Tuesday, May 13th, 2008



Friday night… an edgy East Vancouver club/gallery/skatepark… after the DJ finishes a two-hour set, the crowd of hipsters eagerly awaits Vancouver’s own faux-Brit powerpop punk bad The Tranzmitors’ live show… and pockets of Internet geeks nervously eye the crowd while checking out… the Microsoft Zune?

If it sounds like a strange scene for a Microsoft product launch, it was indeed, but then, the Zune is an odd product, a hardware device from a (mainly) software company, with hobbled wifi (for limited file sharing only!) and DRM incompatibility with Microsoft’s own PlaysForSure standard for music players.

The party, at Vancouver’s Sweatshop (there’s a “made in China” joke in there somewhere) marked the first stop in a cross-country party tour marking the Canadian debut of the Zune, more than a full year since its release in the US market. As such, the devices on display were Microsoft’s latest generation, and when compared with the 800-pound gorilla in the room, the Apple iPod, they don’t fare too badly, but sadly to make any kind of inroads against Apple’s market share, “not bad” may not be enough to turn heads. (If anything they seem to be stealing market share from Creative.)

These models have been out in the US and reviewed to death, so we’ll spare the product reviews but suffice it to say the form factor and interface setup seems well thought-out and attractive on first touch. (If a one-sentence review of the Zune in a blog posting about its debut seems short, that’s still about 9/10s of a sentence more than it got from the band, but in all fairness they were too busy rocking down the house…)

Local Zune blog (who knew?) Zunerama has some more pics of the event if you just can’t get enough Zune-in-Canada news…

3 Responses to “ Zuh…une? ”

Cam says:

As the (largely unsung) web admin of Freyburg.com, I’m always glad to take a bullet for Freyburg when he’s out of town… next time you go to the island, feel free to hook me up with another party with a live band and free beer, Warren, even if it’s a weird product launch!

John Biehler says:

I thought you’d at least get a free one for going to the party…then at least someone in Canada would have one 😉

Saw you in John Chow’s launch/dinner video too.

Warren says:

I got to play with a few of the Zunes for review on the Lab, and I have to say that if it weren’t for the existence of the iPod, they’d be a decent little unit. The interface is well thought out, and they aren’t bad looking little devices. The online store and the “social” stuff need a little work, but it isn’t as bad as some MS-haters would make it out to be. Having said that, when I whipped out my iPhone at the demo, the MS guys were all “OMG iPhone!” 🙂

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