    So will we see another try from Microsoft to beat Apple's iPod or it will be another vain attempt from the Redmond guys.
    So will we see snide comments from Apple fanboys or it will be snide comments from Apple fanboys.

    Come on guys, you can do better than that! Poor grammar, incorrect punctuation, and the two options don't contradict each other. It's not even a humorous or ironic "there is one option but we're pretending there are two" setup, it's just confusing. :)

    • I was gonna comment on it. But after reading Slashdot for awhile, you kind of get numb to the moronic psuedo-English that shows up in almost every story. Plus I couldn't think of a really good punchline.
  • I don't really think Zune will stand up to the iPod for a few generations of the device, even if that. But lets pretend that they do come out with a competitive alternative...will it create a price war between MS and Apple? Judging from the pricing of PC's vs Macs I'd say no, it might be a $50-100 drop in prices but there is something about the iPod, call it social acceptance or prestige of owning one, its kind of a status symbol to own an iPod. Unless Zune can get to that level as whatever you want to c
  • Apple Lock-In (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Zobeid ( 314469 ) on Wednesday April 11, 2007 @10:41AM (#18688983)
    It's about time to replace my ancient (1st gen) iPod, which has given heroic service. What would it take for me to consider another brand, any other brand, beside Apple?

    1. must play MP3 and M4A (AAC)

    2. must play nice with my Power Mac

    3. must sync with iTunes (practically my entire music collection is in iTunes)

    4. must work with the iPod dock connector in my car

    Zune should have no problem with 1, might possibly be okay with 2, but is locked out of 3 & 4 -- along with every other non-Apple player on the market, thus far, to the best of my knowledge. If anyone knows differently, please correct me!

    (And before anyone says anything. . . . No, my 1st gen iPod doesn't have a dock connector. In fact, my car stereo has only an aux input, it doesn't yet have an iPod dock connector either. My next one will. I'm looking to the future here.)
    • by Anonymous Coward
      http://docs.info.apple.com/article.html?artnum=935 48 [apple.com]

      I don't know if these players are any good, but they are compatible with iTunes and they aren't made by Apple.
  • by Locutus ( 9039 ) on Wednesday April 11, 2007 @10:42AM (#18689003)
    They'll keep at it no matter how bad their device is and eventually, people will accept them. BUT, it'll cost Microsoft 10's of billions and 10's of billions in losses. Does anybody remember the first Microsoft WindowsCE based handhelds over 10 years ago? I think they were clamshell versions and after about 3 years on the market, most of those vendors quit selling the WinCE devices for lack of interest/sales. Microsoft then renamed the product to MS PocketPC after the courts said they could use PalmPC and also allowed vendors to build portrait based versions. Another 7+ years passed and billions in losses but today, people accept the product.

    So it really doesn't matter what they put out, they'll just keep doing it, paying billions in marketing, discounts, and other incentives to vendors to keep pushing the product. The ONLY way this would not happen is if the press( hello /. ) stopped giving them any air time. Atleast make em pay you for it. IMO.

  • The first Zune boasted Wifi too. Misleading as hell. [msn.com]

  • Look. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Z0mb1eman ( 629653 ) on Wednesday April 11, 2007 @10:43AM (#18689025) Homepage
    So will we see another try from Microsoft to beat Apple's iPod or it will be another vain attempt from the Redmond guys.

    Just because you don't put a question mark at the end of your badly phrased attempt to stir up the flames doesn't mean it's any less of an annoying and pointless question.

    PLEASE stop with the inane, pointless, content-free rhetorical questions at the end of submissions. They're annoying, biased, and make Slashdot look like amateur hour. The conversations would flow just as well, if not better, without the obvious "here's what you should think about this story" cues. Too bad the editors keep falling for them.
    • PLEASE stop with the inane, pointless, content-free rhetorical questions at the end of submissions. They're annoying, biased, and make Slashdot look like amateur hour. The conversations would flow just as well, if not better, without the obvious "here's what you should think about this story" cues. Too bad the editors keep falling for them

      SlashDot used to be amateur hour, but these days it's mostly warmed over PR pieces from large "tech" corporations. (30% Google PR pieces, 15% Apple PR pieces, 15% game co

    • "look like amateur hour"

      Like... Digg?
  • Maybe microsoft is trying to put out the best product it can without having to one-up other companies?

    In all seriousness, perhaps they should wait until apple is forced to open up their drm scheme so that they can compete in the installed market. Everyone knows that ipods have a life span of anywhere between 6 months and 2 years before either being dropped, over used, or just used (anyone remember the battery issue?). If microsoft could come out with a cheaper substitute that worked with itunes, they'd pro
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      Everyone knows that ipods have a life span of anywhere between 6 months and 2 years before either being dropped, over used, or just used (anyone remember the battery issue?)

      I beg to differ. I have a 1G iPod bought around 5 years ago which still works fine, though it's been dropped innumerable times, the battery doesn't charge so well now as it only lasts an hour or so (after 5 years of use) but it works fine. I could replace the battery (doesn't look hard), but haven't bothered because I got a 4G a couple o

  • by dpbsmith ( 263124 ) on Wednesday April 11, 2007 @10:50AM (#18689119) Homepage
    WOW! This is IT! Thinner and larger storage capacity both? This is the breakthrough! However did those Microsoft boys do it?

