Has The Zune Evolved Enough for Prime Time?

Microsoft's mobile Zune Player is releasing this week with a major upgrade. 

The Zune is now able to sync up wirelessly.


That may not sound like a real big deal, but from an ease of use perspective it is much bigger than you might think.  I happen to be one of the few people in the world to have used a mobile WiFi media player with a full synchronization capability, almost 3 years ago. 

Microsoft may not be first to market with this capability in a wifi media player, but they are doing it more successfully.

So why is wireless synchronization so important for the Zune?

It works like this.  You set up your synchronization settings.  You set them up once or update them as you like.  Your Zune player can then log in in the middle of the night, first thing in the morning, while you are working out on exercise equipment or whenever, and grab your updated content.

  • Get the latest news before you leave the house
  • refresh part of your song list
  • Get the latest podcasts or video casts downloaded
  • You can even have your email audioized and sucked into your player to listen to your unread email on the way to work.

The point is that this can all happen without the user having to do anything.  It all happens while the player sits somewhere in your house or maybe even your car charging up for a new day.

This upgrade is all about making the users life easier.  You get an iPod and you get a job managing files.

You get a Zune now (or get the free upgrade on your old Zune) and suddenly the Zune takes over your former job as a file manager.  You have more time to do something important, more time to enjoy your Zune and more time to consume the information or media on your Zune.

Free Upgrade is so Un-Apple

Now look, you can be an Apple fan boy all day long, and I will not sway your opinion.  I could care less, do what you will.  The Zune however is doing something with this major upgrade that is so Un-Apple.  They are providing a firmware upgrade to all existing Zune players to provide this new functionality.  When Apple comes out with a major upgrade, you usually have to get a new device or computer, Zune is giving this new functionality and usability to its existing customer base.

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