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Zune HD Won't Leave US

Gordon Kelly


Zune HD Won't Leave US

Microsoft, you can be an funny old thing...

For years you have given us horribly inadequate products at launch such as the likes of Windows Millennium and Vista while the claimed 30 per cent failure rate of Xbox 360 consoles didn't stop you shipping them. But can we get a Zune for love or money? No we can't...

In a statement to ArsTechnica Microsoft confirmed: "For the time being the Zune HD device will remain US only. Right now we are focused on deploying an exciting service in the form of Zune Video to 18 markets. We are looking at potential future hardware experiences for these markets, but do not have anything to announce right now."

Look, we get it. You said Zunes would only ship when they were up to scratch and synchronised 30GB Zune mass failures didn't inspire confidence. Furthermore, we accept that a) the first Zunes were rubbish and we didn't want them anyway, plus b) you have chosen to beta test in your home country. That said, I think we're all on the same page when we declare: the Zune HD looks a tasty piece of kit!

The Zune HD specifications and multi-touch make us happy and in 2007 you claimed 2008 for Zune international shipments then in 2008 you said third gen Zunes in 2009. Now we're looking at 2010.

We've waited long enough Microsoft. The third generation iPod touch surprisingly lacks a camera and the time is right to strike. Get to it...


via ArsTechnica


September 14, 2009, 10:09 am

a stupid decision, if there ever was one.

Don Kanonjii

September 14, 2009, 12:29 pm

I agree, absolutely stupid. I have been hanging on for a PMP for a while and would have held on for a Zune but it looks like MS have lost one more to Apple as I will now be getting a 64Gb ipod touch ion october.


September 14, 2009, 12:52 pm

I don't think Creative made it easier for them by pushing the Zii platform out to one and all - i get the feeling when it's about hardware microsoft don't like diving in when there is just tooooo much activity going on in that market unless they're sure they can make an immediate impact.. Europe seems to be seeing more product action than anywhere else coz of the currency values. They'll come, but when they're good and ready :D


September 14, 2009, 2:51 pm

@ThaDon, I don't think the problem is the hardware at all. Hardware wise the Zune looks to be great, way ahead of the iPod in any case. The problem is the ecosystem. Zune software is tied to the US with the licencing with record labels & tv/film studios. Making that work in other markets is a massive job. They know to compete with the iPod they can't just beat it on hardware, they've had that already as have many other companies. The only way to be an "iPod killer" (sorry) is to have the whole system better. Software, hardware, accessories, applications, marketing, etc the whole shebang. Massive as Microsoft is, it cannot afford to work that out for every market, hell they've got an uphill battle in the US. The only counter argument I see is that Europe might actually be an easier target for them, but they know the US better so have to work from home turf.

Give it a year til Windows Mobile 7, if they integrate the Zune software into that then we'll hopefully finally get a taste.


September 14, 2009, 3:02 pm

"We are looking at potential future hardware experiences for these markets..." Presumerably for a futureficatory device-consumer customeral interfacial handsonification?


September 15, 2009, 10:03 pm

"The third generation iPod touch surprisingly lacks a camera and the time is right to strike. Get to it..."

So the lack of a camera in the iPod touch is what makes the Zune a worthy adversary? Call me an apologist, as I know some of you will, but I don't see the appeal of this piece of kit here...


September 16, 2009, 5:31 am

@ Cub, OLED display, HD radio, HD content out... Not enough for you? :)


September 16, 2009, 8:27 pm

So, displays that use more battery power when displaying colours closer to white and look terrible in sun light, a radio tuner that can't be used in the UK (and isn't a standard in the US, for that matter), and, well, what do you mean by HD content? You can output HD content to a TV, but that content can't be viewed in HD on the Zune's small screen...

Sounds swell.

For the record, OLED screens are fantastic, but the technology isn't practically ready for mobile devices yet.


September 17, 2009, 2:56 pm

erm...I got a Cowon S9 PMP last Christmas, which has a 3.3" AMOLED screen with fantastic image quality....the battery life for playing music is so long that I occasionally get caught out with a low battery because i rarely charge the thing...and even for watching the odd movie on the train i get oodles of life out of it.

It may not be the perfect PMP (although the sound quality blows the iPod away - though that's subjective).....but OLED isn't practically ready for mobile devices? how so?

agreed though on the camera not being a win/lose feature...don't see the point on one of those on the Touch or the Nano...i want a device that plays media (and that's why I lament the relatively average sound quality on the iPod since in every other way it's a stellar bit of kit)...I already have a Canon Ixus 7MP camera for 'proper' photography and a phone with a camera for random snaps...

funny that one of the few seriously good products Microsoft make is being restricted to the US though...they are indeed an odd company...


September 17, 2009, 3:32 pm

@Cub: I'm sorry, "more battery power" ???


September 17, 2009, 3:53 pm

@gdawgg304 - I'm not arguing the quality of the screen, OLED screens look fantastic. My power draining point was in relation to what's being displayed on the screen, not what's being pumped through the headphones; even an iPod lasts for ages if you press play and leave it to it.

OLED's are backlight free meaning they can run on a lot less power than LCD screens. They consume power based upon how bright the image it's displaying is, so essentially the OLED is the backlight for the screen. Interfaces seen on OLED devices will generally be black, taking advantage of this fact and saving power, but once youstart browsing photos, or get onto the web on one of these, there's a whole lot of white which consumes a lot more battery power to display, typically more than an LCD screen would use.


September 20, 2009, 5:21 pm

It's just occurred to me, back when the iPhone was released, everybody looking to bash it was up in arms about the fact that the browser didn't support Flash... Where have these people gone in the Zune discussions? Is it suddenly a non-point?


September 25, 2009, 1:31 am

Its a shame, they could of made lots of money, WORLDWIDE. Will have to wait for the Creative Zii or the Samsung M1 with the Tegra Chip

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