Archive for the ‘Zune’ Category
Stefan at I have a Zune has uncovered some very exciting news about the next version of Zune. Amongst other stuff I’m fascinated by:
- Listen to your favourite radio stations and click to tag the songs you like for later purchase when you sync your device with your PC
- Access thousands of wireless hotspots around the country to automatically update your collection, browse Zune marketplace, refresh channels, exchange favourites with friends or buy songs you’ve tagged from your FM radio
- Zune channels are custom programming stations that deliver personalised playlists to your Zune for a variety of sources you select, such as music experts, celebrities, or top radio stations.
WOW! How on earth they recognise what songs you’re listening to on the radio I have no idea but if they can pull it off that’s amazing. This is exciting stuff, Zune finally has a worthy differentiator.
Go and read Stefan’s post: http://www.ihaveazune.com/?p=1298
There seems to be a lot of talk going around at the moment about whether a Zunephone is in the offing and I’ll bet a lot of people are assuming that its just a matter of time given the success that Apple have had turning the iPod into a phone. I’m not so sure though, Microsoft already have a very healthy phone business.
Let’s check out the numbers. A rough estimate says 3million Zunes have been bought since their inception in 2006. You can interpret that as good or bad, I don’t care, but what is more significant is that 14.5million Windows Mobile phones have been sold in a third of the time that Zune has been available. OK, the numbers are skewed by the Zune’s unavailability outside of the US but clearly Windows Mobile sales dwarf Zune sales.
Given that reality what do you think Microsoft are going to do? (a) Use the less popular and less available Zune to try and sell the more popular phone or (b) use the more popular phone to sell the less popular and less available Zune? Simple economics tells you that anything but b) would be a stupid thing to do and hence I’m pretty sure that we’re going to see Zune features built into Windows Mobile rather than the other way around. Indeed, leaked documents already point to this happening.
Having said all that, I don’t understand where the Danger purchase sits. If Zune features get built into the next Sidekick incarnation then it might …just might… make a decent iPhone competitor, I await news with anticipation.
I heard today of a neat little trick that the Zune, Live Messenger and/or MSN teams have pulled on unsuspecting iTunes users. If you are listening to a song on iTunes and you have got the ‘Show what I’m listening to’ feature:
enabled in Live Messenger then your messenger buddies will see a link to information about that song and artist:
Can you guess where that link takes you? Yep, you got it, whereas it used to take you to MSN Music it takes you to Zune Social:
iTunes promotes Zune, very sneaky indeed eh? I like it!
I had a couple of Zune ideas today which I posted to the Zune Social forums and thought I’d put them up here as well to see what others think of them.
A while ago I suggested displaying xRank info on an artist’s Zune page (e.g. Here is John Lennon’s xRank: http://search.live.com/xrank/results.aspx?q=John+Lennon) That hasn’t happened yet but I hope it will do soon.
Now here’s an extra idea. Wouldn’t it be cool if up-to-date xRank info were synced to our Zune device? e.g. I’m listening to a John Lennon song on my Zune and I have the option to see the information from his xRank as it was last time I synced.
[Originally posted here]
Now that every album can have user reviews wouldn’t it be cool if those reviews appeared on our device whenever we started listening to an album.
This would be even more compelling for those people that use a Zune pass. It would be even more compelling still if we’re using a Zune pass to sync our friends’ playlists (that’s a new feature in Zune 2.5). That way, not only can we listen to whatever our friends are listening to but we can see what other people thought of those songs/albums as well. Might help us make a decision whether to buy it or not.
[Originally posted here]
What do you think? If you like the ideas hit the links above and add your comments. And add them as a comment to this blog entry as well.
[Also added to my Feedback lista]
Remember back in February when I had my idea for Zunervision? Here it is again:
One of the coolest mashups I saw last year was TwitterVision. That’s where various Tweets from around the world are displayed on a map and you can actually watch the world is saying.
