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Summary:

Microsoft gave the Zune audio player a little love with the announcement of a software update, bringing the Zune to version 2.5. Way back when, I clamored for native television content and the Zune takes a step in the right direction with Zune Marketplace content available […]

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Microsoft gave the Zune audio player a little love with the announcement of a software update, bringing the Zune to version 2.5. Way back when, I clamored for native television content and the Zune takes a step in the right direction with Zune Marketplace content available from a number of providers like NBC Universal, MTV, COMEDY CENTRAL and more. From a social aspect, the Zune Card makes it to the desktop and your friends can see what you’re listening to in real-time. You can also send messages and share songs over the web this way. The new autoplay list feature compares to the iTunes Smart Playlist functionality, something I use in iTunes all the time to auto-create playlists based on Genres, Artists and more.

All in all, good updates for the Zune but many of these features are an attempt to "catch up" to the competition. For the Zune ecosystem to be truly successful, I think we need to see features that leap-frog the competition. Still, good updates for Zune owners.

  1. I loved my Zune, but there was one thing that I just couldn’t get past. It’s podcast management is terrible. For me, it was bad enough to push me back into using an iPod.

    I wonder if this update addresses Zune’s podcasting bugs.

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  2. @Nate: Odd individual differences: you don’t like the Zune’s podcast management and I love it. For me, it’s all automatic: podcasts removed from the player after you’ve listened, new one(s) added. No attention required. All podcasts resume properly, so no problem hopping between podcasts. Enough manual control when you need it. You must have different listening requirements.

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  3. This sounds wonderful. Except that it still doesn’t address the Zune’s serious issues with handling podcasts.

    I guess that I’m in such a minority that the issue is statistically insignificant.

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  4. @ Joe T.

    In theory it’s a great idea, and if it worked as advertised, I’d love it.

    However, in my experience, it doesn’t, and I’m not alone in this. The Zune Marketplace simply doesn’t do a good job of reliably downloading, loading, and deleting podcasts. There are loads of people on ZuneScene who have the same problems that I did.

    The last software update was supposed to fix these bugs, and they did to a degree. They haven’t perfected it, though. iTunes handles podcasts flawlessly. I don’t have to maintain it at all.

    Believe me. I want to like the Zune, and I do love the hardware. It’s just experiencing some growing pains that I’m not willing to live with.

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  5. The Zune would be perfect if it could:

    A. Support .avi files.
    B. Work as an external hard drive.
    C. Connect to the internet.

    *Goes to download the update expecting to be disappointed.*

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  6. @Nate,
    It might be some or all of the following:
    1) that I’ve only subscribed to podcast feeds that are offered directly from Zune Marketplace.
    2) that I’ve never had an iPod, so don’t really know how good it can be (I have experienced some annoying Zune automatic behavior, but overall it’s been an great improvement over drag-and-drop loading of podcasts on cheap players).
    3) that I’ve just been lucky.

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