Here’s a juicy rumor: could Microsoft be working on a portable gadget that combines the Xbox 360 with the Zune? Maybe!
The project, codenamed “xYz,” is said to feature a WVGA touchscreen and a way to play music and movies on both the device as well as the Xbox 360. Basically, it’s going to be a connected handheld gaming system with rich multimedia features. Sounds interesting, but will it actually come to exist? Time will tell.
PlayStation 3 and PSP play nice together, so we’ve always been a bit baffled as to why Microsoft hasn’t created similar synergy between the Xbox 360 and its iPod-chaser, Zune. Now it looks like MS is taking steps to formally introduce the devices to one another – at least that’s what one of its job postings suggests.
According to CNET, Microsoft is looking to add a user experience designer to its Zune group, with a focus on the Zune user interface, Zune PC application – used to access the Zune Marketplace – and … the Zune Xbox application? It could be that the company is working on a means to (finally) download, manage and transfer Zune Marketplace content on 360 to Zune (and vice-versa). MS has said that the New Xbox Experience will make it easier to roll out extension services (see Netflix and Photo Sharing) without the need for major system updates.
While everybody is all a-twitter about Apple’s announcements of new iPods and other stuff happening in just a couple of hours, the first rollouts we heard about due today were from Microsoft, accidentally leaking word a month ago of a laser-less Blue Track Mouse. Now it’s official that the Redmondians will also show off a new webcam, and the star of the show will be an updated Zune.
Unlike the secretive Apple, Microsoft revealed the details of its new Zunes ahead of time, confirming new features before today’s launch of the Fall Zune line. Microsoft will expand its hard-drive Zune music player’s capacity to 120GB ($249), its flash drive-based Zune moves up to 16GB ($199), and the Zune now catches up to the iPod touch with the ability to download songs via Wi-Fi.
An intriguing new feature is a recommendation engine based on the songs you’ve been listening to. We’re also digging the inclusion of one of our staff fave games, Texas Hold ‘Em, to the player.
You’ve seen the PR, now check the videos. The zunitedcommunity just posted four introductory videos straight outta Redmond — three demonstrate the new WiFi Marketplace, buy from FM, and Channel features in the 3.0 firmware while the fourth demonstrates the updated desktop software with new Zune mix, improved Now Playing view, and new Picks view auto-populated to reflect your listening habits. CNET News also had the chance to get some hands-on time courtesy of Zune’s Joe Belfiore. Joe confirms that WiFi access to Marketplace only works from hotspots that don’t require a browser-based login (duh) while once again hinting at future Xbox and Zune integration since “both stores are based on the same technology.” He also confirms that the 3.0 firmware will work with all Zune devices as we expected. Curiously, when asked about accessing your Zune music collection from a phone, Joe responded by saying, “that’s another really interesting device that you may someday see us do work on but nothing that we’re announcing here today.” Funny response since CNET asked him about accessing Zune music from a phone, not a Zune phone. See all five videos after the break.
[Via Zunited, thanks Ryan and Milo]
Just hold on a little while longer, Canadian Zune-lovers — it seems that your wait is almost over. A job listing just popped up on the Vancouver Craigslist, looking for a “Microsoft Zune Program Coordinator” who will “represent our client Microsoft on their launch of Zune in the Canadian marketplace.” The job calls for applicants to be available between May 12 and June 20, so if it’s legit — and we hope it is, just because we prefer to believe no one is sad enough to fake this — it looks like the Zune will finally roll into Canada in just a few weeks.
It might be in a slightly smaller posse, though: the crew over at ClicZune recently took a gander at Microsoft’s Canadian Zune promo page and noticed that the Zune 30 and the green flash Zunes are conspicuously absent. (Also missing is the recently released red Zune 80, but that was announced after the pages in question were made.) It’s hard to tell what this means — do Canadians hate green things? Are the 30 and green on their way out in the US as well? — but hopefully we’ll get some answers in just a couple weeks.
[Via ClicZune, thx Penny]
As it turns out, Microsoft may be breaking a few hearts by not being able to fulfill all its Zune 80 Valentine’s Day Originals shipments, but not all is lost for their loving customers. Users who haven’t already gotten their units will apparently get a full refund — as well the player they ordered. Aw, isn’t that candy-heart sweet? And should you wind up with one of these for V-Day, you might try every so gingerly asking for dinner with that $250 your special someone saved.
I guess all that fighting over the phone with the Zune call center and emails to Microsoft paid off; in some way!
Too bad i still don’t have my Zune which i ordered back on Jan, 15th, 2008.
Check out the Zune Forum link in relation to this long, long, long delay!
Well, it’s my birthday this upcoming Feb. 16th… it will be a nice birthday after all… With my refund i might just go out and by an iTouch… lol… NOT!!!
Sent: Friday, February 8, 2008 6:55:01 PM
Subject: Zune Originals Order Status
Dear Lohan xxxxx,
We wanted to provide you with an update on your order status. Due to some issues in our fulfillment center there remains a chance we will miss getting your Zune to you by February 14th. We are working hard to get your order to you as quickly as possible and we currently plan to ship your Zune within the next 3-4 days. Once your order is in transit, we will send you a shipping confirmation with a link for tracking.
Our goal is to provide a smooth customer experience for ordering, customization, and delivery. We sincerely apologize for not meeting that goal in this specific case. We will be refunding the entire amount of your order, which you should be able to see on your credit/debit card within 7-10 days. We hope you love your Zune and that you will accept our sincere apology.
If you have additional questions, please call 1.877.GET.ZUNE. For fastest service, press 5 then press 1 and have your order information ready.
The Zune Originals Team