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Microsoft's Zune HD steps into the limelight

It appears that all the rumors and pictures from the last month regarding the Zune HD were right. Microsoft last night announced its next generation Zune and it appears that the boys from Redmond are finally ready to start taking the fight to Apple's iPod touch.

The angular device packs a 3.3" 16:9 OLED display with a resolution of just 480 x 272. Thankfully, the touchscreen includes multi-touch which currently resides on such devices as the Apple iPhone, iPod touch, and Palm Pre. The Zune HD also brings with it HD radio and is capable of 720p video-out via HDMI with a docking station.

The only other hardware detail that Microsoft announced was the inclusion of Wi-Fi which has always been a Zune staple. In this case, however, a full-screen multi-touch web browser will also be included (and hopefully an email client and various other internet-based utilities).

Microsoft didn't divulge any information on storage capacities for the new Zune HD, but earlier reports pegged the devices launching in 16GB and 32GB capacities. Hopefully, this isn't the case as Apple is near certain to release its next generation iPod touch early this fall in capacities of up to 64GB which would leave the Zune HD trailing behind.

"The Zune music player is an integral part of the overall Zune experience, and we're proud to be growing and extending our offering beyond the device," said Enrique Rodriguez, corporate vice president of the Microsoft TV, Video and Music Business Group. "Delivering on Microsoft's connected entertainment vision, this news marks a turning point for Zune as it brings cross-platform experiences and premium video content to living rooms around the world."

Microsoft's first and second attempts at taking on Apple with its Zune range didn't do much to challenge the iPod's dominance of the marketplace. However, Microsoft appears to have a real chance of scoring some major points with consumers with the Zune HD -- that is if they can manage to keep storage capacities at a lofty level.

The Zune HD will launch this fall.

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If only
By FITCamaro on 5/27/2009 7:30:53 AM , Rating: 2
They'd make it a phone too.

RE: If only
By vapore0n on 5/27/2009 7:57:13 AM , Rating: 3
well they make the OS for them.

I think they would be better off just selling licenses to multiple companies. Increases their market presence.

RE: If only
By thekdub on 5/27/2009 8:01:32 AM , Rating: 2
I remember seeing a rumor that MS is interested in developing a Zune service for phones, but not necessarily its own hardware. I forget where I saw that though, so take those words with a grain of salt.

RE: If only
By Totally on 5/27/2009 8:08:00 AM , Rating: 3
They'd step on a lot of toes if they did that.

and I think their number one rule is - Don't rock the boat.

RE: If only
By omnicronx on 5/27/2009 8:30:17 AM , Rating: 2
The word on the street is they will, most likely only through a third party such as HTC, but it will be an MS controlled phone. (search for 'Microsoft Pink')

This is the best and only way for them to really enter the market. They need to get right into the CDMA and GSM market right away, and not have to focus on the hardware supporting it.

RE: If only
By omnicronx on 5/27/2009 8:31:22 AM , Rating: 1
Forgot to mention: No carrier support = no phone.. so this is nothing but a rumor until that happens.

RE: If only
By Bender 123 on 5/27/2009 8:47:57 AM , Rating: 3
WinMo is on every network and Microsoft carries a big stick...Don't expect that this wont be anywhere and everywhere by the end of the year. Consider the Zune HD as Microsoft's iPod touch, a platform that parallels the phones, without contract costs and service. The only difference, compared to Apple, is that MS is licensing the OS to OEMs to build the phones and keeping the Zune as a striped down "light" version of the Zune phone OS, in house.

Something tells me this is only the first of a few "big" announcements from MS, in the mobile realm.

RE: If only
By croc on 5/27/2009 6:29:28 PM , Rating: 1
CDMA??? Carriers still use this outdated tech??? Must be some 3rd world backwater...

RE: If only
By Aloonatic on 5/27/2009 9:07:30 AM , Rating: 2
Well, it has wi-fi, so maybe a skype/VOIP type service is not out of the question? Not sure if a mic is included or a head set could be used of course, and it wouldn't work in all that many places but wi-fi hot spots are everywhere these days and in your home too....

It would be great if they could make a cell/mobile phone version.

"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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