Yesterday I announced the second winner of our Free Zune Giveaway and since it fell on April Fools Day I decided to have some fun with the announcement. Giveaway winners are posted in the forum and I announced the topic to every registered member with the misleading title “You won a Free Zune from ZuneMAX.com” which I thought was funny but I guess one or two of you didn’t. One guy cursed me pretty bad actually but he appears to have issues. Not all Zuners are cool It seems.
I had some fun yesterday just checking some of the other April Foolishness and saw the fun Google and Slashdot had with it. Late last night I read a story on Slashdot that caught my eye. titled “Microsoft set to Announce Zune 360 and 180” describes an article written by BlueBerry Bob title “Zune – set for a revamp“. In this article Bob claims that Microsoft is holding back plans for the current Zuner device because of the impending release of two new devices named the Zune 360 and the Zune 180. The Zune 360 is said to be a touchscreen video player with a full face screen and increased capacity and the 180 is a smaller Nano style player.
When I read the article late last night I thought it was an April Fools gag but now I’m wondering if I was the fool. I reread the article today after I found sites like TheInquirer going with the story and if it is a gag it’s well done. If it’s not what Microsoft has planned then maybe it is what they need to be doing at least. As it stands I have no idea whether it’s true or not but I do agree with their conclusion.
There’s not enough information to say whether the new Zunes will be a success but if this information is accurate the new models will be a major improvement over the original. This could mean some much needed competition in the portable music player market.
Microsoft’s Zune was released in the US in November 2006 and sales have been disappointing so far, in fact except for the launch week there’s been no week where the Zune has sold over 1000 units. A lot of problems with the Zune are caused by perception (a lot of people think they’re only available in brown), pricing (same price as an iPod – people will only pay a premium for the market leader) and the defective by design wireless sharing which adds bulk to the product without providing any useful purpose. The roll out to the rest of the world has been temporarily suspended while Microsoft finalize plans for the Zune 360 bringing them parity with their successful Xbox line of consoles. As yet, no information has been leaked so we have no pictures of this new product, but it is planned to be released in June and in a break from typical Microsoft style of announce plans early and often they’ve decided to follow a more secretive Apple style approach. Still, it’s amazing what information you can get out of a Microsoft rep if you feed them 10 bottles of Duvel, for some of them 2 bottles will even do.