After only two years, Microsoft announced the closing of MSN Music in immediately before announcing the Zune service. In , Microsoft shut down the MSN Music licensing servers only two years after promising users the servers would be available for five years. While some features were praised, the initial Zune has been regarded with derision and jokes for its bulky size and brown color, with CNET regarding it at best as a "high-profile underdog alternative to Apple's iPod " where other Windows Media MP3 players from Creative, iRiver, and Samsung had not succeeded.
It automatically fixed itself 24 hours later, but an intermediate "fix", for those who did not wish to wait, was to drain the device's battery and then recharge after 12 noon GMT on January 1, Songs that had been transferred over wi-fi could then be played three times over three days.
At the same time, the Zune 2. This version of the software was completely re-written and featured a new user interface. The third-generation Zune 16 and devices were released in September , coinciding with the release of the Zune Software 3. The only changes to this generation of devices were to the firmware, which was made available for all previous models, and the storage capacity.
Included in this firmware update was the ability to tag and later purchase songs heard on FM radio, channels which can be customized to deliver suggested songs for the user, the games Hexic and Texas Hold' em , support for audiobooks from online stores such as Audible. The ability to purchase songs from Zune Marketplace on the device while connected to the Internet via Wi-Fi was also introduced. To help push this feature, Microsoft partnered with Wayport to allow Zune devices to access its network of over 10, wireless hotspots, including those at McDonald's restaurants.
Fourth generation[ edit ] On the same day, the Zune 4. These models were given a firmware update with version 3. Microsoft released Zune 4. This update introduced SmartDJ and codec features. The Zune had failed to capture significant market share after five years against the Apple iPod, and a recent study by NPD Group indicated that the Zune did not make the list of the five best-selling portable music players in the U.
The iPod has been more successful because of simplicity and had better ratings. It has also been suggested that there is a much larger trend that standalone music players were giving way to smartphones with personalized, app-driven music.
Later, the announcement was removed and a Zune Support Team member tweeted that the page was added to the website in error. This coincided with the launch of the Kinect and Kinect owners can navigate the application menus using hand gestures, without a controller.
Users must have a Zune Pass subscription to play music in the application, and only Zune Pass content is available. Locally saved music must still be played through the Xbox's native media library. Windows Phone[ edit ] Microsoft announced new versions of Zune once in a year prior to In March , Bloomberg. The article has been excessively quoted over the internet and by news agencies. However, a Microsoft representative for Zune business development denied this rumor saying that the Windows Phone platform introduction should be considered to be the annual Zune update for These phones sync with the Zune software and are compatible with Zune Pass.
The user interface of the Zune devices, particularly the Zune HD, served as the inspiration for the user interface of Windows Phone. Microsoft refers to the design language of this user interface as Metro. On October 11, , Microsoft released Zune software v4.
The Zune 30 was initially available in black, brown or white. The Zune 80 was announced on October 2, ,  along with the smaller Zune 4 and Zune 8 to compete with Apple's iPod nano line.
These were to be known as the second generation of Zune devices. The Zune 80 featured a 3. Both come with a new touchpad-style input device "squircle" and new software. Additional file support for H. The ability to sync wirelessly automatically if connected to a power supply , podcast support, and an upgraded song-sharing licensing became available on all models.
The new software also allowed a Zune device to communicate with other Zune devices to share pictures and songs. A free firmware update added the new software features to the original Zune 30, and was released on November 13, The Zune 4 and 8 come with a USB connection cord and basic headphones. The second generation of Zune devices includes the Zune 4, 8, 80 and All second generation Zunes have a Zune Pad instead of the original directional pad that was included on the Zune The screen is multi-touch enabled and uses gestures such as swiping and pinching throughout the player.
The screen is OLED , 3. Also included are WiFi, a custom Internet Explorer browser, and an accelerometer. Special edition Zune devices featured their own unique set of content.