Microsoft Launches The Zune!

Stealing the new iPods' thunder?

That didn’t take long. Far be it from me to complement Microsoft on… well, ”anything” but today’s official unveiling of the Zune couldn’t have come at a better time.

Just days after Apple ho-hummed the world with its iPod, nano and shuffle updates Microsoft has shook the malaise from the public’s eyes with it’s own rather exciting player.

Served up in three colours (white, black and erm…brown?!) the 30GB device firms up a long list of what we already knew such as 3in screen (with QVGA res), FM radio and WiFi. An impressive range of codecs are supported including H.264, MP3, AAC (interesting!) and WMA while content can be shared from Zune to Zune. If you buy DRM-ed content this sharing is limited to three plays unless your compatriot is a “Zune Pass” subscriber, which is the company’s own music download service.

Quite what the “Pyxis” and “Airgo” phrases are that we’ve heard mentioned on numerous occasions in recent months was not expanded upon and the all-important pricing and availability remain a well guarded secret. Naturally the RRP will be iPod equalling or beating so sub £200 is more than likely.

“This holiday season” is the loosely worded release schedule, by which we sense Microsoft is hedging its bets. Certainly you?ll be able to pull one from a natty stocking come Santa Season but I wouldn?t be surprised if we see them at least a month before.

With Apple doing little to impress this week, the Zune may have a better chance at grabbing market share than many have given it credit for.

Microsoft Zune Official Site: ‘Coming Zune’

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