A tech-head’s wishlist
Well, I’ll be.
Microsoft, the master of masters, the oracle of oracles, has blessed us once again with another striking rendition of its iconic “Zune.” No release date has yet been set, but there are rumors of three new models. Fabulous. I think it’s time I got in line (that’s sarcasm).
Now don’t get me wrong. When the Zune first launched on Nov. 14, 2006, it cut right to the core of the MP3 player market. It shattered records and … well, it did become the number two MP3 player on the market, second only to the infamous iPod. That’s good right? People might think to themselves, “Hey, the Zune is now the number two seller, they should be really popular, right?”
Wrong. It’s a long number two. About 90 percent long. Too bad, Mr. Gates. You had me going for a second.
Now, 10 percent market share isn’t bad, especially considering that means around 1.2 million units have been sold (according to TheStreet.com’s Ivy Lessner, Apple sold just under 10 million in the most recent quarter of 2007). But the Zune was a joke in the tech world, in the music world and at my mother’s luncheon. If one bought a Zune, he was to be ridiculed indefinitely. In collaboration with my coworkers, I even named a new coworker Zune after his parents had given him one for Christmas. But I digress.
The new Zune, I assume, will be shinier, better, more idiot-proof (this particular item is unqualified considering Microsoft’s track record) and more fun than the last one. But is that enough?
Hey Microsoft, we know you want to create an ultra-mobile listening platform with Wi-Fi capability, portability and rather funky styling, but, and I don’t mean to be rude, Apple has got you beat 100 times over already. Say hello to the iPhone (because you can. It’s a phone. Get on the ball Microsoft).
Then again, do I really want Billy Gates and his posse screening my calls for DRM violations and movies I may or may not have downloaded? Probably not, but I do know that If I had a choice between a $400 iPhone and a less-than-$400 Microsoft ZunoPhone with around the same amount of features (and possibly something that works with Verizon), I’m going to take the ZunoPhone every time.
The Zune, although a well-selling MP3 player, just doesn’t have the chutzpah to see it through to another generation.
Now don’t get me wrong. This Apple dynasty needs to be challenged, if not defeated. But by Microsoft? It seems like we are trying to replace one demon with another, bigger, uglier, even nerdier-looking demon, and one with boatloads more spending money. I’d rather not.
What I want
The problem, not just with the Zune, but all technology that rides through the gates of the entertainment and gadgetry market, is a sheer lack of focus. Why don’t these gadget masters quit messing around and produce a product with real staying power?
The iPhone was a start. But with a massive release price tag (the recent price drop has made it a bit more bearable), a very proprietary software and an expensive cell phone bill, it just doesn’t cut it.
So, let me cut to the chase. What I want is an MP3 player-phone with 15 gigabytes of memory. A (working, no thank you, Apple Touch) calendar, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, a Web browser, touch screen (or stylus, I’m not really very particular) and the potential (with the obvious extra cost) for e-mail and Web browsing while not near Wi-Fi. Oh, and of course a reasonable price tag.
That’s it. I don’t need all the games, all the corporate crap, all of the “extras” that come with technology like this. Something simple, effective and apparently damn near impossible.
Attention Microsoft, Apple, Rio, Samsung and whoever else designs this stuff: I don’t need the B.S. Just do it and call me when it’s done. Thanks.
Multimedia Editor Jason Bartz is constantly on the hunt for large tech company stupidity and devices to rant about and potentially libel. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org