All one needs to know about the Zune HD

The Zune HD has been in the headlines ever since Engadged leaked the images from its promotional campaign. Even though leaks about some new gadgets spur a lot of excitement, they come with a fare share of false rumors that are disappointing and sometimes, plain absurd. This usually only happened with Apple products like the iPhone or the iPod Touch, but this time - to everyone's surprise - Microsoft's well underplayed portable media player managed to steal the spotlight.

We thought it would be a good idea to gather all the floating news and rumors about the still unconfirmed device and try to get the facts straight.




First of all, the device is real, and its coming somewhere between the third and fourth quarters of 2009. A mere glimpse of the hardware would reveal that Microsoft intend it to be a direct competitor to the iPod Touch. The Zune HD appears to have a capacitance 16:9 OLED Touchscreen which appears to be greater than 3 inches. However, there is no confirmation that the screen is Multi-touch. From the currently available images, it only seems to have one physical button bellow the touch screen.

The device is powered by the NVIDIA Tegra platform, which fuel its HD capabilities. The platform is known to allow simultaneous playback of HD content, while still being able to drive and LCD display of 1280x1024 resolution, which is also evident by the visible HDMI port on the left side of the device. Though the Tegra platform does support a digital camera of up 12MP, the backside of the device clearly shows that there isn't any camera on board. Though there appears to be a button on the lower back, which suggests that it may feature a removable battery.

The user interface in the screenshot looks a lot like the Zune's original interface, which is kinda surprising for me. If Microsoft plans to take Zune HD head to head with the iPod Touch, it shouldn't be using the tailored version of Windows Embedded.

The user interface pretty much looks like the Zune's, which is a bit surprising for me. If the device is going to compete with the iPod Touch, then it should be using a newer, more flexible operating system instead of Zune tailored Windows Embedded OS. Probably something in the line of Windows Mobile tailored for the Zune platform would be nice. Also the Zune Marketplace should be revamped to support applications, or merged with the Windows Mobile Marketplace. The device is said to have a web browser, with a rumored multi-touch support. It isn't clear that whether it would be a new browser, or a port of Internet Explorer for Mobile.


The hardware specifications aren't available yet, but it is widely believed that the player would be available in configurations ranging from 4GB to 32GB. There are also strong rumors that it would support Xbox games. Though it is pretty hard to believe or comment on right now, the rumors perfectly fall in line with Microsoft's Live Anywhere initiative - where it wanted to bring ubiquitous Xbox Live Gaming service to the PC, Cellphone and its other handheld devices. Back in its early days, Zune was believed to be a handheld gaming device by Microsoft. It looks like Microsoft is fully capable of making that a reality right now going head to head with Nintendo and Sony in the handheld gaming market.

The Zune HD is expected to see international release around the fourth quarter of 2009. Microsoft is taking a shot at Apple in a yet another market dominated by its iPod family. Will Microsoft succeed is hard to tell but they certainly got the formula right this time. Though no Apple device is HD capable yet, we can expect surprises from Cupertino, Cali based company when they unveil there new line of devices at the Worldwide Developer Conference.

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