Why there isn’t Device Stage for Zune

Gangster of Awesome Matt Akers of the Zune software team explained in the latest episode of the Zune Insider podcast a question that’s been asked a lot about Zune and its relationship to Windows 7: why Zune players don’t have Device Stage capability.

I think it’s because we have specific software that powers our devices such that we don’t require a Device Stage-kind of page, right? So, Device Stage is really meant for devices, like let’s say like a [Sandisk] Sansa, or some sort of, like, you know, really, you know, obscure MP3 player that may not have its own software and may rely more on either Windows Media Player or just basic file transfer stuff. And so that way those companies can program their own Device Stage page to make it look like—light up and look cool and provide that kind of functionality.

Now, what I think you’re really, you know, I see what you’re saying, but at the same time, when you’ve got, like, full-fledged software made by us that takes care of those things than you really don’t need to do the Device Stage thing, right? Because we take care, I mean we’re like, you know, Device Stage on steroids with the Zune software, so I think that’s probably why we haven’t done that, but it would be interesting just to have some nice little thing that looks cool, and stuff. Although I can say that lately when I’ve been plugging in my, uh, Zune devices to Windows 7, and it installs a driver and pops up, it actually, the little icon looks like a Zune HD now. Which is really sweet, yeah.

There you have it. The Zune software is Device Stage on steroids. And it makes sense, right? The sync page on the Zune software goes beyond what Device Stage does by letting you view your media by type (music, pictures, video, podcasts, etc.), allowing you to link your device to your Windows Live ID, providing Sync Groups for easy and automatic media syncing, providing fine-grained syncing options for each media type (i.e. sync all, items I choose, manual), and a bar chart showing media usage, again by media type. The only Device Stage feature missing on the Zune software is a battery meter. As the Zune software expands to phones this fall (indeed it already powers the KIN devices), I think a battery meter (and ETA until 100% charge) will be more important than ever. I hope the Zune team is listening!

The Zune Insider podcast, hosted by Matt Akers (@skipdeez) and Jessica Zahn (@jetherealz) of the Zune team, comes out every Friday afternoon.

Coming this fall is also an official Windows Phone podcast, although no date or hosts have been confirmed yet.

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