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$399 for a 30GB Zune

The Zune info just keeps pouring and this time we're getting additional details from Digital Music News. The publication has seen various presentation materials sent to Microsoft partners which shed some more light on the portable media player that everyone seems to be talking about these days.

According to the materials, Microsoft will initially be targeting Zune at young adults in the 18-24 age bracket. In targeting this segment of the market, Microsoft hopes to piggyback on the success of the XBOX, XBOX 360 and XBOX Live -- which have been made popular by young adults -- and use its console platform as a launching pad for Zune.  Digital Music News reports:

The Xbox community itself will be an important starting point for the campaign. Upon launch, Microsoft will create an impact though a "7 cities in 7 nights" tour, which will involve big-name artists, key cities, and live performances that will be exclusively positioned as downloads "on the web and music store". Throughout, the messaging will be focused on the "device plus store". Big box retail outlets will offer a nice push. Sources note that the device will be “overwhelmingly sold at Target, Best Buy, and Walmart,” and nearly 30,000 retail outlets across the US. A Super Bowl spot is also reportedly in the works.

The Zune Live feature, which takes advantage of the device’s built-in WiFi, is also key to Microsoft's aim at capturing 20% of the market. Zune Live would be a community-based system that would allow Zune users and XBOX Live users to stay in touch and share content. Whether this will lead to some sort of MySpace-esque ecosystem for the portable media set remains to be seen. Digital Music News reports that WiFi sharing can take place between up to ten people within close proximity to each other. Users will be able to stream music from each other, but simply copying music and heading off into the sunset doesn't appear to be an option:

If a user wants to purchase shared material, tracks can be bookmarked and later purchased when the device is synched to the computer. Unclear is whether users can share unlicensed MP3 content, though they probably will not have that ability. Meanwhile, interesting community aspects will be embedded into the device, including features like friends lists.

And now we get to the rough part. Pricing looks to be on the high side with a 30GB model coming in at the price of a 60GB 5G iPod: $399. Apple's 30GB 5G iPod is $100 cheaper. Another more interesting downside is that the device will not feature wireless PC syncing. Wireless PC syncing would be a big boon for Zune, but Microsoft has perhaps implemented some proprietary WiFi protocol in the device which would make wireless syncing impossible. USB connectivity, however, will be available for both PCs and XBOX consoles. The device will also be incompatible with existing PlaysForSure music services as Microsoft looks to a one-brand music store strategy similar to iPod + iTunes. All signs point to the recently launched MTV/Microsoft URGE music store.

Microsoft is hoping to launch the new player in three colors this November in the States with a worldwide launch coming early next year.

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RE: WHAT ???
By rrsurfer1 on 7/18/2006 2:25:15 PM , Rating: 2
That is a high price.

Who wants to bet there will be a hack for this to allow you to transfer files :)

RE: WHAT ???
By Some1ne on 7/18/2006 3:27:17 PM , Rating: 2
If it did allow (officially, or otherwise) the unrestricted copying of files over a giant ad-hoc wifi network composed of Zune users, each one carrying 30 GB of downloadable content, I'd be willing to pay $399 with it.

Having devices designed to try to enforce all this DRM stuff is just BS.

RE: WHAT ???
By kitchme on 7/18/2006 8:00:35 PM , Rating: 2
Even in that case, I wouldn't pay that much. I've got my own music ready for transfer, and plus MS would never allow that in any case. Maybe it would allow you to see others' playlist and you could purchase music that way, but not to have unrestricted copying. Not impressed with price nor with the look of it. It looks like a generic iPod. Count me out...

RE: WHAT ???
By Wolfpup on 7/20/2006 4:14:51 PM , Rating: 1
I agree. Looks like a generic iPod-and for more money, what's the point.

Silly, but personally I'd rather support Apple if the price is similar...let alone if it's $100 cheaper! Plus Apple supports MPEG4 which like everything uses and their are trillions of free convertors for, while this is probably locked in to WMV, which is near useless IMO.

RE: WHAT ???
By Wolfpup on 7/20/2006 4:17:24 PM , Rating: 1
Oh, and another thing...I sure wish this had been a portable game system like the early rumors said! We've already got 1001 MP3 players on the market-heck, the iPod on it's own covers the market just fine IMO. But I *LOVE* games, and I *LOVE* portable game systems, so wouldn't have minded another entry into the space. Although only if it used physical media-and not sure if Microsoft could engineer something like the PSP (ie Sony was in a rare position to bring all the technology together).

Eh, oh well. With the Nintendo DS, Playstation Portable, and even still the Gameboy Advance all going strong, I guess there's no real need for another portable!

"We basically took a look at this situation and said, this is bullshit." -- Newegg Chief Legal Officer Lee Cheng's take on patent troll Soverain

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