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Microsoft Releases Zune Details

Redmond, Wash. – Microsoft confirmed some bare-bones details about its new Zune digital audio player that is expected to be released this fall.

Microsoft said the initial Zune will be a 30GB portable digital audio player with wireless capability, picture and video capability and a built-in FM tuner. It will have a 3-inch screen and will come in three colors: black, brown and white.

The device will allow wireless Zune-to-Zune sharing of select songs that the recipient can keep for up to three days and may listen to up to three times over that period. After that, a song may be flagged for purchase from a “Zune Marketplace,” presumably, the company’s online Web site. At 12:40 p.m. EST today, a visit to said “Web site under construction.”

Microsoft said the Zune Marketplace will include “millions of songs,” which consumers may purchase individually or through a “Zune Pass” subscription.

Every Zune will be preloaded with content from record labels such as DTS, EMI Music’s Astralwerks Records and Virgin Records, Ninja Tune, Playlouderecordings, Quango Music Group, Sub Pop Records and V2/Artemis Records.

Users will be able to upgrade their Zune as its technology evolves and Zune software on the PC “will let you know when these updates are available,” said the company.

Through the Zune, Microsoft claims it is delivering more than a portable device. “…we are introducing a new platform that helps bring artists closer to their audiences and helps people find new music and develop new social connections” explained J. Allard VP of design and development for Microsoft.

Three accessories packages will be available for the Zune. A Zune Car Pack includes a car charger, a Zune Home A/V Pack includes a dock and wireless remote and cables and the Zune Travel Pack includes earphones, remote, AC adapter and a synch cable. Microsoft said it will be working with accessory makers including Altec Lansing, Belkin, Digital Lifestyle Outfitters, Dual Electronics, Griffin Technology, Harman Kardon and JBL, Integrated Mobile Electronics, Jamo International, Klipsch Audio Technologies, Logitech, Monster Cable Products, Speck, Targus Group International and VAF Research.