Zune ranger: Is Microsoft plotting iPod murder?

by admin July 26, 2006 at 11:03 am

Tell me wi-fi…

With much about Microsoft’s iPod rival still shrouded in secrecy, its wireless capability stands out as something novel to take on Apple.

Microsoft confirmed on Friday it will launch its first Zune device this year but the company offered few details other than confirming there will be a wi-fi connection.

The software giant hasn’t even specified the purpose of the wireless connection in the Zune device. In an interview with Billboard magazine, Microsoft general manager Chris Stephenson said the company is still considering seven or eight “scenarios”, including using the wi-fi connection for direct music downloads and sampling music from other nearby listeners.

Gartner analyst Michael McGuire said: “They are being coy.” Regardless of how Microsoft uses wireless abilities for the Zune, McGuire said the key will be how easy or difficult the gadget is for consumers to use. For example, designing an interface that enables downloading music from a catalogue without using a keyboard is tricky.

McGuire said: “That’s going to require a nuanced and very deep understanding of user interface.”

Full story: silicon.com