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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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By kelmon on 9/4/2008 4:57:42 AM , Rating: 2
* Looks ImSpartacus squarely in the eye *

Yes, I would use GPS on an MP3 player.

I don't have a GPS unit at the moment but I wish to buy one. What I don't want is an in-car unit because we tend to end up walking in places like London and Brussels, so a handheld unit will be a must. Currently I am contemplating the iPhone 3G but since I don't actually use a phone that much the phone bit might be a waste. Given this an iPod Touch with GPS might not be a bad solution, assuming that the GPS aspect of it works well and we'll get the turn-by-turn system that is expected. GPS, to me, would be an important feature that would make me upgrade from my current 80GB iPod.

The MP3 player evolved years ago beyond simply playing music. Right now the iPod Touch and iPhone look like being what I wished my old Palm V was when I bought it.

All this said, however, there's not been anything concrete to say that the iPod Touch will incorporate GPS. Next week we will see...

By Parhel on 9/4/2008 11:12:51 AM , Rating: 2
You might be a bit disappointed if you plan on using the iPhone for a GPS. Tom's Hardware recently did a video review of the iPhone. From that, and from what else I've read, it appears that no amount of software will ever allow the GPS in the iPhone to provide turn-by-turn directions. It doesn't have the necessary accuracy due to the lack of an external antenna. My Garmin Nuvi absolutely doesn't work at all unless you raise the antenna. By the way, the Nuvi can play MP3s. I've never used it for that, so I can't speak for how it compares to an iPod.

By kelmon on 9/4/2008 11:28:02 AM , Rating: 2
I guess this is something that we will have to wait and see about. However, I must confess that I don't consider Tom's Hardware to be a reliable source of information, particularly after they tried to convince us that SSDs were no more energy efficient than HDDs. Apple still says that the software update that will enable the iPhone to determine your current direction is coming later this year. Whether that will be enough or not remains to be seen, but since I intend to use it mostly when walking I don't think it is going to be an issue.

By Parhel on 9/4/2008 11:50:04 AM , Rating: 2
You're right in that Tom's isn't a quality reference, but there have been several rumors to the effect that we won't see true GPS on the iPhone. At this point, considering Apple's track record of promising more than they can deliver with the iPhone, I won't believe it until I see it.

Don't get me wrong . . . I've seen the iPhone, and from my limited experience, I think it's a great product. But it's only great as a combination MP3 player and phone. If you buy one expecting to get a fully functional web browser and a GPS, you'll be disappointed.

"Paying an extra $500 for a computer in this environment -- same piece of hardware -- paying $500 more to get a logo on it? I think that's a more challenging proposition for the average person than it used to be." -- Steve Ballmer
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