Cesar Menendez, a Microsoft employee working on Zune, had some interesting things to note when Channel 10 interviewed him. It turns out that the newly released Zune 4 ($150), Zune 8 ($200) and Zune 80 ($250), the names of which you may have guessed correspond to the device capacity in GB, aren't the only part of the Zune experience that received a revamp. The Zune software and the Zune Marketplace have been recoded from the ground up. Cesar also throws out a statistic: the Zune Marketplace now has 3 million tracks available, 1 million of which are DRM-free.
He goes on to saying how Microsoft has taken off the limit of 3 days to play a song received from a friend's Zune. It used to be 3 days or 3 plays, now it's just 3 plays before the song is gone. The new Zunes are smaller and come in more colours. The Zunepad, Microsoft's answer to the clickwheel, allows for "flicking" as well as clicking through the menus. Why no touch-screen? Well Mr. Menendez believes that the Zunepad is the answer as it gets the same result without smudges on the screen.
Is there a clock? No, it wasn't a big priority. What about the Zune 30 and the firmware update? The Zune 30 ($200) will have the same firmware as the new Zunes. "That's the same menu, same features, the Zune 30, if you bought it last year, you'll get wireless sync, you'll get the updated wireless send, you'll get connection into the Zune community, you'll get the new store. So basically we really value our early adopter customers."
Oh yeah, and still no plans for Europe.