    I'm buying one for my granddaughter. True, she already has two iPods (don't ask), but she won't want them once she hears about this! I sure hope Microsoft can meet the demand. I wonder if any of the stores are taking pre-orders now? I wouldn't want to pay $800 to get one on eBay, but, gosh, when all of her friends have them and are squirting songs to each other, I can't let her be the one to be left out.

    Actually, if she has two iPods I'd better get her two Zunes.

    And just the other day, my wife was saying to me "If Microsoft ever makes a Zune that is thinner and has a larger storage capacity I'd like you to get one for me."

    It really sounds almost perfect, but I wonder... do you suppose... there will be new colors, too? Maybe a triple-shot!

    This certainly puts the lie to all those rumor sites that were saying the next Zune would be thicker and have less storage.

  • Just when Microsoft manages to catch up to the iPod's current 2-year-old design, the iPod is going to move to something totally new. I'm sure the iPod will be updated sometime this year to look much more like the iPhone with a large, wide screen.
  • by dpbsmith ( 263124 ) on Wednesday April 11, 2007 @10:57AM (#18689235) Homepage
    They always get it right by version 3.0.

    They scoffed at Microsoft Bob, but look what happened with Microsoft Bob 3.0.

    They laughed at PlaysForSure, but where are all the skeptics now?

    They winced at WinCE, but can you name a single cell phone that doesn't use it today?

  • Microsoft's being rather ambitious if they're going to be manufacturing these things by the millions, considering the poor reception v.1.0 got.

    My biggest gripe with the Zune is that their most touted feature, the ability to throw songs at other people. My gripe is that it wasn't implemented properly. People should be able to stream the songs as soon as they start receiving them. (And kill the receive if the song is crap. ;-)
  • Where's the Gapless Playback?
  • by nweaver ( 113078 ) on Wednesday April 11, 2007 @11:04AM (#18689323) Homepage
    Salesman: The Zune allows you to wirelessly share songs with friends...

    Customer: That sounds cool.

    Me: But you can only play the shared song 3 times and it deletes itself after 3 days.

    Customer: Thats lame and pointless then.
  • This has less details than the April 1st Zune 360 [slashdot.org] article. But instead a nice big Google adwords banner running down the right hand side of the page. As for someone writing an unoffical Zune fansite running into an MS employee by accident, how likely is that? It looks like astroturf to me.

    Anyway the Zune 360 in the April fools post sounds a lot better than the Zune announced on Zune Scene.
    • "we Zune Scene editors have day jobs and are hard to spot in the wild also."

      Well there's the clincher. Like there's more than one Zune fan outside of Microsoft^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^Hthe core Zune development team.
  • So will we see another try from Microsoft to beat Apple's iPod or it will be another vain attempt from the Redmond guys.

    Both: we will see another try, and it will turn out to be a vain attempt. Oh yeah, and here's a question mark for you:


  • Make the WiFi capable of easily handing off songs without attaching DRM and we can talk. Unleash what WiFi could really do on these and you're in business.

    Make it so that if you're at a Starbucks and like the background music playing your Zune can check what artist and song and buy the album from the server streaming the music at Starbucks if you wish.

    While you're at, if you have WiFi you should never have any reason to need to "dock" right? Just be on the same 802.11 network and sync over it.. right?

  • by bahwi ( 43111 ) on Wednesday April 11, 2007 @11:33AM (#18689803)
    It's fun for us iPod people to make fun of the Zune *squirt* but after trying it out it's not really that bad. *squirt* Let there be competition *squirt* in the market! That's the whole point. That's why it's ok to have a bunch of linux distros and a couple of BSDs *squirt* and different desktop enviroments *squirt* like KDE and Gnome. Hopefully this will push Apple to innovate even more and release even better products *squirt* like bluetooth or wifi (I'd prefer bluetooth for neighbors but I know it's not the best protocol). Innovation doesn't hurt *squirt* anyone. Oh, you've got some, uhm, on your face.
  • (1) So will we see another try from Microsoft to beat Apple's iPod
    (2) will [it] be another vain attempt from the Redmond guys.

    False Dichotomy.

    It will be both.
  • Too early (Score:3, Insightful)

    by UnknowingFool ( 672806 ) on Wednesday April 11, 2007 @11:44AM (#18689987)

    I guess my dislike of the Zune wifi features were too early and/or poorly implemented. I'm not going to discuss the details of the shortcomings of the Zune's Wi-Fi feature. Some people may credit them with being the first to offer wi-fi of any sort but did anyone ever think about why no other manufacturer implemented it first? (Apple, Creative, Sandisk, etc) The reason being was that wireless would be (and still is) impratical.

    Sure it would be cool to send songs wirelessly but that is only pratical for a few songs. You cannot transfer whole collections (measure in GBs) in a reasonable amount of time given the current state of wireless technology. 802.11g has a max rate of 54Mbps. 802.11n (540Mbps max) is the only version that can handle the rates required but wasn't in draft status until recently and won't be ratified until 2008. While USB2.0 has 480MBps and Fire400 has 400Mbps now. So if you were a manufacturer comtemplating wireless wouldn't you wait until 802.11n was more mature before implementing wireless?

    Even if wireless had the transfer rates required today, there are issues with battery life and security. I have a large collection and it took over 20 minutes to put into my iPod using USB2.0. Transferring all that data wireless is going to drain the batteries quickly. And then there is security. I can see a lot of ramifications with using wireless transfers. Eventually these can be overcome but it will take time. I think MS was a bit too early. Just my 2cents.

COMPASS [for the CDC-6000 series] is the sort of assembler one expects from a corporation whose president codes in octal. -- J.N. Gray