The Zune HD portable media player, announced last week, will feature an HD Radio tuner and an organic light-emitting diode (OLED) touch screen. It will use flash memory and a version of Microsoft's Internet Explorer browser. It will feature an HDMI connection for streaming video to HDTVs, Wi-Fi connectivity, HD video support, and a built-in accelerometer.
I think that Microsoft's Zune HD, if as advertised, could supply some real competition for my iPod Touch.
The iPod Touch is no slouch. It sports up to 32GB of flash memory, a beautiful touch screen, Wi-Fi connectivity, a Web browser, direct access to the iTunes Store, and much more. It's a great device, but in some respects, the Zune HD may be just a little better.
Some might scoff at the Zune HD's high-definition radio. But when we consider the fact that a major selling point of the current Zune is its FM radio, it might not seem like such a bad idea to bring in HD. And having the option of listening to a high-quality transmission of songs ranging from Britney Spears to Frank Sinatra for free isn't so bad, either. Granted, you can't pick those songs, and you'll need to listen to commercials, but I think that's a small price to pay.
The iPod Touch, of course, has some advantages of its own.
Apple's iTunes Store is one of the most important reasons behind the iPod's success. It offers a simple, end-to-end experience that's unparalleled in the business. And as the largest music retailer in the United States, it carries some clout.
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