I’ve spoken to two different members of the Zune Crew about the Zune as a platform. Both Microsoft employees were rather quick to tell me it’s not. Dave Caulton flat out says Zune is not a platform in this blog posts at Zunester.com. I understand Daves’ reasoning as to why he feels it’s not a platform and what concerns me is that they miss the point. I think consumers want it to be a platform and they want it open up to modification by a variety of developers so that they can truly personalize their Zune players.
Within days of the Zune release date we saw as bunnie studios cracked open a brand new Zune player and revealed to the world the Zune internal hardware. The Zune uses a Freescale iMX31L processor which "implements high-performance audio functions suited to high-end applications, such as smartphones and UMTS handsets" according to their websites.
That sounds like plenty enough for a portable media player and some say it’s enough processor for a gaming device. This product detail page shows the Zune has a "FS455/6 PC-to-TV Encoders support High Definition (HD) and Standard Definition (SD) outputs and are compatible with most graphic controller chips" It seems the Zune could support High Def and better resolution than we get on the Zune player but the limitations must be related to battery consumption. What really lacks here is battery technology as a whole, they really need to focus on building a better battery for the mobile age or we’ll all be wireless for 12 hour stretches tops without a booster battery.
Our new friends at IpodMods.com , an industry leader in used iPod repairs and parts sales, are setting up to offer Zune Repairs for the inevitable day when a Zune breaks while out of warranty and they have taken their first Zune apart. They have a nice layout of the Zune disassembly process and how to take your Zune apart if you have the need to. They also offer a 40GB hard drive upgrade using a nearly identical Toshiba MK4009GAL Hard Drive instead of the Zunes’ 30GB MK3009GAL. If you think you can handle the installation go for it or you can have them install it for you. They also offer replacement Zune screens, extended life batteries and more. Check out IpodMods.com for Zune upgrade parts and repair services.
Talk on the net is about the fact the Zune processor can support Linux and the possibilities of hacking Zunes to run linux and open wifi. I think it’s awesome for one reason. It will force Microsoft to recognize the consumers choice that the Zune is a platform and they need to cater to the developers market so eager to modify and customize the Zune players. What better way to gain market share then to offer one unit with many variations based on users needs. Its good to know consumers want a choice and if not given one suitable we’re willing to make one for ourselves.