Ever since I started using the 30G first generation Zune (yes that brown one) I’ve become quite fond of both the device and the software. And now you’ll probably say ‘sure, you work for Microsoft so that explains…’ etc. but I actually bought an iPod first (yes I already worked here). I’ve never been much of a fan of the navigation on the device, let alone of iTunes. Huge catalogue and all but I just don’t like it.
Yesterday the Zune team released the 3rd generation of the Zune and I updated both my 1ste generation 30G Zune as well as the 2nd edition 8G Zune, which is the one I use most. And I got to say, seriously. I think the Zune software is worth installing even if you don’t have a Zune. The visualization is very nice, and especially (which is new in this release) how you can go into the MixView which shows similar artists (similar music or influenced by, …) and other Zune users that listened to this music. A nice mixture between recommendations from the music engine underneath as well as the social… hence the ‘Welcome to the social’ slogan for the Zune. Here’s what Wired had to say about MixView’s recommendation engine:
“Microsoft showed us a sneak preview of the Zune 3.0 software it plans to release on Sept. 16 with the latest generation of Zune devices, and what we saw made iTunes’ simple Genius feature look like a blast from digital music’s past. While iTunes serves up a text list of recommended songs within your library and from the iTunes store, adding to the more basic recommendations its MiniStore feature used to make, Zune reinvented the recommendation concept by collapsing artists, albums and fans into the same recommendation engine, more accurately mirroring the way people think about music.”
There’s just one thing missing though and that is access to the Zune Marketplace. Since I live in Europe the only way for me to benefit from the all-you-can-eat monthly charge of $14.99 is to get a US credit card unfortunately. The new MixView makes me want that even more, since you obviously want to buy the music you’re discovering right away. So bring the Zune to Europe guys!