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ZuneHD Details Firm Up

163153-Zune_hd_image_original After much speculation, some details are coming out about the ZuneHD.  The initial capacity for the ZuneHD will be 16 GB's.  This is expected to go for somewhere between $249 and $279.  A 32 GB, and even a 64 GB model are both possibilites, but launch dates and prices have not been decided on either capacity.  The ZuneHD will use the Tegra chip, which will supoort 720p video.  Such video content is expected to be available from the Zune Marketplace in the next revision.  An HDMI output will make the content viewable in HD.  The new Zune is expected for this September, hopefully just in time to ruin Apple's party for returning students.  And no, there does not appear to be any ZunePhone anywhere in the works- just for the record.

[Electronista]


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ZuneHD Video on Engadget

The ZuneHD is seen in this video.  Note how the touchscreen makes the squircle look clumsy.  The processor looks responsive, and quite fluid as they navigate around.  The OLED screen also appears quite slick, although the quality of the video is not spectacular so we'll have to reserve final judgement on that for now.  If Microsoft can price this right, they could finally have the iTouch fighter to take the Zune platform to the next level.  Ok, without further delay, let's roll the video....


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Inside ZuneHD: Tegra

NVIDIA_Tegra Details are still emerging on the latest Zune, the ZuneHD.  While it will be flash based, and have an HD radio built in, little is known about the actual capacity, or the pricing.  One thing is for sure is that it will have the iPod Touch squarely in its crosshairs.

One thing that is coming out is that the ZuneHD uses the Nvidia Tegra "System-on-a-chip" to give it some processing muscle.  This is a ARM based processor, that is ultra low power, and was developed specifically for handhelds, smartphones, and portable devices.  Despite the attractiveness of such a chip, other manufacturers have not used it, and in fact the Zune will be the first device to use this Tegra chip.  Built by Nvidia, it has Geforce processing built in, and should be ideal for video, including 1080P and 720P hi def, a traditional weakness of handheld devices.  Perhaps if it performs well here, it will be a boost to the entire Windows Mobile platform.

[X-bit Labs]


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Zune Sports the Red & the Blue

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The Zune 120 has consistently been available in one color only, black.  True to Henry Ford's Model T, this one color option certainly simplifies the stocking of the store shelves.  However, maybe it is all this talk of Obama and his maybe it's a Zune, maybe it's not, but Microsoft has expanded the color palette by 200% for this holiday season, better expressed as adding two colors.

While the Zune 120 is still only in black in retail outlets, if you go through the Zune Originals site, you will have the option of customizing your Zune to a red or blue exterior.  It's about time there were some more color choices, don't you think?


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Zune Remains Editor's Choice

01425i22033000 I was surfing, and came upon the PC Magazine's holiday shopping guide of "How to Buy an MP3 Player."  What was intriguing is that there are only three players that get their coveted Editor's Choice designation: Apple's iPod Nano, the iTouch, and the Zune 120 GB.  While I'm not surprised that Apple dominated their choices, I was a little surprised that they saw the value of the Zune.  I've long maintained that "the ultimate music player," that Apple frequently touts its iTouch as, would, by definition, fit all of my music, which is 39 gigs at last count.  I'm not saying the iTouch is a bad product, and I've even been thinking of buying one, but at least to me, I'm looking for it to replace my Palm T/X as nonsmartphone PDA organizer, and not as a music player.

When Apple ceased any new meaningful development on their hard drive based players, and designated them as "classic" to justify this, they ceded this portion of the market.  Microsoft's Zune was well positioned to take this segment over, but unfortunately most of the players sold are flash based.  Still, for the serious music enthusiast, the Zune is the way to go, and PC Mag designates it as "...the best hard drive–based portable media player on the market." 

I'm just glad that someone is making a product with a large enough capacity because sooner or later my Zune 80 will need to be replaced, and I wouldn't hesitate to purchase another one.  How many pieces of electronics do you own that fit into that category?  Around my house, that is quite few!


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Zune Holiday Price Cuts

Tis the season... to cut prices!  With the holiday shopping getting underway, and consumers keeping their credit cards in their pockets, Microsoft is sweetening the deals.  While I would argue to hold out for a Zune 120, that price held firm, but the rest of the line dropped in price.  Glad to see that Microsoft is doing what it takes to gain market share.  Will these price cuts get you to part with some dough?
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Zune 3.0, now with Audible.com support, free book and 30-day trial available

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Another feature that came along with the Zune 3.0 software update was the addition of Audible.com support. While maybe not the most advanced of the new features, its one that I am personally excited to see, in fact I would say that this addition was long overdue.

Aside from the support, Audible is also offering a few freebies. The first is a 30-day trial to test out the Audible service, of course this offer is valid only for new customers. The second offer is a free book, and this one is available for everyone. The freebie book is Black River by Dean Koontz and can be downloaded by any Zune owner.

To claim your 30-day free trial or your copy of Black River just head on over to www.audible.com/zune.

[MSN Money via Zune Insider]


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Zune Originals adds new artwork, online exclusive colors

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In addition to the new software and free Wi-Fi, Zune Originals has also received an little refresh with the introduction of the new Zune hardware. We have already seen the new Zune 120 and Zune 16 hit the retail stores in black, and now Zune Originals has also announced that the Zune 16 will be available in blue, red, pink and green as an online exclusive. Finally, customers will also have the option of choosing some new artwork as Zune Originals has added 14 new designs to give your Zune a little more of a personal feel.

[ZuneOriginals]


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Microsoft offering free McDonalds Wi-Fi for Zune owners

Mcdonalds_logo_250 In addition to the recently released Zune 3.0 software, Microsoft has announced that Zune owners will also be able to get free Wi-Fi at McDonalds restaurants across the US.

“Wayport is pleased to be working with Microsoft to make it easier for Zune users to access music on the go,” said Dan Lowden, vice president of business development and marketing for Wayport.

Now, assuming you have already updated to the latest software you will be able to take advantage of all the new features the next time you get that fast food craving. Which means that in addition to downloading music from the Marketplace you can also tag and purchase from the FM radio, and also take advantage of the recommendations and programming features. As of the current announcement, the wireless access is available at more than 9,800 McDonalds locations.

[Microsoft]


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Zune 3.0 software now available

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In short...the Zune 3.0 software update is now available. You can grab the new software by launching your current version and heading to Settings -> Software -> General -> Check for update. Also if you do not already have the Zune software installed you can download it directly by clicking here. Mine is downloading as I write this post, can't wait to begin playing.


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