Tag Archives: zune news

Zune Pass to reduce number of supported client devices from 6 to 4: Update – Europe only


MyMicrosoftLife reports that Microsoft is informing Zune Pass subscribers that the number of supported devices linked to the service is being reduced from 6 devices (3 computers and 3 phones) to only 4 devices (one PC and any combination of 3 other phones and PCs).

The change will take effect next week on the 13th September 2011.

I suspect this change will only affect a small minority, but may be a precursor to other upcoming changes in the service.

Will you be affected by the change? Let us know below.

Update: eConnect via  LiveSide has been able to confirm that the changes are for European Zune Pass subscribers only, and will not affect the US quota (yet).  Lucky us…

Zune services to be re-organized?

WPCentral is reporting on a rumour started by @MSNerd, a regular Microsoft leaker, who tweeted:

@manan @clubdirthill Wee little rumor seeping out now: Zune next to be split into Xbox mobile, Xbox Live & Windows Live Zune on the 24th.

And the Zune backend platform will become a “Nokia services on Azure” offering, with content from Netflix, Last.fm & Hulu among others.

Zune Pass will slowly be merged with Xbox Live Gold, adding more 3rd-party content to the subscription (like ESPN).

@manan @clubdirthill There are many fundamental changes coming there, but no details on that until the Microsoft Next Conference this year.

There has long been rumblings that Zune brand will be subsumed into the Windows Live umbrella. Adding Zune music subscriptions to Xbox Live and adding value with more media may be the master stroke Microsoft needs to take their Zune subscriptions to the next level and is exactly the kind of integration pundits have long been asking for.

Like so many other rumours, we may find out in less than 2 days.

Is a ZuneHD2 on the way after all


The future of non-Windows Phone Zune hardware has been in doubt for some time, but at the same time rumours of a follow-up to a the critically acclaimed of not commercially successful ZuneHD has also been brewing for a while.

The above article from the MIX 11 website introduces Joe Bellfiore as being in charge of the design of forthcoming generations of Windows phone AND Zune devices, which to us appear pretty significant.

In fact, according to Microsoft’s Matt Akers in the Zune Insider Podcast (via Digital Trends).

“I guess the meta-point here, bubble-up one level, whatever analogy you want to use: Zune is not dead.” he said. “We still have jobs, right? I still like, get my paycheck.”

Zune is still alive within Microsoft—and “will never die!”

Time to throw put out a completely unsubstantiated rumour – what if Microsoft announce a generation of Zune-branded tablets with a media consumption focus at MIX11? Sounds tasty, doesn’t it?

Thanks Charlie and Michael for the tip.

Will Zune by any other name smell just as sweet? No.

Recently there’s been talk of the future of the Zune brand in light of its absence in the Microsoft-Nokia partnership and MWC keynote announcements. The tech punditry here noticed that, when citing the Windows Phone ecosystem, Microsoft mentioned Office, Xbox Live and Bing, while seemingly purposefully neglecting Zune.

Thurrott claims that his sources say Microsoft is looking to phase out the Zune brand into Windows Live. Other people, including Zune MVPs, have reported and responded to this possibility. Microsoft for its part has come out with guns blazing denying any ‘killing’ of Zune services, and no doubt by Friday we’ll have a statement by the Zune Insiders on their podcast as well. Notice, however, that Microsoft’s statements have not addressed the real question; no one said anything about killing Zune services, the question is about rebranding, and that question so far, remains unanswered.

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WP7 Multi-tasking will be selective, other titbits from MWC 2011

We interviewed Greg Sullivan, Senior Product Manager for Windows Phone 7, at Mobile World Congress 2011, and discussed some of the recent news and other issues surround Windows Phone 7.

We touched on a few issues which have been near and dear to our readers, for example the lack of a 1st party Messenger app (coming, maybe, in the future), LG’s underperformance due to their poor aesthetics (refused to be drawn on this) and the slow rate of updates (again, it appears Q1 is still “early 2011”).

More interesting and informative was the discussion around multi-tasking however.  It appears fast task switching does not mean multi-tasking, but rather rapid suspend and restore, and that real multi-tasking will be exclusive to certain tasks such as the background music task, much like on the iPhone. I suspect most of our readers will feel this is a better solution, although ultimately we will have to wait till MIX 11 to see how many use cases will eventually be covered.

We also touched on the Nokia, Navteq and Microsoft partnership. When Nokia announce that they will use Windows Phone 7 as its new main system for phones, they said that this partnership with Microsoft would work in both directions. Nokia would stop spending time and money developing its own system, and Microsoft would do the same for maps. How this would work out was initially unclear, but the interview revealed a bit more.

As we know, Windows Phone 7 outside the US is limited in the services available. Nokia will help change this with all the data that they already collected for OVI Maps, meaning:

1. Review of places
2. Directions
3. Points of interest
4. And any dataset that Nokia uses in OVI Maps.

But this is not all. Another big problem for Microsoft in Europe is the Zune Market. Nokia will help with that to. It appears Microsoft will inherit many of the licences Nokia already have for distributing music in many countries, meaning Zune will be able to rapidly expand to other markets.

As you can see this partnership is easily the best thing that could have happened to Microsoft , Nokia and us customers, mainly because a lot more than money was exchanged, to the benefit of customers of both companies.

Let’s hope all this goodness will come sooner rather than later.

Mysterious Zune update being pushed out

zuneWe know many readers are disappointed that the rumoured Feb 7th Windows Phone 7 update has not materialized, but then we know already that this phone update needs to be preceded by a Zune desktop update, to enable backup functionality.

Now the Zune software is reporting an update being pushed out for the software, and official Zune support is refusing to comment on its purpose.

