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Zune 30 firmware updates are coming November 13  (Source: Microsoft)

Zune 80 alongside the Zune 4/8  (Source: Microsoft)
Microsoft prepares Zune updates for next Tuesday

Microsoft announced its second generation Zune music players in early October. Microsoft righted many of the wrongs that plagued the first generation Zune and added a number of new features to pique the interest of potential buyers.

The new Zunes now have the ability to wirelessly sync within range of a host computer. Microsoft also dropped the 3-day limitation from its "3-day-or-3-play" DRM scheme, gave the Zune the ability to playback content from Windows Media Center-enabled PCs and added support for h.264 and MPEG-4 file formats.

When Microsoft announced the new Zune, it also shocked many in the industry when it noted that first generation Zunes -- now called the Zune 30 -- would also receive the new Zune software features via a firmware update.

Microsoft sent out an email to current Zune 30 owners yesterday informing them that the new firmware update along with updated Zune Marketplace software will be available on November 13.

"Beginning November 13, Zune will be providing service and software updates for your device and your PC," stated Microsoft in the email message. "The updates will be automatic, but you'll need to accept the terms of service in order to receive the latest features. By accepting the updates, your Zune will have the same software that comes preloaded on all new devices."

The new Zune 80 features a $249 price tag and an 80GB HDD. Microsoft was also able to enlarge the screen from 3.0" to 3.2" while also making the device both lighter and thinner.

In order to keep up with Apple's fast-moving iPod nano family, the boys from Redmond also introduced two flash-based Zunes: the Zune 4 and the Zune 8. As the names imply, the players have capacities of 4GB and 8GB respectively to go along with their $149 and $199 price tags.

The Zune 80 will be available in black, while the Zune 4/8 will be available in pink, green, black and glossy red.




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