Zune HD: Hands On

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Engadget‘s Joshua Topolsky shares his thoughts on the Zune HD after fiddling with it:

… the thing kind of rocks… The OLED screen looks absolutely stunning… we didn’t notice a single hiccup while jumping through menus or playing back HD video.

That’s a lot of praise on a preproduction model. Topolsky also mentions that the Zune HD had a “nice, solid feel, with good heft to it and a surprisingly thin profile.” That thin profile is thanks to the OLED display that doesn’t require a backlight, making it razor thin. The existing Zune user interface was “way tricked out” in addition to a lot of “flipping images, scaling text, smooth scrolling, and an extreme emphasis on simple visual navigation.” I’m liking what I’m hearing about the Zune HD. And this is all the more surprising since I’m not experiencing hiccup-free operations on my second-generation iPhone with the OS that’s already at version 2.2.1.

Three Time’s a Charm Let’s just forget for a second that this is from Microsoft. Actually, let’s not. I think I’m counting right and so this will be Microsoft’s third attempt at the Zune. The first attempt was the Zune 30 that was released back on November 14, 2006. Major dud. The next major release were the Zune 4, 8 and 80. These were announced a year later on October 2, 2007. They were better but got trounced on by the iPod franchise. The Zune HD is the third iteration, and we all know what happens on the third attempt from Microsoft right? No? Well, let me refresh your memory. Windows was a serious non-event until Windows 3.0. Since then Windows has dominated operating systems with a market share of roughly 90 percent. The first couple of Internet Explorer versions, at free, weren’t something you wanted at all. Until the browser got to be version 3. IE obliterated Netscape Navigator and today has a dominant share of the browser market (FireFox is not behind.) I am sure there are other examples. But it is clear to me that attempt number three from Microsoft should be taken seriously: Zune HD is attempt number three.

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