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Microsoft Updates Zune Line and Software

The Microsoft Zune line of media players also has been updated, with increased capacity (matching the recent changes in the Apple iPod -- see previous post), and new 3.0 software with even more emphasis on music discovery features -- supported for all existing devices.

The flash memory Zune doubled capacity at the same price, with 8 GB for $149 and the new 16 GB for $199 (remaining 4 GB units drop to $129).

The hard disk Zune stepped from 80 to 120 GB for the same $249 (remaining 80 GB units are now $229. That's some 4,000 songs or 48 hours of video in the 16 GB flash memory model in a smaller 1.7 oz. size, or 30,000 songs or 375 hours video in the 120 GB hard drive model that's somewhat larger and certainly heavier at 4.5 oz.

The new Zune device software upgrades the firmware to extract RDS and RT+ data feeds from FM broadcasts, so you can Buy from FM -- tag songs to access later. You can download when docked to your computer or at a Wi-Fi hot spot, or listen over Wi-Fi with a Zune Pass subscription. The device software also adds support for audiobooks, the beginnings of games to play on the go, and a handy clock.

The new Zune PC software adds new music discovery features, including channels with music programming in different genres, and personal recommendations based on comparing your library with others. There's also new visualization interfaces, including the Mixview dynamic display mapping artists to their influences, related artists and power listeners.

Also check out the Zune Originals online store with exclusive color combinations and options to customize your Zune player with laser-engraved art and personal text (see previous post).

See my Portable Media Players Gallery for more on the Zune players and software, and the development of related products.

    Find the Microsoft Zune 16 GB
    and the Microsoft Zune 120 GB on Amazon.com

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