Zune Hardware

The Zune device uses some of the best hardware made for a portable mp3 player. Read more about the Zune hardware specifications here.

Nov 202006
 
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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.

 

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Zune Answers

Nov 042006
 
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What we are positive of…
The FM Radio will support North American, European, and Japanese Frequencies
The Zune will have a Li-Ion battery
Microsoft has selected Toshiba to help provide Zune hardware
Zune users cannot purchase songs on the go from the Microsoft Zune Web site
Zune will be launched on Nov. 14, 2006
The Zune media device will be drive-based, and have WiFi (802.11 b/g) connectivity     
The Zune will have a 30 Giga-Byte Hard Drive                 
The Zune will be available in 3 different colors, black, brown (chocolate), and white
The Zune will have purchasable magnetic headphones.
The Zune has a LCD high resolution screen, the screen is 3.00 inches diagonal
The Zune will have a built-in FM radio tuner
The Zune will have TV output connectivity
The Zune will have a dedicated song download site – Zune.net                                         The Zune will have a mode called DJ Mode (broadcast what you are listening to)
It will coat $15 a month for the Zune Pass Service
The Zune Home AV Pack will cost $100 What we think we know (Aren’t Positive of Yet)
The Zune might have a 400MHz DSP processor (Most likely to be a little lower)
The Zune might have Xbox Live Anywhere integration.
Microsoft will try to buy your way out of iTunes in order to convert you to a Zune user.
Free Downloads might be available with the purchase of a new Zune (limited time)
The Zune has a might be like a…”A Microsoft portable Music Device”
The Zune will run a program called “Windows Mobile” What we don’t know yet (No clue if they are true or just rumors)
The Zune MIGHT (slim chance) have XM or Sirius satellite services built in.
The Zune might have VoIP capabilitiesDefinitions

VoIP: Also know as Voice over Internet Protocol is the routing of voice conversations over the Internet or through any other IP-based network in such case of WiFi.

Windows Mobile: Windows Mobile is a compact operating system combined with a suite of basic applications for mobile devices based on the Microsoft Win32 API. Devices which run Windows Mobile include Pocket PCs, Smartphones, and Portable Media Centers. It is designed to be somewhat similar to desktop versions of Windows.

Anti-Shock: A common software and integrated into the hard drive to help prevent the crash of your hard drive. By detecting sudden movements (similar to dropping the Zune) the software will automatically kick in and help “cushion” the fall by placing the hard drive into a low battery use state, so if it is to have bad effects they won’t be as bad cause its as if the Zune is almost off.

Accessories

Zune Home AV Pack – Zune Dock, Zune Remote, AV Cables, an Extra Battery, a Sync Cable, and an AC Adapter
Zune Travel Pack – Dual Connect Remote, Gear Bag, AC Adapter, Sync Cable, and Premium Headphones
Zune Car Pack – FM Tuner (with Auto Seek) & a Car Charger

Zune Sync Cable – $20
Zune Dual Connect Remote – $30
Zune Wireless Remote for Dock – $30
Zune FM Transmitter with Auto Seek – $70
Zune Sync Cable – $20
Car Charger – $25
Zune AV Output Cable – $20
Zune Premium Headphones – $40
Zune Gear Bag – $30
Zune AC Adapter – $30
Zune Wireless Adapter – $100

Note: Amazon has recently been dropping the prices of all accessories, so the prices listed above may not be completly accurate. Also note that most of the “rumors” in the What we don’t know yet section, are probably not going to happen but will probably be in future Zune’s

View the topic in the Accessories Forum section for a detailed description and pictures of the Zune’s Accessories.