Would’t it be cool if you could do the same thing with "the last song that someone listened to on their Zune" or "the last podcast someone listened to on their Zune" or "the last video that someone watched on their Zune"? Throw that stuff onto a map along with wherever that person happens to be located and watch what people around the world are listening to or watching.
[I posted this idea to the Zune forum as well and it created quite a discussion]
Well anyway, with the recent Zune 2.5 release the Zune team went a long way to enabling Zunervision, they now let us record our location. Observe:
Hence, my location is now exposed on my Zune profile.
So, now that the Zune team know what we’re listening to and they know where we are I would expect Zunervision to become a reality very very soon.
I’m still throwing ideas for Zune Social up onto the Zune Forums. My latest few are below, let me know what you think.
How about when we browse to an artist on ZMP or the Social you show information from their XRank profile.
XRank is a vertical search offering from Live Search that ranks celebrities based on how often they’ve been in the news lately. For example, here is John Lennon’s XRank: http://search.live.com/xrank/results.aspx?q=John+Lennon and the XRank for my favourite all time band, The Stone Roses http://search.live.com/xrank/results.aspx?q=the+stone+roses
There’s a lot of information on there that could be leveraged in Zune Social/ZMP. If nothing else just show their XRank on the artist profile page in Zune Social.
I’d like to see RSS feeds provided that pass out all my information. Something like the following might work:
- My plays: http://social.zune.net/member/jamiethomson/plays.rss
- My favourites: http://social.zune.net/member/jamiethomson/favourites.rss
- Most played songs: http://social.zune.net/member/jamiethomson/mostplayedsongs.rss
- Most played artists: http://social.zune.net/member/jamiethomson/mostplayedartists.rss
- My friends’ plays: http://social.zune.net/member/jamiethomson/friendplays.rss
- My recently posted forum entries: http://social.zune.net/member/jamiethomson/forumposts.rss
- You get the idea….
That way I’d be able to choose which information I want on my Zune profile or I’d be able to show it on other sites such as http://friendfeed.com/jamiet
Obviously I would have the option of whether to make this data available or not.
You could also make site-scoped info available as well:
Or artist-scoped info:
Zunes have a cool feature where Zune owners can send songs to other Zune owners. There’s a problem that renders that feature virtually useless though – its sodding difficult to find anyone else that has got one of the damn things. However this problem can be, and should be, overcome with technology. All that is needed is a way of locating people that have a Zune. Let me explain.
All that is needed is:
- A method of identifying people. Well that one is easy, everyone who uses Zune Social is identified by a Live ID. Done.
- A cloud-based service that allows people to broadcast where they are using a GPS-equipped phone. Yes, I’m harping on about that old chestnut again. I still can’t believe that Microsoft don’t provide a service that allows you to share your location. Additionally, Google have already proved that your location can be triangulated if there are enough phone masts around so a phone doesn’t even need GPS.
- A method of identifying which people you want to share your location with. No problem. If Windows Live Groups realises my "active directory in the cloud" idea then Microsoft could maintain a group for all Zune owners and I can have the option to share my location with all of them.
- A service that collates all of the above information and can send me notifications when fellow Zune owners are nearby.
There’s nothing here that cannot be achieved through lack of software or hardware. It just needs someone to build it. What do you reckon the chances are of that happening anytime soon? I reckon somewhere between slim and none unfortunately!
A word of warning to anyone that is using Zune to sync their plays to Zune Social. Its possible that you have some songs in your library that, well, let’s say songs that you wouldn’t want your mates knowing about. Speaking from experience this usually happens when you have your girlfriend’s/fiance’s/wife’s music in there as well. If you happen to put your Zune onto random play then you run the risk of the following happening.
You have been forewarned!
Currently in order to get photos/videos onto our devices we have to manually put that media into a place where Zune software will see it. Wouldn’t it be better if we could subscribe to RSS feeds of photos/videos from sites like Flickr, Live Spaces, YouTube, MSN Video and have them automatically appear in our Zune media collection? After all, this is pretty much the model that you follow with podcasts.
