Editorials: Death of Hard Drive Players

While I would like to believe that the Zune community stays glued to ZuneSpring for the latest is news and information, the simple fact is most of them don’t, but that’s neither here nor there. What is important is that the other sites the community pays attention seem to have glossed over one of the most important bits of news to affect that Zune community in months or at least two years.

According to Apple’s latest earnings call which you can check out in text form over at Engadget here, iPod sales have started to sag. I know what you’re thinking of course they have, it’s a recession you idiot! Ah fair enough critical thinkers, however if you look a little closer you’ll also notice a little side note… iPod Touch sales are up 162%. Yes friends that a lot glass and plastic. Honestly at first glance I didn’t get this either, until now that is.

What’s important here lies just under the surface, traditional iPod sales are tanking. Simply put people aren’t buying for the reasons they used to. The iPod Touches aren’t sold to people looking for the maximum amount of storage space, a trend that until now has allowed technology companies like Apple and Microsoft to get by with simple updating storage capacities and selling it to people who have outrageously large music collections. Now they’ll have to do something no producer of MP3 players has had to do in years actually freaking, innovate!

Don’t get me wrong here I’m all about large hard drive sizes and devices that get a new paint job and a new name (Zune 120 I’m staring at you). Those numbers are clear, consumers now want an all-in-one device, and the Zune HD better be it. If Microsoft can pull off a win in this market they may stand a chance of turning the Zune division profitable; however they’ve got to do this right, and give the people exactly what the numbers show they want.

Small storage capacity bumps won’t fly in this space anymore for starters. Second let’s not kid ourselves a Zune HD without applications will bomb right out of the gate. It’s not enough anymore to have an internet browser; this thing will need an entire marketplace of applications from Day One, not tacked on in a later update. Bottom line is simple. In this marketplace the Zune 120, 4 and 8 are clearly marked for death, and I’d be surprised if they lasted much into quarter one of next year. Now isn’t the time to coast on dated technology. We all knew this day would come, and it has. Let’s just hope Microsoft was able to have some sight into what comes next.

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