Zune Starts Selling 64GB HD Models

I didn’t report on this a few weeks ago when the news initially broke, simply because it broke late on March 31 and I honestly wasn’t sure whether it was an early April Fool’s joke or not. Now, though, the Zune Web site has been updated and the news has been officially released by Zune. New 64GB ZuneHD models are being sold via the ZuneOriginals Web site.

In addition to the new ZuneHD model, the original ZuneHD devices dropped.

I’d still like to see a slightly larger version of the device, but I definitely consider the 64 gig ZuneHD device to be my top candidate if my Zune 80 dies before a larger capacity model is released.

Two Things the ZuneHD Should Have

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the new ZuneHD that Microsoft is planning to release. Overall, I am impressed by the announced improvements to my favorite little portable media player. However, there are two features I think are absolutely necessary in order for the Zune to have a chance of taking a bigger bite out of the iPod market.

Otterbox – Protect Your iPod or iPhone

I have had an iPhone for about two months, now. When I first got it, I was told that I should pick up the Otterbox Defender case to protect it. I ordered one and was immediately impressed. In fact, I was so impressed, that when we got iPod Touches for our kids’ birthday, the first (and only) accessory we ordered for them were Otterbox Defender cases. We also bought one for the 3rd generation iPod Nano that was handed down to my wife after the iPod Touches were received.

Apple’s Major Announcements During WWDC 2009 Keynote

Apple held the keynote kick-off of its Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC) with a few major announcements. However, not much of it was really earth-shattering.

I followed the WWDC keynote via gdgt’s live blog and ArsTechnica’s live blog. Both Web sites did a good job of reporting what was going on, complete with photos of the presentation.

Microsoft Announces HD Zune

Microsoft announced today that the new incarnation of the Zune will feature a touch screen, HD radio and HD video out (720p), among other things. The Zune HD will also feature a Web browser with a QWERTY keyboard. Strangely absent from the list of new features is bluetooth support.

At this time, that’s about all that’s been officially released about the Zune HD, but I’ll be interested to see how this shapes up. I honestly don’t understand why bluetooth (A2DP) is not being added to the new Zune, as that’s one of the big ticket items still missing from the iPhone and iPod Touch. If Microsoft were to introduce more high-quality games and add support for bluetooth stereo headsets and bluetooth file transfer, the Zune HD could finally begin to rival the iPod.

I have to admit, though, that the HD radio tuner built in is kind of cool. I still think that Microsoft needs to develop its own app store for the Zune, though.

Zune Suffers Big PR Hit

Apparently, as a result of the leap year coming to an end, every 30 gig Zune on the planet suffered a serious issue – they were basically bricked on Jan. 1, 2009. The problem has unofficially been dubbed “Z2K9”.

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