Zune HD Adds 3D Games, Windows Marketplace for Mobile Goes Phase II, and the Many Faces of Windows Mobile -- Mega Competition Roundup!

So, yeah, Windows Mobile and Zune. In all the excitement over the Droid (and Pixi), Microsoft went and snuck in some new, competitive updates.

First, the iPod touch's rival, and media darling, the Zune HD got a firmware update that enhanced the browser (though we still get shivers at any mention of IE6, mobile or otherwise) and paved the way for 3D gaming. (Check out the video, above). As with previous games, they're free, but you might have to watch a 15-30 car commercial before the game (or calculator app) launches.

Second, Windows Mobile proper just saw the launch of Windows Marketplace for Mobile Phase II, including an on-phone update for the Marketplace App, and the ability to purchase apps right from a desktop PC browser. And, yeah, the new Marketplace security has reportedly already been cracked.

For the customization junkies, George at WMExperts has also run down some of the more popular UI layers currently available for WinMo, including manufacturers' like HTC and Samsung, vendors' like SPB and Vito, and, of course, Microsoft's home grown.

So, anything Apple and the iPhone should be paying attention to? Any greener grass on Microsoft's side of the road with these updates? Check out the links and let us know what you think.

Rene Ritchie

Editor-in-Chief of iMore, co-host of Iterate, Debug, ZEN and TECH, MacBreak Weekly. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter, App.net, Google+.

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There are 11 comments. Add yours.


RON JEREMY kinda likes windows mobile.

Windows Mobile says:

Windows Mobile kinda likes RON JEREMY!

PeterM11 says:

Only thing that bothers me is that they got Audiosurf Tilt and the iPhone didn't. I really want a mobile Audiosurf. And a Mac version would be nice too. But ohhh no. People need to start making more games for the Mac, especially considering that they now come with great graphic cards.

JJHernandez7 says:

You guys really need help in the headline development dept.
LOL, jk.

stuhFAN says:

15 second ads before each app loads?
Terrible load times?
I'll pass, thanks.

Rjd says:

@stuhFAN; your life is not that exciting. You can spare 15 seconds.

icebike says:

Speaking of Advertising Executive SNAP!!!
"This is a world of 'Nope', Nuh-Uh' and 'Sorry, Charlie.'"

therealtruth says:

Wow they still make the Zune?

Jeremy O says:

Not sure why you thought the calculator app has 15-30 second ad before it.. it has no ad whatsoever. a couple games have a 10-15 second kia ad before them.. most games have a 5 second "ZunePass" ad and then the game loads. 5 seconds of "Buy Zune Pass!" before playing the entirely free, and really awesome, Project Gotham Racing.. is fine by anyone, I'd imagine.

Martin says:

I couldn't care less about the brief ads that run before the games. If they gave the option to pay $10 or $20 to get rid of the ad, I wouldn't. Then again, it would prompt articles on how you can get Zune games for free if you just run a quick ad...
People want free stuff and don't care about the fact that developers need to get paid. The games on the Zune HD are, for the most part, quality games and worth more than the quick ad that can run as you settle into a chair or something.

Rob4Robert says:

To be clear, there are NO ads before the weather app, calculator app, or new Piano app on the Zune HD. Ads only run before the games, and usually (from actualy experience with my Zune HD), the ads are just little text blurbs that say, "Get a Zune Pass"...These last all of 10 seconds while the game loads. Nothing in life is free, but if they want to run an ad for a product like a car or a toaster oven for that matter, go ahead, don't cost me nothin' but time, which again, i'd lose waiting for the game to load anyway.