We wouldn’t go as far as to call Microsoft’s upcoming Zune refresh a PMP hail mary, but it’s pretty clear that a lot is riding on Redmond’s upcoming players. So far we really like what we’ve seen of the Zune HD — and that statement is now expanded to include pricing. Last night some Best Buy inventory screen caps revealed the Zune HD’s price points and as of this morning we can consider them confirmed thanks to Amazon. App Store aside, we’re looking at a device far more capable and exciting compared to Apple’s iPod touch, and according to Amazon’s pre-order page, the 16GB will launch at $219.99 (compared to $299 for the 16GB iPod touch) and the 32GB model will hit the streets at $289.99 (compared to $399 for the 32GB iPod touch). Yeah, that’s no typo — you’ll be able to get a 32GB Zune HD for $9.01 less than a 16GB iPod touch. The Best Buy screenshots also add weight to the previously rumored September 8th launch date so it looks like we’ve got less than a month until lift off. The only question is whether or not Apple’s impending iPod touch refresh will tout enough bells and whistles at launch to overshadow Microsoft’s new gem. Hit the jump for the Best Buy images.
Its official, folks. The Zune HD is real and is slated to drop this fall. All the rumored specs are here – 3.3 inch 480 x 272 OLED capacitive touchscreen display, built-in HD Radio receiver, HD output (requires an optional dock), Wi-Fi, integrated web browser, multitouch support and Xbox LIVE integration. Attendees at E3 will get the first look at the Xbox LIVE integration in what Microsoft calls “a game-changing entertainment experience”. Sounds sweet and may turn out to be the one item that differentiates it from the competition. Hit the jump for the full press release.
Teamxbox has let loose with a slew of details on the rumored Zune HD, some of which they have reportedly been sitting on since last August. According to their sources, the ZuneHD will be a convergent device, incorporating some of the gaming features of the Xbox and the multimedia features of the Zune. Codenamed xYz to highlight its position between the Xbox and the Zune, the new device is rumored to have a large WVGA touchscreen display and “hardware features not found on any handheld on the market.” The Zune HD will most definitely not be a phone and will not directly compete with Microsoft’s Windows Mobile offerings, it has been said. The portable entertainment device will supposedly feature the graphical user interface of the New Xbox Experience and will be a “Live Anywhere” device, integrating the online services offered by Microsoft Live, Xbox, Zune and the recently announced Sky marketplace. Interestingly enough, teamxbox claim that their sources on the ZuneHD hardware coincide with the recently leaked “chassis 1” specification which include an ARM 6+ processor, Open GL ES 2.0 graphics HW (can we say Nvidia Tegra), 256MB plus of RAM, min of 1GB internal memory, 3.5″+ WVGA or FWVGA touchscreen display with multi-touch, aGPS, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 2.1 and more. If this conglomerate of recent rumors hold true, then the ZuneHD may turn the PMP world upside down if and when it launches.
June 2009 is going to be a big month: WWDC (iPhone announcement), the Palm Pre will be in action and rumor has it Microsoft has big news for the Zune. While many would speculate that the latter would mean a Zune phone from Microsoft, we’re thinking more along the lines of a Zune HD. After all, Microsoft explicitly said, “Microsoft is not going into the phone hardware business. Microsoft is not building a Zune-specific phone.” Stranger things have happened though, right? This fire was started by a Twitter account that detailed what would be included in Office 2010, such as Twitter and Facebook integration. It then went on to say “New product launch, that’s all I’m allowed to say. Hold off from buying an iPhone/Pre.” That would imply a phone, so we’re not sure where things are headed at this point. Whatever it is, at this point the only real reason to hold off on buying a new iPhone or Pre is to avoid the lines.
UPDATE: Apparently the Twitter account that started this new wave of excitement was revealed to be fake and Microsoft’s Office 2010 site accidentally linked to it. Mmm. No new Zune phone, no Zune HD until later this year. Moving along people, nothing more to see here.
We have to admit it… We’re a little afraid. Afraid of what you might ask? Afraid that all this hype surrounding the now-reportedly confirmed Zune HD is going to be the height of excitement with regards to the device. Hype is good, hype is great, but you need something special to follow the hype in order for it to stick. Let’s take a look at the known specs:
- ~3.6-inch OLED full touchscreen
- NVIDIA Tegra powered
- 4GB, 8GB, 16GB and 32GB versions
- HDMI Connection to stream straight to your TV
- HD Radio
- Web browser
- Wi-Fi compatible, with wireless marketplace
- Released, early fall
- International release of the Zune device itself
- Home AV packs, Car packs, Charge packs
Sounds good and fun, but there’s definitely nothing so far that would (or should) draw much attention. HD radio? Mmm hmm. The Zune platform is supposedly in the midst of an overhaul which is nice but we need a wow-factor here. The average consumer is most definitely not going to pass on an iPod Touch and scoop up a Zune HD because of a high resolution display and HD radio, that’s for sure. Long story short, we hope Microsoft learned something from its experiences with the current Zune model.