Microsoft’s 2nd Generation Zune Players with Wi-Fi Sync are Here

80Gb Zune and 4Gb/8Gb Flash Models The next-generation of Zune digital audio players are here! As reported yesterday, Microsoft has gone ahead and unveiled two new Zune models. In November 2006, Microsoft had launched the 30GB Zune PMP. Now, more choices are available to those who are not fans of Apple’s iPod.

The new Zune players launched are an 80GB hard-drive Zune and a 4GB and 8GB flash Zune player. The entire line of players feature the new Zune Pad, which is an innovative touch-sensitive button for navigating on the device.

Another feature that the two models share include wireless sync that allows Zune devices to automatically sync over the device owner’s home wireless network when connected to an AC adaptor, in a dock or speaker dock. Let’s take a closer look at each of these players.

Microsoft chairman Bill Gates and Corporate Vice President J Allard unveiled the new Zune portable media players which offer a host of features that make this DAP a potential rival for Apple’s iPod.

The 80GB hard drive Zune is a sleek portable digital media player that only comes in black color. It sports a bright 3.2-inch screen and comes bundled with premium headphones. This top end model carries a price tag of $249.99.

Next up are the ultraportable Zune 4GB and 8GB flash models that can be placed in the same line as Apple’s flash-based iPod nano. These flash Zune PMPs also feature the Zune Pad navigation button with its touch-sensitive surface.

Available in four colors including pink, green, black and glossy red, this model is roughly the size of Apple’s ubiquitous iPod nano. The 4GB model costs $150, while the 8GB model comes for $200.

Listed below are the additional salient features of the new Zune PMPs:

  • Wireless sync: Zune devices will automatically sync over the user’s home wireless networks with this helpful new feature, aimed at ensuring that Zune owners always have the latest podcasts and other content ready to go when they‘re leaving home. Syncing with the collection on their PC happens via a home wireless network and will start on its own when the device is placed in its dock or plugged in to charge. Alternatively, the sync can be started manually.
  • Extended wireless sharing: Share select full-length songs, albums, playlists, pictures and even audio podcasts from device to device. Consumers can now listen to any song received up to three times with no time restrictions, and they can now also pass along songs to other friends who have a Zune.
  • Recorded television content to go. The Zune software will now automatically import broadcast content recorded on Microsoft Windows Media Center for Windows Vista Home Premium or Ultimate, so consumers can sync them onto their Zune media player and watch them on the bus, in their car or wherever they want when they’re out and about.

Since all three Zune models come with Wi-Fi, you will be able to sync your music and podcasts wireless over your home Wi-Fi network. However, as of now you still cannot buy music over the air a la iTunes.

Also, the wireless sync feature will be available on Microsoft’s 30GB Zune come November 2007.

Microsoft is also offering a number of accessories that include:

  • Zune Home AV Pack: Home Dock with three faceplates to accommodate each Zune device, wireless remote, AC adaptor and composite AV output cable ($99.99)
  • Zune Dock Pack: Home Dock with three faceplates to accommodate each Zune device and AC adapter ($49.99)
  • Zune Car Pack: Redesigned FM transmitter/charger and dashboard grip pad ($79.99)
  • Zune Cable Pack: Sync cable, composite AV output cable and audio cable ($39.99)
  • Zune Premium Headphones ($39.99)
  • Zune Leather Case ($49.99)
  • Zune Sync Cable ($19.99)
  • Zune AC Adapter ($29.99)

The 80GB hard drive Zune and the 4GB and 8GB flash-based Zune PMPs will be available in November 2007.