Zune will play an important role in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3

Its days of being the best MP3 player money can buy (take that, iPod!) may be over, but it turns out Microsoft’s Zune still has an important role to play.

Farewell, Zune; today is the final day for all Zune services

As previously announced, today is the final day for Microsoft's Zune online services, as the company completes the transition to its new Groove Music service.

Microsoft to retire Zune services on November 15, convert subscribers to Groove Music Pass

Microsoft has begun alerting Zune Music Pass subscribers to the service's impending transition to Groove Music Pass on November 15, publishing a support document on what to expect in the process.

Full screen artist visualizations return to Xbox Music on Windows 8

Last week we announced a minor update that was pushed for Xbox Music on Widows 8.1.  The update had seemed to simply include a variety of bug fixes and performance tweaks, but a member from our forums has pointed out that the update has brought back a feature that had been previously taken out in a past update – full screen artist visualizations.

Kickback this weekend with some nostalgic Zune tunes

Remember Microsoft’s Zune line of multimedia players? I haven’t forgotten, and to this day, the Zune 120 GB Black "Brick" remains as one of my favorite pieces of hardware from the past. To help everyone relax, while bringing back some Microsoft nostalgia, below is a short video list of some of the rocking (and mellow) tunes used in the original commercials.

Purchased video content won’t work on Windows Phone 7 after February 2014

The desktop Zune client could easily go down as one of the greatest desktop applications of all time. It was loved by many for its modern interface, features, and operability with Windows Phone 7. Unfortunately, Microsoft decided to unify its entertainment offerings under the Xbox branding, which is why we now have Xbox Music and Xbox Video. Zune still lives though, it’s essential to users who are still on Windows Phone 7.x or those hanging onto their legacy Zune devices. Sadly, video won’t work after February of 2014.

Microsoft clarifies what’s new with Xbox Music in GDR2: fixed cloud collection and more

GDR2 is slowly rolling out to Windows Phone 8 handsets around the globe. Some devices, like the Lumia 925 and 1020, already come with GDR2 preinstalled. For everyone else, the updates are slowly coming.

We’ve always had a pretty good idea of what’s new in GDR2, but some items were slightly vague. For example we knew Microsoft made "improvements to Xbox Music", but didn’t know exactly what that meant. Thanks to a blog posting by the Windows Phone team, we now know what's changed.

Zune Marketplace will no longer support rental and purchases; Zune Pass holders still okay

Microsoft is continuing their phased closure of the Zune Marketplace, which has been replaced with Xbox Music and Video. The latest change involves users not being able to purchase music or video through the service starting as early as August 22nd. For that reason, Microsoft is encouraging you to spend any Microsoft Point balances before that date.

The move appears to be a combination of Microsoft wanting to move away from Zune, a necessary decision if they want to support only Xbox Music and Video, and the retirement of the MS Points system, which is being replaced by cash across their entire ecosystem.

Microsoft Memories - a look back, at the past of Redmond technology

Sometimes technology is a collection of circuitry and silicon, sometimes though – it is a magical moment full of feelings and memories. The best experiences are born when technology transcends our knowledge and connects us with what we love. British science fiction writer and futurist, Arthur C. Clarke, once said:

“Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.”

Microsoft has been around for a long time and for those of us who live off of the technology they provide, some of the memories will never seep away.

In 2007, the company released a four minute commercial that has come to be known as “Your Digital Lifestyle”. The ad highlighted the then current hi-tech Microsoft products of the time and how one green shirted hipster used them to party the night away. The commercial is set to a cover of Ash’s Girl from Mars by Canadian group, Magneta Lane.

Buckle up, because we are going on a field trip to six years ago; along the way, we are going to jam with our green shirted friend and revisit some of our past Microsoft technology goodies. Windows Vista will probably be seen along the way, but there will be plenty of other experiences to combat that bad flavor.

Microsoft formally introduces the Xbox Music Pass

Microsoft has fired out an email introducing consumers to the Xbox Music Pass, which was previously branded the Zune Pass. The subscription model opens up an impressive catalogue of music that's available for streaming, download and purchase (should one wish to cancel the subscription but retain music tracks). We've previously expected the company to launch the rebranded streaming service as successor.

Quick tip for Xbox Music on Windows Phone 8

This post started as a quick 30 second tutorial on how to make your music experience a bit better on your new device running Windows Phone 8. However, it kind of morphed into a bit of a rant about one aspect of Xbox Music. So sit back and read my thoughts and criticisms about the cloud collection or jump to the end for a quick tip that could save your sanity and help your wallet.

