Print 43 comment(s) - last by sebmel.. on Sep 16 at 5:11 PM

The Zune HD is officially available as of today

Today is the big day for fans of Microsoft's Zune -- the Zune HD is launching and new details about the device, and the software behind the scenes has turned up with the official launch. The new Zune 4.0 software to go along with the Zune HD player is now ready to download.

Older Zunes are getting some new software love too with a 3.2 update. The new software is fully Windows 7 compliant, naturally. It Supports all those nifty 7 features like Jump Lists, previews, and Aero Snap.

Other new features of the software include a Quickplay menu to access your favorite media on the Zune HD player. Smart DJ is rather like the Apple Genius feature and creates music mixes with similar genres from your collection and it will add music from the Zune marketplace for those with a Zune Pass.

A new Mini Player mode is now available that keeps the mini player on top of any PC apps that are running. Microsoft has also introduced download to rent or own movies and TV shows in SD and HD formats. Engadget also reports that the ability to move DRM tracks between Zune users has been removed from the new software.

Perhaps the most interesting new tidbit of info for the new Zune HD player is that Microsoft plans to position the device as a mobile gaming platform. If the popularity of gaming on the iPod touch and iPhone are an indication of the popularity of mobile gaming, this is a very good thing.

The official Microsoft press release states, "Later this year, Zune plans to release free applications such as Twitter for Zune and Facebook for Zune, in addition to fun 3-D games such as "Project Gotham Racing: Ferrari Edition," "Vans Sk8: Pool Service" and "Audiosurf(TM) Tilt." Games can be added to Zune HD via Zune Marketplace over the Wi-Fi connection or when connected to the Zune PC software."

Microsoft reports that its strategy at this point is to keep some games and apps offered on the Zune HD as free products that are developed in-house or in close collaboration with third parties. Premium 3D games will be items you have to purchase presumably. There will be no SDK to allow devs to build apps for the Zune HD at this point.

The launch of the Zune HD today also marks the retirement of all other Zune devices.

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By h0kiez on 9/15/2009 10:30:52 AM , Rating: -1
Show me some good games and I might be willing to pick one up.

Better yet: get WinMo 7 out the door and add all this Zune-like functionality to it so I can just get the latest HTC phone and call it a day. MS has done about as bad a job as possible at competing with the iPhone, but I'm still hopeful. Internet Explorer did eventually get better (still don't use it) after years of being trounced by the competition.

RE: Games
By novacthall on 9/15/2009 10:35:56 AM , Rating: 2
Have the PSP and the DS not been out for no less than 4 years at this point?

RE: Games
By h0kiez on 9/15/2009 11:45:47 AM , Rating: 2
They have, but I'm not really trying to carry around another device; hence why I'd really just prefer for them to integrate everything into a cell phone.

RE: Games
By ClownPuncher on 9/15/2009 3:38:03 PM , Rating: 1
So instead of lugging around a phone and a PSP, your solution is to lug around a cell phone that does it all and several spare batteries?

RE: Games
By clovell on 9/15/2009 11:32:14 AM , Rating: 2
Mine had Tetris and Texas Hold 'Em Poker since like the end of last year - never really looked for much else...

RE: Games
By headbox on 9/15/09, Rating: -1
RE: Games
By therealnickdanger on 9/15/2009 11:42:15 AM , Rating: 5
Why doesn't this article mention the "tech" behind the Zune HD? NVIDIA Tegra! It slices, it dices, it rawx your face off!

Another question, why isn't this thing a PHONE!?? I would buy one in a heartbeat!

RE: Games
By AEvangel on 9/15/2009 11:46:15 AM , Rating: 1
MS has done about as bad a job as possible at competing with the i-Phone, but I'm still hopeful.

I agree, the simple fact that this device is not even over 100 gigs of storage on it is appalling imho.

I would love to have a phone/portable media player/gaming device. The Zune could be it but MS seems to fail with every incarnation to do it.

RE: Games
By lightfoot on 9/15/2009 12:59:46 PM , Rating: 2
I agree, the simple fact that this device is not even over 100 gigs of storage on it is appalling imho.

Maybe because this uses flash memory and not a hard drive? There isn't a single flash memory based player on the market with over 100 gigs of storage (to my knowledge.) And the memory alone would be prohibitively expensive even if there were.

RE: Games
By Assimilator87 on 9/15/2009 2:21:19 PM , Rating: 2
Taking this one back to the topic of games. Audiosurf + PMP = WIN!

RE: Games
By Smilin on 9/16/2009 10:52:54 AM , Rating: 2
Audio surf would rock.

I want a mp3 player for the MUSIC. That game would count as it's just an interesting way to play music.

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