Zune rumors, which have been floating around for months, turned out to be pretty accurate for the most part as Microsoft today finally took the wraps off its second-generation Zune player adding three new models to the lineup, two of which house flash memory.
The flash memory-based players come in 4GB and 8GB capacities and will retail for $149 and $199 respectively, which is similar to Apple's nano pricing. Both Zune flash units are available in red, olive, pink, and black. There is also a smaller, thinner 80GB Zune with a hard drive that will retail for $249 which comes only in black and has a 3.2-inch display. The new Zune models also feature the Zune Pad, which is being touted as an innovative touch-sensitive button you can either flick or click.
Both the flash memory-based and the hard drive-based Zune share similar features. In terms of enhanced features from the first Zune, the new players now include the ability to sync up with a PC via Wi-Fi. Also, the Zune's wireless sharing capability has been slightly upgraded: it will still limit users to only three plays of whatever file they share, but there is no longer a time limit before the files expire. The release also brings updates to the Zune Marketplace and a new online social networking site, dubbed Zune social, which is centered on the player and sharing music.
Also worth noting is the fact that Microsoft is not pushing the new Zune to consumers, but rather rewarding first-gen buyers with all the new features via a free software upgrade, plus the first generation Zune, now called Zune 30, will continue to be sold alongside the new Zune 80 but will come standard with the new second-generation features.