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Brier Dudley's Blog

Brier Dudley offers a critical look at technology and business issues affecting the Northwest.

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November 12, 2007 1:08 PM

Say bonjour to Zune 3.0 features

Posted by Brier Dudley

It was buried a bit by today's news about the Zune tats, Windows Server and Google's Android booty, but Microsoft's pending acquisition of Musiwave is really interesting.

The Paris-based company will give Microsoft new technologies for downloading and streaming music onto portable devices such as phone and media players.

Coolest of all may be its "Music Wizard" service, which figures out what music is playing by holding up the device for a few seconds and letting it "hear" what's playing. A few seconds later it displays the title, artist and album information, and gives you the option of buying the song or a ringtone, according to Musiwave's product description.

If it works as promised, it's quite a competitor to the technology that Apple and Starbucks developed for buying the music playing in the coffee shop with a click on your iPhone or iPod Touch.

Musiwave claims its technology works not just in coffee shops but "from your radio at home, in the street, in public transportations or public places, from your television chanels: clips, adverts, movies, from bars or discotheques, shops, restaurants, etc."

The company is mostly focused on mobile phones and Microsoft's mobile business is partly driving the acquisition. But so are the Zune and Windows Live groups, so I'll bet we'll see Musiwave technology in Zune 3.0. Maybe it could even be loaded into Zune 2.0 through updates.

From Microsoft's release today, which gives the latest spin on Zune boss turned gadget design czar J Allard's role at the company:

"Musiwave would bring key assets to us as we continue to bring our vision of Connected Entertainment to life," said J Allard, corporate vice president in charge of music at Microsoft. "Its software expertise and extensive relationships with operators and music companies would help us take our products and services to the next level, giving people access to whatever entertainment content they want, whenever and however they want it."

Comments | Category: Gadgets & products , Microsoft , Zune |Permalink | Digg Digg | Newsvine Newsvine

November 12, 2007 11:48 AM

Zune 2.0 review: Fair and balanced?

Posted by Brier Dudley

I guess the Zune review published today was balanced. Feedback so far includes constructive criticism from a Zune hater and a Zune lover.


I sprang for a $99 Zune 1.0 after I found my Creative Zen would never have drivers for Vista. I think your review missed what, for me, is the most important differentiator between ipod and Zune: the subscription service. For $15 per month, I have access to millions of songs. Not only can I load them on the Zune, but I can stream them directly from the Zune software on any of my computers without even downloading. With multiple computers in our house, this means I can listen, instantly, to practically any album or song I've ever owned or heard of, in my bedroom, living room, or home office. It's like having the entire record store at hand for $15 per month. I just don't see why this isn't a bigger selling point -- maybe the kids are happy stealing all their music? Or the oldsters already own and have ripped all the music they ever want to hear? In any case, a player is pretty much just a player, but the subscription service makes it stand out for me.
Nothing like the home town crowd shilling for Microsoft's latest me too piece of junk. Apple has very little to worry about with Zune. On the other hand, Microsoft can stand buy and watch Apple whittle into Windows market share. This is from a small business owner that will soon migrate the whole business from Windows to Apple OS X. Rock on!

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November 2007



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Gadgets and games | Fun stuff I've written about lately includes Apple's iPhone, Hewlett-Packard's HDX laptop and Microsoft's Halo3. Also on the radar are new digital video boxes such as the Tivo HD and the Vudu.