Jigar Mehta’s WebBlog

September 29, 2006

When is Zune going to release? Its 14th Nov.

Filed under: Uncategorized — jigarme @ 6:41 pm

Four color vertical Zune logoMicrosoft’s Zune digital media player will ship in the U.S. on Nov. 14 for $249.99, the company said Thursday, in line with the price of video iPods already available from Apple Computer.

Microsoft announced its Zune player and the accompanying music store, called Zune Marketplace, earlier this month, but it did not provide pricing at the time. Some industry insiders believe Microsoft had to rethink the pricing after it learned that Apple was about to lower the price of its video iPods, which it recently did. Like the video iPods, the first Zune players will come with 30GB of storage.

Microsoft also unveiled pricing for Zune Marketplace. Unlike Apple’s iTunes, which lets users buy individual songs or entire albums but does not offer a subscription service, Microsoft will offer a monthly subscription called Zune Pass. For $14.99 a month, users will have access to millions of songs, Microsoft said. However, they won’t actually own those songs and will only be able to access them while they have a subscription.

Users will also be able to purchase songs individually using Microsoft’s points system, which works a bit like a prepaid phone card. One track will cost 79 points — or about $0.99, which is what iTunes charges per song. At retail, consumers can purchase 1,200 points for $15, 2,000 points for $25, 4,000 points for $50, or pay $44.97 for a three-month Zune Pass.

Zune accessories will range in price from $19.99 to $99.99. They include the Zune Car Pack, which offers a built-in FM tuner with AutoSeek and the Zune Car Charger, and The Zune Home A/V Pack, which includes five products that integrate Zune with a television and music speakers.

More information is available here

Microsoft is differentiating its Zune player from the iPod in several ways. In addition to allowing users to play music, videos and photos on a screen, the Zune player will include wireless technology and a built-in FM radio tuner. So far, iPods lack both of those.

Zune devices also will come preloaded with media content, which iPods don’t have. Songs the players will include out of the box are: “Wicked Gil” by Band of Horses, “The Mating Game” by Bitter Sweet, “Alala” by CSS, “At the End of the Sky” by Darkel, “Signs of Life” by Every Move a Picture, “Stay” by Small Sins, “Tell Me Tell Me” by The Adored, “Open Book” by The Rakes, and “A Pillar of Salt” by The Thermals.

The music videos included with the Zune player are from several artists on Seattle’s Sub Pop Records label, such as Chad VanGaalen, Kinski and the Fruit Bats. The players also will include film shorts on skateboarding, mountain biking and snowboarding.

Microsoft didn’t provide any availability information for outside of the U.S.

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Guy on Channel9 says Zune will not succeed this year..

Filed under: Uncategorized — jigarme @ 6:21 pm

According to him,

Microsoft Announced Zune’s price. It’s 249.99, if I recall, in US dollars. The same size iPod is 249.00.

What does the Zune have, that iPod doesn’t? (Feel free to add)
* Wireless capability between other Zunes, but your friends have to have them for that to work, right?
* Slightly bigger screen

What does the iPod have that the Zune doesn’t?
* HUGE name recognition
* Integration with tons of third-party products, including automobiles.
* 99 cents cheaper.

If Microsoft were to make the Zune, say, 40 bucks cheaper than the iPod, then I could see parents, whose kids say “they want an iPod”, determining, “They’re too expensive. This other thing, the Zune, does almost the same thing, and it’s 40 dollars cheaper. ”

But, why would parents pay minisculely more for a product that isn’t being asked for by their kids, and they’ve never heard of (I’m still waiting for a Zune commercial)?

Or do I have it all wrong? Is Microsoft not trying to aim for the consumer market with the Zune? or if they are, why do they think they have a snowball’s chance in Heck that people, besides us Microsoft geeks, would even think of buying it?

Seriously, I’m not trolling. I just think Microsoft has gotten it fatally wrong this time… Unless there’s more info I don’t know about, in which case, please tell me.

I dont agree with him after viewing video described at,
http://jigar-mehta.blogspot.com/2006/09/want-to-see-zune-in-action.html

What you think?

Want to see Zune in action?

Filed under: Uncategorized — jigarme @ 6:17 pm

Have a look at,
http://on10.net/Blogs/duncan/sharing-songs-and-pictures-with-the-zune/

They have captured the video using Zune !!

India’s Economy Expanded at Fastest Pace (After China)

Filed under: Uncategorized — jigarme @ 6:15 pm

India has maintained its position as the second-fastest growing major economy after China as rising consumer and government spending drove manufacturing output to a six-year high.

Asia’s fourth-largest economy expanded 8.9 percent in the three months to June 30 from a year earlier, after a 9.3 percent gain in the previous quarter, the Central Statistical Organisation said in a statement in New Delhi. The median forecast of 15 economists was for a gain of 8.4 percent.

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and Carrefour SA, the world’s two largest retailers, are vying to set up in a nation of 1.1 billion people where retail sales are expected to more than double in the next decade as incomes rise. India is stepping up spending on ports, power and other infrastructure to attract more investment in factories and lift manufacturing to a quarter of the economy from the current 17 percent, half China’s level.

