It briefly looked as if we would be awash in a sea of new gadgets for the holidays, but the flood turned into a trickle – and a pretty disappointing trickle, too. Two missteps stand out.
Microsoft released its handheld audio player, the Zune, to reviews that were anemic at best and scathing at worst. It’s a pointless entry into the market, offering nothing that would distract you from the iPod that you’ll wind up buying instead. It’s incompatible with iTunes, incompatible with Microsoft’s own Windows Media Player, incompatible with music purchased from any existing online music store, and currently incompatible with Windows Vista, which is just weird.
Here’s some screenshots of the process of installing the Zune software, which involves a bizarrely confusing series of registrations of this and that, as well as the kind of artwork that is easily identified as the product of old white guys striving desperately to make something hip. “Welcome to the social.” “Free your inner DJ.” Oh, please.
Meanwhile the PlayStation 3 has arrived – kind of. The handful of people that have one are more or less enthusiastic, but Sony will only deliver a tiny handful before the end of the year – Sony had to admit that the new unit won’t play a couple of hundred PlayStation 2 games, despite its promises of full compatibility.