Microsoft confirms Zune HD coming this fall

It looks like the Zune HD just could not wait any longer to make its debut. Remember a few months ago we reported exclusive information about Microsoft's upcoming Zune device labeled as the "Zune HD"? Well today those "rumors" that everyone liked to call, have been confirmed by Microsoft. We've already reported the hardware specs, when this thing will be released, and what countries the Zune hardware platform will be expanding too. Chris Stephenson, Microsoft's general manager of global marketing for Microsoft's Zune, told CNet today that the Zune HD will "go head to head with the iPod Touch".

(Update)
http://www.zune.net/en-us/mp3players/zunehd/default.htm

Microsoft didn't announce much today, or rather officially confirm, but the software giant said the device will have the following specifications:

  • HD Radio Tuner
  • OLED Touch Screen
  • Windows CE
  • Internet Explorer embedded and customized for a touch screen device
As of today Microsoft hasn't announced what the price point for the Zune HD will be, or what sizes it will ship in. However as we previously reported, company insiders noted that it will be available in 4GB, 8GB, 16GB, and 32GB. We feel your pain when we found out that the Zune HD will not have a 120GB version, hopefully Microsoft will listen to its users. According to CNet the Zune HD will first be released in the United States and then start shipping to European countries later this year.

Another bit of information to mention is that Microsoft is slated to announce new details on a Zune-branded video service for the Xbox platform. The new service will replace the current Xbox Live marketplace for TVs and movies. No specific details have been announced at this time, however much more will be announced at next week's E3 trade show in L.A.

Well we are reserving judgment on the device until we can get our hands on it. The Zune HD looks to be just what the doctor ordered for the Zune lineup. Expect this device to start shipping no later than September 5, 2009.

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144 Comments

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Those of you asking for it to be a Phone, have bluetooth or a camera, it won't happen, the specs are set in stone. MS apparently have working versions ready for mass production.

Why in the world would anyone need more than 32 GB of space? I'm hardly able to fill up 16 GB, even with stuff I rarely listen/watch.

Nexx295 said,
Why in the world would anyone need more than 32 GB of space? I'm hardly able to fill up 16 GB, even with stuff I rarely listen/watch.

It will store up to 720p video, plus applications and games (I'm assuming.)

The simple way around the internal 32GB storage limit is to have a microSD or miniSD w/e slot. Then you can add up to whatever the current limit is on those cards to the device. And it'll be cheaper.

Though, price wise, I suppose they could have bigger versions as a limited or special order case. 64GB and 128GB would fit that bill imo. But to keep costs down for the retail versions they probably don't want to go too high with the flash since it adds to the price.

Nexx295 said,
Why in the world would anyone need more than 32 GB of space? I'm hardly able to fill up 16 GB, even with stuff I rarely listen/watch.

Maybe some people have more tracks than you? Seems pretty simple to me...

That and the inclusion of video will again mean people may want more space. Personally I hate the idea of having to micro manage my music, I want it all there all the time so I don't have to think about it. With over 32 gigs of music that presents somewhat of a dilemma.

Great looking device. I'd be curious if they will allow certain mobile applications to be installed from Windows Marketplace. Things like IM, Facebook, Twitter, etc would certainly boost the devices appeal.

Regarding Zune 120, my gut tells me they are probably interesting in letting OEMs with products similiar to OQO fill that larger format/capacity need. I know, the company oQo seems to be shuttering doors...but its only a matter of time before netbook makers come out with similiar footprint devices. And these will probably be sold via your mobile provider.

I'm hoping that they do a 120GB version as well. I would have bought a current Zune instead of an iPod if they had released it in the UK.

I think it looks beautiful, shame it probably won't come out in Europe.

And I could swear that model number in the back is exactly the same of my iPod Touch.

GP007 said,
They said it will come out in Europe, just later in the year. US first as always.

Oh sweet, I never had a chance to try the first ones because of it being US only. That's good to hear.

Ricardo Gil said,
Oh sweet, I never had a chance to try the first ones because of it being US only. That's good to hear.

