Microsoft squirts new Zune hardware, features



Since there’s an Apple event (read: new iPods) scheduled for later today, it’s only fitting that Microsoft dropped a Zune press release. There’s new hardware as well as additional software features involved:

  • A 16 GB flash-based player and 120 GB hard drive Zune are added to the lineup.
  • New pricing effective September 16th
    • 4 GB: $129.99
    • 8 GB: $149.99
    • 16 GB: $199.99
    • 80 GB: $229.99
    • 120 GB: $249.99
  • A "Buy from FM" feature which doesn’t exactly let you "buy from FM", but is interesting. When listening to the FM radio, you can tag a song for purchase. Next time you hit a WiFi hotspot or your home network, the song will be purchased and downloaded.
  • Personal Picks in the Zune software: a recommendation algorithm will suggest artists, tracks and albums based on music you’ve listened to.
  • Games on the Go: Hexic and Texas Hold ‘Em are included with the new software with more games to come.
  • Support for Audible books
  • Direct music purchases over WiFi. w00t!
All in all, these are some nice features that I’m sure will find an audience. Microsoft is pushing them down to older Zunes as well, which is excellent and should keep many Zune owners happy. The Zune itself isn’t a bad device or platform, but my personal frustration is that updates like this in the product life-cycle take so long to develop, test and get out the door. And relatively speaking there’s an utter lack of marketing from where I stand.
Regardless, I’ll have to wring my Zune back from my son for testing, although if he reads this post, he just might hold on to the device a little longer. He loves Hexic!




The new features are interesting, but I’d much rather Bluetooth support for cordless earphones.


I absolutely love my Zune player. It’s the Zune software that I’ve disliked, but more for reasons of performance than for functionality.

I think it’s great that they are improving it, but like you said, I think it takes them way too long to release these updates… I’d prefer monthly updates that offer a feature or two than an annual major update.

Anyway, I also agree about marketing the Zune. Translation: I wish there WAS marketing about it. You can’t win a fight between products when no one knows your product exists.


There’s also a Microsoft press release today but you may not have noticed because the blogosphere is fawning over Apple again. I think Microsoft released the Zune details early because so many of them had already leaked out.

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