Tuesday, September 19, 2006

More On Microsoft's Zune Player

Zune LogoMicrosoft has now announced a U.S. launch window for the Zune, its potential iPod killer, of the "holiday buying season", which roughly translates to the run up to Thanksgiving Day on the 23rd of November.

Microsoft ZuneI'd already mentioned the spec in an earlier post except now I know it'll be available in black, brown or white. I can't say as brown would be a colour I'd choose for a piece of supposedly leading edge technology. If it proves a miss with buyers, then that colour may be well be more descriptive of the image it conjures up.

Some more information has emerged about the wireless, Zune-to-Zune sharing capabilities and it now looks like, while users can connect to each other and share tracks, playlists or pictures, anything commercial is restricted to being playable only for up to three times over three days. Once that time limit has expired, the track can be flagged for later purchase via the Zune Marketplace, which will sell tracks individually and offer a Zune Pass, allowing unlimited downloads for a flat subscription charge.

Microsoft have also announced that it will be offering three accessory packs to accompany the Zune…

  • The Car Pack comes with everything you need to hit the road with your Zune device - the FM tuner with Autoseek and the Car Charger.
  • The Travel Pack includes the Dual Connect Remote, Premium Earphones, Gear Bag, Sync Cable and AC Adapter - everything you need to travel with your Zune device in style.
  • The Home A/V Pack includes everything you need to amplify your Zune experience. This set of five products integrates Zune with your big-screen TV and the best speakers in your house. And the wireless remote puts you in control from virtually anywhere in the room. It consists of the AC Adapter, AV Output Cable, Dock, Sync Cable and Wireless Remote.
Obviously the Zune Marketplace will be Microsoft's online music store, designed to relieve you of your hard-earned cash like all the rest of them. However the player will also be able to import music existing music, pictures and videos from iTunes and Windows Media Player in a variety of formats, including your existing playlists and song ratings, with the obvious limitations imposed by any digital rights licenses.

Will it kill Apple's dominance in the media player business? I doubt it! If the press images are anything to go by, the iPod is still the best looking player in the race and Apple's recent upgrade to their iPod range proves that they're not just sitting back and raking in the loot.
No prices from Microsoft as yet though so it may all be down to where they pitch in at!

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