Zune HD to be released on 5th September?


The Zune HD will be launched in the US on 5th September according to Microsoft guru Paul Thurott.

But as the American launch edges palpably closer a UK launch is beginning to seem more like an impossibility than a improbability.

The Zune’s HD radio wouldn’t work in the UK where we use DAB and the ZunePass music subscription service used in the US is none-existent in Europe.

Pipe smoking, tech high-brow, Jack Schofield writes on Guardian.co.uk, “Sony is already offering much better sound quality than Apple, OLED screens, built in FM radio and better file support at reasonable prices. Admittedly it still has to re-educate a market that still thinks Sony supports ATRAC and requires horrible SonicStage software, but that’s probably an easier job than establishing the Zune brand from scratch.”

Which he’s right about. Well, the Zune thing, not the iPod thing: The sound quality on Sony Mp3 players is simply not any better than the iPod’s. That’s just not true. The thing that has made the iPod successful is how seamless it is. From it’s beautiful design, across every device and generation, to its amazingly simple and balanced UIs and a sound quality that’s as good as any personal media player out there.

That’s what has made the iPod ubiquitous, it’s simplicity. And that simplicity isn’t something Microsoft has ever been good at (ie… Vista). That being said, I’d be sad not to see the Zune HD launched here in some form, purely because it looks like a good product. I’m sick of these US only products. What have they done to deserve them? I want the Kindle and Zune HD on these shores by the end of the year – got it.

(Via SlashGear)

Microsoft unveil Zune HD – still not sexy


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.

(Via TechTree)

No Zune in June but base specs for next Microsoft PMP revealed


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

Core requirements:

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?

(via ZDnet & Neowin)