The version number of the software remains the same at 4.7.1404.0, so it is far from clear what is changed by the download, and a cursory look at the software does not reveal any new backup options.

Hopefully the update is more than bugfixes, but laying the ground work for the much anticipated Windows phone 7 refresh.

Update: According to Johan Peeters, a file from the update (ZuneWmdu.dll) when peered at (just using wordpad even) reveals a connection with phone firmware updating:

Content of updated zune DLLs:CWmduFirmwareDeviceAccess::GetDeviceInfo CWmduFirmwareDeviceAccess::SendFirmwareObject and other things

Update 2:The dll also reports a new build number – 1407.

Update 3: From Microsoft’s support site:

You will have to update the Windows Mobile Device Updater (ZuneWmdu.dll) component of the Zune software to version 4.7.1407.0 or later versions. This software update is intended for use with Zune 4.7 software and is covered by the terms in the Zune 4.7 End User License Agreement (EULA). By downloading this update you agree to the terms of the accompanying Zune 4.7 EULA.

So maybe not the 7th but soon?

Thanks David and Chiefy27 for the tip.

Microsoft Zune eating into Apple’s market share

According to IHS Screen Digest, Microsoft grew its share of the online movie market by more that 50% from 11.6% to 17.9% between 2009 and 2010, despite Apple’s release of video centric devices such as Apple TV and the iPad.

U.S. Online Video Share*
(by % of consumer spending)

1 Apple 74.4 64.5
2 Microsoft 11.6 17.9
3 Sony 5.7 7.2
  Others 8.3 10.4

While iTunes online store still accounted for more than two-thirds of U.S. consumers’ online movie spending, at 64.5 percent in 2010, their share is  down from 2009′s 74.4 percent.

"Apple faced serious competition from Microsoft’s Zune Video and Sony’s PlayStation Store, as well as from Amazon and — most significantly — Walmart," said Arash Amel, IHS digital media research director

The success of Microsoft’s Zune service is largely due to the Xbox 360, increasingly more a media entertainment device rather than just a game machine, and of course boosted by the run-away sucess of the Kinect accessory.

With Apple increasingly losing smartphone market share to other platforms, and the iPod market itself declining, it is inevitable that Apple’s media dominance will erode over the coming months, and with Microsoft now having a strong offering both in the living room and now on smartphones Microsoft should benefit from some of this market share loss.

Via Twice.com

Thanks Mark for the tip.

How to transfer a DVD to Windows Phone 7

Today let’s go over transferring a DVD to a WP7.  I recently bought a DVD that came with a digital copy- on the back of the DVD case it even shows the Windows Media Player logo and the movie playing on a phone.  Could it really be that easy?  Well, no, not for a WP7 (apparently if you have an iPhone or a PSP, it’s a snap).  However, nothing’s too good for you guys, so here’s how to do it (for free):

You’ll need to download this software: RipIt4Me, DVD Decrypter, HandBrake

1. Install DVD Decrypter!!
2. Click Wizard Mode.  Allow time for the program to read the IFOs.
3. Select where to put the ripped DVD on your hard drive.  Click the . and navigate to your hard drive where you have at least 9GB of free space.
4. Allow RipIt4Me to create a PSL file.
5. Rip DVD.
6. DVD Decrypter opens and loads some settings automagically.
7. You still must manually click the DVD –> Disk drive icon in DVD Decrypter in order to continue.

Now, of course, I bought this DVD, so I own this digital copy. In no way do I condone pirating movies or software or music.  I just found it frustrating that the DVD box leads you to believe that it’s easy to just put the movie on your phone, when it actually takes some extra steps for WP7.

There’s Still Time To Win A WP7 & Zune Pass

Great news!  There are still four days left to enter Microsoft’s giveaway.  So grab your lucky horse shoe and start entering!  The prizes include a WP7, a yearlong Zune Pass, and a free month of Zune Pass.  You can enter twice a day, once via the contest website, and once via Twitter.  The contest is open to US residents over age 18 only.  Click here for all the details.

Thanks to wpcentral.com

Image: Microsoft

Zune HD Missing From Zune.net Homepage

For some strange reason, there are no pictures or mention of the Zune HD on the Zune.net homepage.  This is especially odd considering a new Zune HD commercial was just released (posted here).  The Zune HD is still listed under Products.

Now, this is purely an observation on my part; I don’t have any inside information.  I’d love to hear any thoughts or theories y’all have in the comments.

Snazzy New Zune HD Commercial


Yes, ladies and gents, a Zune HD at Best Buy Commercial.  I don’t think I’ve ever seen a Zune HD (or any Zune) ad on television; I’ll be looking for it as I fast forward through commercials at home.

It’s interesting to see how they feature not just the music content of the Zune, but also the radio (well, getting HD radio did have something to do with the naming of the device, but I just don’t think of radios as new and exciting) .  Also, the Zune dock and hooking it up to a TV is featured.

With this new commercial, as well as the Zune on WP7 commercial posted earlier this week, and the WP7 commercials that aired during the launch, it looks like Microsoft has realized that they should start producing fun, hip ads to get people to buy their products.

Thanks to Pradeep for giving me the heads up on this.

Zune & WP7 at the Microsoft Store

A Microsoft Store opened up last week at one of the malls in my area, and of course I had to check it out (in the name of research, obviously).  I was interested to see how the WP7 and Zune were being displayed and marketed.  There were two separate displays of the phones, and one was Zune focused.

This video was sped up a bit, so no, it doesn’t react that quickly.

I thought you all might also like a quick video of the store overall:

There were lots of people in the store looking around, and lots of staff on hand.  Of course, this was the opening weekend, and there were also local soccer stars in the store for a promotion.  I’d like to see how the store looks on a random Wednesday morning.  Hopefully the new Microsoft retail stores will help spread the word for WP7.