updated 08:45 am EDT, Tue September 16, 2008
Zune 3 Software Launches
As promised, Microsoft today rolled out its Zune 3.0 software and the according updates for its Zune players. The upgrade lets every Zune from the original 30GB model up to the new 16GB and 120GB versions download songs directly from the Zune Marketplace over Wi-Fi as well as tag songs on some FM radio stations to buy them either from the device or with the next PC sync. Users both on the players and the Windows software also get access to dynamically updating Channel playlists, while the software alone gets a Mixview that shows related music and related listeners.
The launch comes alongside the shipment of the new-generation players and the re-emergence of Zune Originals, which lets users choose any one of several artwork engravings in addition to a text message. Microsoft is also using the occasion of Zune 3.0 to sell the Zune 16 flash player online in the blue, green, pink and red colors normally reserved for the 8GB devices at physical stores. The color options don't affect the $199 price of the player, though the art engravings will typically cost extra.
As part of the formal launch, Microsoft has also announced a deal with McDonald's that gives Zune owners free Wi-Fi access in any of the restaurant chain's locations equipped with the Internet hotspots.