iLounge has long been my favorite stop for information and help with iPod issues and in spite of being the biggest iPod fan site on the planet they have gotten their hands on a Zune prototype and written a brief overview. I didn’t find anything earthshaking but it’s interesting that despite their iPod bias the Zune comes across as a pretty decent player. The article covers the entire UI, the FM radio, and the integrated WiFi. The latter enables the Zune to have a cool feature– you can shoot any song from your Zune to a friend with another Zune and they can listen to it for a day. If they like it they can then purchase it from the Zune music store. Now that’s just smart. The Zune is reported to sell for $299 when it’s released later this year, which sounds like a pretty good price for the media player. The article addressed the one point I’ve raised numerous times about what I think Microsoft must do with the Zune to truly compete with the iPod:
The big question being asked around these parts right now is whether Zune has any feature so compelling that it can really rival the iPod juggernaut. Right now, the feeling is that Microsoft may have gotten a few things closer to right than normal, but neither any individual part of the package nor the complete experience will truly rival the iPod’s super-simple, mainstream experience.