Zune on Windows Phone Mango

Zune on Windows Phone Mango Zune on Windows Phone MangoIt appears the leaks were true. Zune on Windows Phone Mango has received a nice update. Using the Mango emulator provided with the Windows Phone Developer Tools, we were able to access certain hidden features like Bing Vision, Bing Audio, Local Scout, and more.

As a result, the Music + Video hub’s now playing screen is accessible, as well as Marketplace search. This has opened the door to a whole host of interesting information and screenshots.

The most obvious change is the relocated media control buttons. Formerly spaced out at the bottom, the media controls have been moved to the top left of the screen. This might seem like a strange idea at first, but it looks better overall.

In addition, the drop-down media controls–accessed via the volume control rocker–have been redesigned to fit directly over the now playing controls. The result is a slightly larger drop-down box, but it eliminates the duplicate media controls. Interestingly, the volume now appears as a fraction (i.e. 18/30), rather than a standalone number.

A subtle, yet logical, change is the darkening of the artist image on the now playing screen.

Microsoft has also made the advanced music playback settings–repeat, shuffle, and favorite–more obvious. Instead of being located ‘behind’ the album art and accessible with a tap, the settings are located along the right side of the album art. Strangely, the option to favorite a song appears to be missing from the emulator. Single track repeat has also been added. It’s a simple feature, but it can be very useful. Tap repeat once to repeat the current playlist, twice to repeat the current song, and again to clear.

Zune on Windows Phone Mango Options Zune on Windows Phone MangoMore settings can be found by tapping on the ellipsis (‘…’) at the bottom of the screen. This allows the user to play a Smart DJ mix, share the current track, find more content in the marketplace, or save now playing as a playlist.

The lock screen has also received an update. While playing music, the media controls are visible at the top of the lock screen, eliminating the need to press two buttons, power and volume, in order to pause or adjust the current track.

If artist imagery is available, it will be displayed on the lock screen while music is playing. Pausing the music returns the lock screen to its default image. This can, of course, be disabled.

We were also able to try out the on-device podcast support included in Windows Phone Mango. It’s pretty slick. Users can search for podcasts on the Zune Marketplace. Selecting a result brings up a pivot with an overview of the podcast–album art, hosts, description, etc.–and the list of episodes. From here, users can immediately begin streaming an episode or drill down for the actual episode description and additional options like downloading to the device or subscribing to the podcast feed.

Like on the Zune software client, podcast subscriptions on Windows Phone can be tweaked to fit the user’s needs. The number of episodes to keep can be specified, as well as playback order and whether or not to download new episodes via the phone’s data connection.

The updates to Zune in Windows Phone Mango are a very nice improvement. Many of the features it once lacked–Smart DJ, over-the-air podcasts, single track repeat, etc.–have been added, making it on par with the Zune HD. In fact, once could argue that, total storage space aside, the music experience on Windows Phone Mango is almost superior.

Windows Phone Mango will be released this fall. For more news on Mango, check out the rest of our coverage.

22 Comments

tds101 on May 25, 2011 12:53 AM

Ok, quick question: is there finally an EQ? Really, 1 feature I want – that’s all I ask for, an EQ.

William Devereux on May 25, 2011 1:42 AM

Not that I could find. Of course, most of the Mango features in the emulator are hidden. You have to dig a bit to find them.

Fludlyt on May 25, 2011 2:17 AM

Very happy to see podcast support. I really do hope they add Last.fm scrobbling or at least an api that allows a 3rd party app to handle the artist & track title of a song being played through Zune.

William Devereux on May 25, 2011 2:32 AM

Third party apps will be able to take advantage of Mango’s multitasking and the drop-down media controls to provide an experience similar to that of Zune.

Allen Schmidt on May 25, 2011 1:19 PM

I prefer the media control buttons at the bottom. The top doesn’t make sense to me. If they are on the bottom portion, there is less thumb travel. This will be more annoying with the 4″+ screens. If I mimick that movement of my DVP, it’s annoying. Also with them at the top, you cover the album image when changing tracks. Its nothing that’s a deal breaker, but moving it seems redundant and to be less optimal than where they had it situated in the first place.

wixostrix on May 25, 2011 5:29 PM

@Allen Schmidt: I agree, I really dislike the controls at the top and it seems like the complete opposite thinking of how the IE team was thinking when they moved the address bar to the bottom so it’s easier to access.

Kevyn on May 25, 2011 6:39 PM

The controls at the top are growing on me. It will be less likely you’ll hit one of the three capacitive buttons while trying to use the transport controls. Also, regarding the comment about covering up the album art while switching tracks, you can still switch tracks by swiping the album art right or left.

Daniel R. H. on May 25, 2011 7:00 PM

Thanks for the updating!

jim hesse on May 25, 2011 10:56 PM

Where to buy Zune hd 16 gb in canada

techSage on May 25, 2011 11:03 PM

@tds101 Some phone manufacturers (HTC for one) have made EQ settings available via a standalone app, so even if it’s not in the OS, it might still be available.

VasiS on May 26, 2011 1:24 AM

It was alraedy posted on WinRumors yesterday, check the following video to see it in action

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qfc9obT-hvE&feature=player_embedded

KivKuu on May 26, 2011 3:02 AM

Wow, Mango is jsut cool like that dude. Wow.

http://www.total-anonymity.eu.tc

fshfsj on May 26, 2011 9:29 AM

Is it possible to SEARCH for your own music on the device, not in the marketplace ? Right now there are jump list controlls, but NO search :(

Zed on May 26, 2011 6:56 PM

Any word on if it’ll let you sync channels yet? I was actually rather fond of those for office use, I miss them on my phone.

William Devereux on May 26, 2011 8:38 PM

Microsoft seems to be phasing out–or at least, deemphasizing–channels. They were very difficult to update and received little use.

There is, however, somewhat of a work-around for the top songs. If you go to the Marketplace on your Windows Phone, you can view a list of the top songs. Tap the play button next to any track to begin playing the entire list. This essentially works like the top songs channel.

epithetless on May 26, 2011 9:12 PM

Having the ability to save the current playlist is certainly progress. Now: How editable are playlists in WP7′s Zune player? Can songs be rearranged within and removed from them? Can saved playlists have new songs/albums added to them and then either saved as new playlists or re-saved under the same name?

William Devereux on May 26, 2011 10:18 PM

Unfortunately, I am currently unable to test the extent of playlist support on Windows Phone. The emulator is somewhat limited. I’ll post more information once I gain access to the hidden parts of the emulator.

wondering on May 27, 2011 8:54 AM

Can we finally do seeking by scrubbing instead of press and hold the forward/reverse buttons?

Sam on May 28, 2011 2:18 AM

This video shows off the new Zune interface running on Mango. This is the best video of Windows Phone 7.5 I’ve seen anywhere:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-v4erU7Fd4A&t=3m25s

It looks absolutely beautiful. If only Microsoft would bring a subscription video service to counter Amazon Prime/Netflix.

Jimbob on May 28, 2011 12:04 PM

I’d like it so that if I press play next to an artist or album it starts with the first song not the first alphabetically in a playlist of songs which arent ordered alphabetically lol

Mike Safioles on June 25, 2011 11:03 PM

One thing I hope they add is artist / live tile images for places without the Zune Marketplace (Canada).

Craig Sanders on October 22, 2011 10:15 AM

One of the best new Zune features I discovered since upgrading to Mango two days ago is that now, no matter where you are on the phone, you can get to the Now Playing screen by just pressing a volume button and tapping the track name. Before, I had to return to the Start screen and scroll to the Music+Vide tile.

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