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Zune Knowledge Base at Microsoft.com

Nov 022006
 
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A search for the term software at Zune.net turned up a few pages in the newly developed Zune Knowledge Base. The section is obviously under construction as there are only two articles that I can find and the home page link is a 404 error but at least we now know where to answer questions like “How to erase all content from your Zune device” or “How to change the amount of storage space that is allocated to the Inbox on your Zune device

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Oct 022006
 
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Our new forum moderator Spell 125 has graciously donated his time and effort to assisting me, the graphically challenged, by designing a new header for the front page of the Zune MAX blog. The goal was to flow better with the design and style of the forums and to show our relationship to the Zune device.
I think it looks awesome and I’m most appreciative of his work for our community. Spell 125 is on a roll considering he was also the lucky winner of a Zune poster when selected as designer of the Zuneguy logo.

Spell 125 is better known as James Hostetler and for his blog DAPularity which offers the low down on the latest digital audio players (DAP) in the market. He’s come up with a cool iPod vs Zune size comparison image that shows the difference between a Zune, an iPod and a deck of cards. It really helps put things in perspective as to the actual size of Zune for those of us unfortunate enough not to have held one yet.

James also has a nice write up on Rock Box on Zune. which is a very designable custom firmware used to extend the software capabilities of digital audio players. He feels Microsoft has no reason not to open up the Zune for customization or "modding". He writes in his DAP blog: "By basing the coding off a commonly used language and OS, Windows made their PDAs easily accessible to windows-based applications and allowed them to run a multi-tude of interesting multimedia programs. I would have to say I expect the same efforts for the Zune. By placing no barriers between the Zune and its customers, I believe Microsoft will open it up to those respectable modders that make our life so much more personalized."

I have to agree with James in that the best move Microsoft can make is to open up the Zune platform to the army of existing Windows developers for an almost endless array of extensions and applications for Zune. The power of the Windows development world is a vital asset in the success and capabilities of Zune. I’m hopeful the announcement by David Cauldon at Zunester about there not being a Zune SDK relates to the fact they have something much larger prepared for Zune developers. I think it may be more like a Zune XNA Framework, or Zune ZNA maybe, that would be used for development on the Zune. David says Zune is not a platform but a  consumer device. I say the consumer will decide that the Zune is in fact a platform and should left for all of us to personalize with third party extensions for a truly "connected experience" in our "digital lifestyle". The market will force them to open the platform to developers if they want it to succeed and in the end there will be a Zune SDK of some form or other.

So, I would like to thank James for his work on cleaning up the look of things around here. I would also like to thank all the other dedicated members of the Zune community for their ambitious assistance in building a great forum. We’re having fun in our Zune boards and you should check it out if you haven’t yet.

 

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Sep 302006
 
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The battle for holiday sales of mp3 players should be very interesting this year. Whatever your opinions of it the battle between Apple and Microsoft certainly qualifies as epic. Since the beginning of the digital age both have done their best to assert control of a global industry. One was able to best the other for a very long time until Apple took the mp3 player and changed the music business. Microsoft has entered the ring yet one more time in a fight for much more than mp3 players now. Today’s handheld devices are phones, play music and videos and next generation devices are expected to do far more.

The portable media market is so full of choices including services, formats and licensing standards that the industry is in disarray. Who needs a mobile phone, a PDA, an MP3 player and a laptop? The first company to hit the market with the right music/phone/pda should take the prize. Apple has a huge lead in handheld sales with absolute dominance in the music business. The iPhone has been rumored for years now but still does not exist. Microsoft brings with it an established and flourishing Xbox Live business model and the technology to tie them all together in the PC which resides in so many homes and businesses. Microsoft has already said a Zune Phone is in the works.

We’re not gadget heads or expert of any kind but we did our best to break things down for the Zune Forum fans.

Zune MarketPlace vs iTunes.

Microsoft offers the following information on Zune MarketPlace for us so far.

You can browse the huge selection of music designed to work seamlessly with your Zune in the Zune Marketplace. When you find new music that you love, it’s simple to buy it and sync it on your player. The Zune Marketplace works with the Microsoft® Points program so you can purchase music online without a credit card.

