Microsoft hasn't divulged detailed plans for the next release of its Zune music player, but a company executive last week offered hints that seem to support reports that a flash memory-based Zune and an 80GB device could be in the works. It hasn't been a matter of if Microsoft plans to expand its Zune product line beyond the several 30GB players it has on the market, it's been a matter of when. At its annual financial analyst meeting last week, Robbie Bach, president of Microsoft's Entertainment and Devices Division, said Microsoft plans to "broaden" the Zune brand with new styles, capacity sizes, and price points as well as new features, though he did not reveal the timing of releases or exact product specifications.
Matt Rosoff, an analyst with Directions on Microsoft, said Microsoft is definitely working on a flash memory-based Zune and models with higher capacity than the current 30GB version, but the company has not yet discussed specific details of the forthcoming Zune models. He also confirmed that Microsoft hopes to get the new Zunes to the market in time for the busy Christmas shopping season, which typically begins in late November. "They're cranking to get them out in time for the holidays," Rosoff said.