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Microsoft Finally Releases Its Zune HD Player

Microsoft has removed the drapes from its next generation portable media player, the Zune HD, which promises to give the iPod Touch, a run for its money.

The new device packs a 3.3-inch OLED multitouch touchscreen display capable of showing 480x272 pixels, inbuilt HD radio, WiFi capability that allows you to instantly stream content to the Zune plus Internet Explorer (didn't say which version though).

Interestingly, the Zune HD will be able to output to 720P via an HDMI port that's available on its (optional) AV dock. Expect the PMP to be available this fall, by which time, Apple will probably come up with a better, beefier, badder iPod touch (64GB anyone?).

More details have yet to be released regarding the hardware specifications of the device, more specifically whether it has a Tegra processor and ahem, Windows Mobile 7 compatibility.

As mentioned in our articles about 5 Directions That Microsoft's Zune HD Needs To Take, Microsoft will also integrate the ZuneHD with the Xbox Live with a ldemo happening next week at E3.

The ZuneHD will actually be a premium partner in the Xbox LIVE video marketplace which means that users will be able to view TV programmes and films on the platform. No details about the price or the capacity of the device. Not even a release date mentioned for any territories outside the UK.

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Our Comments

Microsoft is also set to announce a new agreement with BSkyB over music and content distribution. The Zune HD is set to become a significant player in the market should Microsoft finally manage to ship it to countries OUTSIDE the US. Apple has been given a free reign for too long it seems. Expect many many more content partnerships over the next few months.

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Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website building and web hosting when DHTML and frames were en vogue and started writing about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium. Following an eight-year stint at where he discovered the joys of global tech-fests, Désiré now heads up TechRadar Pro. Previously he was a freelance technology journalist at Incisive Media, Breakthrough Publishing and Vnunet, and Business Magazine. He also launched and hosted the first Tech Radio Show on Radio Plus.