Posts Tagged ‘Zune’

Why WP7 Isn’t for the (Greater) Rest of the World

I planned on getting a Windows Phone 7 phone (terrible name, really). I found a great price for the HTC HD7 from a reputable source, and was just waiting for the bonuses to come in to get one. It’s an old model, but I’m fine with that.

After a closer look at the Marketplace, Microsoft’s own version of iTunes, I ‘m taking a step back. No HTC HD7 or any WP7 phone for me.

I’ve read wonderful reviews about the year-old phone OS. More rave reviews came with the Mango update.

But when you can’t buy apps or music (or pretty much anything) from their official web store, it would certainly give you pause.

You see, if you live outside a handful of the countries where the Marketplace is available, well tough luck! You won’t be able to buy anything. And apps and a/v content are supposed to be some of the driving force for getting a smartphone. It’s something Apple does so well, much as I don’t like them.

I just found this out last night.

I have the Zune software installed on my laptop, and last night, as I play Christmas songs from an a capella group, I saw a listing of their old albums. As I prefer physical discs to downloads, I searched (googled and bing’ed) where I might order a copy. No luck. They’re out of circulation, and some don’t even offer them for download.

I figured if I’m gonna buy digital downloads anyway, might as well do it with Zune Marketplace. The album costs 800 MS points, whatever those are. Naturally, I have to buy credits. And I was more than willing to.

But the Marketplace won’t let me. Philippines, I found out, does not belong to the select few countries that are supported; they won’t accept my credit card, which both Paypal and Amazon and other online retail stores are happy to honor! If I bought a WP7 device now and tried to get apps for it, I’d be stuck!

Here’s a hint Microsoft, if you want your product to succeed, stop holding back on the rest of the world!

The Most Expensive Memory Cards This Side of the Gaming World

If recent news is to be believed, and I don’t have any proof to suggest otherwise, Sony’s intended retail price for their soon-to-be-released handheld gaming device are a rip-off. The 4-, 8-, 16- and 32-Gb cards are exorbitantly priced at $29.99, $44.99, $69.99 and the profanity-inducing $119.99 respectively.

And of course, these cards are proprietary. And they’re a necessity if you are to enjoy your PSVita. Some games won’t work without one.

Typical Sony. Never learns.


How ZUNE is now?

Posted: March 15, 2011 in Blurbs, Technoloy
Tags: , ,

Having inherited a third generation iPhone from my sister, I grudgingly installed iTunes. I didn’t want to go through the mess of jail-breaking the old tool, so I resigned myself to constantly baby-sitting iTunes and its helper processes (Bonjour anyone?).

Windows-media-player-icon Up until a few days ago, my media player of choice was the Windows Media Player. It’s not the best player, but it does its job fairly well for my purpose. Because I’m using Windows 7, I’m stuck with WMP 12, and as sleek as its design is, I miss the functionalities they removed from previous versions. Still, I’d rather have WMP than iTunes *shivers*.

I have been hearing about the Zune devices and how the interface is leagues better than that of Apple’s devices. Unfortunately, like the iDevices, they are prohibitively expensive. Plus, Microsoft appears to offer the devices/service to a select few countries only. Sadly, it seems MS doesn’t think PH is a viable market.

Curious as to what the alternative to the market leader is, I searched the net for the Zune Software. Like iTunes, you can install the software even if you don’t have the device. It then acts as a media management center, akin to Windows Media Center but then is so much more.

Immediately after installing the Zune software, I was beholden.zune

The interface is simplistic at first glance, but as you begin to explore it, the more apparent the advantage it has over other similar software becomes.

It goes beyond the usual interface you’d expect from media management software. Pictures paint a thousand words, so I’ll let the following screenshots do the talking. (Click an image for a bigger version)








What’s more, when playing songs from artists that are popular enough, the background changes to display images and quotations of articles regarding the artist or band. Clever, and very visually appealing!




There are a few caveats to using the Zune Software. For one, if you want to log in to Zune, you’ll need a Live account that is set to a supported country. My Windows Live (I use for Games for WL) was set for PH, so I created a new Zune/Live account for a supported country. Also, your PC’s Location should be set to whatever country your Zune/Live account is set with. I just set both to US. If your PC’s Location is set to an unsupported country, some features will be missing, such as the Marketplace and Social. You won’t be able to see the Login link as well.

Another quirk is that older laptops with low graphics capabilities may not be able to support it. My Acer 5520 can launch the Zune SW all right, but after a while, it gets sluggish and even the pointer slows down to a crawl. I blame NVidia’s drivers for that, as I’ve tried with Windows 7 stock drivers, and it works just fine.

The current buzz is that it looks like Microsoft is going to kill off the Zune devices. The news is all over tech sites today, but no official word from MS regarding the device’s future as yet. The Zune Software, on the other hand, being able to support WP7 as well, looks like it’ll be here for the long haul. The following was posted on the official FB page for Zune:

Hey ZuneNation – here’s what WE have to say: We’re absolutely committed to providing the best movies, music, and TV show experiences through Zune on Xbox, the PC, Windows Phone 7 and Zune devices. We’ll share more information about the evolution of the Zune entertainment service and Zune hardware as future plans develop.
Thanks for being a part of this awesome community!

Too bad MS didn’t take advantage of the Zune platform. It could’ve easily beat iPod/iTunes had it been promoted well and had they expanded its market reach.