Upcoming Microsoft Zune Revision May be Interesting After All

By on September 2, 2008 at 12:58 PM.

Upcoming Microsoft Zune Revision May be Interesting After All

There are several things we know for sure when it comes to the impending launch of Microsoft’s revised Zune:

  1. It has already been approved by the FCC.
  2. There will be a 16 GB and a 120 GB version.
  3. It will look exactly like the current Zune.
  4. People will make fun of it.

It’s ok Zune fans, stick to you guns and defend your underdog player. Not everyone has to go with the grain and rock an iPod of course. Besides, you can always shout Zune Pass as a defense and then act high and mighty when an iPod owner retorts with “BitTorrent”. But wait! It looks like there actually might be some new features to help the Zune get a leg up on Apple’s dominant player. From CNET’s Matt Rosoff:

I can’t say much, but I’ve seen what Microsoft’s planning, and befitting its status as a software plus services company, the real advances aren’t going to be in the Zune hardware, but in the Zune software and associated services.

Cryptic as that may be, CNET does have a historical closeness to Microsoft in many regards so Zuners might just be able to rejoice. After all, Microsoft has to get someone excited about its gear. When all is said and done however, hardware is hardware. Software can make or break a device and Apple’s iPod Classic line is hardly feature-rich in that department. So stay strong Zune fans – more info is undoubtedly coming soon.

UPDATE: It looks like we can put a price tag on the 120 GB model thanks to a slight miscue from B&H. $250 it is, maintaining the price point on the 80 GB model it will replace.

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Sony Announces Three New Walkman Lines

By on August 28, 2008 at 11:08 AM.

Sony Announces Three New Walkman Lines

Sony has just let the cat out of the bag and unveiled its latest Portable Audio Player lines dubbed B-Series, E-Series and S-Series. From bottom to top Sony has focused on functionality, form and affordability with its new portable players and we can’t say it failed in any of the aforementioned categories. That said, what about storage fellas? Sony’s new players top out at 8 GB which, for many, just doesn’t cut it these days. For users willing to sacrifice storage space for versatility and style however, these puppies may be right up your alley. The high end S-Series line touts features like active noise cancellation, Sony’s SensMe Channels and up to 40 hours of playback while the low end B-Series includes FM radio and a low entry price of $45. What about the B-Series? Well, no one talks about the middle child. From the press release:

The S-series of Walkman noise canceling video MP3 players come in two different storage capacities in black:

  • The NWZ-S736F has approximately 4GB of internal storage and will cost about $150.
  • The NWZ-S738F has approximately 8GB of internal storage and will cost about $180.

The E-series of Walkman video MP3 players will be available in the following configurations:

  • The NWZ-E436F comes in black, red, pink, blue, has approximately 4GB of internal storage and costs about $100.
  • The NWZ-E438F comes in black, red, pink, has approximately 8GB of internal storage, and costs about $140.

The B-series of Walkman MP3 players come in two different capacities and four colors:

  • The NWZ-B133F player has approximately 1GB of internal storage; comes in black, red and blue and will cost about $45.
  • The NWZ-B135F player has approximately 2GB of internal storage; comes in black, red and pink and will cost about $60.

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4th Generation iPod Nano Case Shows Design Revamp

By on August 25, 2008 at 5:18 PM.

4th Generation iPod Nano Case Shows Design Revamp

Well it looks like Rosey might just be on to something here. Rose’s recent late-night Apple rumors video dropped a bunch of new unconfirmed info on us and amongst the ground he covered was the upcoming 4th generation iPod nano. Of course his description of the new nano was in line with rumors that had been floating around for a while but now we’re seeing the first case design emerge and it looks pretty on point with the rumors. It’s all there; taller design, thinner body, rounded corners and a widescreen. It should also be noted that the source claimed back in July that the upcoming second generation of the iPod Touch will feature integrated GPS. The source of all this by the way, is the same source that leaked iPhone 3G case moldings that turned out to be completely accurate. Hit the jump for rendering of the upcoming 4th generation iPod nano.

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120 GB Microsoft Zune Passes Through FCC

By on August 19, 2008 at 8:55 AM.

120 GB Microsoft Zune Passes Through FCC

Ahh, the good old FCC. It has been quite a resource lately, throwing previews of upcoming products at us left and right. Electronics manufacturers must absolutely adore this archaic government body.  Regardless, behold the new Zune that will soon be making its way to the shelves. You might be thinking to yourself, “hey, this looks just like the old zune!” You’re right, it does. The only revision this model will get is a hefty 50% increase in storage capacity. From the looks of it, everything else is untouched including the firmware version. The new model maintains the same dimensions as the existing 80 GB model thanks to the inclusion of the slender 1.8-inch hard drive Samsung announced last year. This, along with some decent pricing, may help the new model compete with the iPod Classic which is already available with a 160 GB well. Of course there’s always Zune Pass, a great little all-you-can-eat subscription service we’re sure you’re familiar with. Apple has yet to come up with a competitive offering, presumably to avoid cannibalizing iTunes sales. Considering how well iTunes is doing these days we suppose it’s understandable that it would avoid such a service. The new meatier Zune model will almost surely be available in time for the holidays and an unconfirmed educated guess puts the price tag around $300.

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Dell Setting Sights on iPod, Again

By on July 30, 2008 at 12:46 PM.

Dell Setting Sights on iPod, Again

It has been almost two years since Dell’s last shot at the portable audio player market and it didn’t go well to say the least. In a nutshell, one little word with four little letters basically spoiled its plans. Here we are two years later and it looks like Dell is going to be taking another crack at the market that wasn’t at all eager to embrace it in the past. According to the Wall Street Journal however, there may be a bit of a twist this time. First of all DRM is no longer a barrier. As we know, DRM has pretty much been ditched in an effort to loosen the iTunes stranglehold on the digital download domain. Secondly, we have a reported price point in the sub-$100 range. While there is currently no word on how many sizes / models Dell is currently working on, there will be a model available for less than $100; an attractive price point indeed. Then we have the nature of the player itself. Apparently it will be aimed at Dell’s own subscription service as opposed to user libraries. Comes With Music competitor? With all that said, apparently Dell is shooting for a September release which might not work out so well for them (again) if the iPod Touch rumor turns out to be true.

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