I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the new ZuneHD that Microsoft is planning to release. Overall, I am impressed by the announced improvements to my favorite little portable media player. However, there are two features I think are absolutely necessary in order for the Zune to have a chance of taking a bigger bite out of the iPod market.
- Search – So far, the iPhone and the iPod Touch are the only PMPs of which I’m aware that have this capability. However, it should be a given with any high-capacity media player. If I’m going to be able to fit a few thousand songs on a single device, you really should provide me with a way to find those songs easily, without having to scroll through a long list.
I recently added all 1,000 (actually 1,005) of the free songs Microsoft offered through ReverbNation to my Zune. Unfortunately, each of those songs is tagged with a different artist name, which means I now have about 1,500 different artists listed on my Zune. It’s a real pain to scroll through that many different artists, especially when I know exactly what I want. If there was a search feature, I’d be able to find it easily.
With the introduction of an on-screen keyboard, search should absolutely be implemented on the next Zune.
- Sort by Album Date – I’ve mentioned this before, but I will mention it again. A portable media player absolutely must offer the ability to sort albums chronologically. I’ve already spoken at length about this necessity, so I won’t really get into it, here. However, the Zune team definitely needs to implement this feature in the next generation.
Some other things I’d like to see added to the new Zune would be the ability to somehow view lyrics on-screen while listening to a song and captions that can be enabled and disabled on videos, an equalizer for the songs and more apps and games. The apps really will be key if the Zune wants to tackle any part of the iTouch/iPhone market, but we’ll start with the two main items mentioned above.
On one last note, if anyone from Microsoft is reading this, I’d love for you to send me one of the ZuneHD devices for review purposes. :)