So I have a Zune 80 (black) and I freaking love it. The Zune software kicks the living crap out of anything Apple has ever released in terms of quality and functionality and ease of use. The software just works, the Zune just works – it’s probably the best entertainment device we make that no one knows about or has (sigh). Well, yesterday we released the Zune 3.0 software and firmware for all the Zunes (yes even if you have the first gen brown Zune-brick you get the updated firmware). So what’s cool with the new softawre/firmware? Well at long last you can connect up to ANY wifi network via your Zune’s wifi capability and you can use that Internet access to connect up to the Zune Market Place (ZMP). It even works on WPA2 networks with passphrases (I connected up to mine yesterday) – but that only works on the Zune80’s and newer (Zune30’s support WPA1 and WEP though).
Okay so what’s the big deal with being able to connect to any Wifi network? Well imagine that you have a Zunepass (as I do) for $15/month . . . you can download as much music as you want to your PC or your Zune . . . well imagine that I’m heading to a friends house to play poker and we want to play some music while we play – but he doesn’t have a Zune or a Zune pass. I can bring my Zune, plug it into say his Xbox 360 which is connected to his home entertainment system and then I can connect to the Zune marketplace via his wifi network to download / stream *any* music that I want . . . so the Zune is on wifi downloading content from the ZMP while plugged into his 360 via USB playing the songs through his home audio system.
Basically I have access to the entire ZMP anywhere I go that has wifi now . . . so even if I haven’t downloaded the songs to my Zune from the PC, that doesn’t matter – I can still get them . . . anywhere. This is insanely cool (for me) because I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been on a trip with my Zune sans my home PC with the Zune software installed and I’ve wanted to grab some new content from the ZMP but can’t until I get home (you can only pair the Zune to so many PCs).
Also there is FM tagging which I will probably never use – but basically the Zune will use RDS info (if its present – un-surprisingly many of the radio stations here in the south have yet to opt-in to this exciting technology of the last century) to figure out what song you’re listening to and it allows you to tag it so that you can download it later from the ZMP if you like.
What else is cool? Well games – I now have Hexic and NLHE poker on my Zune (two of my favorite games – what are the odds?).
I dunno man . . . the Zune is finally a seriously, “insanely great” entertainment device . . . the fact that we give the new hotness to even the original Zune 30 owners is IMHO very impressive – you don’t see our competition doing anything like that.
Welcome to the social.