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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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RE: I want 240GB+ capacities
By StevoLincolnite on 5/27/2009 7:41:18 AM , Rating: 2
How does one possibly have that much music unless you have lossless rips direct from CDs.

There are those who have used the 'net since Windows 95 and have been downloading music at a constant steady rate since that time, for instance a friend of mine has over 30 thousand songs which he collected during over a decade, however it's hardly legal.

Plus you can use the devices to store video, or just as a back-up medium like a flash disk.

RE: I want 240GB+ capacities
By franglais on 5/27/2009 7:54:31 AM , Rating: 2
Yes, I too have "a friend" who has about the same amount of music, most likely gotten via the same means ;-)

RE: I want 240GB+ capacities
By callmeroy on 5/27/2009 12:06:08 PM , Rating: 2
While my "friend" has been using the internet since before the WWW came out, you know just file sharing through BBS systems and FTP. I haven't, I mean my "friend" hasn't collected quite as much but....yeah "he" did store up a lot of "stuff" in that time period.......

RE: I want 240GB+ capacities
By Leomania on 5/27/2009 1:04:12 PM , Rating: 2
Yes, I too have "a friend" who has about the same amount of music, most likely gotten via the same means ;-)
My 80GB player is almost full, and it's not from "that" source. It's a combination of my own CD rips and Rhapsody, which for my monthly subscription payment allows me to keep a variety of material I don't own, but simply license. I couldn't possibly afford owning the amount of music that Rhapsody gives me access to. Between my ~400 CDs ripped to VBR Mp3 and the Rhapsody material in WMA, it adds up.

Admittedly, doubling the amount of music I have on the player would be a bit over the top. But then again I would have thought 80GB would be insane just a couple of years ago.

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