Steve Ballmer demonstrates Zune HD for Engadget

Our friends over at Engadget got a sneak peak of the new Zune HD when Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer showed the gadget off to them during the D7 conference.

Ballmer showed of the new OLED screen with a Pixar animated movie. According to Ballmer the device will be shipping in a month which is a lot earlier than the September 5th date we have heard. Update - Microsoft have just informed us the device is still slated to be launched in "fall" so September 5th is still looking good.

Microsoft recently confirmed the Zune HD and 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

The software giant has still not confirmed pricing or more finer specifications.

For more pictures check out Engadgets gallery.

Gizmodo also have some great hands on pictures and a video walkthrough (embedded below)

Report a problem with article
Previous Story

Review: Bionic Commando

Next Story

Microsoft officially launches new search at Bing.com

66 Comments

Commenting is disabled on this article.

looks like fair bit of a let down imo.

They could have really done more FM radio isn't exactly much of an incentive specially since radio is going out of fashion.

I love the interface!

I may well go for this if the 'Now Playing' screen features big artwork like it does on the iPhone/iPod touch. It's really tempting, just for the interface and the OLED screen...

I'd have to decide whether I'd be able to accept not being able to have applications.

Shiranui said,
Though I am still disappointed be the low, low, low-res screen, this looks like a winner.

It's not 'low, low, low-res'. For a device this size, the dot pitch is pretty decent. Plus it's an OLED.

Am I the only one that feels the interface is a little...odd?

I prefer the interface on the Zune 80, without icons to its side. Also, shouldn't playback controls be present immediately when you launch a song, instead of tapping the screen?

I also discern a little lag when selecting some of the features. I hope it gets 'fixed' in the final version. I took a look at the iPod Touch today and its responsiveness and touch capabilities are flawless.

Really nice, the UI is very smooth.

It is good to have alternatives when choosing portable media player.

I can't wait for this...Will definitely get one.
Got the kids a ipod touch before Christmas and its screen was ****ed 3-4 mths later, plus it goes flat way too quickly. (Piece of junk IMO, won't even waste money on apple crap again)

Really? I've had an iPod touch for nearly two years now and the battery life is fine, the screen's fine...

Either you got a bad one, which sucks, or your kids don't look after small devices very well.

Are they going to have some kind of App Store with this new device? I might have to get one to port my games to it if there's one

The thing I have always wondered about these devices that had a touch screen and also played video. How does one keep the screen clean to watch a movie on it? Why doesn't anyone complain about smudges, fingerprints, screen scratches and whatever can damage a screen? If I'm watching a movie on a small screen, I want to watch the movie, not a few hundred fingerpints smeared all over the screen.

Is this a problem? Or, am I just out to lunch on why I'd rather have buttons NOT part of the display screen?

both seems a waste to me. Either I'll use the touch screen and thus space is wasted on having buttons there or I use the buttons and I've wasted money investing in a touch display. I really don't see a huge need to have both besides perhaps 2 buttons for volume.

Smigit said,
both seems a waste to me. Either I'll use the touch screen and thus space is wasted on having buttons there or I use the buttons and I've wasted money investing in a touch display. I really don't see a huge need to have both besides perhaps 2 buttons for volume.


And yet the Palm Pre has hype.

Well for something that is used for texting and email work then yes...a keypad makes some sense. I don't think I'd be jumping to compare a phone with a device predomintly aimed at multimedia playback.

Sure a button here and there may be ok...but I don't think replicating every action or control via a button makes much sense really.

i am happy with my current Zune all i do is play music from it ..all this other stuff is just to pump up the price. I mean really...who listens to HD radio or who watches movies on such a small screen. Kind of silly trying to keep up with Apple's useless products.

I have a Zune 80 and of course I love it but every time we have some kinda bad storm that knocks out power for more than a few hours (particularly ice storms that we get too often here in DC) its very useful to have a radio function.

I use my Zune primarily for music but when I traveled last Christmas I got delayed for seven hours in SanFran and I was none too happy I had decided to download a few episodes of South Park and some of my other fav shows. Thats when all the other features really come in handy.

Is it possible to plug it into and play those HD movies on a full size screen? If it is then you have another application for it; as a portable storage device for your vids.

officially dropped? E3 is the announcement of further details...and by the looks of the home screen...I'm wondering where the "Games" tab is? If this doesn't have games, it will fail somewhat. Use the Xbox 360 momentum Microsoft...do what you know is right.

brolicboy said,
officially dropped? E3 is the announcement of further details...and by the looks of the home screen...I'm wondering where the "Games" tab is? If this doesn't have games, it will fail somewhat. Use the Xbox 360 momentum Microsoft...do what you know is right.

Also note that there is a "more" option as well. It's highly unlikely that this will not have games, especially because of the Xbox Live integration. Hey, if it goes one way, why can't it go the other? If there is a Zune Games Marketplace, it may be Xbox-branded.

artfuldodga said,
i want this, i think its what i've been waiting for

Same here. Also on CNBC they talked to Ballmer (more interview with him coming up on street signs at 2pm Et. 5.28.09). Anyways, Apple boy Jim Goldman who talked to Ballmer said there is no Zune Phone that will come out, but did confirm and show off the ZuneHD.

