Microsoft have officially revealed details on Xbox Music, their digital tune streaming Spotify rival. Hitting Xbox 360 consoles tomorrow and landing as a launch app with Windows 8 on 26 October, the service makes 30 million songs available for streaming….
Microsoft has announced the arrival of the Zune HD, portable media player. The new Zune will aim to be a web surfing, digital radioing, multi-touch screened thorn in the side of the smug iPod touch.
Boasting a yummy 3.3 inch OLED screen (with 16:9 ratio) and HDMI output it looks like Microsoft are finally getting serious about taking on Apple’s iPod, although no comment was made as to the capacity or pricing of the new Zune.
You’ll be able to use the Zune to watch 720p HD video on your HDTV too, which is pretty neat. But looking at the release pictures, it doesn’t look like the Zune is going to rival the iPod in the sexyness stakes. Although an improvement on the original Zune which was undeniably hideously proportioned, the new Zune is still far from sexy.
Think of it as going from Nora Battie to Sonia Jackson – it’s only a bit better.
Microsoft might have done better to spend all the money they’ve spent on developing the Zune trying to tempt Jonathan Ive to come over to the dark side. Sorry, did I say dark side, I meant Microsoft, easy mistake to make.
There’s been some degree of toing and froing regarding the launch of the Microsoft Zune HD or Project Pink and after some excitement it seems there will be no Zune in June. In fact, there’s a very good chance that we won’t see the this cult PMP get a refresh until 2010. I know one man who’ll be shedding tears tonight. (not me, honest.)
What has been rescued from the barrel of circumspect are some pretty solid looking details for something known as the Windows Mobile 7 Chassis 1 which is apparently what has been driving all the Pink rumours. Detailed spec list over virtual leaf…
WM7 Chassis 1 Specification
Processor: ARM v6+, L2 Cache, VFP, Open GL ES 2.0 graphics HW (QCOM 8k, Nvidia AP15/16* and TI 3430 all meet spec)
Memory: 256MB+ DRAM, 1G+ Flash (at least 512MB fast flash – 5MB/s unbuffered read @4K block size)
Display: WVGA (800×480) or FWVGA (854×480) 3.5″ or greater diagonal
Touch: Multi-touch required
Battery: Sufficient to meet Days of Use LTK requirements.
Controls: Start, Back, Send and End are required (soft controls allowed as long as they are always present).
Camera: 3MP+, flash optional, 2nd camera optional (VGA resolution sufficient)
GPS: aGPS required
Sensors required: Light Sensor, Compass (3 axis, 5 degrees, 100 Hz sample rate), Accelerometer (3 axis, 2mg resolution, 100 Hz sample rate)
USB: High speed required, 20 MB/s transfer rate.
BlueTooth: BT2.1 required, must run MSFT BT stack, CSR BlueCore6 or later recommended.
Wi-Fi: 802.11B/G required, must run MSFT Native Wi-Fi stack, Atheros 6002 or Broadcomm 4325 recommended.
Connectors: Micro USB and 3.5mm Audio required.
FM tuner: If tuner HW is present it will be detected and supported by the Media application.
SD Card (Micro SD recommended)
DPAD, qwerty or 12/20 key keyboards all optional
Nothing wildly stand-out going one here. There appears to be little to celebrate or complain about. Can’t see any 3G there, which might have been nice, but otherwise I reckon we’re looking good. So, when we going to get one then, Softie?
Despite its poor retail performance over Christmas, Microsoft remains firmly committed to its Zune MP3 player, and a good thing too. It’s one of the few players in the market that has relentlessly innovated, and still packs features that are lacking on others, like wireless syncing and device-to-device song sharing.
Well, the pace continues. Marketing Director for Zune, Adam Sohn, has revealed to Cnet that “there will be new Zunes before the 2009 holiday season” and they’ll be a “surprising step up” from what’s currently available. That almost certainly means a touchscreen, but that isn’t ‘surprising’ so I wonder what he could mean…
Whatever happens, it’s unlikely to displace the iPod, but given Microsoft’s track record of new features, I can’t wait to see what they’ve got to offer.