Microsoft has released the much awaited 16GB and 32GB Zune HD which features a 3.3 inch touchscreen, HD Radio, HD video out and Wi-fi support.
Zune HD will allow users to store and play back 720p HD videos files and also stream them to a HDTV using the Zune HD AV dock.
Zune HD will be available in black, red, green and blue colors with the 16GB version costing $219.99 and the 32GB version selling for $289.99.
In addition to that Microsoft has also released Zune 4.0 a PC suite for managing Zune devices. The new software contains features such as recommendation features among other things. The software is free to download for PCs.
We will put up more information about the device and specifications on our gadgets blog.
Microsoft today will release the new Zune HD in response to the new Apple iPod Nano and iPod Touch launched by Apple on September 9th during their Rock and Roll event. Along with the new Zune HD, Microsoft is also launching the Zune 4.0 software which brings many new features like Aero Snap, Jump Lists, etcetera and of course the software is fully compatible with soon to be released Windows 7. The most interesting thing to be noted here is that Microsoft has decided to market Zune HD as a gaming device now and not only as a Personal Media Player. This move from Microsoft is clearly influenced by Apple’s strategy of marketing iPod Touch as a gaming device. Coming to the Zune 4.0 software, it features a Smart DJ application which is somewhat similar to Apple iTunes Genius feature. Basically all it does is create a mix of music from the same genre of your music collection. Microsoft also released a v3.2 software update for the older Zune’s, but even then the launch of Zune HD effectively marks the end of life of all other Zune devices currently in the market.
Even though Microsoft has targeted Zune as a gaming device, as of now there are no games available for it. Microsoft said that they will release few 3D games for free for the Zune HD in the coming months, which Microsoft has created with close collaboration with third parties. They also said that in future users will be able to buy games for Zune HD via the Marketplace.