HD Radio To Go! Dig the New Zune


zuneSmart device evolution continues, and each step forward heralds new radio capabilities. Wednesday Microsoft released some details about their new HD Zune player coming this fall and it looks like HD Radio is in integral part of the device.

Joshua Topolsky over at EnGadget gives us a rundown on its capabilities:

That’s right folks, the Zune HD is real, and it’s coming this Fall. Microsoft officially announced the next iteration in their Zune line today, making it less of a tripped out pipe dream, and more of a totally tubular reality. The specs, which look exactly like that leak we saw, go like this: 3.3-inch, 480 x 272 OLED capacitive touchscreen display, built-in HD Radio receiver, HD output (utilizing a new dock — not on-board), and… not much more right now. Microsoft is doing away with the famed squircle in favor a full multitouch device, and they seemed to indicate that some new touch-friendly apps and games would be headed our way, though they were fairly mum when it came to details. The device will boast an IE-based, customized browser, but little else was said in the way of software.

Competing with similar smart players like the iPod Touch, and converging with current smart phones in capabilities, the new Zune will carry all the features that are expected. Video playback, wi-fi, an app store and so on are rapidly becoming the rule rather than the exception. Add in the ability to integrate with their XBox LIVE community,which boasts 17 million international subscribers and it looks like the new Zune will come out fighting! (Microsoft has  promised to demonstrate the integration with XBox LIVE at next week’s Electronic Entertainment Expo.)

Of course the thing I am most excited about is the HD radio integration. Regular readers know that I’ve been keeping an eye on the portability issue with HD because I think it is really the next huge step. As HD becomes more like traditional radio in its ubiquity the medium will truly become a standard. Just the ability of stations to do targeted sub-channels alone is worth it in my opinion.

The new wave of portable HD Radio capable devices are starting to roll out, I can’t wait to see what the coming year has to offer!

Photo courtesy of Zune


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