Why Borat likes Zune

Have you seen the movie “Borat”? One thing the title character would love about the Zune 80 is the reply you are likely to get from any salesperson or Web site when inquiring about buying one:

Coming Zune…Not!

Puppies and Zunes These things aren’t in stock anywhere! Not even on Microsoft’s own Zune Originals site. Perhaps it’s an attempt to artificially imitate the Wii Effect but methinks Nintendo’s game console is legitimately popular enough to warrant its “Out of Stock” label.

Microsoft really screwed the pooch on this one. The company would have been better off having Michael Vick endorse the new product line with some DMX playing in the background.** Man, if Apple releases a 32GB iPhone that syncs with my Exchange-based e-mail & calendar…just kidding…not!

Last year, I searched high-and-low, far-and-wide for my Zune 30. Not this time. Hmph!

Meanwhile, I am definitely happy Microsoft updated old players with the new features. I have been able to soak up all the Zune 2 goodness on my Zune 30…which is now available for $90 on Amazon (originally $250). Talk about depreciation. Yikes!

** – “Give ‘Em What They Want” would be fitting. :sarcastic:

Pimp My Zune

I have seen the future and it is beautiful. In addition to releasing the new devices, tomorrow Microsoft is launching a new site for ordering and customizing (for free!) your very own Zune with amazing artwork created by world-renowned artists and designers. Here is the design I plan to use to pimp my new Zune 80:

Zune Originals - Colletivo - The Funk 'Fro  

I will affectionately refer to this design as The Funk ‘Fro which I find pleasingly ironic considering my hairstyle of choice. I think the artist bio is fitting too given our recent travel to Brazil. I am glad I waited to order one of the new devices since this deal is only available on orders placed directly from the Zune Originals site at http://ZuneOriginals.net. You can learn more about this novel collaboration and see all the artwork in an interview on Cool Hunting.

Apple iPhone/iPod 6G Compared to Microsoft Zune

To commemorate today’s release of the Microsoft Zune 2 digital media players, services and software, I present a feature matrix comparing all the Apple iPod 6th generation devices—including iPhone, iPod touch, iPod classic and iPod nano—with the 1st and 2nd generation Zunes—Zune 80, Zune 30, Zune 8 and Zune 4.

The following table covers what I think are the most important features of a portable media device including screen size, storage capacity, screen resolution, height, width, depth, weight, battery life, connectivity options, interface, supported audio formats, supported video formats, available colors, and, of course, price.

There are several comparisons missing to keep the chart manageable (e.g., podcast support, size of music & video stores, Cover Flow, desktop software, etc.) However, I have included things many shoppers want to evaluate when choosing a device to playback music, video and pictures from various sources while on-the-go.

Zune 2 vs. iPod 6G Comparison classic touch iphone 160 80 8 4

Earlier, I stated “…Zune 80 sets a new standard for hard-drive based media players vs. iPod Classic.” This table shows why. Note the new Zune 8 & Zune 4 devices compare favorably to the latest iPod nanos as well.

1-800-CALL-411

live-search-411 On the go with your mobile phone in hand, Microsoft’s free 1-800-CALL-411 (Live Search 411) service helps you find the information you need and get to the places you want to go. You can access the service from any land line as well.

I had a chance to use the service several times while in Chicago and found it extremely easy to navigate and very easy to use. I was highly impressed by the time-saving convenience features that have made me a an immediate fan. For example, there is the “Text me this Info” feature that sends the listing information (address, phone number and link to a map) to your phone via SMS—if you call from your mobile, of course.

Yellow Pages? Check.
White Pages? Check.
Traffic, Movies, Weather? Check. Check. Check.

This service is under Microsoft’s Live Services—which includes Live Search, Live Mail (Hotmail), Live Local (Maps), etc. A lot of the technology came over as part of the Tellme Networks acquisition in March 2007 and is being integrated with ideas coming out of Microsoft Research. Many of you are already familiar with the Tellme technology if you have ever dialed 1-800-555-1212 or 1-800-555-TELL.

Repeat after me: “Only chumps dial 411. The cool kids dial 1-800-CALL-411.”