Well, Microsoft announced the release of the Zune 2.0. I will say that these new Zunes are much nicer than their 1.0 counterparts. They’re thinner… much thinner. Very less brick-like. And no more doo doo brown. I’ve only seen pictures, but I dare say these things look fairly sweet.
Some basic upgrades to the standard Zune: It’s now has 80Gb in storage, glass screens, connects to Xbox 360 for customized playlists, new touch-sensitive pad that acts as the iPod click wheel and that looks pretty cool, and 3.2″ widescreen display. It still has the same WiFi and squirtibility. Other big news that that the Zune now supports podcasts, which is awesome!
Even bigger upgrade news is the Zune’s answer to the iPod Nano. The Zune is now available is a 4Gb or 8Gb smaller Flash model with all the same basic features of the 80Gb Zune. The 80Gb hard disk model comes in black while the Flash models come in red, green, pink, and black. They look comparable to the old model iPod Nano’s in size and form. They have the Zune touchpad and a 1.8″ display.
All the new Zunes come with what Microsoft calls “Premium Headphones” but we’ll have to wait and see how they sound in real life.
The new Zunes are prices exactly the same as their iPod counterparts… the 80Gb model being $249, the 8Gb model being $199, and the $4Gb being $149.
It is also said that the Zune Marketplace will be selling high-quality DRM-free music as well, which sweetens the deal significantly.
These new Zunes seem to be waaaaaaay better than their 1.0 siblings. The original Zune was a total waste, but it seems that Microsoft has learned well and may have a contender on their hands. Will they dethrone the iPod? No. At least not for many, many years. And even with time it will be a significant feat. But this product, at least on paper, seems it may be worth a look. I’ll play with one when they’re released on November 13 and write some more.
For now, Engadget has a complete side-by-side comparison between the new Zunes and their iPod counterparts. See it here.