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Print 43 comment(s) - last by AndersMech.. on Sep 11 at 4:05 PM

Microsoft will be offering new 120GB and 8GB Zune models

Microsoft launched its Zune digital audio players (DAP) hoping to dethrone Apple and its dominating iPod from the top of the DAP heap. As it turns out, the Zune proved to be no match for the iPod. The iPod sits firmly at the top of the sales pecking order while Microsoft languishes much farther down the list of the most popular DAPs around.

Despite the sales figures, not being what Microsoft hoped for, it is still trudging along with new models and updates to the software to bring about the "Zune Social". In May of 2008, Microsoft launched the Zune 2.5 update and episodes of TV shows. Later in May of 2008, GameStop announced that demand for the Zune in its stores was so low it would no longer be carrying the products.

Engadget reports that information on new Zune models has surfaced from B&H Photo. A 120GB Zune in black will be available for $249.95. An 8GB Blue flash-based Zune will be available for $149.95. Zunerama reports that it has received a screen shot from someone at Wal-Mart that shows the black 80GB Zune and the 4GB Zune have been discontinued. The screen shot is so blurry as to be virtually unreadable.

If the screenshot is accurate, it would seem the 80GB hard drive based Zune is being replaced with the 120GB version. The 4GB flash based Zune is phased out in favor of the 8GB version.

The players would go head to head with Apple's classic iPod 80/160 GB players, priced at $249/$299, and its 8GB flash iPod Nano, generally available for around $179.99.  In the previous generation, the iPod featured better battery life, while the Zune sported a bigger screen and some extra features, though there's no telling how the next generation models of the two players will stack up.


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RE: None of this matters
By Devo2007 on 9/3/2008 1:17:33 PM , Rating: 5
Guess I'm the exception to this rule. When it came time for me to choose a new MP3 player, I picked up the Zune 80. I've used an iPod before and didn't see what was special about it. Sound quality was just so-so (not using the stock earbuds btw), and I don't care for the click wheel.

I'm still a happy Zune user. Also, for those wondering, you don't need to buy new headphones with the Zune -- the stock ones are actually quite decent (unlike the iPod). Of course, most iPod users don't care about sound quality so I guess that's a moot point (judging from the number of white earbuds I see on my daily commute).


RE: None of this matters
By novacthall on 9/3/2008 1:48:04 PM , Rating: 2
Dittos to the above.

I retired my iPod that I got in 2004 this year after 4 years of faithful service for a Zune 8. I absolutely love it, and haven't regretted the decision one bit. My wife even retired her iPod that I bought for her to pick up a Zune after playing with mine.

I don't really fit Apple's target market, though. I never purchased anything off the ITMS. I still buy CDs. I don't have a commute that I can watch TV shows on, nor do I travel enough to need one. I dislike being associated with anything remotely "trendy" (in all fairness, that's my problem, not theirs).

As far as sound quality goes, I typically think my hearing is pretty good, but I honestly can't tell the difference. The Zune seems to pick up more interference from my work Nextel phone than did my iPod, but I don't think that's a Zune problem so much as it's a "it's 2008 and you're playing an MP3 player through your tape deck, dummy" problem. I use Bose QuietComfort 2 headphones when I travel and my music sounds great.

The one thing I miss is an equalizer, but iPod's was horrible anyway, so I'd rather not have any at all than one I can't use. I'm looking forward to see how they grow the device.

No love lost, I just didn't need an iPod.


RE: None of this matters
By michael2k on 9/3/2008 3:59:58 PM , Rating: 2
Sounds like the Zune is the new Mac :)


RE: None of this matters
By clovell on 9/3/2008 2:38:34 PM , Rating: 2
I have to agree. I went with the Zune, and subscribe to the unlimited download service for $15/month, and I couldn't be happier. I've actually discovered a lot of new music throught it. Being able to actually enjoy a movie on long flights is nice, too.


RE: None of this matters
By Jackattak on 9/3/2008 2:57:48 PM , Rating: 3
Count me in. I totally bought a 1st-Gen Zune over the iPod a few years ago. I hate iPods. The click wheel is horrible and iTunes works as well with Windoze as an Ubuntu app.

My wife was an avid iPod user, having gone through a few different styles over the years, until she one day used my Zune. I bought her the 2nd-Gen 80GB in red the next day and she's never looked back at her stupid iPod. Heck I can't even sell the stupid thing on craigslist because no one wants it! So her iPod just sits completely unused while we're now a happy Zunerific family. :)


RE: None of this matters
By Ryanman on 9/3/2008 4:42:36 PM , Rating: 2
I'm not saying other people aren't the exception. I myself have a creative vision M I bought for 200 bucks 2 or 3 years ago. It had the same capacity as the Ipod, with greater sound range, video, and radio/microphone recording capability. Given, the thing's twice as thick and the battery life only runs about 4hours for video, but there ARE people who beat the apple machine.

I'm just disappointed there aren't more who do so.


RE: None of this matters
By marsbound2024 on 9/3/2008 9:23:39 PM , Rating: 2
It's about marketing and the "cool" factor. You can't be cheesy and you have to be up with the latest trends/fads. Apple does this well. It's commercials and product design scream new. Though other products may be technically better bangs-for-the-buck, they won't get near the market penetration because they can't compete with the vast iPod accessories out on the market and how they've already made a name for themselves.


"When an individual makes a copy of a song for himself, I suppose we can say he stole a song." -- Sony BMG attorney Jennifer Pariser

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