Microsoft Zune HD AnnouncedWritten by Christian Milsom on May 27, 2009 · Filed under Gadget Gift Ideas, Gadgets, Tech
With regards to the Zune, Microsoft is generally seen as being a one trick pony – it can play music and videos, and that’s it, not that impressive from one of the world’s biggest companies. Not only that, but it has a very limited (if loyal) fan base as it doesn’t really stand up to the competition of Apple’s offerings in style, ergonomics or general brand appeal.
But Microsoft aim to change all of this with the release of the much rumoured Zune HD which should not only thrust itself into the top of the market, but also evolve Zune into more of a brand, something that hints of more diverse things to come.
Let me start of by saying that this isn’t the much anticipated Zune phone, Xbox phone or even Xbox Zune phone (but I’ll get back to that later). No, Microsoft have decided to be very sensible and have decided to move the Zune forward rather than launch into a different field, and it looks like they could be following Apple’s lead.
The easiest way to describe the Zune HD would be to say that it’s like the iPod touch in principle, but very different in practice. As I said it doesn’t have any kind of phone (which doesn’t make it competition for the iPhone) but it does concentrate on music, video and the internet.
On music part of the Zune HD will build on the solid base laid by the previous generation Zune’s which will hopefully include improved synchronisation with Windows PCs (which should include Windows 7). It will also offer a HD radio receiver which is the US version of DAB which will probably feature on the UK version.
The video side of the phone will benefit from the snazzy looking touch screen which is 16:9 widescreen OLED and has a resolution of 480×272, but will be able to output 720p to a HDTVs (such as the new Samsung LED TVs) through a HDMI connector on the optional dock.
This screen is (obviously) the principle part of the design of the phone, the rest of it being a futuristic-cum-minimalistic look which makes the Zune HD look sleek and stylish (two words that I am finding myself using more and more with new products) – even the menu system looks simple and easy on the eye.
Taking advantage of Wi-Fi connectivity and touchscreen a specially designed Internet Explorer will offer “full screen internet [browsing]… optimised for multi touch functionality” and although obviously we don’t know how good this will be yet, given the importance of it I imagine Microsoft will have put a lot of work into it.
Unfortunately this will only be released in the US (although the list of things we don’t know [including capacity and price] is quite long) and even they will have to wait till the autumn to get their hands on it but hopefully if it is successful we will see it across here.
So the Zune HD looks promising, but is there more to this? In their announcement Microsoft said that they want the Zune to be more than just an MP3 player – and although the Zune HD does do more than just play music are they hinting at something more?
Is the Zune HD a step forward towards a Microsoft phone, a portable Xbox or a combination of the two? Although it’s fair to say Microsoft have their hands full with Windows 7 and various law suits they are losing much of the PMP (portable media player) and portable game console market which they could claim to Apple and others. We don’t know, but we can hope!
Via – CNET