updated 05:35 pm EDT, Wed September 1, 2010
Microsoft hinting at last hurrah for Zune HD
Microsoft may give the Zune HD one last try, but not for some time, a source hinted Wednesday. The device mentioned to ZDNet would, as predicted, use at least some of Windows Phone 7 but wouldn't ship until sometime in 2011. Given its early development, most hardware was unknown, although it would keep using an ARM processor much like the NVIDIA Tegra used today.
The Zune was originally launched in November 2006 as Microsoft's attempt to prevent the iPod from maintaining an absolute grip on the MP3 player market, but it has rarely if ever exceeded more than two percent share of the US market, trailing behind SanDisk. It was the first mainstream handheld to bring about Wi-Fi music sharing, syncing and on-device purchasing, but Microsoft has also routinely skipped on adding hardware or software features. Its 2008 design was virtually unchanged from the year before, and support for Audible or Genius Mix-style Smart DJ features came much later than when they first appeared at Apple.
Most of Microsoft's efforts on the Zune platform have been shifted to Windows Phone 7, the Xbox 360 and briefly on the short-lived Kin.