Zune HD 4.5 Firmware Released Adds Smart DJ And More

Last week, we had told you about the impending Zune HD 4.5 firmware update and the wait was definitely not that long as Microsoft has released the Zune HD 4.5 Firmware to users.

Firmware 4.5 for Zune HD adds a new application called Smart DJ, which is somewhat similar to the iPod Genius feature. he update will provide expanded MPEG-4 Part 2 Advanced Simple Profile support which includes Xvid and AVI codec support as well.

Zune HD

To update to Zune HD 4.5 Firmware, connect your Zune device to the Zune software and go to Settings -> Device -> Player Update. If your device is connected you can check for software updates and upgrade to the latest firmware.

Watch a video of the new features which are available in Microsoft Zune HD Firmware 4.5.

Microsoft Live Press Conference at MWC, Barcelona

Window Phone 7

Today, Microsoft at their press conference at Barcelona, unveiled the Windows Phone 7 series OS. The new Windows Phone 7 OS, is very different from what we have seen from Microsoft all these years. The UI has nice animations and the transitions in the UI is also very smooth.

Along with the change in OS, Microsoft also made changes on the buttons of the phone. From now Windows Phone will have three buttons on the front- start, search and back. The start screen of the new Windows Phone 7 will have tiles.

Window Phone 7 tiles

In these tiles, we can add applications, playlist etc. These tiles will be like an online widget, taking an example of facebook, if your friend updates its status it will be reflected on the tiles. The first thing that Microsoft showed was the calendar. The calendar was very refreshing with views like days, agenda. The calendar detects the phone numbers and address in the browser, in email and messages, so we don’t have to copy paste them.

Window Phone 7 calendar

The next thing was the maps. Zooming is done by pinch and transition is smooth. Windows Phone 7 supports multi touch gestures. The local search engine will be Bing.

Window Phone 7 maps

Microsoft called the Integrated services of the Windows Phone 7 series as Hubs. There are five Hubs altogether. The first is People, which means contacts. Microsoft tried to bring all the info and updates of a particular contact at one place, like info in one pane, latest update on social networking site on the next pane.

Window Phone 7 people

The second Hub is Pictures. The layout is simple with options like albums, all, favorites. Some new panel will be there like recently synced items, which contains the update of the social networking sites and friends. Pictures on the phone can be directly uploaded to facebook, thanks to the integrated application.

Window Phone 7 pictures

The third Hub is the Office. Office opens with options for new pages and recently created items. The middle panel shows the created documents. The right panel is the SharePoint panel. There were no pictures or video shown of the UI. It will roll out soon.

Window Phone 7 office

The fourth Hub is the music and video. Microsoft said that the Windows Phone 7 will be a Zune. Those who are familiar with Zune will find no problem to recognize this. The options under Zune where music, video, podcast, radio and market.

Window Phone 7 music and video

The fifth and final Hub is for games. the game Hub will feature Xbox LIVE as an inbuilt part of Windows Phone 7. There were no demos shown of a game.

Window Phone 7 games overview

Window Phone 7 games

The new OS by Microsoft looks very promising. We will soon update about the first handset to have a Windows Phone 7 and its release date. Stay tuned.

(Source)

Windows Mobile Phone 7 Series Demo

windows-phone7-series

Now that I have come down to soberness after Steve Ballmer announced the Windows Phone 7 Series at the Mobile World Congress 2010, Check out this video to get a first-hand look of the latest Windows Phone that brings   people, photos, music, and video into an unrivaled mobile experience.

Windows Phone 7 Series devices will be touch screen and are integrated with Xbox live, Zune music and video  and more. In detail post to follow.

XviD, Smart DJ Coming To Zune HD

Looks like Microsoft hasn’t given up on Zune HD just yet. CNET is reporting that the next firmware update to Microsoft’s iPod challenger will bring XviD codec support to the media player.   According to the article, DivX support might not be coming.

The Zune HD is definitely one of the better alternatives to the iPod and if it weren’t for Microsoft’s decision to sell it in the US only, chances are, it might give the iPod some competition. The firmware is also set to bring Smart DJ to the media player. Smart DJ is a Zune 4.0 PC software feature that automatically plays songs similar to the one you choose. The feature on Zune HD would mean that one can stream Zune Pass content and media between devices on the same network.

The firmware update is expected around May. iPod’s lack of format support has always been a bone of contention, since XviD is a widely used format for videos, Microsoft’s decision will be welcomed by enthusiasts as it makes it easier to enjoy videos on the Zune HD’s 3.3″ OLED screen.

Buy 8 GB Blue Zune MP3 Player With Zune Car Pack and Leather Case for $79 [Gadget Deals]

Attention Zune lovers, here is a great deal to start off your Monday. You can buy a 8GB Blue Zune MP3 Player with Zune car pack, which includes a FM transmitter, magnetic storage clip, dashboard grip pad and a leather case for only $79.

zune_8gb_mp3_player

The 8GB Zune MP3 Player can hold up-to 2000 songs, 25,000 pictures or 25 hours of video. The product will ship for free, however the deal is a daily deal, so don’t expect it to last till tomorrow.

Have fun listening to music on your new Zune player :-).

Buy Zune 8GB MP3 Player [via]

Microsoft Releases Zune HD & Zune 4.0

Microsoft has released the much awaited 16GB and 32GB Zune HD which features a 3.3 inch touchscreen, HD Radio, HD video out and Wi-fi support.

zunehd_screenshot

Zune HD will allow users to store and play back 720p HD videos files and also stream them to a HDTV using the Zune HD AV dock.

Zune HD will be available in black, red, green and blue colors with the 16GB version costing $219.99 and the 32GB version selling for $289.99.

In addition to that Microsoft has also released Zune 4.0 a PC suite for managing Zune devices. The new software contains features such as recommendation features among other things. The software is free to download for PCs.

We will put up more information about the device and specifications on our gadgets blog.

Microsoft To Launch Zune HD Today

Microsoft today will release the new Zune HD in response to the new Apple iPod Nano and iPod Touch launched by Apple on September 9th during their Rock and Roll event. Along with the new Zune HD, Microsoft is also launching the Zune 4.0 software which brings many new features like Aero Snap, Jump Lists, etcetera and of course the software is fully compatible with soon to be released Windows 7.  zune_hd_engadget The most interesting thing to be noted here is that Microsoft has decided to market Zune HD as a gaming device now and not only as a Personal Media Player. This move from Microsoft is clearly influenced by Apple’s strategy of marketing iPod Touch as a gaming device. Coming to the Zune 4.0 software, it features a Smart DJ application which is somewhat similar to Apple iTunes Genius feature. Basically all it does is create a mix of music from the same genre of your music collection. Microsoft also released a v3.2 software update for the older Zune’s, but even then the launch of Zune HD effectively marks the end of life of all other Zune devices currently in the market.

Even though Microsoft has targeted Zune as a gaming device, as of now there are no games available for it. Microsoft said that they will release few 3D games for free for the Zune HD in the coming months, which Microsoft has created with close collaboration with third parties. They also said that in future users will be able to buy games for Zune HD via the Marketplace.