updated 06:55 pm EDT, Wed April 15, 2009
Zune HD Specs Leak
An apparently separate leak has appeared to confirm at least some details of the Zune HD posted earlier this morning. Pointing to sources within Microsoft, Neowin claims the player will ultimately earn its name through the use of an NVIDIA Tegra mobile processor, which will handle both core processing as well as graphics functions. While the exact chip isn't specified, it's likely to be the APX 2600, which supports 720p video, full OpenGL effects, and HDMI yet which can still fit into a media player-sized casing.
The screen is also expected to be particularly sharp and would be a 3.6-inch OLED touchscreen that should produce better colors and brightness levels than LCDs. Whether or not it would support multi-touch input isn't certain, though the need to use fingers for input may dictate a more responsive capacitive touchscreen than a pressure-based resistive screen.
Also purportedly backed by tipsters is an improved role for Wi-Fi, which should now include a web browser as well as earlier wireless sync and access to the Zune Marketplace. The built-in radio tuner is now believed to include HD Radio support for those stations that have made the digital upgrade.
If true, the leak would have Microsoft release the Zune HD in early fall with a host of accessories and would differentiate the line only by capacity rather than by form factor and shape; the company still plans to have flash versions, which would range from 4GB through to 32GB, as well as a hard drive-based 120GB model.
An upgrade on this level would force significantly increased competition for Apple's iPod touch. The player has had many of the Zune HD's features since 2007 but is using a conventional LCD and only has the processing power to support standard-definition 640x480 video. The Tegra chipset also has the potential to outpace Apple's performance in gaming, which has existed on the Zune since a mid-cycle firmware update but until now has been limited to 2D titles.