Today, Bill Gates, J Allard, and some other folks from the Zune team met with some members of the media to talk about this Holiday’s update to the Zune line. I’m going to keep the PR-ish stuff out of it (for that you can go to the press releases), and just sum up with the facts and the tech specs. Ready? okletsgo:
This November, we’re launching new Zune players: Zune 4GB; Zune 8GB; Zune 80GB; and we’re continuing to sell Zune 30GB (the Zune we started selling last year). All of these devices will have wireless sync, updated wireless sharing, an FM tuner, and a bright LCD color screen to display music, pictures, videos and podcasts. Zune 4, 8, and 80 have a new design, and a touch sensitive button called the Zune Pad. The Zune Pad will let you browse through menus either by brushing or clicking. Some details:
- Zune 4GB and Zune 8GB come with the Zune Pad, have a 1.8 inch screen, and will come in pink, red, green and black. Zune 4GB will retail for $149.99 and Zune 8GB will retail for $199.99.
Dimensions of Zune 4GB and Zune 8GB: 3.6 x 1.62 x 0.33; Weight: 1.7oz
- Zune 80GB has a 3.2 inch screen and comes with premium headphones, standard. It’s a high quality audio and video experience on the go. Zune 80GB will retail for $249.99
- Dimensions of Zune 80GB: 4.26 x 2.41 x 0.51; Weight 4.5oz
- Note that the 3.2 inch screen is 14% larger than Zune 30GB’s 3.0 inch screen, while Zune 80GB is 27% smaller than Zune 30GB
- And we value and remember our early adopters: everyone who owns or buys a Zune 30GB will automatically get the new features through a firmware update – “firmware update 2.1.” Zune 30GB will continue to retail for 199.99
- Dimensions of Zune 30GB: 4.43 x 2.47 x 0.65; Weight 5.6oz
And here’s the list of Zune features (IE, features that everyone will get with firmware update 2.1):
- Wireless sync: wirelessly updates content on the device when it is within range of the PC with the Zune Collection on it, or on the same wireless network. You can start the sync manually or, when its plugged into AC power, Sync will automatically start after 1 minute of inactivity. This is so the battery doesn’t get drained by the automatic sync.
- Expanded wireless send capabilities: you can now keep a track for three plays (we’ve taken any time restrictions out of the equation) you can also send a track you’ve been sent on to other Zune owners.
- Lossless playback will be supported on every Zune
- Podcasting – that is, automatic RSS based subscription to both audio and video podcasts via Zune Marketplace (more on ZMP below).
- You’ll be able to sync your Vista Media Center TV content to your Zune and watch it on the go.
- We’re still testing battery life on the new Zune 4GB, 8GB, and 80GB, but it’s looking good. Since we built them from the ground up, we have more control over battery performance.
- Updated device UI (screenshots to follow)
Zune Software and Zune Marketplace:
We’ve redesigned both the Zune Software and Zune Marketplace from the ground up – check the screenshots below. Here’s what you can find in ZMP this holiday season:
- Over 3 million tracks
- Over 1 million DRM-free MP3s that you can play on your Zune or any other digital media player
Thousands of music videos
- Over 1,000 free audio and video podcasts
- For about the price of a CD per month, you can buy a Zune Pass subscription to download whatever music you want for a flat rate.
- PC to PC send: Zune users can send links imbedded with a song’s metadata from the inbox in their Zune
- PC software to someone else. The recipient follows the link to sample, buy or download the song on Zune Marketplace.
Something I’m really really excited about: we’re launching the Zune Social, an online community beta. It’s a place that gives folks a place to share their music tastes, knowledge and experiences with other folks. It extends the connection from device-device to PC-to-PC. Here are some details:
- Zune Card: Anyone will be able to create a free, customizable Zune card. You can personalize your Zune Card with your picture, custom backgrounds, biographical info and more. Your card will automatically update with the music you listen to on your Zune or with your Zune software.
- You can browse your friend’s pages, invite friends, send and receive song recommendations, and post comments to their profile pages.
- You can browse your favorite artist’s pages to find other listeners with similar musical tastes.
- Each song within the Zune Social will have a playable 30 second clip, and if you like the song, you can link directly into Zune Marketplace to buy the song (using Microsoft® points or on your Zune Pass).
- You can check out Zune Social community-generated charts to see the most-played artists, songs and albums, or read comments and recommendations posted by other Zune community members on album and artist pages.
- You’ll eventually be able to post your Zune card to mainstream social networking sites Wherever your Zune card is located, it will automatically update with the music you’re currently playing.
And we have a new line of accessories – for details on that, check the page on Zune.net.
Ok! Thoughts? Questions? Drop a comment.
from Zune Insider