Microsoft Releases Zune HD as Attempted iPod Killer
Microsoft releases the Zune HD, its touch-screen media player, days after Apple announced its iPod upgrades. The Zune HD has Wi-Fi capability, an integrated HD radio receiver and high-definition video output. Microsoft has eliminated other devices in its Zune line as it attempts to compete with the iPod, which according to a research note from the NPD Group occupies about 70 percent of the market.Microsoft released the Zune HD, the touch-screen media player intended as an answer to Apple's iPod Touch, on Sept. 15. Available in 16GB and 32GB sizes, with a 3.3-inch touch-screen, the Zune HD features Wi-Fi capability, an integrated HD radio receiver and high-definition video output for watching 720p HD movies and TV shows on an HD television-the latter requiring an HDMI docking station sold separately. Those looking to customize their Zune HDs can choose from a variety of patterns to be etched on the back of the casing.
The Zune HD comes with a device-customized version of Internet Explorer, allowing Web navigation via a touch-screen QWERTY keyboard and tap-to-zoom capability. (As this is a Microsoft product, the default search engine is Bing.) In order to simplify the Zune's navigation, a new feature called QuickPlay allows users to place favored playlists, video and other media on an easily accessible menu.