Microsoft took the wraps off its Zune media player on Thursday, though what’s underneath is largely what enthusiasts had come to expect.
The device, which the company anticipates will be ready in time for the holidays, will come in three colours and be capable, via its built-in wi-fi, of sharing full-length songs with other nearby Zune devices, the software giant said. As had been revealed through regulatory filings, it includes a 30GB hard drive as well as a 3-inch screen. The Zune will come in black, brown and white but the company has declined to reveal any pricing information.
With the Zune, Microsoft is chasing Apple and its iconic music player, the iPod, which has thus far eclipsed all challengers. For Microsoft to mount a serious campaign against Apple – which has sold more than 60 million iPods in five years – the Zune has to offer compelling features the iPod lacks, analysts say. This gets harder and harder to do with Apple’s continuous upgrades of the iPod.
Microsoft plans to launch a number of accessories, including Zune car chargers, docking stations and gear that will allow Zune to connect to televisions and music speakers. Helping Microsoft with the accessories are many of the same companies that manufacture Apple accessories, including Altec Lansing, Belkin and Digital Lifestyle Outfitters.