Microsoft officially announced the Zune HD today:
Zune HD is the next iteration of the Zune device family and brings a new level of listening and viewing experiences to the portable media player category.
- Zune HD comes with a built-in HD Radio receiver so users can listen to higher-quality sound than traditional radio on the go. Users also will have access to the additional song and artist data broadcast by HD Radio stations as well as additional channels from their favorite stations multicasting in HD. If you don’t like the song playing on your station’s HD channel, switch to its HD2 or HD3 channels for additional programming.
- The bright OLED touch screen interface allows users to flip through music, movies and other content with ease, and the 16:9 widescreen format display (480×272 resolution) offers a premium viewing experience on the go.
- The HD-compatible output lets Zune HD customers playback supported HD video files from the device through a premium high-definition multimedia interface (HDMI) audiovisual docking station (sold separately) direct to an HD TV in 720p.*
- Zune HD will include a full-screen Internet browser optimized for multitouch functionality.
- Zune HD is Wi-Fi enabled, allowing for instant streaming to the device from the more than 5 million-track Zune music store.
This is all very exciting, although it’s hard to see how Microsoft is going to even come close to Apple’s iPod Touch as a gaming platform. That is of course until you get to this part of the press release:
Zune will be a premium partner in the Xbox LIVE Video Marketplace, bringing an exciting catalog of TV and film to the platform. Zune will occupy the first slot within the Xbox user interface in the Xbox LIVE Video Marketplace, exposing the Zune brand experience to millions of new consumers for the first time. At the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) next week, attendees will see firsthand how Zune integrates into Xbox LIVE to create a game-changing entertainment experience.
Some say Sony greatly underestimated the power of Xbox Live when bringing online gaming to the Playstation3. Could Xbox Live integration into the Zune HD be the Trojan Horse Microsoft needs to properly take on the iPod touch as a gaming handheld? Looks like we’ll find out next week!
Zune HD |Zune.net
Microsoft Announces the Expansion of the Zune Entertainment Service to New Platform and Markets; Confirms New Zune HD Portable Media Player