Microsoft Releases Facebook For Zune HD

Microsoft has released the promised Facebook client for the Zune HD. Current Zune HD owners will find the Facebook client in the apps section of the Zune Marketplace. Unfortunately, there are currently problems with the data communication between the Zune client and Facebook that is severely limiting the functionality of the program. The program currently does not display the Facebook newsfeed, nor have I been able to have it successfully display my friends listing or messages, though it does display my profile information, including photos. Matthew Miller provides a good overview of the program’s capabilities and provides an explanation for why the program is currently not working. If you are interested in following Microsoft’s progress towards resolving the problem, you can check a forum thread.

Zune applications may provide a glimpse into how applications might run on the Windows Phone 7 Series. There is no multitasking on the Zune HD, and there is no simple way to switch between applications. An example that shows how this breaks down is in the Twitter application. When you click a URL in a tweet you are asked whether you want to open the URL in the Zune’s web browser, but after viewing the page in the browser there is no way to return to the Twitter client, instead you have to return to the home screen, navigate down to the apps section, and select the Twitter client, which restarts and does not return you to the tweet from which you began. Hopefully, the Twitter-to-browser experience is a limitation of the Zune HD and does not reflect how applications will work in Windows Phone 7.

The Zune application store only has 17 applications for the Zune, and most of them are games, though all of them are free. I personally do not think the Zune HD is a great device for running programs because the screen is too small. There is a web browser on the Zune that does a decent job of rendering web pages, but I don’t find it a comfortable reading experience. However, I have found it handy to have games on the Zune, and during a recent flight I played Lucky Lanes Bowling while listening to music.