Looks like a nice piece of kit. I thought they made a photoshop error on the promo pictures with the end of "marketplace" being cut off, but it's on the real device as well!

DomZ said,
Looks like a nice piece of kit. I thought they made a photoshop error on the promo pictures with the end of "marketplace" being cut off, but it's on the real device as well!

I don't think that's the UI they're going to be using.

donBoomy said,
that screen looks magnificent.


I agree! It looks amazingly HD for not being HD resolution! It is going to be a difficult choice between preordering Zune HD and preordering PSP-GO for my birthday. lol.

i'm wondering if the rumor about the resolution being 480x272 is true. taking a guess from some of those pics it looks like there is some pretty small text that i wouldnt think would be possible without a higher res.

Looks nice, but I'm giving it a miss because of the size, and also because of the touchscreen. I'm not a big fan of touchscreen devices, especially when there's hardly any physical buttons.

LAMj said,
you're an oddball, every1 is touching now. lol

I can't stand it. It's annoying, especially on an MP3 player. I prefer to push buttons to skip tracks and change volume without getting it our of my pocket. I have to do that with a touchscreen device (except the iPod Touch if you get an adaptor to use the special controls), which is annoying, and puts it on show for theives.

They should make it touchscreen, but with physical buttons for volume, play, next and previous and stop.

That's my ideal of perfect MP3 player.

Delmont said,
Then buy an iPod and not an iTouch or iPhone.

That's the dilemma I have. I'd be forced to use iTunes and it's slow as hell, even on my Core 2 Quad PC. It is tempting though, because Last.fm directly supports iPod scrobbling, which is what I'd love, but I can't really afford an iPod Classic. They're nearly £200. I know there's the second-hand option, but I'm not so sure about that.

How quickly people forget that there are far better (and cheaper) MP3 players than iPods. But then again who wants drag and drop in Windows Explorer when you can get an iTunes lock-in?

C_Guy said,
How quickly people forget that there are far better (and cheaper) MP3 players than iPods. But then again who wants drag and drop in Windows Explorer when you can get an iTunes lock-in?

I know, but one of the perks of the iPods is you can scrobble directly to Last.fm which I'd love to do, and it'd be one of the main reasons for me to get one. I also want something to keep my entire music collection on, and here in the UK, there aren't many current MP3 players that go above 32GB (not counting the Archos PMPs), so there's much choice. The only device outside of the Archos devices that pop into mind straight away is the iPod Classic.

Will it support OGG? My iphone original does not. Ogg is completely open and free so it is future proof. Imagine an A4 page with text that was unreadable until you pay roalities. That is essentially what could happen to MP3 and AAC playback in the future. Lock-in FTW.

GamblerFEXonlin said,
Will it support OGG? My iphone original does not. Ogg is completely open and free so it is future proof. Imagine an A4 page with text that was unreadable until you pay roalities. That is essentially what could happen to MP3 and AAC playback in the future. Lock-in FTW.

I highly doubt they'll be OGG support, as it's still a hardly-known format in the public eye. In the mainstream, it's either MP3 or AAC.

Victor V. said,
They should make it touchscreen, but with physical buttons for volume, play, next and previous and stop.

That's my ideal of perfect MP3 player.

Sony Walkman X series are exactly what you want (touch interface very similar to the Zune one but a little more stylish + it has buttons on the side for play pause volume and next/previous)

Victor V. said,
They should make it touchscreen, but with physical buttons for volume, play, next and previous and stop.

That's my ideal of perfect MP3 player.

I hated that about the Zune 80. Volume buttons on the side is the only thing I want physical on my music devices.

MightyJordan said,
That's the dilemma I have. I'd be forced to use iTunes and it's slow as hell, even on my Core 2 Quad PC. It is tempting though, because Last.fm directly supports iPod scrobbling, which is what I'd love, but I can't really afford an iPod Classic. They're nearly £200. I know there's the second-hand option, but I'm not so sure about that.


Then buy a Zune (not a ZuneHD)

I also prefer buttons. I don't mind touch if there are also buttons though. I can't stand a phone that is touch screen also either.

GamblerFEXonlin said,
Will it support OGG? My iphone original does not. Ogg is completely open and free so it is future proof. Imagine an A4 page with text that was unreadable until you pay roalities. That is essentially what could happen to MP3 and AAC playback in the future. Lock-in FTW.


o.O

Ogg will never take off, silly. If a free/open audio format ever goes standard down the road, it'll be something new and supported by a major company so they can a) take credit and b) be the first out with a device that plays it, solidifying their brand association with the format.

Joshie said,
o.O

Ogg will never take off, silly. If a free/open audio format ever goes standard down the road, it'll be something new and supported by a major company so they can a) take credit and b) be the first out with a device that plays it, solidifying their brand association with the format.

Hate to tell ya but there are players that support ogg.

http://wiki.xiph.org/index.php/PortablePlayers