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Brier Dudley's blog

Brier Dudley offers a critical look at technology and business issues affecting the Northwest.

September 28, 2006 at 10:54 AM

The Zune: Good deal or bad?

At $249, the Zune seems like a better deal than the $249 30 gigabyte iPod, especially if the Zune’s W-iFi features work as promised.

But so far we haven’t been able to get independent analysis of its performance, and the Wi-Fi sharing demo apparently failed during the Microsoft employee meeting last week.

Even without the W-iFi, the 30 gigabtye Zune has more in the box than the 30 gig iPod — the Zune has a bigger screen (3” to the iPod’s 2.5”), an FM tuner that displays information about the songs that are playing and it comes with 25 songs and a mix of music videos.

The interfaces are pretty comparable, and both devices are pleasant to hold and fiddle with.

To get FM radio on the iPod you have to pay aound $50 more for an accessory.

But the iPod is more of a sure thing. It has more accessories available and, being in its sixth iteration, its kinks have been pretty much worked out.

Zune’s cost advantage may be lost on consumers if there’s a glitch in the Wi-Fi sharing feature, however. I’m sure it works — I was apparently able to share a song during the press demo a few weeks ago — but it involves a tricky mix of Wi-Fi and copy protection software that may be fickle in the real world.

Apple’s probably already revving up a marketing campaign to help sympathetic bloggers emphasize the ambiguity about the Zune’s performance, just in case Microsoft doesn’t clear things up before the Nov. 14 launch.

Comments | Topics: Apple, Digital media, Microsoft

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