Early on Monday, some users noticed that all references to the Zune HD were scrubbed from Microsoft’s website. It seemed an inevitable decision considering Microsoft’s new focus on smartphones, but the Zune isn’t quite dead yet. Noting the error, Redmond restored the ill-fated PMP to its obscure position.
Most things become so unremarkable through frequent use that we begin to take them for granted. Take for instance media synchronization, a trivial task that most of you probably perform across your panoply of devices several times a day with your eyes shut. But I am sure most of you don't even know something as rudimentary as the name of the company that owns the patent for the intricate technology behind it. Any guesses? In any case, the correct answer is media server maker ReQuest. The New York-based firm is running a campaign to educate media companies about one of its most precious intellectual properties: couple of patents (No. 7,577,757 and 7,136,934) that broadly cover all that there is to multimedia synchronization.
Hit the jump to win a once-in-a-day opportunity of venting your frustration on what appears to be yet another patent troll.
Up to now, almost every Android device, and certainly every major one in the US, has had 3G connectivity for data and voice calls. Samsung produced the Galaxy Player, or Galaxy S WiFi for sale overseas. But now the Wi-Fi only media player device is expected to reach American shores with its new iteration.
According to Bloomberg, Microsoft had finally made the call analysts had been expecting. The Zune player is dead. Instead of making Zune hardware for direct sale to consumers, Redmond will focus their efforts on the Zune software experience in Windows Phone 7. The company believes they have a stronger position in digital entertainment on the phone side, but they face stiff competition.
Samsung has made the Galaxy Player official, and you can expect to see it at CES. This device bears a striking resemblance to the international Galaxy S Android phone. The similarities are, in fact, not just skin deep. This device will sport a 1GHz Hummingbird CPU, Bluetooth 3.0, Wi-Fi, a 3.2 MP rear-facing camera, a 4-inch Super Clear LCD screen at 800x480, front-facing VGA camera, and a GPS chip. All this will be packed in a 9.9mm thick body.
The Galaxy Player is running Android 2.2 with Samsung's own TouchWiz user interface on top. Hopefully Samsung will be able to update this device faster seeing as it does not need to deal with carriers to get it done. Without the cellular radio, we expect the battery life on this deice to be very good. And yes, this device will have the Android Market.
This is going to be the Android answer to the iPod Touch. Pricing and release date have not been announced yet, but there will be 8, 16, and 32GB versions. Would you consider buying the Galaxy Player? What's a fair price?
When the Zune HD launched everyone was bothered by the lack of apps. It seemed like the perfect platform for it. Microsoft did eventually grace us with a few games and miscellaneous goodies. But as we all know, you can’t have an application platform without at least one Twitter client. Well, today the Zune HD got just that, a Twitter app.
The app can be found on the Marketplace right this second. It is first and foremost, a very attractive Twitter client. As it turns out, it’s also inexplicably laggy. The Zune HD packs the impressive Nvidia Tegra chip, but this app somehow obfuscates the power of the hardware. Just scrolling through and refreshing tweets seems to cause random crashes. Many are finding that touches aren’t being correctly interpreted either.
The truly confusing thing here is that the app actually censors tweets. As one astute reader tipped Engadget, any profanity is automatically replaced with asterisks. This is a move right out of Apple's App Store playbook, but worse because it is doing live censoring of content. Yes, the app is free, but keep in mind this device has a web browser capable of displaying all manner of online obscenity. Hopefully a software update will fix these problems. Hit the comments with any thoughts you have on this.
Without any fanfare, Korean company Lisse has updated is MyRacer line of portable media players (PMPs) with a more conventional looking unit, the MyRacer H10.
The latest model comes equipped with a 1280 x 720 LCD display, giving users the same 720p playback as some 13-inch notebooks provide. It also features an HDMI-out port, FM radio, voice recording capabilities, and speakers.
As for compatibility, the MyRacer H10 comes capable of playing back a wide variety of file formats, including RM, RMVB, AVI (Xvid, DivX), WMV, ASF, DAT, MPG, MP4, VOP, SMI, MP3, WMA, AAC, WAV, OGG, FLAC, and APE. It also supports JPEG, BMP, GIF, and TXT file formats.
Zune zealots, skeptics, and all the people that lie in between and outside the two groups can get up close and personal with the Zune HD at select Best Buys over the weekend. The preview has been organized by Nvidia and Best Buy. The GPU maker’s ebullience for the Zune HD stems from the fact that it has lent its Tegra chip to the PMP. The portable media player is scheduled for release on September 15. Nvidia has released a PDF document that lists all the Best Buys where the Zune HD will be available for preview.
The end may be nigh for the Zune. Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer came up with a measured reply – equal parts of realism and escapism – when queried about the Zune’s future by BusinessWeek editor Stephen Adler at the McGraw-Hill media conference in New York. Though Ballmer reiterated Microsoft’s commitment to the platform, he admitted that the company will not be pouring a lot of money into it.
He said that Zune is both a device and a service. “And the future may be the software/ecosystem on other devices,” Ballmer went on to add. This is being read as a veiled hint at Zune’s impending demise as a hardware platform; Zune may be reduced to an iTunes-like service for other hardware platforms.