Even though the Zune project was headed up by XBox wunderkind J Allard, I can’t help but think they were focusing less on innovation and more on undermining Apple’s business model.
Here’s my design thoughts:
- For a device that plays video in a widescreen, as opposed to 4:3 format, it doesn’t really look easy to hold, as it seems biased towards holding it at the dial end. I can imagine lots of accidentally pressed buttons, or slipping out of fingers, or fingerprints getting on the screen end.
- It looks too much like a been-there-done-that iPod knockoff. Even those up-and-coming brands like Coby have much more style.
Here’s my branding thoughts:
- Microsoft is leading the next-generation console space at the moment with XBox 360. Why not leverage that mindspace?
- In doing so, why not leverage the XBox 360’s branding and design characteristics?
- Is the competitor really Apple, the 800-lb gorilla of mp3 players and downloads — or Sony?
- Sony’s edging up on Microsoft in the do-everything portable device space owned by their Windows Mobile market with a lot more style and cool. Witness the success of the PSP (games, movies, music, wifi) and the creeping success of the oddly identical Sony Mylo (Sidekick-style text chat, wifi, Skype audio, plus music and movies).
So here’s my reimagined Zune, if it came from the XBox division, hence, Xune. The graphic (click above for larger version) is a mash-up of an iPod Nano touch wheel, XBox controller buttons and the body is mostly a Sony Mylo. This is:
- Primarily a gaming device - carrying the brand of XBox to the pocket - like PSP, it could be a very ‘lite’ version of the original XBox, maybe based on a customized variant of Windows Mobile
- Following that thought, this would be a great way to carry the XBox Live Network with you in your pocket. Have a minigame that connects to a larger massively multiplayer game online, for instance.
- Secondarily a music and media device - putting Windows Media Center in your pocket - but following open standards as well as their own PlaysForSure DRM model.
- Easy to hold in both hands for watching movies, small enough to be pocketable to listen to music
- slide-up screen has keyboard for email, chat, lite PDA functions, and text chat in XBox Live
- WiFi for accessing networks, MSN voice chat, Skype (?) etc. Supports Bluetooth and wired headsets for phone functions, doubles as XBox Live voice chat headset etc.
- Like PSP with PS2, or GameBoy Advance with GameCube, can serve as a special controller for XBox with screen (via cable or Bluetooth?)
November 16, 2006 3:06 AM