Microsoft Zune not dead after all?

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Oct 052011

Microsoft ZuneThe Microsoft Zune appears to have made a miraculous recovery. Microsoft announced earlier this week that it would stop producing Zunes but has now reversed its position. According to a tweet by ZuneSupport, Microsoft is still “supporting the Zune HD hardware. No official info has been released stating hardware is being discontinued.”

The support page that indicated that Microsoft would no longer produce Zunes has also been taken down. A second tweet indicates that “That site was not supposed to be added to the Zune website.”

Microsoft has not released a Zune player since 2009. It’s not clear why suddenly there are conflicting messages as to the future of Zune hardware.

Microsoft halts production of Zune players

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Oct 032011

Microsoft ZuneMicrosoft has quietly confirmed that it will no longer make Zune players. The last one, the Zune HD, was released back in September 2009. The Zune players support page now reads:

We recently announced that, going forward, Windows Phone will be the focus of our mobile music and video strategy, and that we will no longer be producing Zune players. So what does this mean for our current Zune users? Absolutely nothing. Your device will continue to work with Zune services just as it does today. And we will continue to honor the warranties of all devices for both current owners and those who buy our very last devices. Customer service has been, and will remain a top priority for us.

As the post indicates, the Zune hardware may be dead but the software and lessons learned live on (and in fact today arrived in Canada).

Hang on to those Zunes, they are now collectors’ items…

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Microsoft launches Zune HD and Zune PC software update

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Sep 152009

Microsoft Zune HD

Today is the day that the Zune HD hits stores. With it, Microsoft is launching an updated version of the Zune software PC and plans to release a new Zune video offering on Xbox LIVE later this fall.

“With today’s announcement, the Zune business is growing into a comprehensive entertainment service that’s no longer tied to any one screen or device,” said Enrique Rodriguez, corporate vice president of the TV, Video and Music Business at Microsoft. “Zune lets consumers connect to their music, TV shows and movie content and enjoy it on the three screens they use every day.”

The Zune HD is powered by an NVIDIA Tegra HD processor. It comes with a built-in HD Radio receiver, high-definition video output capabilities (supporting 720p), a 3.3-inch OLED touchscreen display (with a 16:9 widescreen format and 480 by 272 resolution), built-in accelerometer, and Wi-Fi. On the software side, it features an Internet browser (with tap to zoom technology) and a touchscreen QWERTY keyboard. Games and free applications such as Twitter for Zune and Facebook for Zune will also be available from the Zune Marketplace.

The Zune PC software has been updated and comes with new discovery and recommendation features, such as Quickplay and Smart DJ, that help users find and play digital content. Movies will also be available for rental and purchase later this fall. Zune Pass subscribers will also be able to now stream music through their browser by logging into

The Zune HD will only be available in the United States. The 16GB version will sell for US$219.99 and the 32GB version for US$289.99. Retailers will carry the former in black and the latter in platinum but red, green and blue devices are available in both capacities from Zune Originals.

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The Microsoft Zune is officially launched

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Sep 142006

Microsoft Zune

Microsoft formally announced its Zune brand and its products today. Focused on principles of sharing, discovery and community, Zune devices will let you connect to your library, friends, to larger communities and to other devices. Zune will consist a DAP, the Zune Marketplace music service (supporting individual track or album downloads as well as a Zune Pass subscription to download as many songs as you want for a flat fee) and an online community (thnk of something similar to Xbox Live for music lovers).

The first Zune device is a 30GB DAP (enough for up to 7,500 songs, 25,000 pictures or 100 hours of video) with a 3-inch screen, wireless technology and a built-in FM tuner with RDS. It will be available in 3 colours: black, brown and white. It will come preloaded with music and videos from Virgin Records, Ninja Tune, Quango Music Group and other labels.

Three accessory packs were also announced. The Zune Car Pack includes a built-in FM tuner with AutoSeek and the Zune Car Charger. The Zune Home A/V Pack is five products to hook up your Zune to yoru TV and music speakers. The Travel Pack is another five products to deliver entertainment on the road.

It will be interesting (and good for us consumers) to watch Apple and Microsoft try to out-do each other in the next few months.

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Apple introduces iPod nano

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Sep 112005

iPod nano

The Apple mini is not moving to solid state, flash storage as had been anticipated earlier. Instead, it will make way for the iPod nano which willl make use of flash storage like the iPod shuffle. Two models (2GB and 4GB) were unveiled at Apple’s September 7th special event, both with a 1.5-inch colour screen. The nano is very thin (0.27 inches) and 3.5-inches high and 1.6 wide (80% smaller in volume than the original iPod), features Apple’s famous Click wheel and is available in either white or black. It also comes with a 14 hour rechargeable battery and supports the dock connector.

The nano is priced like the iPod minis but offers less capacity. The 2GB model is available for $199 USD ($249 CAD) and the 4GB model sells for $249 USD ($299.00 CAD).

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