The device is expected to arrive on store shelves on Sept. 15.
The player, available in 16GB and 32GB capacities, is the first touch-screen Zune and competes directly with Apple's iPod touch.
The Zune HD can be ordered in 16GB Black and 32GB Platinum now from the official Zune site and through Amazon.com, Best Buy, Walmart and Microsoft. Beginning Sept. 15, both 16GB and 32GB capacities of Zune HD will be available in five colors with the option of 10 artist-commissioned laser engravings.
Microsoft says the Zune HD is the first to combine the following features:
- A built-in HD Radio receiver: For higher-quality audio than is available from traditional radio channels and additional HD-only programming.
- HD video output capabilities: Supports HD video playback from the device through an HDMI A/V docking station (sold separately) directly to an HDTV in 720p.
- OLED touch screen: A 3.3-inch glass screen and 16:9 widescreen format display (480x272 resolution) allow for an extremely bright and crisp display.
- Built-in Wi-Fi: In addition to Internet browsing, helps with new music from Zune Marketplace.
- Internet browser: Full-screen Web browsing, optimized for the multitouch screen with zoom-in and zoom-out gestures. Search powered by Bing, of course.
Inside the Zune HD is an NVIDIA Tegra ultralow-power HD processor, by the way.
Pricing for the Zune HD is as follows: 16GB: $219.99; 32GB: $289.99. That makes the Zune HD twice as spacious for the same price as the iPod touch, though Apple is expected to refresh its device in the next month or two.
In addition to placing a pre-order online, you can place a pre-order in person at Best Buy beginning Aug. 16. There will be "sneak peeks" of the device at select stores on Aug. 22 and 23 in Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Miami, Minneapolis/St. Paul, New York, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Seattle and Washington, D.C.
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