You've probably used an iPod Classic....now get rid of the spinning to go up and down and just go up and down....give it better UI, that is Zune.

satanist said,
ahh!whats with it's interface?It sucks.

Yes it's true people, it's possible to give a valid judgement about a device's interface based on one screenshot....

Digix said,
that sucks, no camera here's to hoping new ipod touch does hopefully.


Why does it need a Camera, it isn't a phone?

neo158 said,
Why does it need a Camera, it isn't a phone?


Well everything is getting a camera nowdays, the Nintendo DS even has a camera now. Why not the Zune which will probably be a competitive game console.

Omen1393 said,
Well everything is getting a camera nowdays, the Nintendo DS even has a camera now. Why not the Zune which will probably be a competitive game console.


Yes, but the Zune isn't designed as a games console, it's designed for media.

My music and internet in a stylish package, perfect! now I just need to keep my job long enough to afford one....

if Microsoft made xbox the second best selling console on the market that can do the same thing with zune!

Papz said,
if Microsoft made xbox the second best selling console on the market that can do the same thing with zune!

Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't the Zune already the second best selling PMP? :P

k7of9 said,
yes it is

Alright, so in that case... the next target is the iPod. XD

Not sure whether or not they'll be able to take down the iPod, but hey, they took down Sony with the 360. :P

How will HD Radio work worldwide? Most of the world uses DAB, but the US and some countries use another technology and totally different frequencies. Likewise, in Canada both are currently being tested...so this feature sounds like it will only work in the US.

zivan56 said,
How will HD Radio work worldwide? Most of the world uses DAB, but the US and some countries use another technology and totally different frequencies. Likewise, in Canada both are currently being tested...so this feature sounds like it will only work in the US.


I was wondering that as well, I live in the UK and this is a very interesting question.

neo158 said,
I was wondering that as well, I live in the UK and this is a very interesting question.

I too was wondering that, I live in Australia where we are using DAB+ for digital radio.

MS would need to add support for listening to DAB/DAB+ radio in countries that use those systems.

Couldn't that support be added through simple software? You don't need a different audio chip or w/e in the device to support everything right?

zivan56 said,
How will HD Radio work worldwide? Most of the world uses DAB, but the US and some countries use another technology and totally different frequencies. Likewise, in Canada both are currently being tested...so this feature sounds like it will only work in the US.

not to sound condescending but if they are talking about a worldwide release and specifically mentioning it having a radio feature (which the ipods lack well; when i when to buy one they did!) im sure they will use somesort of software or someother way to enable the radio in all regions.

I cant wait for mine, looks liek it will be released just aroudn the time i get my tax return!!

The problem is, there is no tuner IC that exists that can receive both...as they are totally different: different encoding, frequencies, and features. So they would have to produce 2 different versions of the Zune...which adds to the cost and the complexity of the software.
I have a feeling it will be an FM chip with support for regular FM + the US standard. So HD radio will not be available worldwide even though it is more widely supported outside North America.

I'm sure the Zune HD would have started peeing on some apple fanboys in their dreams already. No wonder I see ****ed off comments on various websites like Engadget and Gizmodo hating the Zune HD already!

MS ADD BLUETOOTH! If you do I will buy this.

I really would like a touch screen MP3 player but I would like the WiFi and Bluetooth. I would like to get the Samsung P3 but it only has bluetooth which is amazing IMO (MS follow what Samsung has done with BT). I have been thinking about the iPod Touch but I am not pleased with the whole "pay for the new f/w which has the BT unlocked".

I thought about Sony's new touch screen but no BT.

So we'll see.

Sailorcancer said,
MS ADD BLUETOOTH! If you do I will buy this.

I really would like a touch screen MP3 player but I would like the WiFi and Bluetooth. I would like to get the Samsung P3 but it only has bluetooth which is amazing IMO (MS follow what Samsung has done with BT). I have been thinking about the iPod Touch but I am not pleased with the whole "pay for the new f/w which has the BT unlocked".

I thought about Sony's new touch screen but no BT.

