Zune SDK

The Zune Software Developers Kit

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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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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Zune accessories you want to see made

Sep 252006
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So Bill Wittress is the Zune Guy working for Microsoft in developing accessories for the Zune player. If you visit his site you can give them some input on what you would like to see for accessories for your Zune. Bill has extensive experience working in development of MP3 players for the past 8 years so we’re exited to see someone with his skills focused on accessories. We’re hoping to see some great stuff from Bill and the Zune team. We’re pushing for wireless headsets of course in matching colors. Bill has already received a slew of requests so be sure to read over what he already has listed on his blog before you go asking for it again. Here are some favorite suggestions he has already received.

  • Colored Headphones
  • Dual headphone jacks
  • LCD remote
  • Wi-Fi detector
  • Boombox
  • Wireless headphones
  • In-car dock
  • Ipod connector adapter
  • Alarm clock
  • Mini speakers
  • Cup holder

They should consider the cup holder only after they waterproof the unit.

Bill, Cesar and the rest of the Microsoft bloggers are also joined by David Caulton as the Zunester. One thing we have noticed is none of the Zune bloggers use MS blogging services. David has loads of information on the technical side of things. He has an extensive explanation of music tags and the problems they have encountered in dealing with so many various file formats in the market. David knows his stuff about these things. If you need a history on tagging music files or have any questions about file formats he seems the man to speak with. He confirms they will will not be offering a Zune SDK any time soon. His belief is they should focus on the device launch for now. We agree that there will be plenty of time for hacking the Zune later. We’re glad to see a focus on hardware accessories now also David.

We also wonder if Microsoft wasn’t rushed to market with the Zune and forced to partner with Toshiba while they develop the second generation devices with all these features people are hoping for from the first generation  devices. It seems they have a lot in store for future Zune models and we won’t be getting everything they had hoped for in this one.

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