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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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The Storage size is pathetic
By SiliconAddict on 9/15/2009 12:55:21 PM , Rating: -1
I can fit half my collection of music on the 32GB model....with no video. Lets say I trim that down to everything with 5-4 stars....I'm still looking at needing the 32GB and even then I'd only be able to store only a handful of movies.

I want to beat the living **** out of Steve Jobs for starting this damn flash trend. The asshole has successfully killed the idea of the jukebox. the original concept for the iPod was to be able to take your entire collection with you wherever you go. I remember that dick mentioning on stage that is why they don't offer 512MB flash drives. People want to have the flexibility of their music wherever they go. That was just another, in a long string of lies, because soon after the shuffle was born.

Both the Zune HD and the iPod Touch could be fantastic PMP's if they would simply add a 100GB drive in there. As for battery life. That is what cache is for damn it. If you drop a 1.5GB cache in that system it MIGHT spin up once every 2 hours....maybe. Hell drop 4GB in there and you would have enough for the OS, apps, and cache. And would easily fit a movie\TV episode or two. But no. It has to be thinner then 2 playing cards. That is another thing Apple "invented".

They are going to go down in history as the anti-innovator. Destroying markets all in the name of pretty. F you Apple, and F you MS for not at least offering us the option of a hard drive based device.




By mydogfarted on 9/15/2009 2:30:58 PM , Rating: 2
let's see here: more moving parts = greater risk of failure. Flash memory = zero moving parts. Not that I've had a hard drive based iPod fail, but I've had multiple laptop drives fail and we all remember just how awesome IBM's microdrives were. </sarcasm>

4GB of cache? Really? How does it determine what to load it with?

I'm willing to bet you offer someone the choice between thin and bulky with something they are going to carry with them constantly, thin is going to win out.


RE: The Storage size is pathetic
By Smilin on 9/15/2009 5:51:11 PM , Rating: 4
Your anger shows a lack of understanding.

Flash is definately the better option. The big con to flash is it's high price.

Jobs didn't start the flash trend either. Rio's used to have that.


RE: The Storage size is pathetic
By callmeroy on 9/16/2009 8:35:01 AM , Rating: 2
I agree with 'Smilin', but in addition --- what do you some of you people do with your spare time if 10,000 songs worth of storage doesn't fit your needs or your music collection size?

At least I'm assuming 32gb will fit at least 10,000 songs only because I know someone with a 32 gb Ipod Touch and he has like 9,823 songs or something like that on it.

I just don't get that -- folks complaining that they 10s of thousands of songs or dozens of movies aren't good enough to carry around.......who the hell has the time for that?

All you people do is sit around listening to music all damn day? Granted I use my classic ipod for the gym -- and I assume most folks use their music players for exercising mostly...after you are done with your work out though, you just waste your time every day listening to music all the time?


RE: The Storage size is pathetic
By MadMan007 on 9/16/2009 1:57:34 AM , Rating: 1
Can't have capacitive touch screens with a HD. But yeah more capacity would be nice you just need to be patient at this point. Capacities have consistently doubled at a given price for a number of years and although we might be getting to the point in process technology where that will slow there's still a bit of room for the trend to continue. Expect to see 128GB flash devices at $400 next year. It's too bad MS decided not to make a $400 64GB Zune.


"I want people to see my movies in the best formats possible. For [Paramount] to deny people who have Blu-ray sucks!" -- Movie Director Michael Bay

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