Microsoft officially unveiled the Zune HD, its take on multimedia player market for the fall/spring of 2009/2010. Unlike the previous bulky, iPod-1st gen mimicking Zunes, the Zune HD is a cocktail of latest innovations in the industry, offering superior experience at every step.
According to specifications that we saw, the Zune HD is the most advanced multimedia player that the world has seen to this date. The built-in Tegra SoC [System-on-Chip] is "guilty" for superior battery life, enabling more than a day of continuous music playback, and unless you’re flying the world’s longest plane route [Singapore Changi-New Jersey Newark], you’ll be able to enjoy in movies throughout.
Secondly, and a very important part of this equation is the 3.3" [8.35 cm] diagonal OLED [Organic Light Emitting Diode] screen with glass cover, featuring a resolution of 480×272 pixels. This display brings crystal-clear picture quality in millions of colors, yet it consumes less power than a conventional LCD panel of the same size.
Thirdly, and probably the most important – Zune HD does not look cheap. In fact, we would argue that the quality is more mimicking Vertu phones than a consumer product such as the plasticky iPod touch. The glass covers the front of the device, while the casing is a combination of brushed aluminum and plastic middle, featuring power button on the top etc.
Capacity-wise, you can chose between 16GB and 32GB models, with 16GB going for $219 [regular sales price, expect $199 and $209 rebate schemes] and 32GB model for $279 [MSRP, MIR prices $259 and $269]. This is much cheaper than competing devices – making this product the cheapest 3.3" OLED on the market and a good potential to become the best selling OLED-powered device to date.
In a recent conference call, we also heard that Microsoft’s Zune HD platform is well-capable of adding a communications chip and launching a Zune Phone should be of no issue. The main thing that is stopping Microsoft from launching just that is waiting for sales results of Zune HD. If Zune HD becomes a runaway success, you won’t have to wait for long, and an operator-unlocked Zune Phone will appear.