Feeds

Microsoft revamps Zune with Flash

Steve Jobs' nighttime uninterrupted?

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

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.

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
Microsoft to enter the STRUGGLE of the HUMAN WRIST
It's not just a thumb war, it's total digit war
Tim Cook: The classic iPod HAD to DIE, and this is WHY
Apple, er, couldn’t get the parts for HDD models
Google Glassholes are UNDATEABLE – HP exec
You need an emotional connection, says touchy-feely MD... We can do that
Caterham Seven 160 review: The Raspberry Pi of motoring
Back to driving's basics with a joyously legal high
Back to the ... drawing board: 'Hoverboard' will disappoint Marty McFly wannabes
Buzzing board (and some future apps) leave a lot to be desired
prev story

Whitepapers

Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
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.
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.
Getting ahead of the compliance curve
Learn about new services that make it easy to discover and manage certificates across the enterprise and how to get ahead of the compliance curve.