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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."

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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.