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Microsoft Corp. on Tuesday unveiled two new Zune digital media players along with updates to its Zune-related services. Starting from mid-November consumers will not only be able to get sleeker or more capacious Zune devices, but will also get new functionality for existing Zune 30GB.

Microsoft announced three new models of Zune portable digital media players: black Zune 80GB hard disk drive-based model, which has a 3.2” screen and comes with premium headphones as well as  ultra-portable Zune 4GB and Zune 8GB flash-based models, both available in pink, green, black and glossy red. The new Zune players will have the same functionality as the first 30GB model, including Wi-Fi support, FM radio, music sharing and so on and will add more with forthcoming software updates. More precise technical specs were not disclosed.

The two new models of Microsoft Zune portable media players feature the new Zune Pad, an innovative touch-sensitive button for navigating on the device, as well as wireless sync, a feature that allows Zune devices to automatically sync over the device owner’s home wireless network when it is connected to an AC adaptor, in a dock or speaker dock accessory. Existing Zune 30GB owners will automatically receive new software features, the redesigned PC and device software and access to the new Zune Marketplace when everything is released to the public in mid-November.


Microsoft Zune 4GB, Microsoft Zune 80GB, Microsoft Zune 30GB digital media players

Microsoft Zune 80GB will have manufacturer suggested retail price of $249, whereas Zune 4GB and 8GB will be available for $149 and $199, respectively, when they become available in mid-November.

In addition to improving design and functionality of its portable digital media players, Microsoft also plans to launch Zune Social service that will allow end-users to share their music tastes, knowledge and experiences with others. Members of Zune Social can send song links and messages to each other, post comments on a friend’s profile page or on their favorite artist pages.

“By tapping into customers’ passion for music with Zune Social, we’re starting to change the game. This lets us start building a new, more valuable kind of relationship with consumers that, combined with other Zune innovations, will start to drive the entire music industry forward,” said J. Allard, Microsoft corporate vice president for design and development, entertainment and devices division.

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