We've said plenty of times that the Zune HD was an absolutely fantastic music device, but we know that there are a bunch of people who never gave it a chance. Well, one of our readers pointed out the fact that you can get a brand new Zune HD at clearance prices from a few retailers, and we thought we'd pass that info on to you:
Those are awesome prices, and the eBay links also have auctions that are even cheaper, of course. Be sure to keep an eye on our Deal of the Day posts for more awesome stuff, and also check out our Newegg Promo Code thread for even more hotness.
Dear Microsoft: Manage your message or someone will do it for you. Case in point: the recent, none-too-surprising news that the lovely Zune HD will meet a timely death. Within minutes of the news breaking, stories and tweets flooded the Internet declaring, "The Zune is Dead." This was followed by people asking if everything "Zune" was gone or just the hardware. I assured people that the obvious answer was the hardware only, but is it that obvious? And why wasn't Microsoft out in front of this information?
Yes, the fact that Microsoft is giving up on music player hardware is bad news for Microsoft and good news for Apple, but it's up to Microsoft to stand up and explain its decision and strategy. In the absence of clear information from Microsoft, everyone else can and will shape the message. So now, even though most within the industry are quite sure that the Zune software and service, which lives on in phones and PCs, is in no danger, average consumers are no longer certain. They could at this very minute be making plans to switch to Apple, iPods and iTunes.
If I were Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, I would have stepped forward and explained the shift away from music-only hardware (leaving aside the fact that most music players do a whole lot more). Then, while wiping away one single tear, I would have quickly shifted gears to a clear strategy, which isn't even new: "For mobile devices, we're focusing our attention on Windows Phone, which already has Zune and Xbox Live functionality." Then I'd add, "This, friends, is not a loss. Lessons we learned from Zune hardware's five-year life have given us invaluable insight and made it possible for use to deliver the Windows Phone platform and some truly stellar partner-driven hardware to wrap around it."
Looks like Microsoft's first app to be included in the Mac App Store is Windows Phone 7 Connector. If you own a Windows Phone 7 device, or a Zune HD, then you'll wanna grab this free software. It allows you to sync your music, movies, TV shows, podcasts from iTunes to your Microsoft device, as well as photos and videos from iPhoto. You can also sync content taken with your phone to your Mac as well. One thing that's missing? As of now, Windows Phone 7 Connector doesn't sync calendars or contacts. Still, it's nice to see Microsoft looking to play along with the Mac App Store model. Get a look at Windows Phone 7 Connector in our walkthrough above.
The Zune HD may have made its debut last year, but it's still a damn good PMP that doesn't get all the love that it deserves--seriously, just check out our Zune HD review. With the recent launch of Windows Phone 7, and Zune on Xbox 360, the brand has gotten a lot of play recently, and we think the Zune HD is more than worthy of a spot on our 2010 Holiday Gift Guide. Microsoft came through with a superb device with a fantastic service behind it to match. In fact, we’ve said it many time that, in our opinion, for someone that truly loves music, Zune is the best deal around. Coupled with the $15 per month Zune Pass (which isn’t a requirement,) you get a top-notch portable media player with an OLED screen, HD Radio, and web browser with the advantage of being able to listen to pretty much any song you can think of at a moments notice. There's also an app marketplace that lets you download games, Twitter and Facebook integration, and more.
The Zune HD retails for $349 for the 64GB, $269 for the 32GB, and $199 for the 16GB model - however, Amazon’s got a great sale on the Zune HD that’ll put the 32GB model into your hands for $203 ($63 off,) the 16GB model will run you $149 ($50 off,) and the 64GB model for $314 ($30 off.)
Oh, and did we mention something about giving it away? Heck yeah! We will be running the 32GB Zune HD giveaway for a week. The winner will receive a 32GB Zune HD and a 1-month Zune Pass!
Here’s how to enter:
- Follow the Gear Live Twitter account
- On Twitter, post this tweet about our contest: “Hey @gearlive hook me up with that @Zune HD! http://gear.lv/zunehd-holiday” (Click here to tweet this now)
That’s it! Remember, you’ve gotta have a Twitter account (they're free), and you’ve gotta be following the Gear Live Twitter account so that we can send you a DM if you’re the winner. This one is only open to residents of the US. We will be announcing a winner on December 10, so you’ve got a week to qualify.
Read More | Zune on Amazon
Just a quick heads up about that 64GB Zune HD that we were all excited about the other day - looks like it’s on sale, just a couple of days early. It’s supposed to come out on Monday, but we’ve seen it selling today. You can pick up a 64GB Zune HD for $349.
Hey Zune owners, head up—the Zune 4.5 update has just gone live, and it’s ready for you to suck down from Microsoft. As a refresher, here’s what you have to look forward to:
- Smart DJ integration on Zune HD
- Picks on Zune HD (personalized recommendations based on your listening habits)
- Browse the Zune Marketplace on TV when you dock your connected Zune
- Expanded video codec support, reducing need for transcoding
Of course, there are likely a bunch of bug fixes and all that to make things feel mo’ better. In addition to all that, the new 64GB Zune HD will be available in a week!
Sure, it’s only about six months too late, but Microsoft is finally ready to let a 64GB Zune HD loose, and it arrives on April 12. You’ll be able to purchase one from the Zune Originals site, as well as Amazon, Best Buy, and all the regulars for $350. Ordering from Microsoft directly lets you choose from platinum, black, blue, red, green, purple, and magenta colors.
The 16 and 32GB Zune HD models will each see an immediate $20 price drop as well.
Microsoft has got some big things planned for Zune this year, not the least of which is Windows Phone 7 Series. At CES 2010, we talked with the Zune team’s Mike Yaeger about some of the other new hotness we can expect from the Zune service, all of which will be arriving later this Spring, such as Smart DJ right on the device.
Speaking of Zune, Amazon’s selling them at a nice discount right now, at $40 off.
The big news today is the announcements of Windows Phone 7 Series over at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, and Microsoft has released video of the announcement and reveal of their new mobile OS. Let it be said right now, Microsoft has essentially killed what we all know as Windows Mobile, and has replaced it with what may, in fact, be the slickest interface we’ve seen on a mobile phone. They borrowed heavily from the Zune HD navigation scheme, but made it highly polished and optimized for a device that is constantly connected to a cellular data connection. Also, it looks like that whole Xbox Live Anywhere demo that we saw at E3 a few years ago is finally coming to fruition, as Windows Phone 7 Series includes Xbox Live gaming built right in. Hit the play button on the videoafter the jump for a look at everything, but color us impressed.
Hey, Apple, the ball is in your court.
You can expect to find Windows Phone 7 Series devices in stores this holiday season.
2009 is just about over, and we are just in time with our annual top 10 list of the most-watched Gear Live video episodes. Over the past year, as expected, there was a bunch of Apple gear that made the list, but Microsoft gets the top two spots with our Xbox 360 dashboard tour, and the Zune HD hands-on preview. Also getting an honorable mention is the Motorola DROID and Elgato Turbo.264 transcoding device.