What you need to know if you’re upgrading from Windows Phone 7 to 8

This guide is aimed at those who already have a previous generation Windows Phone handset but can also be worthwhile for those of you who are new to the platform.

We’re going to cover what you need to know in order to ease the transition from old to new so you can get back to top speed and start enjoying your new device.

The lights go off at Zune.net as final pieces are put in place for Xbox Music

As we move ever closer to the launch of Windows 8 we also near the relaunch of Microsoft’s music services. All traces of Zune branding are being replaced with the upcoming Xbox Music.

On trying to go to www.zune.net we now get a re-direct to Xbox.com to be told that Zune Music is now Xbox Music. We’re going to miss that crazy pink and white website but it's had its time.

Microsoft gives Zune users update details plus 1,000 MS Points for Xbox Music launch

If you’re a current Zune Pass subscriber, you may want to check your email. Microsoft has just sent out the Xbox Music update details for those who are using Zune Pass and what’s more, they’re throwing in a 1,000 MS Points to celebrate.

Those points (worth $12.50 or an average album) can be used “on any of the music, video, or game content on Xbox LIVE”. (Wait, we’re still calling it Xbox LIVE?)

Xbox Music set to officially start rolling out tomorrow

Microsoft have now officially unveiled their new music service. Simply called Xbox Music, it's going to begin rolling out tomorrow. 

Designed to replace the Zune services of old, Xbox Music will bring with it new capabilities and eventual availability on other platforms in the coming year.

New Windows Phone Store user agreement focuses on Xbox Music changes, tailored experience

This morning we woke up to a few app-updates on our Windows Phone but before we were able to process them, we were prompted with a new pop up from Microsoft.

Filed under ‘Setup Account’ the new agreement centers on ‘Personalize my Music’ and simply says "Send us your music playing and rating data to tailor the Zune experience to your interests". Of course there is no mention of Xbox Music, the new service that is replacing Zune Music, but it is clear that Microsoft is starting to roll out some features for consumers.

Now what makes this interesting is as far as we know, Zune always had this feature of rating music and songs you liked, then giving you recommendations under the Zune Desktop client. But from what we remember that would only happen when you manually synced with your desktop—but now it seems as if your recommendations will go over-the-air.

What we still don’t see though is a ‘Recommendations’ section on the phone in the Windows Phone Music Store, which is an odd omission (unless we’re missing it). Currently you have to use the Desktop sync client to get personalized choices, something that we hope comes to our phones directly in the future (we don’t really sync that often with our computer these days).

Lyrics updated to version 3.0, adds Music ID to your Windows Phone

Lyrics for your Windows Phone was recently updated which added a few performance tweaks and Music ID. Lyrics is integrated with Zune to pull up not only the tracks in your music library but also the ability to list the lyrics as well.

Lyrics by Musixmatch  has a library of over 5.5 million officially licensed lyrics in eighteen languages. If the lyrics are in the library, Lyrics will help you sing along without missing a beat (or a word).

Nokia's "Zeal" and "Flame" Windows Phone 8 devices coming in early 2013?

The Lumia 610 to get a successor?

According to The Verge, Nokia plans to release two more Windows Phone 8 devices, code names "Zeal" and "Flame" in early 2013. The "Zeal" is rumored to be a mid-range offering and will sport a unibody design and will be "Zune-like" in its appearance. We're not exactly sure what that means, but it consider our interest officially piqued. The Zeal will have a 4.3-inch display and will feature a 1.0GHz dual-core processor, 512MB of RAM, 8GB of storage, and a microSD slot.

How to set up playlists on Windows Phone using Windows and Mac

Enjoying music collections while on the go is a breeze with Windows Phone. Simply synchronise selected media onto a device and either Zune or the Windows Phone Connector for Mac will do the rest. But what if you wanted to organise music into moods, easy-to-sync lists or to quickly extract favourite music? This is where playlists come in.

Many make use of playlists in media players already. Sorting through 30,000 songs to build a collection of favourites is a task majority of music fans go through when wanting to take their sounds on the move. Most devices and smartphones have a limited capacity for media, so until we have 1TB storage options for Windows Phone, it makes sense to move across said playlists.

How does one go about achieving this?

Microsoft’s Windows 8 companion app for Windows Phone gets a first look

By now it’s old news that the Zune Desktop as we know it will be phased out—in fact we’ve seen features already removed over the last few months.  What was to replace it though was always a bit of a mystery though there are only so many options available.

Now an image has leaked out of what appears to be the ‘companion app’ for Windows Phone and Windows 8—think of it as Zune Desktop the next generation. There's really not too much to the image though we suppose it is better than nothing.