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Tuesday, August 17, 2010

How an iPod is just like a Jeep and a box of Kleenex.

The word iPod is alot like the word Jeep.  Both are brand names but both are also synonmous with the product they represent. The makers of Kleenex often take out ads in jounalism trade magazines making the point that Kleenex is a brand name for facial tissue.

The iPod is like that too. Many folks simply say they "have an iPod" when they really have something else as their MP3 player of choice. This avoids having to explain exactly what brand you have ("Archos? Who's that?"), what it does and you usually end up the explanantion with the phrase "just think of it like an iPod".

In the world of MP3 players, the 2nd most popular player in the United States after the iPod is the Microsoft Zune HD. Never heard of it? Not to worry, most folks haven't either and that's a shame because the Zune is a darn fine player in it's own right. It has a HD screen (thus the "HD" portion of the name), huge memory- up to 64 gigabytes- and a touch screen that is simplicity itself to use. It can hold 10,000+ photos, audio books and even has an FM radio! OK, that doesn't seem like such a big deal, but the iPod Touch doesn't have a radio at there!

The best thing about the Zune HD, however, is the Zune Store. Think of it like Microsoft's version of iTunes. Millions of songs and movies are for sale, thousands of podcasts available for free and a special little item call the Zune Pass. For $15 per month, you can download unlimited (yes, unlimited!) amounts of music into your Zune player for as long as you pay the subscription. the good news of all this is you get to keep your choice of 10 of those songs every month forever- even after you cancel your Zune Pass subscription. Apple has nothing like it and no one else does either. You can also buy songs and keep them permanently one at a time too.

The Zune HD doesn't come with all sorts of apps like the iPod (although it does have a few that come preinstalled), but it's comparable in nearly every other way and the best feature of all? It's cheaper than the iPod- 16G versions start at $156 (go here to see it on sale for that price), Apple's 8G iPod touch starts at around twenty dollars more with half of the memory. ($175). So, you're getting twice the memory for the less than the price of the iPod Touch.

Available at most big box stores, the Zune HD is available right now. Go to the Zune site here to learn more.

Remember, it's just like an iPod.

Only better.

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