An added bonus: If the photos/videos were on Live Spaces/MSN Video then they wouldn’t have to be publicly accessible videos because we log onto those services using the same Live ID that we use to log onto Zune.
Interesting. If you had an RSS Feed of … um, say cuteoverload.com, since it is a site I like to visit, what would it look like in your library? Where would you expect to see the feeds and their content go to? How would it be sorted?
Let’s take photos as an example. Here’s an RSS feed of photos related to a band that I like that I might like to have synced to my Zune device: http://api.flickr.com/services/feeds/photos_public.gne?tags=the+charlatans&lang=en-us&format=rss_200
I think you have 2 choices:
1. The RSS feed is defined in my library and the photos in the RSS feed get synced to my library – so the photos physically get downloaded to my computer. So in actual fact the photos still exist in your media store as they do today, the only difference is that you have saved yourself the manual effort of moving them there. And that is no bad thing. In fact its a GREAT thing compared to the functionality today.
Advantages: Photos are downloaded without my Zune device being present.
Disadvantages: Photos are proliferated to three different places (i.e. The cloud, my computer and my Zune device) – probably more than they need to be.
2. The RSS feed is defined in my library but the photos never actually physically appear on my computer. Instead my Zune device is synced directly to the photos in the cloud. As with option 1, the great part of syncing with an RSS feed is that the manual effort of moving photos to a place where Zune can see them has been removed.
Advantages: Photos only exist in two places, in the cloud on and my device. Plus, in theory the Zune software (and my computer) is no longer needed. My Zune device should be able to sync photos directly from the cloud whenever it comes in sight of a publicly accessible wifi connection.
Disadvantages: If the syncing is still going via my computer then my Zune has to be present in order for the photos to be downloaded. This means that the time taken to sync my Zune device is going to take longer than it does today.
Given the choice, I would prefer option 2. My time window for syncing is suitably large (i.e. overnight) that it wouldn’t be a problem, and I’m saving disk space on my computer.
Sorting? I don’t care really! The interesting thing would be the ability to look at photos on my device by date taken or by tag in such a way that that I didn’t know (or even care) whether the photo originally existed on my hard drive or in the cloud.
- Show all my Zune friends in a dedicated contact group e.g. "My Zune friends" within my Live Contacts (http://contacts.live.com).
- Allow me to invite Zune Social members to be Live Messenger contacts.
- Allow me to invite my Zune friends to be Live Spaces friends and vice versa.
- On Zune Social, display whether I am online or not (http://jamiethomson.spaces.live.com/blog/cns!550F681DAD532637!3203.entry) and thus build instant messaging into Zune Social
- Have some sort of chat room in Zune Social that I can interact with using Live Messenger.
- Show my most recently listened to song on my Live Messenger status
- Show where in the world my Zune friends live on a Virtual Earth map
- Use Live Alerts to tell me when someone has replied to one of my forum postings
- Put a Zune tab into Live Messenger which displays mine and my friends’ Zune Tags. Or, let me right-click on a contact in Live Messenger and let me see their Zune Tag.
- Synchronise photos from Live Spaces onto my Zune
- Synchronise videos from MSN Soapbox onto my Zune
- Build a Windows Live Toolbar button that takes me to Zune Social
- Let us form communities (after Windows Live Groups comes out) around artists that we like. Surface these communities in Zune Social. Perhaps even automatically place me into groups based on what I listen to.
- Display pertinent Zune info on my Live Spaces news feed (e.g. A friend has added a new favorite on Zune Social, A particular band has gone to the top of a friend’s ‘most listened to’ list, someone else likes the same music as me, Someone has sent me a message on Zune Social etc…)
- Let me view messages in my Zune Social inbox from within Windows Live Mail
- Put a "blog this" link in various places in Zune Social that then launches me into a new blog entry in Live Spaces.
- I could have a category on my Live Spaces blog called "Zune". And blogs in that category automatically appear in my Zune profile (http://social.zune.net/member/jamiethomson)
Got any more ideas? Anyone? Anyone?