In my opinion, the free Zune Originals engraving of the 4 GB and 8 GB Zunes was a nice selling feature. Instead of being limited to two measly lines of text a la Apple, Microsoft lets its consumers engrave logos, designs, and anything else that tickles their fancy. Now, those of you who were waiting to buy the Zune 80 GB will be delighted to know that 80 GB Zunes can now be engraved for free! Be sure to place your orders in time for Christmas!
A nice feature added to the Zune 2 (in an attempt to defeat the iPod) is the free customization through Zune Originals. Through these customizations, consumers can get whatever they want engraved on the back of their Zune for no extra cost. Additionally, features like WiFi, a gorgeous 3.2 inch LCD screen, and an FM Tuner may lure away traditional iPod fans. So what are the results on the thinner, 80 GB Zune 2?
PC Mag writes that “We’ll just come out and say it: The 80GB Zune trumps the iPod Classic…For the same $250 price as the 80GB iPod classic, the new Zune 80GB offers a much larger screen, FM radio, wireless player-to-player sharing, Wi-Fi syncing with your PC, and a rear panel that can be customized with some cool artwork–for free. Simply put, Apple is no longer the leader in the realm of hard drive-based players. While the Zune 80GB and the iPod classic are both outstanding devices, the Zune has more features–and it’s more fun.”
CNET argues ” With a new design, higher capacity, wireless sync capability, larger screen, and integrated support for audio and video podcasts, the new 80GB Zune ($249) is finally giving everyone a true alternative to the iPod….The 80GB Zune cuts a much slimmer figure than its bricklike older brother. Measuring 4.3 inches high by 2.4 inches wide by 0.5 inch deep, Microsoft shaved some considerable bulk off the Zune’s thickness, while nearly tripling its capacity. Beyond its more pocket-worthy form, the two major improvements to the Zune’s hardware design are its screen and its navigation pad. (83/100)”
Transforming from the ugly duckling to the baby swan (or however the fable goes), the Zune 2 is some serious competition for the iPod, especially considering the vast stylistic improvements that have been made. It will be interesting to see if the Zune 2 can make a dint on iPod sales during the Holidays…
Like most techies suspected, Microsoft launched the Zune 2 in time for the holiday sales. Just in case, you know, there’s a mad rush for Zunes this Christmas. The new Zunes come in 4, 8, and 80 GB capacities with the 4 and 8 GB models being flashed based and available in red, green, pink, black. The 80 GB model has a spacious 3.2 inch LCD screen and is available in black. All new Zunes also feature wireless sync, extended wireless sharing, new touch controls, a built in FM tuner, and recorded tv to go. The launch date is October 16th, and the Zune will run you $149, $199, and $249 for the 4 GB, 8 GB, and 80 GB Zunes respectively.
Behold the first pictures of the Zune 2 and the Zune flash- a welcome improvement, I think we’d all agree. In addition to a much more flattering form, there will be a 80 GB Zune 2 Version, and the Zune Flash (the soon to be rival to the iPod nano) will be available in 4 or 8 GB. My only gripe is with the oddly designed button in the middle. I’ll have to wait and see how that plays out.
Artist’s rendition of Zune 2 via Zune Groove.
It looks like Microsoft is planning to update the Zune line in time for the holidays. After going to a Microsoft conference, Whiz Byte reports that a rep stated “That said, Zune follows the cycle of the consumer electronics cycle so you can expect an update later this year prior to the holiday season.” Three ways that Microsoft is planning to improve the Zune are through “device family” improvement (new mp3 players, styles, and prices), new features (podcasting, etc), and geographic marketing (expand internationally). So, keep your eyes peeled for the every popular Zune to be upgraded this Christmas. And no, that wasn’t sarcastic. Afterall, the Zune has sold over 1 million devices now, which is respectable for the mp3 player, so we can only expect the Zune 2 to do just as well.