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What's The Point Of Putting WiFi On A Device If You Can't Use It?

from the none-at-all dept

Microsoft's Zune device, the supposed iPod killer designed by committee, continues to show some of the less-than-inspired design choices that only a committee would love. There was already the lack of support for Microsoft's own ironically named "Plays for Sure" DRM, and now Engadget points out that the greatly hyped WiFi on the device is more or less limited to simply connecting to other Zune devices. You can't use it to connect to the internet. You can't use it to download content. Hell, you can't even use it to connect the Zune to your PC (apparently you have to break out a cable for that one...). It's hard to see the benefit of even using WiFi at all in this case, other than to get some marketing hype that will only lead to disappointed consumers when they realize the device doesn't even do some of the most basic things you'd expect it to do. Of course, it's likely that someone will quickly create a hack, though who knows how Microsoft will then react to it. Either way, it's yet another bizarre design choice, that takes away features, rather than focusing on how to make the device as useful as possible.

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  • identicon
    Sudeep, 2 Oct 2006 @ 6:48pm

    Ouch!! that is the saddest example of Product Design ...I Was impressed by Zune initially. I guess its back to Creative Zen Not even the 80Gig iPod is making me happy. Am Waiting for Bigger HDD Versions to hit so i have a good 2-3years ahead before i dump the device or a new one!>....Phew and i thought selecting a Multimedia player was easy!;)

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Tom, 2 Oct 2006 @ 9:10pm

    Which Is Exactly why....

    Which is exactly why it won't amount to much. Besides, most committees suck when it comes to developing something like this because they always go for the lowest common denominator and then pat each other on the back for their "phenomenal" product while the rest of the world just rolls its eyes. Looks like another fine product from Micro$oft that I won't be buying.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    blurby blurb blurb, 2 Oct 2006 @ 9:46pm

    but will it have the ominous blue screen of death? (oh god I hope so!)

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 3 Oct 2006 @ 2:06pm

      Re:

      i got the blue screen of death on the credic card pinpad at Bashas. As far as the article goes I am hoping that they will eventualy have an update avalable that would grant that kinde of acces or they would update it to kill all hacks or maby Microsoft is setting this up to be a device that people should hack. I might be 14 but I aint stupid.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    u no, 2 Oct 2006 @ 10:04pm

    Well crap

    When I first heard of the Zune I was super excited. My Ipod is not bad, but I really hoped the Zune would be able to top it. I guess I was wrong. Speaking of Microsoft, I am also dissapionted about the release of Vista. Will it ever come out ? I guess more apple products for me.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 2 Oct 2006 @ 10:39pm

      Re: Well crap

      Bleh.. why would you want Vista?

      Hackers already have stuff waiting to infect it and Microsoft is limiting antivirus software usage for it.

      Is anyone else not surprised? Microsoft is known to just mimic ideas, create a mediocre product, and profit. Its not a bad business plan, but never expect anything innovative, revolutionary, or amazing from Microsoft. They will give you exactly what you want without dissapointing you without impressing you.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 2 Oct 2006 @ 10:19pm

    Linux

    Since you can get some version or other of Linux to run on almost anything, I think it'll only be a matter of time until somebody hacks a Zune to run Linux, and from there - do just about whatever you want I suppose...

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    A chicken passeth by, 2 Oct 2006 @ 10:38pm

    Heh heh heh... another vendor decides to cripple its own stuff because it's too useful otherwise. >_>

    Dedicated video and music players are overrated.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 2 Oct 2006 @ 10:38pm

    Normally I don't care much about putting linux on whatever has just come out, this may well be great if whoever puts linux on it unlocks the wifi (i.e. if it's not hardware locked).

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    jdragon, 2 Oct 2006 @ 11:02pm

    designed by committee of idiots...

    Zune will have a lifespan as short as the Dell Jukebox...

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    dorpus, 2 Oct 2006 @ 11:46pm

    Most Returned Item?

    Are routers the most returned electronic item? The store employees insist it is "easy", that you just "plug it in", but then it doesn't work. Then they will tell you you have to contact your ISP, but the ISP has no idea how to help you. I returned a router, so did my girlfriend, after spending hours fussing with it.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 3 Oct 2006 @ 12:13am

      Re: Most Returned Item?

      Just a little offtopic there.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      the unmerciful one, 3 Oct 2006 @ 12:16am

      Re: Most Returned Item?

      What the hell does the fact that you had to return a router have to do with some crappy Micro$oft product? I mean, forgive me for being an a$$hole, but seriously... weak, man.
      Beyond that, you probably had your settings messed up. Read the manual before you bitch and return.
      Rant ended, go in peace.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        dorpus, 3 Oct 2006 @ 12:27am

        Re: Re: Most Returned Item?

        I followed all the directions given, and then some. Do tech-elitist attitudes such as yours contribute to the high return rate?

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Martin J. Steer, 3 Oct 2006 @ 3:21am

          Re: Re: Re: Most Returned Item?

          but what does it have to with this story or with Zune?

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          jack, 3 Oct 2006 @ 7:54am

          Re: Re: Re: Most Returned Item?

          why read the directions? I have two, one died under warranty and I got it replaced , took a week. it is a linksyss. I bougt a us robotics for $20 less with a two year warranty . so I am using it. both worked fine .linksyss came with software and directions, used neither.
          I am running 3 puters , win 98, winxp, and redhat linux no problems.
          E-mail jack1167@msn.com with questions and I'll see what I can do. you never mentioned if it was wireless, or OS.
          Jack

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Laughing my ass off, 3 Oct 2006 @ 8:24am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Most Returned Item?

