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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 amanojaku on 5/27/2009 9:17:32 AM , Rating: 0
One of the reasons I don't have a mobile media player is that none of them can hold a significant portion of my music library. My 700GB NAS needs an upgrade because I can only fit 10% of my CDs (yes, CDs ) onto it, so an iPod or Zune won't cut it. To top it off, many of my friends have foreign or out of print vinyl that I've copied. So, yeah, even with lossy compression it's VERY easy to exceed the capacity of today's mobile devices.

RE: I want 240GB+ capacities
By adiposity on 5/27/2009 10:54:36 AM , Rating: 5
Hmm, I calculate that you can fit ~1075 CDs (650MB) on 700GB without compression. If you can only fit 10% on there, you must have 10,750 CDs. If you used monkeys audio (lossless audio compression), you could fit 21,500 CDs on there.

So, yeah, even with lossy compression it's VERY easy to exceed the capacity of today's mobile devices.

If you are using compressing, at 320kbps, you could compress to 20% the size. That means you could fit ~53,750 CDs on your NAS.

Do you have 53,750 CDs? Or is your math really fuzzy?


RE: I want 240GB+ capacities
By adiposity on 5/27/2009 10:55:49 AM , Rating: 2
Sorry, you could fit 5,375 compressed CDs. If that is 10% of your collection, you must have 50,375 CDs.


RE: I want 240GB+ capacities
By Smilin on 5/27/2009 1:45:04 PM , Rating: 2
Which, if you assume 72min CDs and 8 hours a day to sleep means you would have to do nothing but listen to music for 10.35 years continusouly. Assuming 5min to burn a CD would also work out to another 262 days.

What's that smell?

Smell's like shenanigans to me.

RE: I want 240GB+ capacities
By adiposity on 5/27/2009 2:13:17 PM , Rating: 3
Some math corrections...

21,500 should read "2150".
~53,750 should read "~5375".

But if you could fit 2150 or 5375, and only 10% of your collection fits, it means you have 21,500 or 53,750 CDs, approximately.

And this assumes that your CDs are filled to the brim. Most CDs are not 650MB, they are 400 or so. In reality the numbers are probably 30% higher than those I've posted.

Now I ask again, do you really have updwards of 10K CDs are are not compressing at all? Or do you have 50K+ CDs and are compressing at 320kbps?

If you do have 50K+ CDs, do you really consider it "easy" to reach that level of CDs? That's probably half a million dollars at good CD prices!

Even to get ~5000 CDs (about what you can currently fit on your "NAS") would be very expensive ($50k-$100k!). I don't think it's correct to say it's "very easy" to reach this level.


RE: I want 240GB+ capacities
By evalese on 5/27/2009 4:31:59 PM , Rating: 4
If he's recording vinyl, he could have the original recording, cleaned up and split wav files, and mp3s on the same drive. Then you're talking 1GB per album fairly easily. He may be recording in 96KHz or 192KHz. Then you've got huge numbers. You could tear through 700GB quickly.

RE: I want 240GB+ capacities
By omnicronx on 5/27/2009 11:20:24 AM , Rating: 5
Common lets be realistic, it is not VERY easy to do so, it takes years of collecting music in order to come even close to filling a 160GB ipod with compressed music. You say only 10% of your CD's will fit on your 700GB NAS, that means you have ~7000 CD's. How many people fit into that category?

Don't get me wrong, I am also in the thousands when it comes to CD's, but I have been collecting for almost 15 years. The thing is most other people do not fit into this category, you are the minority don't forget that. As a result these kind of products are not going to curtail to you and I, but to the masses.

RE: I want 240GB+ capacities
By callmeroy on 5/27/2009 12:08:34 PM , Rating: 2
Most other people go outside too.... ;)

RE: I want 240GB+ capacities
By segerstein on 5/27/2009 12:17:58 PM , Rating: 2
As a result these kind of products are not going to curtail to you and I, but to the masses.

I use my 160GB iPod as a portable HDD. I even put VMWare's image files on it :-D (2GB split, since 4GB FAT32 limit).

Microsoft should upgrade Zune120 to Zune240. All it takes is to put a different HDD in the case. There are also some people who refurbish iPods to 240GB. But from 160 to 240 is not much of an upgrade.

"Folks that want porn can buy an Android phone." -- Steve Jobs
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