updated 03:55 pm EDT, Mon October 1, 2007
Zune 2 Launch Tomorrow
Microsoft is gearing up to launch its expected Zune sequel tomorrow, say inside sources. The tips echo earlier rumors and claim that the Redmond-based company is readying both hard disk and flash-based players for the launch; the new flash device would have similar overall dimensions to the second-generation iPod nano at 3 inches by 1.25 inches but would support video, Wi-Fi, and higher storage than at least some rivals. The hard disk version would be slightly thinner and hold more than the 30GB version but otherwise be very similar in terms of hardware. A beta Zune community site and a suite of first-party accessories would accompany the devices, the sources say.
The announcement is said to be important enough that both Microsoft chairman Bill Gates and Zune team head J Allard will make presentations to underscore the importance of the platform. As many as 2.4 million Zune players might be manufactured by the end of 2007 with the majority of these being less expensive flash-based units, according to the report. The figure would double Microsoft's 1.2 million Zunes sold between November 2006 and the end of June, significantly expanding Microsoft's marketshare if the majority of players are sold. Actual shipments would begin in November, however, providing the Zune creator roughly a month to reach its target.
No prices or concrete specifications were provided, though leaks in the past have pointed to $150 and $200 flash-based Zunes with 4GB and 8GB of storage as well as a $250, 80GB hard disk player. The jukeboxes would also have a redesigned, square directional pad and would likely expand wireless functions beyond today's limited user-to-user sharing feature.