The advent of digital media spawned the mobile media revolution. A mobile media player is a portable device for storing many different types of audio/video/picture files to view or listen to virtually anywhere. Mobile media players really caught on with the release of the Apple iPod in November of 2001. The iPod made mobile media players fashionable and was an instant success. They have lead the pack being the highest selling mobile media player since their release. Apple has basically encouraged other companies to want a share in the mobile media market with their creation of the iPod, spawning many other mobile media players from companies like Microsoft and Creative, and driving the market forward. Mobile media players have evolved since the creation of the iPod, now offering many more features than just playing digital music. Most new players today offer video support and have features such as PIM software and games.


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The Zune is the "iPod killer" from Microsoft. The 30GB Zune is set to launch on 11/14/06 to most major retail chains in the colors of white, black, and brown. The Zune has an edge over the iPod in nearly every feature and also includes WiFi capabilities and an FM tuner. The WiFi gives Zune users the ability to share files with each other (song only good for a 3 day trial period). The Zune is predicted to shake up the digital media player market, which is dominated at the moment by Apple with the iPod.


All three color models of The Micrsoft Zune will launch at 249.99 with the 30gb hard drive. This is the same price that the 6gen 30gb iPod Video and 8gb ipod Nano are currently going for at Some accessories that are available for the Zune include the travel kit (99.95), car kit(79.95),home AV kit (99.95), car charger (24.95), Gear bag (29.95), Zune dock (39.95), Wireless remote for Zune Dock (29.95), AC adapter (29.95), and Zune premium headphones (39.95).


Player battery - rechargeable - lithium ion
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Run Time (Up To):
12 hour(s)
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Battery Life Details:
Digital playback - 12 hour(s) ¦ Video playback - 3.5 hour(s)
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Additional Features:
Built-in FM radio, upgradeable firmware, JPEG photo playback, USB 2.0 compatibility, MPEG-4 playback, WMV playback, H.264 playback
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Sound Output Mode:
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Recorder Features:
Variable bit-rate compatible
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Supported Digital Audio Standards:
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Playback Modes:
Random play
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Connector Type:
1 x docking station ¦ 1 x headphones ( mini-phone stereo 3.5 mm )
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OS Required:
Microsoft Windows 2000, Microsoft Windows XP, Microsoft Windows Vista
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Product in Inches (L x W x H):
5.55 x 5.55 x 2.24

The Competition:

Apple's iPod

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The iPod was originally introduced in October of 2001 as a Mac only 5Gb MP3 player. The original iPods only held about 1,000 songs, but were the first step for Apple in their now long line of iPods. The iPod has gone through many revisions and improvements and boasts a 3 different versions in multiple colors. Currently the iPod is available in the economical and tiny Shuffle, the slightly larger nano, and the iPod Video. The latest update in the iPod line brought about the unveiling of Apple's new movie downloads section of the iTunes music store. Additionally, with the new line of iPods came minor upgrades to the GUI allowing for easier and more intuitive song scrolling as well as the ability to download games directly to the iPod. Much of the success of the iPod is due to the iTunes Music Store. Until recently, anything purchased from the iTunes Music Store was only able to be played on the computer the media was downloaded on or an Apple iPod. Recently, however, the software was hacked by a high school student from Pennsylvania and famous DRM hacker, Jon Lech Johansen, also known as DVD-Jon. Soon after the two released their crack, Apple fixed the security hole and a new version of iTunes was released. The next day however, the two hackers had cracked it again. Whether or not the hole will be fixed again is up for debate. Despite the recent controversy with Apple's DRM, the iTunes Music Store was one of the first programs of its kind to really succeed in tapping the legal download market. Together with the iTunes Music Store, the iPod helped Apple earn $4.84 Billion in the 4th quarter of this year alone, a 32% increase from this time last year.

Price & Specs:

Storage Space
Song Capacity
Colors Available
iPod Shuffle
240 Songs
iPod Nano
500 Songs
Silver, Green, Blue, Pink, Black
iPod Nano
1,000 Songs
Silver, Green, Blue, Pink, Black
iPod Nano (PRODUCT) Red Edition
1,000 Songs
iPod Nano
2,000 Songs
Silver, Green, Blue, Pink, Black
iPod Video
7,500 Songs
Black, White
iPod Video
20,000 Songs
Black, White

Creative's Zen:

Creative was one of the first to enter the MP3 player market. However, they've struggled to find something to stand up to Apple's iPod. One of their more successful endeavors has been the Zen Micro. Currently, the Zen line of Media Players includes 9 different versions of the Zen.

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The ZEN Vision line is the iPod Video's most direct competition from Creative. It offers 30 or 60GB storage space and more options for the consumer. It even includes an FM/AM tuner and TV Output so one can connect it to a TV or projector. However, they also offer smaller ZEN products like the Micro or Nano that directly competes with the iPod Mini or Nano.

Combining Mobile Media with Satellite Radio

As Sirius Satellite radio saw a boom in the MP3 player market, primarily with iPod, they sought to create a combination of an MP3 player and Sirius Satellite Radio. Sirius created the Stilleto; a hybrid of a media player that plays MP3's, as well as their satellite radio service. It is capable of holding 2GB worth of programming; a combination of media files and satellite programming.

XM saw their rival launch the Stilleto and counterattacked by creating the Nexus and Helix. Both are similar to the Stilleto, but the Nexus must be docked in a cradle to receive XM content. The Helix differes because it has the capability to receive wireless XM signal from anywhere.

Web Resources:

Pre-Order Zune from Wal-Mart now!
Apple's iPod
Zune & iPod Photo Comparison
Microsoft Zune Official Website
Microsoft Zune Review & Gallery
Microsoft Zune Interface Video Walkthrough
More About the Zune Media Players