“Consumption and infrastructure spending are driving growth,” said Sundaresan Naganath, who manages the equivalent of $2.4 billion in Indian stocks and bonds as chief investment officer at DSP Merrill Lynch Fund Managers Ltd. in Mumbai. “If India is growing at 8 percent with poor infrastructure, then with great infrastructure it can even grow at 12 percent.”

Sustained growth has been a boon for companies such as Maruti Udyog Ltd. and ACC Ltd., the nation’s biggest car and cement maker respectively, which have doubled profits in the past two years. Indian companies will need $175 billion of funding over the next three years as they expand further, K.V. Kamath, chief executive officer of ICICI Bank Ltd., the country’s second-largest lender, said yesterday.

Record High

Prospects of accelerating economic growth have helped the Bombay Stock Exchange’s Sensitive index climb 24 percent since July 19. An index of 18 bank stocks on the exchange reached a record 6094.47 yesterday.

India’s economy has expanded more than 8 percent in five of the past six quarters. China’s $2.2 trillion economy, Asia’s second largest, grew 11.3 percent in the quarter ended June 30. That was the quickest pace among the world’s 20 largest economies and more than four times the 2.6 percent growth in the 12 European nations sharing the euro.

Growth in India’s economy is benefiting from Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s decision to increase infrastructure spending by a quarter to 992 billion rupees ($21 billion) in the year that started April 1 in a bid to attract overseas manufacturing companies and spur growth to 10 percent over a decade.

Steel, Cement

Infrastructure spending is spurring demand for steel, cement and electricity in India, which spends a seventh of China’s $150 billion investment in public works each year according to Morgan Stanley.

Manufacturing increased 11.3 percent in the quarter ended June 30 from a year earlier, according to today’s report. That’s the fastest pace since the government started collating quarterly data in June 2000.

An index of trade, hotels, transportation and communications services rose 13.2 percent from a year ago after a 12.9 percent gain in the previous quarter.

“We expect India’s economy to continue growing at 8 percent over the next three to four years considering the pace of infrastructure growth,” said Atul Daga, joint president, corporate finance, at the Aditya Birla Group, which controls Hindalco Industries Ltd., India’s biggest producer of aluminum.

Hindalco plans to invest $7 billion by 2012 to triple production of the metal to 1.5 million tons and tap rising demand in the country.

India’s Steel Minister Ram Vilas Paswan yesterday called for restrictions in exports of iron ore, the main ingredient for steelmaking. India is aiming to quadruple steel production to 110 million tons by 2020.

Growth Momentum

“The growth momentum can be maintained if the government improves the quality and quantity of infrastructure,” said Saumitra Chaudhury, chief economist at rating company ICRA Ltd. in New Delhi. Consumption growth “will abate as the credit market has since become tighter.”

The Reserve Bank of India has increased its benchmark interest rate by 150 basis points since October 2004 to 6 percent, a four-year high, to keep record fuel costs and an expanding economy from stoking inflation beyond its forecast of between 5 percent and 5.5 percent by March 31.

India’s Finance Minister Palaniappan Chidambaram said in a Sept. 20 interview that he does not see a “dramatic slowdown” in consumption and that all aspects of the economy are demanding greater and greater credit.

Chidambaram said commercial bank loans to companies and individuals are growing at 33 percent on year, the fastest since the central bank started collating data in 1971.

Mobile Phones

Consumer demand for manufactured goods and services is rising as agriculture production rose 3.4 percent in the three months ending June 30 after increasing at the fastest pace in two years in the previous quarter, increasing incomes of 650 million people who depend on farming for their livelihood.

India’s Bharti Airtel Ltd., Reliance Communication Ventures Ltd. and other mobile-phone companies signed up a record 111.23 million users by the end of July, an increase of 5.28 million users in July, the nation’s telecom regulator said Aug. 10.

In urban areas, HSBC Holdings Plc, Europe’s biggest lender by market value, expects to double its current workforce of 22,000 in India over the next two years. ICICI Bank Ltd. plans to hire 40,000 people each year for the next three to four years to cater to rising consumer banking needs.

Apple Releases Mac OS X 10.4.8

Filed under: Uncategorized — jigarme @ 6:10 pm

Apple on Friday pushed what is likely the second-to-last update to Mac OS X 10.4, code-named “Tiger.” The update includes several fixes to printing, Finder and Apple applications and networking, as well as several third-party fixes among other modifications.

The company said that on Intel-based Macs, the update would require two restarts, but did not specify the cause. PowerPC-based systems would require a single restart.

Among the updates comes a fix for the printing of documents containing certain Korean or Chinese characters, an issue that could cause preview to unexpectedly quit, and improved syncing with select iPod models.

In networking, Apple has corrected performance issues that could occur when connecting to a Comcast network, improved ExpressCard performance, and ended the need for a computer restart when restarting NFSD.

Third-party fixes include the repair of a flaw in Word that caused it to crash when saving documents with certain OpenType fonts, the addition and repair of issues related to RAW images, and corrects a problem with display resolution when switching from PowerPoint to another application using Command-Tab.

Other issues remedied include various USB issues with external devices, improved responsiveness of the translation Dashboard widget, and the inclusion of all recent Apple security updates.

Based on Apple’s prior release schedules, the final update to Tiger before the company releases Mac OS X 10.5, codenamed “Leopard,” would likely come close to the New Year. The Cupertino company said at WWDC 2006 that it expected to ship Leopard in Spring 2007.

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