Zune HD – First Take

Last week I wrote about some of the things Microsoft needed to do with Zune to succeed. This week, they’ve taken some of the first steps and announced the new Zune HD today.

The specs are pretty impressive with a 3.3-inch, 480 x 272 OLED capacitive touchscreen display, built-in HD Radio receiver and HD output. Microsoft’s also talking about much better Xbox integration with Zune marketplace replacing the Xbox branded content. We’re told there’s more to come at E3. I’ll have more to say once Microsoft tells the full story to the public but there’s a lot here that MSFT is doing well, especially when it comes to the hardware.

One ongoing challenge will be for MSFT to finally get all the pieces together and tell a proper, holistic story that showcases the things that the Zune eco-system brings to the market. We’ll see how well they do next week in LA.
Bottom line? Microsoft is not giving up on Zune’s hardware story just yet. More to come next week… and more to say at that time.

3G Phone Battery Life

I use a lot of phones on a regular basis, probably more than the average user. Or perhaps even more than the non average user.

One thing I’m always looking at is battery life. While I don’t formally test battery length, my standard test is simple. Can the phone get me through my toughest day of use without dying or make it through two casual days of use. That’s a typical usage scenario for me. Often, the answer is no and that’s why I’ll often use many 3G devices with EDGE turned on and not 3G.

I think there’s two reasons for this. First 3G radios inherently use more power to a greater degree. Second, the added functionality of 3G leads to increases in usage models and the battery drains faster. Let’s face it, when you browse the web and it’s a good experience, you tend to do it more. Add in things such as streaming audio or video and driving the screen even more and you’re going to take a hit on overall battery life over the course of the day.

Eventually battery life will get better as both chipsets and software  improve to handle increased usage models. As for today, Most of the time I have found no problem getting through a day on the road but find I mostly have to recharge most devices at night. As for a really heavy voice and data day? There’s only a couple of devices I’ve found that can handle that load with 3G turned on. So, what’s your 3G experience?