So we'll see.


why does it need bluetooth? it's not a phone. I thought it was going to continue to have wifi that I can understand but bluetooth I don't.

macrosslover said,
why does it need bluetooth? it's not a phone. I thought it was going to continue to have wifi that I can understand but bluetooth I don't.


Add Bluetooth and we can sync it wireless, wireless headphones, and transfer stuff between others Zune without WiFi.

There is more to Bluetooth then just hands free talking and MP3 players can get a lot from it.

Sailorcancer said,
Add Bluetooth and we can sync it wireless, wireless headphones, and transfer stuff between others Zune without WiFi.

There is more to Bluetooth then just hands free talking and MP3 players can get a lot from it.


You can already sync existing Zunes wirelessly, using WiFi.

Why bother with wireless headphones, they are a drain on the battery life of the device.

I don't get why you think Bluetooth is better for transferring files between Zunes, WiFi has greater range anyway.

macrosslover said,
why does it need bluetooth? it's not a phone. I thought it was going to continue to have wifi that I can understand but bluetooth I don't.

Exactly, it's not a phone. So you need BT to create an internet connection through a phone when there is no WiFi available. Commute browsing, anyone?

bomjack said,
Exactly, it's not a phone. So you need BT to create an internet connection through a phone when there is no WiFi available. Commute browsing, anyone?


Why?

Most phones allow you to browse the net on them anyway.

andrewbares said,
Your talking to one. I know over 8 ppl at my school that have Zunes (8 ppl sounds real meager, but it's better than 0, lol)

You're a Zune?

Let's wait for some more information and see how well this compares with the iPhone and iPod touch! For now, the Zune is HD of course and has the radio, but I think the next iPhone and iPod touch are meant to have the radio also. Same for OLED, but apparently OLED isn't really good at the moment, it's more ecological but not as good as it seems...

Even though I know I will stick to my iPod touch and eventually upgrade to an iPhone, this is interesting. But IMO nothing beats the interface of OS X Mobile :P

PsykX said,
Let's wait for some more information and see how well this compares with the iPhone and iPod touch! For now, the Zune is HD of course and has the radio, but I think the next iPhone and iPod touch are meant to have the radio also. Same for OLED, but apparently OLED isn't really good at the moment, it's more ecological but not as good as it seems...

Even though I know I will stick to my iPod touch and eventually upgrade to an iPhone, this is interesting. But IMO nothing beats the interface of OS X Mobile :P

OLED is also more power efficient, so a device using an OLED display has the potential to have a much longer battery life than a device using a standard LCD.

Personally, I don't see what's so great about OS X mobile. Then again, I don't see what's so great about OS X in the first place. Windows 7 and Ubuntu FTW.

So is it a phone, a media player, or both?

Internet Explorer *sigh*. I hope another browser like Fennec or Opera can be installed on the device.

Oh, it is said to feature a 3.3 inch capacitive touch screen, instead of resistive like other Windows Mobile phones.

I wanna install Opera Mini on it. Opera Mini on my Windows phone is faster than my computer! Oh and the iPhone browser sucks compared to the browsers we can get with Windows Mobile. Hopefully those browsers will transfer to Zune.

If you can hack it, it says it's got WinCE bits in there, enough to run the new version of IE which I think is fine. Others are probably thinking of the older version in WinMo5 or 6. The one in WinMo 6.5 looks pretty good atm.

Anyways, with those bits if it gets unlocked I don't see anything stopping you from installing other WinMo apps on it.

Yep I'm gonna install my WinMo apps. But Microsoft should make that a feature, cuz it would be soo powerful if they allowed all WinMo apps. That would be good.

Yes, I'm sure Microsoft's plan was to go and get a competing browser ;)

But if you do get one don't punish yourself with Opera. Yikes.

Making it a feature would be nice, BUT they want to also keep it simple and to the point, and that is that it's a media player still (though it'll get games for sure with the 360 tie-in).

So if people are free to add any WinMo app to it, then it just turns into a smartphone without the phone. heh I don't think MS wants to have it moving in on it's smartphone market.