Zune Pass. Downloads or a subscription? It’s your choice. A Zune Pass subscription gives you “all you can eat” access to discover and explore the Zune Marketplace. If subscription services are not right for you the chose to purchase individual songs or albums as well.

What Apple says about iTunes

iPod and iTunes give you a seamless experience, from download to sync. Shop for music, movies, games, TV shows, and audiobooks on the built-in iTunes Store, download free podcasts, or import songs from your CDs. Then connect iPod to your Mac or PC, and iTunes gets to work. You guys now the rest about iTunes and iPod.

The results of our comparison.

Online Music Services

As far as the online music service goes Zune MarketPlace has a long way to go before they can say they have topped iTunes. The Apple music service is in it’s seventh generation software version and although there have been a few problems it’s a definite improvement over previous versions. iTunes offers an extensive collection of media and has set the bar, much to the chagrain of the recording studios, for low prices in the digital music industry.

With the limited information available it will be hard to tell if Zune MarketPlace offers a better deal or not. Watching Microsoft and their actions so far we expect to see a huge storefront with just about everything we could ever need or want in music and movies. We doubt Microsoft will allow the Zune Live service to suffer when it appears the service is what is most important to them.

New music fans that invest in more than 15 cd’s per year will find the Zune Pass a wonderful way to really sample new music. The ability to download and play new music risk free is certain to expand your musical tastes and will open Zune owners up to a whole new world of music. If a subscription based service is not your cup of tea you can still buy songs or movies.

We do not consider a portable media player to be a viable solution for long term storage of your collection. For your favorite albums or movies we suggest your purchase hard copy CD or DVD compilations. The purchase of digital music should be considered limited by the inevitable device failure or loss of data as well as DRM restrictions enforced by content providers.

An added benefit to being a Zune owner will come when the Zune MarketPlace is opened up to new artists wishing to sell their music without a label through the Zune player and music services. You’ll hear more about that later.

iPod vs Zune Hardware and Features specifications

As for hardware and features, now that Microsoft has matched prices, the Zune is a much better value for the average or new user. The Windows software and integration with our existing "digital lifestyle" will make the Zune a great choice for PC owners and Xbox fans. The Zune is not the best MP3 player on the market but when coupled with the available features and services it offers the best bang for the buck. If you are a high end audio fan you may appreciate a different player but for the rest of the world the Zune rocks.

The hardware specs are awesome. The 400 MHZ processor is capable of much more than audio video playback. This processor will support gaming features with ease. The 30GB hard drive is standard. Some may wish for more but with the integration with Windows XP and Vista we’re hoping moving data back and forth wont be so difficult. Why people need to carry their entire collection around is beyond us but the Zune offers plenty of storage for the money. With an FM tuner built in and an FM Transmitter available in the car pack you can pick up radio stations on the go and play back your Zune music through your car stereo system. The wireless lan module offers broadcast capabilities far beyond any comparable player.

The social networking capabilities of the wireless sharing seem destined to be extremely popular amongst the younger crowd. We can see Zune wifi parties popping up where kids drop in to swap songs and videos on their new Zune players. Seems far fetched but don’t expect Microsoft not to put a heavy push on this type of use. Building a generation of fans is a sure part of their goals for Zune.

Some have decried the limitations in the Zune in regards to the wifi features as well as the DRM scheme. The Zune seems to be designed for a wider audience and kids are a big part of the plan. We expect many of the wireless sharing limitations are a result of security concerns with sharing files in pubic. The Zune DRM is more restrictive in some ways but does allow for portable user to user sharing capabilities which requires heavier licensing fees from recording studios. The DRM restrictions will effect a small percentage of the market and not the average Zune user.

The new Microsoft DRM will some day allow an army of Zune musicians and artists of all kinds the opportunity to promote their music on the Zune MarketPlace. The DRM will facilitate user generated content sales and establish a robust market place similar to what is being done with the Xbox Live and XNA Framework.

