Editorials: Zune 4 Should

The last couple of weeks we’ve heard speculation ranging from screensize to headphones however it would seem that everyone is forgetting about the one thing that pulls all our media experiences together, the Zune Software. We’ve heard rumors of a slight update to the software coming possibly as soon as May 14th and while I can’t personally vouch for the rumors authenticity I am excited at the possibility that we might see a refresh soon. First let’s take a look at some of the problems they should address from last year’s release in November.


Let users be users

One of the strangest things about Zune has been it’s knack for coming up with ironic slogans. Over the last few years there’s been a ton of them including my favorite “Clever is so.. Yesterday”, used in the Zune 2 device firmware. Another favorite of mine has been “You Make it you” from their fall advertising campaign. It was brilliant and described nearly perfectly what the Zune was trying to accomplish. So from the people who brought you “You Make it You” comes music software with creative and colorful backgrounds that allows you to choose between six different feels, but not go so far as to be able to include your own photo? Seriously I’m hip -i think, and none of the software backgrounds spark me as all that great. We should be able to use our own backgrounds to customize the feel of the software, point blank.

Your Videos now Playing… with a white Border

There’s no doubt about it, the Zune software is with all of it’s caveats, a unique piece of code, that looks nothing like other Music Jukeboxes. That being said because it’s written mostly by the same people who wrote Windows Media Center it contains a few seriously wacky visual issues. For starters whenever I get a notification or say try to Login, the software creates the illusion that another window has been opened. That in its self would be odd but still not bad seeing as how the illusion works fine and may actually be a better alternative then actually opening new windows to clog up the experience. However where drawing windows inside other windows isn’t a good is when your viewing video content. Both iTunes and Windows Media Player, project video over the screen when playing in full screen. Fine, sounds easy enough right? Instead the Zune software plays the content inside its own windows there by not creating a full screen experience. Don’t get me wrong the one window is fine, but I like popcorn with my movies not a white border around them.


Why the need to go to Zune.net/Social?

Back in the version 2 days, Microsoft decided that they would rather us go to their website to check out our social entries and latest friend updates. Clearly that didn’t work out as they added more then just being able to access your social inbox in later versions however there are still things that we can’t do without having to open an internet browser. Honestly I think more people would create a quiz if there was little to no barrier to entry. Everything that you can do on the social should be doable in the software.


Faster loading from the Social

While we’re on the social let’s take a moment and think about how much time the average person would waste in a year waiting for your friend’s Zune Cards to load. We’re in need of a PowerBoost and from what I hear Comcast has a lot they’re not using to throw baseballs.


In the scope of things the Zune software is an excellent music player. However there are just things, just little quarks that once they’re fixed would make the software that much better. This time around they don’t need a complete rewrite because they’ve done their due diligence. The software allows you to quickly get to your music and videos, and do it while presenting a level of polish that other jukeboxes (iTunes) don’t come close to. Kudos to Microsoft for a job well done, after they get down to the nitty gritty and fix the small things.

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