Microsoft Zune gets new features


To tell you the truth, I am quite surprised to see Microsoft still back the Zune portable media player (PMP) despite it not contributing healthily to the software giant’s bottomline, and the device is more or less a failure in its quest to unseat the iPod as the dominant PMP of choice. Still, you’ve got to hand it to Microsoft for sticking to their vision (and creation) with a new and improved music service that has been announced for the Zune. From next week onwards, all Zune devices are able to download or stream songs wirelessly no matter where they are, as long as they remain within the vicinity of a Wi-Fi hotspot, of course. Good thing Microsoft has made these powerful software and firmware updates free, empowering Zune owners to discover, tag and purchase songs directly from the integrated FM radio in addition to accessing the Zune Marketplace store on the go wirelessly while tapping into interactive, personalized music recommendations that makes the Zune Pass subscription all the more valuable. This service will also work with new 16GB and 120GB Zune models that come in blue-on-silver and all-black color schemes, respectively.

Zune customers have a choice in how they acquire music: They can pay per track or choose a Zune Pass subscription. Zune Pass subscribers can download or stream music to the device or their computer interchangeably, all for a flat rate of $14.99 per month. So whether a device has 4 GB or 120 GB of storage, Zune Pass customers can access and stream millions of songs directly to their Zune. The new Zune software update taps expert sources, recommendations from the Zune service and online music community, and the user’s own play data to create a dynamic, digital music experience where discovering music is easy and seamless.

Do you think these new updates will actually make the Zune move more units? I’m still pretty skeptical about it, but then again they might increase their market share – just by a bit.

Press Release

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