Did you forget about the Zune HD? You’re not alone. It was almost four months ago Microsoft announced it would be coming. Apple’s planning and immediate availability of products is not Microsoft’s style, to say the least.
But here it is and ready to buy in America only. It replaces the original, poorly received Zune, comes in 16 and 32 gigabyte models, has a multi-touch OLED touchscreen (something we haven’t seen in any Apple devices yet), HD (720p) video out, WiFi Internet access, built-in accelerometer, Web browser, a touch-screen QWERTY keyboard, and FM radio tuner with HD radio capability.
Microsoft has also revamped the Zune’s interface, which now moves fluidly from one screen to the next, and includes a ‘history’ tab that lets you to access, in one click, the last video, photo, radio station, Web site, or song you were playing. An on-screen keyboard allows letters to linger above your fingertip, making URL and search entries easier.
The Bummers: Access to HD radio and HD video out can only be done via the dock (which is sold separately), there’s no online app store and won’t be for some time and no Facebook or Twitter clients at launch (come on, Microsoft!).
Microsoft did announce plans to launch the Zune video service in 17 countries later this year, which suggests that the Zune HD player may be released in those countries soon as well.