My Zune 80 hasn't left my side since December of 2007, after it successfully lured me from my trusty fifth-generation iPod. I invested in the Zune because I wanted to know how the other half lived (or more accurately, the other 4 percent), but the Zune's larger screen, bold user interface, podcast integration, and Zune Pass subscription service didn't hurt, either.
A few weeks passed and I was hooked on the Zune and the all-you-can-eat Zune Pass music subscription. I bought a 4GB Zune for my wife, invested in a Zune Home A/V dock to connect to my home stereo system, and even set up my PC to sync with my Zune wirelessly. Like any new romance, there were some initial hiccups--in this case, buggy software; mismatched album art; music that wouldn't delete; and broken subscription tracks. Eventually, though, I worked out the kinks, and the latest software and firmware upgrades have made life with the Zune experience much better.
There's just one thing: I'm lonely. Hundreds of iPod owners join me on the subway every day--even a few folks playing music on their Blackberries--but I seldom see a Zune. It's my job to help people decide what kind of MP3 player they should buy, but I still wonder if I made the wrong decision buying a Zune. Why can't this MP3 player get any traction?
There's no magic bullet that will make the Zune an instant success. I think Microsoft has the right idea by courting young, dedicated music fans and slowly building cult status. I just don't think they're moving fast enough to keep up with this audience or keep ahead of Apple.
Out of pure self-interest as a Zune user, I present four ideas that I think would make the Zune a better product. Feel free to add your own at the end.… Read more