Just finished looking at a lot of posts talking about a major announcement at some function in Redmond, at Microsoft headquarters. iLounge is reporting that they are announcing a new Zune, and none of the other sites that posted about it, Engadget, CrunchGear, Gizmodo, and Cliczune, among others, had anything else to add. I guess we will see tomorrow.
There has been some speculation that Microsoft was going to release a Zune Phone ever since Apple announced their new iPhone. Two articles today talked about Microsoft filing with the Federal Communications Commission, and that filing suggests the technology giant will likely add phone service to its line of hand-held media players, known as the Zune. The article on Marketwatch said it would be a wireless advice using OFDM.
In the filing, Microsoft describes a wireless device that utilizes OFDM, a technology that can be used to route digital TV and voice calls among devices. Versions of OFDM have been tested and deployed for mobile phone use by carriers including Sprint Nextel Corp. and closely-held Clearwire Corp.
Microsoft is part of a broad coalition of tech companies that has lobbied regulators for expanded wireless access to the Internet. Others in the coalition, which are mentioned in the filing as taking part in submitting the device for testing, include Google Inc., Hewlett-Packard Co. and Intel Corp.
The coalition has focused on encouraging the FCC to make unused wireless spectrum — originally allotted for things like digital TV — available for Internet communication. Source: Microsoft to submit wireless device for FCC testing
Talk has been it will be a VOIP, voice over IP, mobile phone, while the iPhone is a cell phone, or a smart phone. Microsoft has stated that it will be used for consumer broadband access and networking. There is some big speculation going on at Crunchgear, saying it will be using WiMax and taking the social nationwide.
The Zune Phone remedies this by allowing you to share music not via WiFi, but via WiMax, so that anyone on your friends list who is online can sample your music, and vice versa. By using the mobile WiMax network, you can be in New York and your friend can be in San Jose and you can send him that Shins song you like.
By taking the proximity limitations from an otherwise sound idea and reversing them macro-syle, Microsoft opens up the Zune experience to everyone, making the ecosystem reach from coast-to-coast. The Social, as they say, goes national. We love the idea, as it really frames the concept of portable social networking in a wide, wide light. Source: Zune Phone Confirmed! Launch Scenario! 4G WiMax Action! Rumors Off the WTF-o-Meter
Lots and lots of speculation. Bill was asked recently about a Zune phone and he said no, but they have submitted this to the FTC, and they have said it will offer broadband access and networking. Their source did say that this has been in development for awhile, but is just now being rolled into the Zune. Time will tell.
Added: Engadget has dug some more into the FTC filing and says this probably doesn’t have anything to do with the Zune Phone, though they say they know one is coming.
…but what passed through the FCC was a pre-approval application document that ran down a list of questions the FCC had for a CE “coalition” consisting of Microsoft, Dell, Google, HP, Intel, Philips, who are apparently in on some device together. (Strike one. You really think Microsoft’s gonna collaborate on the Zune phone? And with that many non-cell phone carrier companies?) From what we can tell, it’ll be wireless (duh) with DTV signal detection and transmission (i.e. cognitive radio), and BPSK, WPSK (and likely QAM) modulation and OFDM. Doesn’t mean a lot to most people, we know, but the FCC plainly asked the consortium to describe the product’s purpose… Source: Debunk: Microsoft files for Zune phone with FCC — probably not
But, they do say, they will know for sure when the filing actually hits the FTC in the near future.
Engadget has done a great video walk through of the Zune MP3 Player from Microsoft. He goes through all the features and you can watch his screen, it’s almost like being there! Well, not quite, but it’s a great video. We’ve added 12 or so other Zune videos as well, check out the Zune play list. Even better, check em out in wide screen.
