Unfortunately, my beloved Toshiba Gigabeat expired a month or so ago, so I have been doing some pretty extensive research into either repairing or replacing it. To repair the thing would cost me anywhere between $100-150 USD, and would require me to once again take the thing apart. On top of that, I wouldn’t have any guarantee as to whether or not the repair would be successful, or for how long. Basically, the hard drive inside is dead (it sounds like ping pong balls bouncing when I turn it on) and needs to be replaced.
Just when I thought I was going to have to break down and finally buy an iPod, Microsoft has come to my rescue. Many of you know that I am not a huge fan of Microsoft, but, as stated in a previous blog entry, I am even less of a fan of Apple’s foray into the digital media world.
Microsoft announced the other day that they will be releasing three new Zunes in November (just in time for the holidays, if I can get my hands on one). The first two are low-capacity, compact media players to rival players like the Creative Zen and the iPod Nano. They will come in four different colors (red, pink, green and black) and will come in two different sizes (4 gig and 8 gig).
The one in which I am interested is the new 80 gig model, which will only be released in black (at least initially).
All three new players will offer the ability to sync your player wirelessly with Windows Media Center and will feature FM tuners built-in. In addition to the new releases, apparently MS plans to release a firmware upgrade for original Zune owners to provide them the wireless capability.
Although MS has parted ways with the manufacturers of my beloved Gigabeat, I still feel the Zune is a good, solid media player. With Toshiba only offering low-capacity models of the new Gigabeat, I really have nowhere else to turn.
Microsoft is estimating that the new Zune players will retail for $149.99, $199.99 and $249.99, respectively. That puts the new 80 gig Zune at $100 cheaper than the comparable iPod classic model. In fact, it puts the 80 gig Zune at the same price as an iPod with half that capacity.
I will definitely be on the lookout for the new player when it is released, and will hopefully be able to review it shortly after the holidays.