The good news has arrived, Microsoft has officially announced the pricing and availability details for the Zune HD and it looks like that magical date will be September 15 with pre-orders beginning today.
In terms of pricing, according to the official press release, the 16GB model will be $219.99 and the 32GB model will be $289.99.
The models that will be available for the pre-order will include the black (16GB only) and the platinum (32GB only). However, after the initial launch, you will also be able to purchase either a 16GB or 32GB Zune HD at Zune Originals in a variety of five colors with the option to further customize it by adding any one of ten new engravings.
Feature wise, the press release does confirm some of the previously rumored details, but unfortunately does not offer a full spec sheet. That said, what was confirmed is that the Zune HD will feature a built-in HD Radio receiver, HD video output, a 3.3-inch OLED display with a 480 x 272 resolution, built-in Wi-Fi as well as a multi-touch capable full-screen web browser.
Getting back to those pre-orders, they will be available at Amazon, Best Buy, Walmart and the Microsoft Store. Sadly, at the time of this posting the pre-order links to Amazon, Best Buy and Walmart all linked to "sorry not available" type pages, and the Microsoft Store did not offer anything much better, but on the plus side they did have the 4 and 8GB flash Zune. I guess it looks like I will have to wait until a little later this morning to pre-order my 32GB Zune HD.
Well, it looks like the wait for information is over, now the decision is whether you will get either the black 16GB, platinum 32GB model or hold out for one of the fancier Zune Original models.
Continue on to check out the full press release...
REDMOND, Wash. – Aug. 13, 2009 – Zune HD, the next generation of Microsoft Corp.'s portable digital media player, is available now for pre-order and is set to hit store shelves on Sept. 15. The player, available in 16GB and 32GB capacities, is the first touch-screen Zune and includes powerful playback technology to give you a different way to experience media on the go. Combined with unparalleled PC software and online services such as Zune Pass, Zune provides a rich and meaningful connection to music, videos, podcasts and more.
Pre-order Zune HD in 16GB Black and 32GB Platinum through http://www.zune.net/zunehd from Amazon.com, Best Buy, Walmart and Microsoft. Beginning September 15, at http://www.ZuneOriginals.net, both 16GB and 32GB capacities of Zune HD will be available in five different colors with the option to customize your player with one of 10 new engravings designed by guest artists.
WHAT: With a sleek and stylish design, Zune HD is the first to combine these features:
• Built-in HD Radio™ receiver. Allows you to listen to higher-quality sound than is available from traditional radio channels, as well as access additional programming through HD2 and HD3 multicast channels from many of your favorite local FM radio stations at no extra cost.
• HD video output capabilities. Supports HD video playback from the device through a premium HDMI A/V docking station (sold separately) directly to an HD TV in 720p, making it easy to enjoy better-than-DVD-quality video on your own big screen at home.
• OLED touch screen. Allows you to easily flip through music, movies and other content. The 3.3-inch glass screen and 16:9 widescreen format display (480x272 resolution) offer a premium viewing experience.
• Built-in Wi-Fi. Allows for browsing, streaming or downloading new music from Zune Marketplace.
• Internet browser. Full-screen Web browsing, optimized for the multi-touch screen with zoom-in and zoom-out gestures.
• Accessories, at home and on the road. Zune HD and AV Dock charges and syncs players while playing supported 720p HD videos on HDTVs. Play HD Radio, music and podcasts from your Zune HD device through your car stereo using the Zune Premium Car Pack.
WHY: Pre-order now to be one of the first to experience the new Zune HD's advanced design,innovative technology and rich multimedia capabilities powered by the NVIDIA Tegra™ chip ultra low-power HD processor.
PRICING: Zune HD 16GB: $219.99 (estimated retail price); Zune HD 32GB: $289.99 (estimated retail price)
WHEN: Pre-order starting Thursday, Aug. 13. Purchase in stores on Tuesday, Sept. 15.
WHERE ONLINE: http://www.zune.net/zunehd
WHERE IN STORE: Place a pre-order in person at Best Buy beginning August 16. If you want to sneak a peek, visit select stores in Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Miami, Minneapolis/St. Paul, New York, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Seattle and Washington, D.C., areas on August 22 and 23.
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