            Wow! Giving Dorpus your email address might be the worst decision you have ever made.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • identicon
              jack, 3 Oct 2006 @ 8:55am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Most Returned Item?

              I have a few, and this one mostly gets spam. If someone needs help and I choose to offer a hand, how is that a bad decision? you can e-mail your answer if u want!
              P.S. this decision doesn't even make the top ten!!

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 3 Oct 2006 @ 5:59pm

          Re: Re: Re: Most Returned Item?

          Please get off the internet if:
          1: You can't configure your router using the included instructions.
          2: You don't like our elitist attitudes

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        tech2000, 3 Oct 2006 @ 4:14am

        Re: Re: Most Returned Item?

        Routers have no settings, you just plug them in and they work.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      The infamous Joe, 3 Oct 2006 @ 3:59am

      Re: Most Returned Item?

      If I had to guess (and I don't, but I'm gonna anyway) I'd say that he saw the work "hack" and thought that one of you l33t fellas would feel his pain and offer some friendly advice.

      That, or the three year old who bought a car on eBay has made it to Techdirt.

      God help us all.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 3 Oct 2006 @ 12:42am

    i see the correlation perfectly. he is correlating the zune to routers. brilliant. you should post your research on your own blog and get a bazillion hits.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Alex, 3 Oct 2006 @ 1:54am

    No, I get his point. If the zune won't work with his wireless router, he might as well return it :p

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Daniel, 3 Oct 2006 @ 2:30am

    ... but keep the zune as its made by microsoft and obviously works fine, the router however must be at fault.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    John Bailey, 3 Oct 2006 @ 3:09am

    Zune's genuine advantage....

    Picture the scene. You are sauntering down the street. minding your own business.. listening to your own carefully selected playlist of the day.. when suddenly!! An advert for the latest greatest barely post pubescent synthetic group appears in the middle of the playlist... OH JOY..

    Just imagine the advantage of advertising beamed directly to your Zune! no more looking at posters or browsing in music stores.. Just hook up your Zune to vista and have the music helpfully downloaded and put on your tab at the Zune tunes store... Unless you tick the do not download advertising related songs, or forget, or the software crashes at the oppertune moment.

    Seriously though.. there is already the option to install small programs and music or movie clips on your phone with your concent via bluetooth enabled posters. Just imagine how quickly it can be done via wifi.. And possibly not by your choice.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Pr0@W0rk, 3 Oct 2006 @ 4:26am

    Routers?

    Get a Linksys WRT54G and just plug it up and presto.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Ponder, 3 Oct 2006 @ 4:49am

    This is more like what is wanted:

    http://www.thinkgeek.com/electronics/mp3/8939/?cpg=wnrdf [thinkgeek.com] With WiFi access to a music download site.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 3 Oct 2006 @ 5:26am

    i get ms's idea. make a half assed attempt at the os for the system. you know you have the capability to do the wireless transfer/ wifi download, and what not. but why spend $$ on your own programmers making 100k a year when some pimpley faced nerd can do the same thing in half the time, and be more secure. once it's released, file suit for breach of the eula, take his code, take all his posessions, and release a "update" featuring the new code. double the money NONE of the work.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Sean, 3 Oct 2006 @ 5:37am

    Well, you know what they say about committees. The only way you can get things done with a committee of three is when two members are absent.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Dustin, 3 Oct 2006 @ 5:48am

    Just another bunch of misinformed people

    The actual story that engadget posted was misinterpreted. If you actually go and read it it states that at launch the wifi will be used to zune to zune interaction....however with future firmware releases the wifi will become more usefull. And to all the ipod fanboys out there...settle down no one is going to take your little white player out of your man purse that you got at the gap...

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Sanguine Dream, 3 Oct 2006 @ 8:35am

    Huh!?!

    The Zune won't even be able to play Microsoft's own DRM. Let me guess they were so afaid that it would lead to even more people trying to hack and crack it they decided it was safer to leave it out right? I really wish I could get in on one of these design committees. They don't seem to do anything but come up with halfassed ideas and get paid lots of money.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 3 Oct 2006 @ 10:22am

    Throw in a proprietary storage format and you would think that the Zune was designed by Sony...

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    james, 4 Oct 2006 @ 6:07am

    price

    Who cares about a useless feature if you are not going to pay for it. The Zune will be cheaper then the iPod because MS will once again subsidize the price of the hardware to get market share.

    Maybe the idea dorpus was trying to relate was having a product (or a feature on that product) that the average user can not figure out easily.

    And to the guys who just plug in their routers, if you don't have a WiFi router, please get one, I love free WiFi.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    yonderboy, 13 Dec 2006 @ 2:50pm

    congrats

    This is definitely going to be in the top 10 of "most successfully hijacked topics" for December.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 7 Jan 2007 @ 8:42am

    For the first time I agree with Mike

    I returned mine after 1 day.

    I agree 100% with everything you've stated. I'm beginning to think that Microsoft has Apple envy. Apple may not make as much money, but they do just about everything better and are simply "smarter" than MS. So what does MS do? Try to copy only to end up creating a broken Frankenstein device rather than something actually better.

    Just wait until the iPod comes out with a larger screen and WiFi. Bye Bye Zune.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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