Zune HD portable media player: launch-date announced by Microsoft
The new Zune HD media player will be launched in the US on 15 September, Microsoft has announced.
Zune HD is literally the state-of-the-art personal media player device; alive with cutting-edge technology. It's a brand new gadget, introducing welcome competition to a well-established sector which has been dominated for too long by Apple's well-marketed but over-priced devices. At launch, Zune HD will already be about $80 US dollars cheaper than the iPod, and the price could be reduced as Microsoft offsets manufacturing costs against media download sales, passing the benefit on to its customers in the form of a subsidised handset.
Zune HD offers the full range of features including:
- Wi-Fi internet access
- Full-featured web browser
- OLED touch screen
- Widescreen display (16:9 aspect ratio, 3.3 inch screen)
- HD video out
- Stream or download music and video content
- Digital radio
- High-capacity storage (16 gigabytes/32 gigabytes)
- Accelerometer / motion-sensor
- QWERTY touchscreen keyboard
- Nvidia multicore Tegra processor
Zune HD is distinct from other portable media players. This is next-generation technology, incorporating the Nvidia multicore Tegra processor -- the fastest, most powerful chip ever deployed in a portable media player. The processing-power is so awe-inspiring, in fact, that one cannot help but wonder what else Microsoft might be planning to do with it...
Tegra is powered by two processor cores based on intellectual property from the UK-based chip designer ARM. The CPU which runs the operating system is based on the ARM11 core. That's not the only serious machinery under the hood with Tegra -- far from it. For example, Tegra also includes a serious dedicated graphics processor -- an Nvidia GeForce graphics chip. In total, Tegra integrates eight independent processors. Welcome to the era of "computer on a chip" technology, with integrated CPU, GPU, northbridge, southbridge and memory controller, all in a single package.
Zune is the collective brand name for a wide range of integrated products and services, which Microsoft's marketing literature describes as "the ultimate entertainment service". Zune HD is an important part of Microsoft's exciting and ambitious overall strategy for interactive entertainment, in which video and music content from Zune and other providers are being rolled-out to other Microsoft platforms including the Xbox games console, Windows Mobile phones, and of course on Windows PCs. The boundaries dividing these platforms are likely to fade as technology evolves.
I predict that by 2012 Microsoft will launch something that could be described as a Zune phone. At the very least I envisage a Zune app that can be downloaded from Windows Marketplace, the app store for Windows Mobile. If the popularity of the service soars as rapidly as it should, I'd like to see a Zune-branded phone. If this isn't Microsoft's coordinated strategy, it arguably should be! Watch this space...
12 August 2009
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