Is The Zune’s WiFi Useless?

Oct 2nd, 2006 | By | Category: Commentary, iPods & Portable Media Players, Mobile Podcasting

Several weeks ago, we noted that Microsoft’s Zune announcement was disappointing, in large part because its wireless capabilites missed the mark, being tailored more towards selling music rather than the interests of users.

Now, Zunester David Caulton has posted an explanation of the portable music player’s wireless capabilities, noting that peoples’ comments indicate that “the details of Zune sharing aren’t completely clear.”

“The wireless happens to be wifi (802.11 b/g),” notes Caulton, “but Zunes will not (at launch) connect to the internet via your home base station network. Zunes can not download songs over the air from the internet service.”

What they do have is the ability to set up ad-hoc Zune to Zune connections and exchange files, sort of the Nintendo DS Animal Crossing version of wireless support.

According to Caulton, this enables the following scenarios:

  • You can search for nearby Zune owners to interact with.
  • You can send them a song, album, etc… for a 3-day/3-play trial listen. Songs come over with metadata and album art (neat). After the 3 days or 3 plays are up, the song gets deleted from the Zune on the next sync, but the info on the song stays in a “journal” on your PC for later purchase or acquisition.
  • You can send them photos for unlimited viewing (and these can sync back onto the recipient’s PC).

Microsoft may face a challenge marketing this, because many portable media player users are interested in the idea of a player that can connect to WiFi hotspots and be used to purchase music directly via the Internet, wirelessly sync to home computers and update podcasts without needing to connect to your computer. For these buyers, WiFi that can only be used to connect to other Zunes may be more of an aggravation than a feature.
via Zunester

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