Feeds

Microsoft revamps Zune with Flash

Steve Jobs' nighttime uninterrupted?

Build a business case: developing custom apps

Microsoft has restyled and expanded its Zune portable media player collection with three new models, including a pair of Flash-based players.

Zune_latest_range
MS' Zune family: now also available in 4 or 8GB (left), 80GB (centre) and 30GB models

The 80GB hard-drive model has a 3.2in glass-fronted display - taking a lead from the iPhone perhaps - and ships with what Microsoft claimed were "premium" earphones: noise-isolating and sporting an anti-tangle cord. The 8GB and 4GB Flash models have smaller, 1.8in glass screens, but don't come with such fancy 'phones.

Each model looks slightly different. For example, the touch-sensitive navigation button is square-ish on the 4GB and 8GB models, but circular on the 80GB model. The 4GB and 8GB models have different button layouts and widths. However, most critics will be hard pressed to find any significant aesthetic differences between the new models and original 30GB player. Or indeed between the Microsoft device and Apple's iPod. There, we said it.

All three models include an FM tuner, as per the previous Zune, but have received updated menu layouts and customisation options. For example, users can add their own background images to the display and put on personal messages.

Zunes can also now synchronise content with a user’s PC over a wireless network. For example, a sync process will start automatically when a Zune comes within range of a user's WLAN, or it can be started manually.

The 30GB Zune will also gain these new features through a firmware upgrade, once Microsoft's latest models go on sale.

Zune_30GB
MS' original 30GB Zune

Zune fanboys will be able to get their hands on the new models from mid-November - there's been no mention of a European release. The 80GB model will retail for $250 (£125/€145), the 8GB model for $200 (£100/€120) and the 4GB model for $150 (£75/€95).

The Redmond-based company also announced an online community website for the range, dubbed Zune Social. The beta site allows users to interact with one another and to create user cards, highlighting their favourite and currently playing tracks. However, cards can’t be traded.

Zune Marketplace has also been redesigned and restocked by Microsoft. The company claims it now holds about 3m songs, although Apple claims its iTunes Music Store has double that. Zune customers also have access to about 1m DRM-free MP3s on the site.

The company said Zune Social and its changes to the Marketplace will take effect from mid-November.

Build a business case: developing custom apps

More from The Register

next story
The agony and ecstasy of SteamOS: WHERE ARE MY GAMES?
And yes it does need a fat HDD (or SSD, it's cool with either)
Apple takes blade to 13-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display
Shaves price, not screen on mid-2014 model
Kate Bush: Don't make me HAVE CONTACT with your iPHONE
Can't face sea of wobbling fondle implements. What happened to lighters, eh?
Apple's iWatch? They cannae do it ... they don't have the POWER
Analyst predicts fanbois will have to wait until next year
Apple to build WORLD'S BIGGEST iStore in Dubai
It's not the size of your shiny-shiny...
Steve Jobs had BETTER BALLS than Atari, says Apple mouse designer
Xerox? Pff, not even in the same league as His Jobsiness
Apple analyst: fruity firm set to shift 75 million iPhones
We'll have some of whatever he's having please
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 10 endpoint backup mistakes
Avoid the ten endpoint backup mistakes to ensure that your critical corporate data is protected and end user productivity is improved.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Rethinking backup and recovery in the modern data center
Combining intelligence, operational analytics, and automation to enable efficient, data-driven IT organizations using the HP ABR approach.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.