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10. 03. 2007

Zuners get social with next generation players & site


Now that the Apple ibuzz has softened to a whisper, Microsoft attempts to garner attention with their next generation Zune devices, enhanced Zune software, and redesigned Zune Marketplace — all geared toward discovering and sharing new music.

The Specs: There are two players, an 80GB hard drive-based model and a 4GB/8Gb flash model. The 80GB is available only in black, while the 4GB/8GB flash models come in black, green, pink, and red. All models share the new “Zune Pad” — a touch-sensitive button/pad for navigating. Another shared feature is the 320x240 pixel screen; the 80GB is 3.2 inches while the little 4GB/8GB has a 1.8 inch one. All still include FM tuner and wireless connectivity for synching the unit and sharing music with your Zune-bearing pals.

The Friends: Speaking of your Zune buddies, you can now send a Zune friend a song and he/she can keep it endlessly (previously limited to three days). Listening time is still limited to three plays maximum. You’re also now able to import television recorded in Windows Media Center (under Windows Vista).

The Store:
Zune Marketplace has been nicely overhauled (maybe even beating iTunes, which is in desperate need of revised UI). You’ll find 3 million+ songs for sale (more than a million DRM-free MP3s). There will also be music videos, podcasts, and video podcasts. Download as you go, or listen all month for $14.99.

The Social Network: But, hold on there’s more! Zune Social, a new social networking site, will be launched sometime in November (when the devices are widely available for the holiday season). The main feature is that your friends can see what you’re listening to, you can see what Zuners' top music choices, bands, playlists, etc. are.

Well, there you have it, new toys and a place to go to make Zuner friends. What's next? We hear a widget is in the works. Zuners, we can't even sign off with a zinger of a punchline, you got friends now.

Price: 4GB $149, 8GB $199, and 80GB $249

Posted by chrissie    Category: devices
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