Microsoft may be facing an uphill battle in the portable media player market against Apple and its wildly popular iPod, but the company certainly isn't ready to give up the fight. In fact, Microsoft’s media player division marketing manager Brian Seitz has just confirmed that the company will release new Zune hardware this year.

Sadly no specific details have been revealed but he does make it clear that this year's update will be more significant than the fall 2008 refresh, which simply increased storage capacity and added firmware support for buying songs over Wi-Fi. We're curious to know what sort of announcements Microsoft will make regarding their Zune line. Rumors have circulated that the company plans a smartphone-media player crossover device, although Seitz himself has denied this, and possibly even a living room media device under the Zune banner.