Zune Gets Bigger, Gets Smaller, Gets Social

Zune Gets Bigger, Gets Smaller, Gets Social

Microsoft's original Zune digital music players came in a variety of colors, but only one size: 30GB, making them too expensive for some users, while not providing enough capacity for other users. The one-size-fits-all days of Zune are over: on Tuesday, Microsoft announced three new models:

  • 4GB (flash memory) for $149.99
  • 8GB (flash memory) for $199.99
  • 80GB (hard disk) for $249.99

The slim 4GB/8GB models share a common chassis that features a 1.8 inch screen, while the top of the line 80GB version includes a 3.2 inch screen, up from 3 inches in the original Zune.

New Navigation, New Features

Members of the "Zune 2.0" family all include the new Zune Pad touch-sensitive navigation button, wireless sync via Wi-Fi home networks, and improved wireless Zune to Zune sharing. You no longer need to worry about the old 3-day time limit for playing back songs you receive from other Zune owners - it's history. And, you can pass along songs you've received to others (but the 'play three times and out' restriction still applies).

Brown is the New Gone

Brown, the most derided color choice in the original Zune lineup, didn't make the cut. New 4GB and 8GB Zunes will be available in pink, red, black or green, while the 80GB model will be available in black.

Windows Zune + Windows Media Center for Vista = TV to Go

The new zunes can sync with Windows Media Center for Vista's TV recordings, crunching them down to a suitable size for playback wherever you go.

Getting Social

With the new Zune Social social networking site, Microsoft brings the "it's all about me, my friends, and my tastes" attitude to digital media. Zune Social users can create Zune Cards, which will reflect their creators's tastes in music, post messages to each other, and get recommendations from other users. Think MySpace meets MyMusic.

New Digital Media Goodies Coming to the Zune Marketplace 

The Zune Marketplace is also being redesigned: it will feature over 3 million songs, over 1 million MP3 songs (no more nasssty DRM, precious!), music videos for sale, along with free video and audio podcasts - all in a new interface.

Kicking Planned Obsolescence to the Curb

If a 30GB Zune (either one you own now or one you'll grab on sale) is big enough for you, or if brown's your favorite color, don't feel left out. Wireless sync, better Zune to Zune sharing, and TV to go features are coming to your Zune via firmware upgrades. And, to sweeten the deal still further, existing Zune accessories as well as eight new ones from Microsoft fit both old and new Zunes:

  • Zune Home AV Pack. Home Dock with three faceplates to accommodate each Zune device, wireless remote, AC adaptor and composite AV output cable (ERP $99.99)
  • Zune Dock Pack. Home Dock with three faceplates to accommodate each Zune device and AC adapter (ERP $49.99)
  • Zune Car Pack. Redesigned FM transmitter/charger and dashboard grip pad (ERP $79.99)
  • Zune Cable Pack. Sync cable, composite AV output cable and audio cable (ERP $39.99)
  • Zune Premium Headphones (ERP $39.99)
  • Zune Leather Case (ERP $49.99)
  • Zune Sync Cable (ERP $19.99)
  • Zune AC Adapter (ERP $29.99)

See the new accessories here.

If you're tired of replacing accessories whenever you upgrade your digital media player, Microsoft's "let old and new share the new and the old" attitude is refreshing.

Thanksgiving Turkey with a Side of Zune

The new Zune models, websites and accessories will be available in November, but Amazon.com and CircuitCity.com are ready to take your preorders - now.

7

Comments

+ Add a Comment
avatar

frdbrlw

I don't know why everyone hates Zunes personal I would rather one over a Ipod, Itunes is a bitch to use and a hate Ipods touch wheel but i guess its just personal preference.

avatar

danxp4

Good thing they got rid of the brown now It doesn't look as much like a turd compared to the iPod which has had a 80gb harddrive model for how long........... And by the way making a mp4 player brown thats what you have come to except from MS these days Ha Ha "Innovative" Ha NO

Hey and buy the way real iPod users get rockbox
www.rockbox.org

avatar

nedwards

@danxp4: Real rockbox users rock ancient iRiver H120s!

avatar

Gauvenator

lol everyone get an iPod

avatar

Shalbatana

It sounds like there's some refreshing upgrades for this system, but it doesn't mean I'll buy one. It's still sorely lacking.

I wish it were better, I can't stand itunes. Not for the reasons anyone's ever mentioned in the mag though (they haven't effected me yet). I really hate the interface and the search & browsing rots big time. And what's with Apple and making the most important and most often used buttons really, really small?

Oh wait...this article was about Zune....nevermind.

There's no time like the future.

avatar

elburro

They are still too expensive. I got my 30 GB Zen for $200 and Microsoft wants me to spend $200 for a 8 GB player. Granted mine doesn't have all the features this one will have but it has all the features I need.

avatar

Marcus_Soperus

The top end player offers 80GB for $250, so it does seem a bit of a stretch to ask about $200 for 1/10 the capacity. However, it's smaller, lighter - and costs the same as an 8GB iPod. Anyway, you don't need to replace your 30GB to enjoy the new software features or new accessories.
-----------------------------------------------
It's amazing how illogical a business built on binary logic can be.

Log in to MaximumPC directly or log in using Facebook

Forgot your username or password?
Click here for help.

Login with Facebook
Log in using Facebook to share comments and articles easily with your Facebook feed.