Zune was developed by Microsoft MP3 player, which is sold exclusively in the USA and Canada.

  • 3.1 Device variants and display
  • 3.2 Operation

Launch and models

On 14 November 2006 the first-generation Zune was presented with a 30 GB hard drive. The sale price was initially at 250 U.S. dollars, then depending on the color between 200 and 250 The device was built by Toshiba and distributed by Microsoft.

On 13 November 2007, the second generation followed. The retail prices ( MSRP ) for the Zune variants with hard drive amounted to 249.99 U.S. dollars ( 120 GB) and 229.99 U.S. dollars ( 80 GB). The devices with flash memory cost 179.99 dollars (16 GB ) U.S. $ 139.99 ( 8GB) and 99.99 U.S. dollars ( 4 GB). This generation was Microsoft finished at Flextronics, where the Xbox 360 is produced.

Rumors of a launch in Europe in 2007 proved unfounded. In the U.S., the third generation was released in the fall of 2008 and Zune HD autumn 2009.

In early October, 2011, Microsoft announced not to develop any further Zune player. As a software service however, was initially continued. On 26 October 2012, this was replaced with the introduction of Windows 8 by Xbox Music on Xbox 360, Windows Phone and Windows 8.


Radio and Wi-Fi

The second generation of Zune was with an FM receiver ( frequency range from 76.0 to 108.0 MHz ) and a 80 - or 120 - equipped GB hard drive respectively 4GB, 8GB, or 16GB flash memory. Per -Fi (802.11b / g) could be passed on music and photos to other Zune players in the vicinity (10 m ~ ). Transferred songs, however, were provided with a DRM protection and were limited playable ( 3 times, see review ). No longer playable music pieces could be marked only for purchase on the Zune site.

Playback formats

Zune supported the playback of audio, images, videos, and podcasts. The synchronization can be achieved via wireless LAN.

  • Were supported audio formats MP3, AAC and WMA (including the variant wma lossless). The free Ogg Vorbis format was not supported; Audio books in the Audible format only with the Zune 3.0 update.
  • For images, the JPEG format was provided.
  • Videos could be played in the format H.264, WMV or MPEG-4, they had this be adapted to the resolution of the device, making management software takes over. Microsoft's own PlaysForSure standard was not supported by Zune.
  • Audio and video podcasts were last supported both by the software as well as the player.

On September 8 2008, Microsoft announced the Zune 3.0 update for September 16, 2008, which was on the radio songs for later purchase online via the Zune Marketplace tagging allowed. Rounding out the announced functions: "Music Channels" with the owners of preferred music (see Last.fm ), the purchase of songs directly from the device at the " Zune Marketplace " and two games, Hexic and Texas Hold'em. The Update supports audio books from Audible and that of ( U.S. ) public libraries used media format overdrive.


Device variants and display

The units of the second generation with 80 GB (Hard Drive) were sold in red and black, the 120 GB version only in black. They had a 3.2 -inch QVGA display, which is located on edge. The iPod Classic, however, had a 2.5 -inch display, which was arranged transversely. The 4:3 resolution ratio of the two displays was the same (320 to 240 pixels). Nearly three-quarters of the front of the Zune was taken from the screen.

The second generation of Zune with flash memory was available in the colors Black, Red, Pink and Green ( 4 GB) available, the 8 GB in addition to blue, and the new 16 GB version in black. The QVGA resolution display also measured 1.8 inches and took a little more than half of the front of a Zune.

The third generation of the Zune called Zune HD, had 16, 32 or 64 gigabytes of flash memory. The 16GB variant was sold in black, the 32GB variant in silver. They had a 3.3 -inch capacitive touch screen, which was positioned multi -touch capable and upright. However, an acceleration sensor also allowed for the use in landscape mode. The resolution in 16:9 format of the screen was 480x272 pixels; Moreover, the Zune HD was able to play 720p videos (up to 30 fps). Since such small displays, however, are not able to play high-definition video, an HDMI cable is not supplied for the TV.


The first generation of the Zune had a directional pad, which was optically modeled closely on the " Click Wheel " of the iPod. However, in contrast to the " click wheel " the D-pad had no touch-sensitive properties. The control pad allowing the user via the " top" and " bottom", " left" and "right" as well as central to the "Confirm" menu entries to use the interface. Moreover, the Zune still had a "back" - and "Play / Pause" button.

