The Zune HD gets a tough deal - from Microsoft. It is easily the most credible challenger to the iPod touch and yet its creator refuses to officially launch them outside of the US. A frustration that only gets worse with this news...
Microsoft has finally upped the Zune HD's capacity to an iPod touch matching 64GB. Official pricing isn't known, but Dell briefly advertised the 32GB edition yesterday for just $199 (£132) - this compares to £234 for a 32GB iPod touch. Heck, it's even £6 cheaper than a 16GB iPod nano!
Instead, however, it seems Microsoft is more focused on the expansion of its Zune Video marketplace around the Globe and you have to wonder if that is because - long term - it plans to subsume the Zune into Windows Phone 7 Series. This would seem a daft move though, given there is still a considerable market for MP3 players - especially when it is clear the Zune UI ultimately had a huge influence on Microsoft's new smartphone OS.
For those with short memories, the Zune is also more powerful than the iPod touch with an Nvidia Tegra chipset that can playback 720p video while there's support for HDMI, wireless syncing and a multi-touch capacitive display. That said it does lack anything to realistically compete with the App Store - but then again, right now so does everything.
Come Microsoft, share the Zune goodness and we'll even forgive you those 30GB Zune mass failures.