With the recent release of the XNA SDK for game development, a lot of resourceful people have already started creating applications (not games) for the Zune. This link on GotZune.com shows three such applications (e.g., clock, calculator, and calendar). With this capability, a developer could create whatever application they wanted so long as it stays within the boundaries of what is available for game programming. Wouldn’t it be cool to have your MS-Outlook calendar and contacts synced to your Zune? What about having the ability to use a WiFi connection at a local coffee shop to check emails, or web browse? Of course, this is assuming the XNA SDK would allow for such access to the device’s WiFi and other system functions. Also, you’re limited to what you can input using a touchpad control and a few buttons. I’m sure some clever and resourceful developers will come up with some interesting applications for the Zune!
Currently, the only major limitation is installing such applications on your Zune. So far as I can tell, you need to install the Visual Studio C# Express development software on your PC to make a connection to your Zune to upload the applications. This is still a bit too techie for most people, so I don’t think a lot of Zune owners will be installing applications. But then again, a clever developer could probably create an simple installer application to circumvent this issue.
So, stand back and wait for the flood of cool apps soon to be coming our way for the Zunes!