Zune HD

Zune HD to get XviD support, smarter playlists come Spring

Zune HD to get XviD support, smarter playlists come Spring

In a somewhat inconspicuous update Microsoft has revealed that the Zune HD will receive a firmware update adding native support for the MPEG-4 Part 2 ASP codec, including the long-awaited format of choice for many netizens, XviD video support.  Microsoft has assured that files in this format should play both on the Zune HD itself, as well as when sent out to an external TV display via the HD’s AV Dock.

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MSI MT-V660 PMP looks to Zune HD for design inspiration

MSI MT-V660 PMP looks to Zune HD for design inspiration

We're not wanting to point fingers here, but we couldn't help but notice some striking design similarities between the new MSI MT-V660 PMP and Microsoft's Zune HD; still, given the number of iPod copycats we've seen over the years, having your industrial design "borrowed" is now practically a sign that you've arrived.  Appearance aside, the MT-V660 gets a 3.2-inch display, TV output and a reasonably broad range of codec support thanks to the Rockchip RK2806 chipset.

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Zune HD getting colorful update December 1st

Zune HD getting colorful update December 1st

Up until now the colorful part of the Zune HD has been its striking OLED display; if you wanted any color in your Microsoft PMP then you'd have to resort to a third-party skin or case.  That's set to change tomorrow, however, according to the official Zune store, which has tipped three new colors - Magenta, Red and Purple - as arriving on December 1st.

Microsoft Pink dying & taking Windows Mobile with it?

Microsoft Pink dying & taking Windows Mobile with it?

After mediocre feedback to the leaked Microsoft Pink handsets, Turtle and Pure, now comes word from inside the project itself that the whole house of cards may be close to tumbling.  An ex-team member has been talking to Apple Insider about the Pink "skunkworks" project and its mismanagement, including attempting to develop too many SKUs simultaneously, potentially misleading hardware and carrier partners, and in the process pulling the rug out from the already-ailing Windows Mobile.  In fact, he reckons the Pink project is "near death and probably will be canceled".

Zune & Zune Pass could see Apple compatibility; WinMo phones next

Zune & Zune Pass could see Apple compatibility; WinMo phones next

One of our key criticisms of the Zune HD was that Microsoft don't offer a version of their desktop management software for Mac, thus giving Apple users another good reason to stick with the iPod.  That might change, though, says Mary-Jo Foley, who has been talking to Microsoft's director of communications for the TV, Video and Music Business, Jose Pinero.  According to Pinero, Microsoft are considering porting the Zune software and services to various non-Windows platforms, one of which would be OS X.

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Zune HD shortage lures out price-gouge merchants

Zune HD shortage lures out price-gouge merchants

Never let it be said we stand in the way of private enterprise - heaven only knows how many times I've had to sell handkerchiefs to sailors just to put bread on the table - but taking advantage of Zune HD 32GB shortages to double the price seems more than a little unfair.  Amazon are currently listing the larger Zune HD - which we reviewed last week - as not shipping for 1-3 weeks; however, one Marketplace seller has used the opportunity to list the 32GB PMP for a whopping $599.99.

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Microsoft Zune HD Review

Microsoft Zune HD Review

Microsoft's first Zune attempts won it a few dedicated users but a whole lot of criticism. In the face of Apple's all-conquering iPod touch there was only really one way to go, and that was touchscreen; the Zune HD marks not only the transition to being finger-friendly, but packs the latest OLED display technology, HD radio and by no means least 720p high-definition support. Clean reboot or BSOD? Check out the full SlashGear review to find out.

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It’s time for Microsoft to get serious about media and mobility

It’s time for Microsoft to get serious about media and mobility

This is a follow up note to some folks who work in Redmond (it's OK for the rest of you to read it if you want to).

Hi guys. How are you doing these days? There's no doubt that you must be frustrated. Really frustrated. After all, you were in digital music long before Apple, had cool phones that played music long before Apple and in general had a pretty compelling story for the digital consumer that was very complete, but no one paid a whole lot of attention. There were WMA players on the market long before iPod. In fact, Microsoft might have been dominant in digital music if it weren't for that pesky iPod and iTunes combo. You've taken some hard hits, I remember when Apple introduced a flash memory music player, removed features and had customers waiting 2-4 weeks to get one. Gladly waiting I might add and ignoring all those other devices your partners brought to market. Yep, it's been a tough few years.

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Zune HD suffers indignity of teardown

Zune HD suffers indignity of teardown

If seeing the outside of Microsoft's Zune HD wasn't good enough for you, then Rapid Repair have gone a few steps further and fully dismantled the touchscreen OLED PMP.  Their latest teardown delivers no great surprises - unlike the iPod touch 3G, there's no sign of a camera module nook, nor untapped WiFi potential - but the mediaplayer itself is deemed relatively straightforward (though warranty-breaking) to get inside should you need to attempt a DIY fix.

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