Steve Jobs had his keynote from Macworld 2007 this morning, and he announced that they would be releasing the iPhone, a combo video iPod and smartphone, I’m not sure if they came to some agreement with Cisco about the name or not. It looks really great, they invented a new user interface called Multi Touch, which allows finger touch control dialing and typing, without the small keyboard of the smart phones. It runs on OS X, and they are running the Safari web browser, it has a 3.5-inch screen, with the highest resolution screen they’ve ever shipped, 160ppi, 2 megapixel camera, and it only has one button, the Home button.
We’ve been pushing the state of the art in every facet of this design. We’ve got the multi-touch screen, miniaturization, OS X in a mobile device, precision enclosures, three advanced sensors, desktop class applications, and the widescreen video iPod. We filed for over 200 patents for all the inventions in iPhone and we intend to protect them.”
“When’s it going to be available? We’re shipping them in June — we’re announcing it today because we have to go get FCC approval… we thought it’d be better to introduce this today rather than let the FCC introduce this.
Europe in the 4th quarter of this year, Asia in 2008. “We’ve chosen Cingular.” Source: Engadget
It looks really cool, visual voicemail, that looks like email, you only have to listen to the ones you want, contacts, you scroll through the music with your finger, but it is $599. I will have to see one and hold one first I think, it sounds like it could be worth it, as you are actually combining your iPod and smart phone, but if you already have one or both, sigh. I’ll probably end up with one anyway.
Oh, and they dropped the Computer from their name, so now they are Apple Inc.
More pics after the break.
Engadget installed a Zune on their Window Media Center XP 2005 PC, one they used as their media server and occasional testbed. They had quite a few program crashes and problems, and I’ll agree, some of the screenshots just make you want to gag, “find your inner dj”? Like something an adult would write trying to be cool.
When it comes to the hardware, we’re pretty much set; we all now know the Zune inside and out. But how it interacts with the software, the marketplace, etc. — that’s where the magic happens. Or doesn’t. We really wanted to give the Zune the benefit of the doubt. We hoped installing the Zune software and getting our player running would be as seamless and painless as getting iTunes and an iPod running on your machine, since that is, after all, what it’s up against. (Granted, not even iTunes is bereft of major problems on major releases.) Unfortunately, the reality of our experience with the first version of the Zune software this afternoon is much like that of many version 1 software experiences. It sucks. Read on to see what happened. Engadget
They did say another install on a second pc only took 20 minutes and had no problems, one they said they will be using in the future.
US magazine Newsweek reports that Google is talking to Apple about supplying video clips for the player.
The iTV device lets users watch video content stored on their desktop PC on their home TVs.
Google’s consumer product chief, Marissa Mayer, told Newsweek that the two companies are “engaged in talks”.
And with Google’s Eric Schmidt on Apple’s board of directors, this is probably already a done deal, but we won’t hear anything else until it comes out. Not that there is anything on Google video that I would like to see on my TV, it does open up some possibilities for some of these video creators. Their biggest competitor will be Microsoft, whose Xbox 360 in conjunction with a PC running Windows Media Center Edition or Vista with a TV tuner card will be able to stream live TV and vice versa.
Here is the info from their press release,
Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd., the world leader in advanced semiconductor technology solutions, announced that it has completed the first working prototype of what is expected to be the main memory device to replace high density NOR flash within the next decade ? a Phase-change Random Access Memory (PRAM). The company unveiled the 512M-Megabit (Mb) device at its sixth annual press conference in Seoul today.
More scalable than any other memory architecture being researched, PRAM features the fast processing speed of RAM for its operating functions combined with the non-volatile features of flash memory for storage, giving it the nickname: perfect RAM.
A key advantage in PRAM is its extremely fast performance. Because PRAM can rewrite data without having to first erase data previously accumulated, it is effectively 30-times faster than conventional flash memory. Incredibly durable, PRAM is also expected to have at least 10-times the life span of flash memory.
Supposedly the tech should be cheaper and smaller than NAND in the long-run — which is considerable given the fact that Samsung also introduced a 32GB NAND chip today made with a 40nm process.
Crank it up, always for faster ram.