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Why I'm Probably Dropping XM Radio in 2008 (Hint: Zune Rocks!)

ZuneI owe Microsoft a huge apology.  I poked fun at them 18 months ago when they announced their Zune product.  To be fair, the first generation of the Zune was kind of laughable and it didn't take off.  That was then and this is now...

My son asked for an 80-gig Zune for Christmas and we wound up getting him one.  I couldn't understand why he was so interested in the Zune, but once he opened it and got it up and running I finally understood.  What a cool product.  The features are admittedly similar to what you'd find on an iPod, but with one significant difference: Correct me if I'm wrong, but I'm pretty sure you can't get an all-you-can-download subscription model on iTunes.  That's the key feature that's likely to win me over.

I mentioned my interest in unlimited content in this post last month.  I'm bringing it up again because I've now had my XM Radio device for a couple of years and I find myself using it less and less.  Why?  The channels are starting to sound like the same old thing, just like terrestrial radio.  XM is still light years better than the old AM/FM combo, but it's not the perfect solution for my musical interests.  I find myself wanting to press fast-forward far too frequently when listening to an XM station.  It's live radio though so that's not possible, of course.  For roughly the same monthly fee I pay XM today I could load up an 80-gig monster Zune and fast-forward to my heart's content.

Unfortunately, I won't be upgrading to a Zune anytime soon.  I simply don't have enough in my piggy bank to come close to the $250 price tag, I'm afraid.  Besides, I'm still getting a lot of mileage out of my "El Cheapo" MP3 player.  My hope is to scrape together enough nickels and dimes to get an 80-gig Zune later this year.  When I do, I'll see what I can get for my XM Inno on eBay.

In the mean time, Microsoft, I'm sorry.  You really surprised me with this very cool product.


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