The inevitable merging of the Zune and Xbox Live systems will create a powerful network of devices and services that will go beyond what any of us ever expected from our "digital lifestyle". With the help of Windows Vista and the Office Suite you may soon have the tools to manage your entire lifestyle.

We’re very excited to see what Zune becomes. If we’re lucky enough tehy will have a huge success and teh Zune will change they way people share music. Visit the Zune Boards and check out the discussion on Zune MP3 players.

 

Technical Specifications and Hardware Features

Microsoft Zune 30GB

Apple iPod Video 30GB

Here is a side by side comparison of the Zune MP3 Player and it’s top competitor the Apple iPod video player. These Zune specifications were compiled with the help of many Zune websites and fans including Zunerama.com

 

Capacity Claims by Manufacturer

30 GB HDD

  • Holds up to 7,500 songs
  • Holds up to 25,000 photos
  • Holds up to 100 hour video

30 GB HDD

  • Holds up to 7,500 songs
  • Holds up to 25,000 photos
  • Holds up to 40 hours video
Display 3″ LCD @
320×240 resolution
operates in landscape or portrait mode
2.5″ LCD @
320×240
resolution
Audio / Video Play Yes
plus AV output enabled
Yes
Audio formats

WMA, MP3, AAC

AAC, MP3, Audible, Apple Lossless, AIFF, WAV
Video formats
H.264, MPEG-4, WMV
H.264, m4v, mp4, mov, MPEG-4
FM receiver Yes, plus add on FM Transmitter accessory available
Accessory only
Height/Width 4.4 x 2.4 inches 4.1 x 2.4 inches
Depth

.58 inches .43 inch
Weight

5.6 ounces

4.8 ounces
Wireless Networking 802.11b/g (“Wi-Fi”) No
Wireless community features

Wireless Zune-to-Zune sharing. Zune lets you share selected full-length sample tracks of your recorded media

You can listen to any song you receive up to three times in three days. And if you hear and want to buy it, you can flag it right on your device to easily find it later.

No
wireless
features currently available
Connectivity
USB 2.0
Wireless
USB 2.0
Battery Type
Li-Ion rechargeable, built-in
Li-Ion rechargeable, built-in
Battery life

12 hour Music play
3 hour Video

14 hours Music Play
3-1/2 for Video

Available Colors White, black, brown White, black
PC / Mac Compatibility PC only Mac and PC
Price $249.99

$249.00

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Microsoft Zune hardware exposed as Toshiba 1089 by FCC filing

 Microsoft, Music, The Zune, Xbox, Zune, Zune Hardware  1 Response »
Aug 252006
 
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Click Zune pictures for larger image

Big news on Zune players today as MobileWhack reveals documentation on the FCC filings include the revelation of Pyxis through the "Sync your movies and pictures" features described in this PDF. Pyxis seems to be the name for the network which Zune devices will use to share content. In the "DJing Content" section of the filing it reads that "Pyxis allows you to stream music to up to 4 other Pyxis devices." Whether or not Pyxis is the same network used to link with the Xbox 360 remains to be seen. For now the Pyxis website leads to Pyxis Products " Pyxis products from Cardinal Health offer the latest advances in health care automation technology". We’re guessing Microsoft is going to change that some time before the official release date of Zune players.

The FCC filing also reveals some details on what’s going on inside the Zune player. We can see by these Zune photos that the player is compatible with WLAN 802.11 and will offer Zune users the capability to "DJ" music. With your new Zune player you can act as a DJ by using special modes available on the player. Friends with compatible devices can then tune in to what you are playing. Welcome to Zune casting folks. It’s a limited edition of what is sure to become a Zune podcasting feature. Zune Pods will allow you to broadcast your productions over the WiFi network and that’s awesome! Our friends over at Zune Luv are gonna be excited about this one. Although it’s probably not exactly what they are looking for it’s a big step forward to a true Zune podcast feature and the fact is the foundations are set for Zune casting.

 

Click Zune pics for larger image

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