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Details, screenshots of Zune software 3.0

8 September, 2008 (14:17) | Uncategorized | By: admin

Lots of updates to Zune software are coming your way, with version 3.0 coming on September 16 (my birthday, by the way).

This release is mostly about music discovery - and the Zune team has brought some enticing new features to help users find new content.

With the firmware update, you’ll see a new “channels” top-level option in Zune software. (Channels will also be a top-level menu option on the player.)

Channels are essentially playlists that you can subscribe to, that will automatically keep updated on your PC and on your Zune. Some channels are general (e.g. most popular Marketplace downloads) while others are “Just For You”. This includes “new releases for me”, which pulls in new album/track releases from your favorite artists and, for example, Rock Picks For You. These are based on what you’ve been playing, and what others who have played those songs are also playing. Cool! You’ll see more on the 16th.

You can see those channels and view and/or buy the tracks from the channel. If you’re a Zune Pass subscriber, you can get all that music automatically. Cool!

Another feature is an option under Marketplace called Picks. This takes you to a page that shows track picks recommended for you, and a list of “listeners like you”. Hmmm, it’s going to get a lot easier to find new friends in the Zune Social.

Here’s another way to find new music based on music in your collection: “Mixview’. Select an artist in your collection, and Mixview brings up a cloud (shown the in the above photo) showing related artists, top listeners, friend listeners, and more. Click on any part of the cloud, and you can drill down and explore. It’s addicting - and looks like a really well-implemented feature.

The “Now Playing” feature - which was already cool in Software 2.5 - has now been enhanced. It now brings up dynamic, full-screen artist graphics, and floating text. Really well executed.

Other features: the search box from Zune software will not auto-fill with suggested search terms, based on the contents of your collection and the Zune content database. The Artist page now shows current tour information, with venues and dates. You now have the option of rating tracks separately for each Zune Social account using your PC. And lots of other updates.

Beyond the Zune software updates, there are new firmware updates coming, and new hardware. Details on those coming up in the next posts.

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