That said, I'm sure there will be a way for techsavy people to get apps on it if it's got enough of the WinCE/WinMo7 code in there.

if they play their cards right I'd say they would aim to ensure application compatibility between WM 6.5 and WM 7 (when released) with the Zune so that they can push applications for both their mobile platform and the Zune via one store.

Get XBLA games support or make conversion easy and allow for cross device license (buy geometry wars and you can use it on the 360 or the phone or the Zune) and they will have a really killer service on their hands.

They're being more Apple-like, restricting info to build the suspense so when it comes out it suprises us. If they did their usual release, then everyone would already know what it has and they wouldn't be as impressed.

They're waiting for E3. Seeing how the zune marketplace and xbl marketplace are going to become one, there will be more 360 tie-in coming with the Zune HD in terms of games for sure.

I'm hoping you can move XBLA games over to it and take them on the go, that'd be big. So anyways, we gotta wait for E3.

^ What does this have to do with the original comment? The guy's talking about the Zune software and you're introducing iTunes here...

You can drag and drop til your mouse breaks with the Zune software. There's a Zune icon, a CD icon, and a playlist icon in the lower left corner waiting.

SoulEata said,
How about a Zune that doesn't force me to use Zune software? Where I can drag-and-drop?

I'm using Zune software at home, an I don't even have a Zune.

GreyWolfSC said,
You can drag and drop til your mouse breaks with the Zune software. There's a Zune icon, a CD icon, and a playlist icon in the lower left corner waiting. ;)

You can do this in iTunes too.

Shiranui said,
I'm using Zune software at home, an I don't even have a Zune.


Same here, it's faster than both Media Player and iTunes!!!!

SoulEata said,
How about a Zune that doesn't force me to use Zune software? Where I can drag-and-drop?


Agreed. I love the zune; I even love the zune software, but pretty much every mp3 should support adding content without forcing an install of a music service.

Si said,
You can do this in iTunes too.

I know. I was replying to the guy that asked where drag-and-drop was in the Zune software.

Format support will make or break this imo. If you can watch Divx and hook it up and watch it on a TV then I can see it being really useful (Divx support is where Apple's products fall down). If it supports MKV containers (h264/ac3) and allows me to watch that on my TV then it'll be a huge winner in my eyes. But if it just supports typical WMV then it's essentially just any other mp3 player.

I could see it supporting everything the 360 does, wmv/divx/xvid and h264. As for containers, avi, wmv and mp4 probably. I don't even think the new WMP12 in Win7 supports mkv natively in the library? You might have to edit the registry for it to show up with the rest of your videos and not in the "other" catagory.

It just seems mkv isn't used as much outside of a few specific circles. But that said, who knows? Why not support mkv as well?

Faisal Islam said,
Not really...who cares about other music/video format when we have Windows Media Audio (WMA) & Windows Media Video (WMV) ..huh?


This has to be sarcasm.

This means one of two things, Zune Marketplace is going international, or XBL Marketplace is going to be US-restricted again. And considering that the former is the more likely of the two, I'm pumped.

Zune marketplace will basically just merge with XBL Marketplace and go international that way. Finally I might add, can't wait to get a Zune here in the EU.

Jeffhou65 said,
*Crosses fingers for 120GB*

It reminds me of the original iPhone, and I prefer that look over the 3G iPhone.

Hmmm, I was going to say 120 GB leads to 80 useless GB, but with the HD movies and games... it should be this large :P

PsykX said,
Hmmm, I was going to say 120 GB leads to 80 useless GB, but with the HD movies and games... it should be this large :P

uh? what hd movie on such a small screen, except if it is sold with magnifier

neoraptor said,
uh? what hd movie on such a small screen, except if it is sold with magnifier

The Zune HD can output to any HDMI TV.

No 120Gb, this is taking over for the flash devices(no more of them) while the hard drive based ones will continue to be made.

GP007 said,
A microSD slot works as well if they don't wanna have internal flash storage higher than 32GB (keep costs down).

Won't happen....this could lead to things like viruses getting onto the device because it wouldn't necessarily synced using the Zune software.