In the second generation Microsoft replaced the original directional pad through a specially designed Touchpad ( " Zune Pad " ) with 24 mm diameter. The touchpad allow the user now both horizontally and vertically to scroll through the interface. Below the touch pad but there was still a further control pad, so that the user was not necessarily dependent on the operation of the touch pad. In this way you dealt some disadvantages of a touchpad. Thus, the Zune was then, for example, even with gloves or wet fingers operate.

For music playback, the Zune was held upright while he was shot in the reproduction of images and videos by 90 ° to the left. Games pretending the "correct" attitude itself. So you kept the Zune upright while playing " Hexic " while he was being held across at " Texas Hold'em ".


Zune Marketplace

Parallel to the player Microsoft had launched its own music - download store in the U.S., could be purchased and downloaded on the title for the Zune. So Microsoft wanted to attack the leadership of Apple's iTunes Store. According to press reports, a large market share should be achieved with an advertising budget of 500 million U.S. dollars.

The download per song cost 79 Microsoft Points, the equivalent of 0.99 U.S. dollars - this accounting unit was also used in Xbox Live. These points could be bought for five dollars in blocks of 400. There was also the " Zune Marketplace " a flat rate ( " Zune Pass " ) for U.S. $ 15 a month, with unlimited downloaded many songs from the repertoire, but could be heard because of the Digital Rights Management only for the duration of the subscription. Since 19 November 2008, it was used by " Zune Pass " now allowed to keep any ten songs from the Marketplace per month. The Zune Marketplace held in the meantime some three million titles before, iTunes competitor over ten million.

Other services at the Zune Marketplace included videos of television productions as Heroes, South Park, House MD and EUReKA and podcasts.

For autumn 2010, Microsoft was planning to launch its music portal in Germany and other European markets such as Britain, France, Italy and Spain. Furthermore, was the launch of Zune for Australia and New Zealand in planning.


Included with the Zune variants were comparable to most providers of players, each of the earphones and a USB 2.0 cable to sync with the PC ( Windows XP and Vista) and charging the built-in battery.

The manufacturer's accessories offering was for the end of 2008:

  • Home A / V Pack: docking station, charger, cables for connecting to a TV remote control
  • Car Pack: FM transmitter, charger cable for cigarette lighter cable remote control
  • Premium Headphones: In-Ear Headphones with three adapters to adapt to the ear size and a protective container
  • AC Adapter: AC charger
  • Leather Case for Flash Player with 4/8/16 GB

Games Development for Zune

With the XNA Framework, a request by Microsoft to collection of programming interfaces, it became enables anyone to develop games for the Zune. However, the absence of corresponding areas in the Zune Marketplace was the distribution of the resulting matches are not possible.


DRM-protected recordings of the Zune could only play if they were from Microsoft's " Zune Marketplace ". Songs from other, actually cooperating with Microsoft online music services ( by using the WMA format and the DRM protection ) were not compatible with the Zune. The project initiated by Microsoft PlaysForSure was also not supported.

The DRM protection first generation provided that the Zune to be transmitted from the Zune music could be played only three times, and within three days. With the introduction of the second generation, however, Microsoft had the DRM protection loosened a little and the limitation of three days completely abolished. Thus remained the limitation of being able to play a song only three times.

This restriction also applied to original compositions and pieces that were actually royalty-free. This strange at first sight restriction met with many customers with incomprehension. A song counted after the first minute playing time as playing. Pieces under two minutes in length were considered play as soon as half of the song was played. No longer playable music pieces could be marked only for purchase on the Zune site. Furthermore, could not be transferred from another Zune received pieces of music. Also, it was conceded to the music labels, to prohibit the transfer of pieces of many artists throughout.

The wireless functionality was limited in the first generation on the ability to transfer tracks from Zune to Zune. With the introduction of the second generation, it was possible to synchronize its Zune with your PC via WiFi. The old generation had this capability via a firmware update later date.

The first generation models with 30 GB hard drive crashed on 31 December 2008 from all and could not be restarted. The manufacturer was a problem with the leap year 2008 as the reason for the malfunction. This error attracted worldwide media attention.


The Austrian national daily newspaper Der Standard reported that it was possible despite efforts by Microsoft to bypass the DRM of the device. As the online portal AnandTech reported, rights management is implemented incorrectly and is relatively easy to get around in different ways. Also use as a disk was possible.