music + videos hub – Windows Phone again has some tricks of its own:
While designing Music app or Entertainment Hub for Windows Phone (that is primarily Zune here), Microsoft Team sure should have thought once that when the world is talking about Cover flow animations mostly, what they could do better with a Text based UI.
One finds the music hub UI a little obvious and natural as per Metro UI guideline. Very minimalistic and “To the point UI” without giving you any room of additional options. Don’t expect Equalizer or even presets here. But its still as beautiful, fresh and functional design as any of the design you would have seen.
Opening music + video hub takes you to zune which is further divided in subcategories such as music, videos, podcasts and radio. While sliding sideways introduces sections like applications, new and history. applications section groups the related apps (Nokia Music, Metrotube, YouTube etc) in way a hub is supposed to do in Windows Phone, new shows up the newly added music or videos and history lists all the videos and music that you would have accessed recently in any of music of video app or might have viewed on Youtube.
As about Zune, then for people coming from iTune, it might be a familiar experience, but from Nokia\Symbian user perspective, it would be a different experience to be bound to Zune only for transferring Music\videos to your device. If you are someone who have a lot of music tracks sitting in his PC with just track no, then believe me, you are screwed. Its time to get organized or learn to use Zune properly.
With Windows Phones, Zune would be your one stop solution for your all entertainment related needs. Whatever you throw over it, it will converts the same into a format playable on the phone itself. While its good to see that it retains the quality of videos while converting but sad to see that this all going to the Apple model rather than being like our open Symbian^3 or Meego that was able to play almost any file you throw on it by even USB Mode (No USB Mode in Lumia 800). Though it is understandable from their part as Symbian\Meego been Open Sourced community based OS while Windows Phone OS is propriety OS, hence subjected to multiple licenses etc for making use of multiple Codecs.
You will find it good to see that any kind of web streaming or YouTube video will direct you to Zune which will keep the music\video playing experience consistent across the platform. Gone those day when we wondered that when will a properly integrated YouTube app will be on a Nokia. Though complaint part will be exclusion of aspect ratio settings here.
The other very interesting part of music and videos hub is Nokia Music, which is just another app kind of trying to replace Zune on Windows Phone. The UI though doesn’t presents History feature like Zune or even favourites/repeat or shuffle like options, but you will find it very exciting to know that what it has in offer for you.
By looking into metadata of the song being played on Lumia, it downloads the picture of the artist itself to set it as background of Nokia Music App screen. The play controls will be extended to Lock Screen as well and the so is the background.
The most exciting part of it is the launch of a Pandora-like service by the name of Mix Radio. Thanks to a partnership with The Echo Nest, Nokia can now offer personalized radio stations, curated to the specific tastes of their users. With Mix Radio, you can enter up to three artists you like, and watch as a brand new radio station is created just for you, with what we can hope are songs you will love and enjoy.
The service can also use the metadata from your existing songs to automatically compile a new music station according to your tastes. The technology used to create these new stations has indexed 20,000 different artists, so there’s a good chance it’ll know the type of music a user is looking for. Up to five of these personal radio stations can be saved in the app. This is very good news for Lumia owners, especially those who are not able to use services like Pandora.
Nokia Music also includes Nokia Gig Finder (currently not available for Indian consumers), which allows users to catch the best live music and compare prices and tickets before they sell out and also share events with friends on Facebook. The Gig Finder learns a user’s music tastes to provide information on the best of events happening near them.
If we have to take cues from this Nokia Music app, then we can really expect that what kind of customization Nokia can offer to Windows Phones that will hopefully remain exclusive to Nokia Windows Phones only.Its just not some apps, but backing of multiple services in background and even if community tries to hack into any of the apps, it would not be that easy to bring all the functionality and services.