September 15, 2010

The Return of the Zune?


Ever since ZDNet’s Mary-Jo Foley hinted on her “All About Microsoft” blog in early September that Microsoft is getting ready to release a brand new Zune for 2011, the blogosphere has been rife with rumors.

Foley’s blog post reads, “I keep hearing from a source of mine who has been a solid tipster on Microsoft-consumerish things in the past that Microsoft is still considering rolling out at least one more Zune HD media player. Let’s call it, just for fun, the Zune HD2 (though maybe Zune HD7 (potentially stealing a good name away from HTC) is a more likely name, given the Softies’ love of all things numbered 7 these days). Last I heard, it was supposed to be Microsoft’s iPod Touch competitor.”

Now, Electronista: Gadgets for Geeks blog reveals that Microsoft may share some of its plans for the future of the Zune HD at the same time as its mid-October release for Windows Phone 7. Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer might even discuss the future of dedicated Zune devices at the same time, the most likely opportunity being at the October 11 open house event, where many of the company's latest offerings will be on display.

The Zune HD could use a little fanfare. Despite receiving favorable reviews from the tech press when it debuted last September, and ranking number 22 in the PC World 100: Best Products of 2009, Amazon’s list of Bestsellers in Electronics placed the iPod Touch in the second and third spot, (8GB and 32GB models), while the Zune HD (32GB) languished at number 89. In fact, reports shows that the Zune has remained at roughly two percent of U.S. MP3 player share despite new model releases, slashed prices and unique features such as on-demand music streaming.

But the question remains: Will rolling out a revamped version with the right marketing push just in time for the holiday shopping rush salvage the Zune in today’s high competitive media player market?




Edited by Erin Harrison




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