Hey, if you haven’t already entered our Gears of War 2 Zune and Game giveaway, what are you waiting for? Today is the last day that we are accepting entries into that particular contest, so if you want in, you’d better head on over to the entry page for the rules. Seriously, entering is quick and easy, and you can walk away with a few hundred dollars worth of Gears of War 2 memorabilia (including a Limited Edition Gears of War 2 Zune!). Nothing to lose, everything to gain kind of thing.
Read More | Gears of War 2 giveaway contest
We’ve made it clear a few times that we feel that the Zune platform has progressed nicely since it’s inception, especially with the introduction of the Zune Pass, which we feel is the best deal in music today. Definitely something we recommend this holiday season. So much so, in fact, that we have put together a video showing off every Zune device that is currently available, as well as some of the cooler accessories available for the device set. We show off the Zune 80, Zune 120, Gears of War 2 Special Edition Zune, the flash Zunes, and even a Zune Originals piece.
On the accessories side, we give you a look at the Kicker stereo for Zune, a few cases, armbands, car accessories, and the Home A/V Kit. See? Told you we brought the goods to this one. Check out the video for the scoop on everything, and let us know if you end up picking any of it up.
After our last two successful giveaways (the HP Magic Giveaway and our HP Mini 1000 contest,) we just felt that we couldn’t stop. After all, it’s the holiday season, right? That’s why we are bringing you the latest contest, where you can win:
- Gears of War 2 Limited Edition Zune
- Gears of War 2 Limited Edition for Xbox 360
- Gears of War 2 Art book
- Gears of War prequel novel, Aspho Fields
We’re going to use the same entrance criteria that we used last time, since that seemed to work so well. Here’s how to enter to win:
- If you don’t have one already, sign up for a Gear Live account
- If you don’t have one already, sign up for a Twitter account
- Add the Gear Live Twitter account to your follow list
- On Twitter, post a tweet about our contest and link to this page. In the tweet, include the phrase “#gearlive”.
- Once that is done, leave a comment here in this post with a direct link back to your Tweet. Be sure you are signed in to your Gear Live account before you leave the comment.
Here’s an example of an appropriate Twitter entry:
“Entering to win a Gears of War 2 prize package! http://wg9.qlnk.net/ #gearlive”
BONUS ENTRIES: Want more chances to win? Share the link to our contests on the following sites, and leave us a comment linking to those as well:
- Facebook: Shared Link
- Del.icio.us bookmark
- FriendFeed: Use Post a Link
- Your blog: Have a site? Link to our contest on it!
Remember: The bonus entries are just that - bonus. In order to be eligible to win, you must complete the core Twitter requirements.
Now, as to the actual contest dates. The contest starts today, December 17th. You have until 11:59 PM PST on December 24th to enter your comments here on this post. We will then announce our winner, chosen randomly out of all valid entrants and bonus points, on December 25th. Good luck to all, and remember, this contest is only open to US residents.
We told you yesterday about the Zune Pass being such a sweet deal and you probably countered with, “But I don’t have a Zune.” Microsoft is pleased to announce that they have lowered their prices on their flash-based products just for your. Effective now in the U.S. and Friday in Canada, the 4GB model is now $99.00, the 8GB is $139.00, and the 16GB Zune drops $20.00 to $179.00. There are also accessories that have been marked down, so you have no excuse.
Wow. The best deal in music just got a whole lot better, as Microsoft has announced that the $14.99 per month Zune Pass will now allow subscribers to download and keep 10 tracks per month, which is a $10 value. Those tracks are yours, permanently, even if your Zune Pass subscription comes to an end. Participating labels include EMI Music, Sony BMG, Universal Music, Warner Music, and independents like INgrooves, Independent Online Distribution Alliance, and The Orchard. Tracks downloaded from Sony BMG and UMG will be DRM-free MP3s, which tracks from EMI and Warner also include MP3 files, there are also some WMAs still hanging around. The Zune guys say that soon, 90 percent of the music in the Zune Marketplace will be in the MP3 format.
So when you break this down, if you subscribe to the Zune Pass, and download 10 tracks a month, you are really just paying $5 for unlimited access to the huge catalog of music available in the Zune Marketplace. We can’t think of a better, legal deal in music than what Microsoft is offering with Zune right now. Can you? At this point, we see no reason to fire up iTunes to do our music purchasing.
Just two months after the Zune 3.0 release, Microsoft is now deploying the next incremental update to their Zune platform with Zune 3.1. Available for download today, the Zune 3.1 update brings quite a few welcome feature changes and updates:
- New Games: Checkers, Sudoku, and Space Battle
- New multiplayer mode, and single-player difficulty levels, for Texas Hold’em
- Visual changes to the Zune Social, making it prettier and easier to navigate
- Like-Minder Listeners feature added to social, allowing you to compare your music tastes to others
- Improved play count reporting, content synchronization, and other bug fixes in both the hardware and software
You can grab the update now by launching your Zune software, going into Settings, and hitting Check for Updates.
Read More | Zune Insider
It seems that every time we turn around, Zune has a new design. This time it is their Zodiac Series. Custom laser engraved, there are all 12 from the Western Zodiac from MS graphic designers and all of the animals from the Chinese years, which were designed by Iosefatu Sua. Choose your Zune, pick your etching for a little extra coinage, and you will also get access to matching wallpaper and playlists chosen by the artists.
Read More | electronistic
With Gears of War 2 getting ready to drop tomorrow, bringing Submergence Day to all fans of the franchise, Microsoft is also releasing a Gears of War 2 Limited Edition Zune. You might remember that they did something similar with the original Zune to coincide with the release of Halo 3. With the GOW2 Zune, Microsoft has pre-loaded a bunch of Gears content on the device itself. A bunch of images of art, the entire Gears of War soundtrack, along with quite a few pieces of video content related to both Gears of War and Gears of War 2.
We were able to get our hands on the Gears of War 2 Zune before its release, and have snapped a bunch of photos showing off the fantastic box art, the Zune device itself, and all the bonus content included on the device. Be sure and check it all out in our Gears of War 2 Zune unboxing gallery.
Read More | Gears of War 2 Zune gallery
Now that you know about the new Zune and are thinking about grabbing one, here’s another reason. Microsoft and Wayport, the network provider of McDonald’s, have made a deal to give Zune owners free WiFi over the next three years. You may not be able to check your email, but you can order tunes to go with your fries. This works on pre-existing Zunes as well. Sony’s Mylo COM-2 and Zipit Wireless Messenger Z2 can also receive the WiFi.
Read More | Gearlog
Okay, we’ve been hitting you with snippets of Zune news all day, especially as it pertains to the hardware. Now it’s time to break down all the changes that the Zune 3.0 software is bringing, both from the hardware side of things, as well as the software client side of things. On the hardware side of things, we are seeing new features like support for games, the ability to buy songs tagged while using the FM radio, and the ability to browse and download from the Zune Marketplace directly from the device itself. Over on software, we see a bunch of improvements to the client that are all focused on music discovery and helping you experience your music library in a whole new way. A lot of the changes seem geared towards Zune Pass subscribers (which, by the way, we think is the best deal in music). Click on through for an in-depth look at all the important changes that Zune 3.0 brings.