A blogger for the Seattle Times wrote a brief comment on what he saw at at Zune HD demo recently, and the most interesting part of his comment is his reference to Apps on the new device. Apparently, he saw “Apps” on the main menu screen of the demo unit, and the Zune demonstrator mentioned that Microsoft wasn’t ready to discuss the possibility of Zune applications or app developers.
This is extremely intriguing, since most people want games and cool apps for their mobile devices. Since the iPod Touch has such apps and games, it only makes sense for Microsoft to follow suit. From what I’ve read, you can create apps for the existing Zune models now, however, these apps are made via a gaming programming language and are not the easiest to create. In fact, it’s down right hard to create a Zune app now since you have to jump through a lot of hoops and hacks to do so.
Hopefully, Microsoft will have a easier way of creating Zune apps and will provide good documentation to potential developers. I’m not entirely sure what the Zune OS is based on (i.e., is it a derivative 0f WinCE, Linux, etc?) but I hope app development is easier than for the Windows Mobile OS devices (Pocket PC and Smartphones). I’m currently working on writing an app for the Palm Pre WebOS device (Linux OS) and it is surprising easy to create apps (I plan to discuss more about this on my tech blog), however, the WebOS programming tools aren’t very mature and there’s lots of holes and lack of capability currently. Hopefully, Microsoft will make programming for the Zune HD much easier.