Zune 3 expectations and features I want

I’ve been a fan since I got my 30gb (brown) last year.  The first gen Zune, I thought, was a pretty cool device.  Good feel, wonderful screen, good sound quality and ease of use.  Well shortly after I got it, version 2 came out.  Version 2 was available in two tiny packages, packing four or eight gigabytes of storage as well as a sexier eighty gigabyte hard drive version.  The eighty gigabyte was thinner than mine and was a little nicer looking, but essentially the same thing with a bigger driver.  All three versions sported new firmware that included wireless syncing.  Fortunately for me, Microsoft made it available-for free, no less-to owners of the original devices.  So I eagerly updated the firmware and the pc software.  Initially, all was great.  But, over time, performance of the desktop software got worse and worse.  Little bugs popped up, like double, triple and even quadruple copies of podcast’s and some music.  There were other issues, most of which I never experienced, that were mostly fixed in a later update.  Performance, however, was still a problem.  Even now, when Zune Marketplace is downloading, syncing or converting video, my pc comes to a crawl.  It gets to the point where the usage pegs the CPU at 100% and you cannot do anything.  This is one of the things that I am hoping gets fixed with the 3.0 software. 

Other things I am looking forward to are the Audible compatibility and, I totally missed this until I re-read Paul Thurrot’s article on the new features.  Buried near the bottom was a mention of something called ‘Overdrive’:

OverDrive. They can download content from sites powered by overdrive.com, including 7,500 libraries’ Web sites worldwide. (http://search.overdrive.com)

This looks really nice.  There’s free and paid content from these sites and the inclusion of them in the software is a very pleasant surprise and I don’t know how I missed it.

Personal Picks is another feature that I am now eager to try out.  Apple’s ‘Genius’ feature in the new iPod’s is similar.  Personal Picks learns your musical taste and can suggest artists, tracks and entire albums tailored to your taste.  I can’t wait to see how handles my taste-if that’s what you want to call it.  I don’t have a specific type of music preference, I listen to crap like pop music from the 80’s and 90’s, some old and very little new country music, hip hop, blues and classical.  Quite a range, eh?

The big thing I am hoping for, as I said, is just better performance.  The current software, while pretty, is just a pig.  I suppose if it were an Apple product, that would be ok, but it is not.  I’m a Windows user and I want both pretty and peppy. 

The new firmware and software is going to be available on September 16.


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