After information on the new Zunes was leaked this past week, Microsoft decided to play its hand before Apple and officially release the details on the upcoming new Zunes. Hardware changes are somewhat ho-hum but software changes are something just short of fantastic (for a Zune at least). Let’s start with the hardware. As we previously mentioned, the new Zunes will get some additional storage space with capacities being boosted to 120GB for the hard drive model and 16Gb for the flash model. The 120GB will take the place of the current 80GB model and will keep the same price point of $249. The 16GB model will come in at $199 and both new models will sport a glossy black finish. Lets not forget about the current 8GB model. It will see some flashy blue coloring (as shown in the above photo). Add in a $30 price drop bringing the new price down to $149, and you have a nice little player on your hands. Now onto that software, hit the jump to read about the software changes and to see some Qik video of the new Zune in action.
Announced back in August, the Archos 5 Internet Media Tablet is now available and shipping worldwide. Not quite an MID but way more than a standard PMP, the Archos 5 has a 5″ screen with 800 x 480-pixel resolution, integrated 802.11b/g WiFi, Opera Web browser with Flash 9 support, and support, either natively or through a plugin, for almost every audio and video playback codec imaginable (including HD at 720p). It ships in 60GB, 120GB, and 250GB sizes for $350, $400, and $450, respectively. If you can stand the wait, a 3.5G HSDPA version is expected in December 2008. Want to get a closer look at the Archos 5 tablet in action, then head over to Archoslounge.net who has posted an 18 page review chock full of images and hands-on video goodness. We put a teaser above but there is lots more at their site to drool over. Be warned, the review is in French but we all know how to Google translate, right? Enjoy!
There are several things we know for sure when it comes to the impending launch of Microsoft’s revised Zune:
- It has already been approved by the FCC.
- There will be a 16 GB and a 120 GB version.
- It will look exactly like the current Zune.
- 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.