Zune and Zune Social
"Social" is a buzzword these days, and last year, Microsoft jumped on the social bandwagon with its Zune Social service. Zune Social aggregates track plays from Zune and Windows Media Player and helps users discover new music and new friends who have a similar taste in music. One Microsoft rep gave me a neat demonstration of some of the features.
[ad]On the hardware end, the Zune hasn’t changed much. There’s a 120 GB version which has been out in the wild for a while now. None of the reps had anything to say about the recent Zune 30 GB clock bug on New Year’s Day, though.
Microsoft in the living room
Microsoft is working on a set-top box which augments the television experience. Users will be able to interact with TV programming by switching to different angles during a sports broadcast, buying items shown in the program, and, really, anything the content provider wants. There’s an SDK in the works and several development and demonstration applications show that this has the potential to take television to an interactivity level which computer users enjoy.
For instance, a PGA application displays an overlay on top of a tournment which allows multiple angle viewing, shows player equipment and scores, and can even be set to record the event in case the user falls asleep!
The BBC application can show realtime news feeds from the BBC web site and get match stats from sports events. Advertisements are displayed on either side of the feeds, though. I guess they have to make money on it somehow!
The potential for this device is enormous. I hope that it is done right and inobtrusively.
Last but not least, Microsoft had to show off some of the neat new desktop features of Windows 7. There is a new feature which hides the desktop by clicking on an area on the taskbar. Another new feature hides other displayed windows when a window is wiggled using the mouse. Many more gesture-like features are available, too. Check out the video for a better idea of the cool features in Windows 7.